Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A big step forward

There were many dark events in the twentieth century, possibly the worst for much of the world in modern history. Some have been faced up to by the perpetrators, some have not. The ones that have not, remain like so many millstones on countries' history. None can move forward until they have faced up to the past.

Serbia appears to have decided to be one of those that will move forward. As the Economist among others reports
Serbia’s parliament had not seen such acrimony for years, but in the early hours of March 31st it passed a resolution condemning the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which some 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.
The debate and subsequent vote were tumultous and the resolution was passed by the slimmest of majorities, the opposition, clearly belonging to those who prefer a historic millstone round the country's neck.
The resolution passed by the slimmest of margins—only 127 deputies out of a total of 250 voted for it—and opposition parties are furious. It remains to be seen if President Boris Tadic and his government will pay a political price.
Others feel that the resolution has not gone far enough as the crime should have been called "genocide" and no real blame was attached to anybody. The Resolution accepted the 2007 ICJ ruling that the Serbian authorities were guilty by omission rather than commission - they could have prevented the massacre.

Despite these problems the European Union has praised the Serbian Resolution. The Reuters report in the New York Times quotes the voting figures slightly differently:
The measure was approved by 127 of the 149 deputies present in parliament. Some opposition parties left the chamber shortly before the vote.
Those might have been the ones who thought the Resolution did not go far enough or they might have wanted to keep clear of the debate, wondering how things will go from now on.


  1. Srebrenica = Emblematic of the Bosnian Taliban, whom America supported and armed with Iranian weapons.

  2. Official Serbia is trying very hard to be a good little boy in the hope that the EU will shower euros upon them and this resolution should be seen in that light.

    I am sure that many people genuinely regret the atrocities of Srebrenica but genocide it wasn't. For a balanced view of what happened I recommend the account by Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie which you can Google easily enough. He points out that the UN "safe area" had been used as a base for years by Muslim forces which spread fire , sword and massacre amongst surrounding Serbian villages. So you can understand, if not condone, the Serbs being in a vengeful mood when they arrived. The Muslim commander, Nasir Oric, had a video made called "Nasir's Greates Hits" in which his men proudly display Serbian heads. To no Serbian's surprise he was eventually totally exonerated by the Hague court.

  3. Who has seen that video, Edward? The people of Srebrenice were disarmed by the UN troops there because it was supposed to be a safe haven. Then they left when the Serbs advanced. Don't let your hatred of all things Muslim get to you. The Serbs behaved very badly and not for the first time. Whether it was genocide or not is a separate question.

  4. Helen,

    I saw a copy myself over the internet quite a long time ago and understood that, at the time, it was widely available in Balkan bazaars. I will make enquiries and get back to you.
    I have only just seen your comment.