Friday, April 09, 2010

Bosnia: Lawmakers Reject Srebrenica Resolution

[see newsletter below]

National Congress of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina ONLINE NEWSLETTER – International No. 661 April 10, 2010 CONTENT 1. Bosnia: Lawmakers Reject Srebrenica Resolution 2. Serbia has more to apologize for ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you do not want to receive this Online Newsletter just reply with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Then your e-mail address will be promptly deleted.________________________________________________________________________ Balkan Insight8 April 2010 1. Bosnia-Herzegovina: Lawmakers Reject Srebrenica Resolution Sarajevo The House of Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina yesterday rejected a resolution condemning the crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995. The resolution was proposed by Representative Denis Becirovic of the Social Democratic Union, SDP, who argued that the adoption of the declaration would contribute to permanent peace building in the country. After the members of the House of Representatives refused to accept the proposition by the SDP, the party's representatives left the room, saying that they considered the move an “insult to victims of Serb, Bosniak or Croat nationality”. The resolution was refused by representatives of parties from Republika Srpska. Under the Dayton peace agreement which ended Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, the country was divided into two highly independent entities – the Serb dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak federation. The two entities are united by weak central institutions, but each has its own government, parliament and presidency. Srebrenica, the city where the Bosnian Serb Army committed genocide in July 1995, killing more than 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys and expelling more than 25,000 people, is located in Republika Srpska (RS). A resolution condemning the genocide in Srebrenica was adopted by the European Parliament last year. The EP asked other European countries to adopt a similar resolution, and so far all the countries of the former Yugoslavia have done so, with the exception of Bosnia. The Serbian parliament adopted a resolution earlier this month condemning the massacre. Like Montenegro, Serbia did not explicitly call the crimes committed in Srebrenica acts of genocide. The same day that the House of Representatives rejected the proposed resolution on Srebrenica, the ruling party in RS, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, announced its request for a declaration labeling the World War One massacres of Armenians in Turkey as genocide.----- Comment: Recall that in Dayton, "Bosnian leaders" gave half of the country and the veto power to Karadzic’s Serbs who were already militarily defeated. What else could we except in the Bosnian assembly after “our” leaders rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide to became lawmakers over the victims. Bosnia has only one problem; it is that nobody represents Bosniak people. Remark for media: Please, do not call us "Muslims". We are ethnic Bosniaks, is it so difficult to learn? Yes, some of us are religious Muslims, but also some of Serbs are religious Orthodox, and some Croats are religious Catholics, and jet you call them correctly: Serbs, and Croats. In Srebrenica were killed 8000 people, not because they were Muslim, but because they were Bosniaks. Muhamed Borogovac _________________________________ 2. Serbia has more to apologize for The crimes committed by the Serbs across Bosnia are too many to apologize away. But I would like to hear them try. By Jasmina Cesic — Special to GlobalPost REVERE, Mass. -— The Serbian government recently issued an apology for the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, during which they systematically rounded up and killed about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims. Unfortunately, the mass killing, rape and torture of innocent civilians took place in other parts of Bosnia too, including my hometown of Visegrad, where my two brothers, grandmother and uncle were killed. In Visegrad, 70 percent of the population was Muslim, but that was before the Serb nationalists came with their slogan, "Kill everyone who is not Serb and bring and unite all the Serbs into one nation called Greater Serbia." After that, there were no Muslims left. Thousands were brutally murdered like my brother, Samir, who was only 15 at the time. The Serbs threw him off a bridge and shot him as he was falling. My grandmother was burned alive in her own house, as were many others. Numerous women and girls were raped. Some were taken to prison, like my father, where they were constantly tortured. The rest of Visegrad's population was forced to leave the city. My mother with my surviving siblings and very pregnant sister-in-law were among those forced to flee. My husband and I sought refuge in Bosnia's capital city, Sarajevo, which we naively thought was a safe haven. We truly believed that the world wouldn't let anything happen to this European city that was home to the 1984 Winter Olympics. However, as soon as we arrived in Sarajevo in April of 1992, the Serbian army surrounded the city with their tanks and canons in ditches, and started shelling. We were hungry and didn't have access to drinkable water in the besieged city, but our biggest problems were the snipers and constant shelling that killed and wounded many. The hospitals became full and I, like many other Bosnians, wanted to be a part of the defense and began assisting in Kosevo Hospital. My help didn't last long. One morning my husband and I were waiting for the bus to take us to work when a mortar fell one meter from us. I didn't know immediately what had happened. I was lying on the ground and could see my arm hanging off the bone. I could see holes in my legs. When I turned my head I saw my husband next to me blown in half. Around me lay about 20 wounded people and some dead people too. People came to take us to the hospitals. They wrapped me in a blanket to carry me. My husband and a few other dead people were left at the first hospital and the rest of us were taken to Kosevo Hospital, which ironically had been my original destination. In the hospital there was never enough anesthesia, no electricity or water, and never enough food. When we got electricity for a few hours, it was like we had a new life. For 25 days they couldn't sew up my shoulder because the flesh was dirty and my doctor had to cut more of it off every day to avoid gangrene. I just bit into bedsheets in my mouth to ease the pain, which was still much easier to bear than the pain from seeing hundreds of children around me in the hospital without an arm or a leg, or an eye. I still live with these images. I continually ask myself how some crimes are punishable and some get rewarded. The Dayton Peace Agreement allowed the Serbs to keep what they gained in the ethnic cleansing. They get to walk down the street of my hometown, free of non-Serbs like they always dreamed it would be, while their victims, like me, are far from home. Srebrenica survivors, instead of getting back their town, which is still part of Republic of Srpska, get an apology that is supposed to give them peace of mind while handing the Serbian government a green card to the European Union. Though many of us are aware that the Serbian apology was done for the wrong reasons, to get into the EU, I would still like to hear them apologize for the crime that occurred in my hometown and for those committed in other parts of Bosnia. No apology, no matter what, will bring back my brothers and husband, or my sister-in-law's two brothers and father who were killed in Srebrenica. My only hope is that such an apology will open the door to a brighter future for new generations. Let them live in the world where a crime has no color, race or religion but it is wrong regardless and for that, it needs to be punished if it cannot be stopped. --/Jasmina Cesic is the author of "The River Runs Salt Runs Sweet," a memoir of war-torn Bosnia. She came to the U.S. in 1993 as one of the first Bosnian refugees to seek better medical treatment./


