Nobody will have any difficulty finding people to argue that economic development takes priority over justice, or even that it is a precondition. The point is grist for one-liners of all too many literary icons. For Bertolt Brecht it was «grub first, then ethics.» For George Orwell it was «The belly comes before the soul.» For Mark Twain it was «Principles have no real force except when one is well fed.» And for Billie Holiday it was «You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon on how to behave.»
Anyone can see the point, but the trouble is that the two fields cannot always be separated. Would it be good to revive the mining industry in Bosnia and Hercegovina with the help of international investment? Probably so, for a lot of reasons. But what if the mine site was also the site one of the most notorious camps during the war period? That is the case with the Ljubija complex near Prijedor, in which the giant Mittal Steel has bought a 51% share. The Omarska mine in the complex was the site of the Omarska camp, and the territory includes the unexhumed bodies of 1700 victims of wartime murders. The issue is reported in depth by Igor Lašić and Maja Lovrenović for Feral Tribune (no link, sorry, Feral is a subscription site).
Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel has issued an equivocal statement, reports Feral, saying «We are willing to listen carefully to any requests that they may have» and «We are a significant investor in the area, having acquired both the iron ore and the steelmaking facilities, and are committed to ensuring a prosperous future for the region.» Less formal sources from Mittal suggest the company is likely to be cautious about doing anything that could be perceived as antagonising Serbs. Since Mittal's co-owner is the government of Republika Srpska, Mittal will probably have easy access to information about what might be perceived as antagonistic.