Known for significant research related to genocide, with a focus on the genocide in Srebrenica, Buljušmić-Kustura follows the case of the lawsuit that the Republic of South Africa initiated at the ICJ against Israel, and believes that Israel should be condemned for the genocide in the Gaza Strip.
In a conversation with the journalist Anadolu, she pointed out that in its defense Israel uses positions similar to those used by Serbia to defend itself in the case of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and claims that it did not know about the crimes and that it will prosecute them according to the individual responsibility of the perpetrators. Pointing out that many of her fellow genocide researchers see many similarities in the case of Gaza and BiH, Buljušmić-Kustura said that there is a possibility that Israel will not be condemned as a state.
“Until today, the International Court of Justice has actually not found any country guilty of genocide. The closest decision was made to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Serbia was accused of not preventing genocide. The countries that committed the genocide were not convicted in the end,” she said.
Buljušmić-Kustura said that she wanted to do something so that Israel would be judged for the crimes it committed as a state.
“This case is no longer just a case of convicting Israel of the crime of genocide, but a test of international law. The International Court of Justice can change its position to not find any country guilty. It would also be an incredible step for countries that have experienced genocide so far,” Buljušmić – Kustura said.
She said that, sociologically, there is evidence that Serbia committed the crime of genocide not only in Srebrenica but in the whole of BiH, but that Serbia was legally acquitted of that crime, and she said that the international court should not repeat that mistake in the case that is being conducted against Israel.
“People who survived the war and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 90s are the ones who understand the concept of ‘ceasefire’ the most. In this context, I started a signature collection campaign. In five days, we collected close to 2,500 signatures. As survivors of the genocide, we wanted to stand with the Palestinian people,” she said.
Stating that demonstrations in support of Palestine are being held throughout Europe, the USA and the world, Buljušmić-Kustura said that these demonstrations, which were attended by several million people, showed how different nations and states have different approaches to the issue of Palestine’s rights.
“Many people have seen the true face of their country. I think the countries that send weapons and aid to Israel should also receive some punishments,” Buljušmić-Kustura believes.
Emphasizing that she lost her grandfather, uncle and numerous relatives in Visegrad during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Buljušmić-Kustura said that the phrase genocide committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not refer only to Srebrenica, but also to all crimes committed in this area.
“What we are witnessing today in Gaza reminds us, not only of Srebrenica, but also of all the crimes committed in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she said.
Buljušmić-Kustura also said that the International Court of Justice decided that the crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica, but that there is also evidence that genocide was committed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. She added that the siege of Gaza resembles the siege of Sarajevo, Buljušmić-Kustura said that the Israeli administration has clearly said that it will not allow water, food or any aid to be provided. She also pointed out the similarity between the footage from Srebrenica and the footage from Gaza, where half-naked prisoners can be seen, lined up and killed.
“Not only what happened, but also what was said about Gaza has similarities with what happened during the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some officials and ministers compare Palestinians to terrorists and animals. “There was similar propaganda here,” she said.
Recalling that 30 years have passed since the genocide and the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Buljušmić-Kustura said that the world has not learned its lessons and that similar crimes are being witnessed today in the Gaza Strip.
Adnan Mahmutović, a Bosnian scientist living in Sweden, stated that his signature was also in the letter submitted to the ICJ and that they also wrote a letter to the Swedish government to stop what is happening in Gaza. Mahmutović stated that he has been working on the investigation of genocide cases for about 15 years, that he is an activist in this field, and that it is natural for him to sign the document submitted to the ICJ. He pointed out that he was deeply affected by the events in Gaza and added that the genocide is repeated and not stopped.
“If we have to learn something from the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is that the genocide must be stopped before there are more victims,” he said, adding that there are similarities between what is happening in Gaza and what happened in BiH in the 90s.