Srebrenica Genocide said...

Agree or Disagree, but Serbia's Declaration on Srebrenica is a highly important document. It acknowledges 8,000 dead and it accepts that genocide happened in Srebrenica as determined by the International Court of Justice.

Sure, the declaration should have mentioned that Serb forces "targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica" as determined by the Krstic appellate judgment. I strongly believe they should have also mentioned the fact that Serbs forcibly expelled 30,000 refugees; some of them were brutally raped. So, why did not they kill all women and children? Here is why, directly from the Appeals Chamber, Prosecutor vs. Radislav Krstic:

"31. As the Trial Chamber explained, forcible transfer could be an additional means by which to ensure the physical destruction of the Bosnian Muslim community in Srebrenica. The transfer completed the removal of all Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica, thereby eliminating even the residual possibility that the Muslim community in the area could reconstitute itself. The decision not to kill the women or children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion. In contrast to the killing of the captured military men, such an action could not easily be kept secret, or disguised as a military operation, and so carried an increased risk of attracting international censure.

32. In determining that genocide occurred at Srebrenica, the cardinal question is whether the intent to commit genocide existed. While this intent must be supported by the factual matrix, the offence of genocide does not require proof that the perpetrator chose the most efficient method to accomplish his objective of destroying the targeted part. Even where the method selected will not implement the perpetrator’s intent to the fullest, leaving that destruction incomplete, this ineffectiveness alone does not preclude a finding of genocidal intent. The international attention focused on Srebrenica, combined with the presence of the UN troops in the area, prevented those members of the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army] Main Staff who devised the genocidal plan from putting it into action in the most direct and efficient way. Constrained by the circumstances, they adopted the method which would allow them to implement the genocidal design while minimizing the risk of retribution."

Anonymous said...

The thugs of Republika Srpska have a stranglehold on Bosnia's past, present and future. If this is how Dayton was meant to turn out, it's a very sick joke.

Katja R. said...

@ Daniel interesting analysis, @Owen, the consequences may not have been or may have been intended,
I don't care either way, it was a partition of a nation that should have been left whole.

Dodik for example, would NEVER have this power if he was in an area that was restored to it's original ethnic composition, or anything close to it.

Partition always causes these problems.

Katja R. said...

@ everyone I lived not too far from Kosevo Hospital, and when I lived in Sarajevo, the damage to the outside of the building was still pretty visible. I never went inside, but I know from my friends that it is a pretty decent hospital at this point, but the repair process is ongoing.