July 11 marks the 21st anniversary of the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War — the Srebrenica massacre. Yet, is it an inappropriate description of the grave crimes that took place 21 years ago? Was the politically motivated planned execution a massacre, or genocide? Was the misuse of the term ‘genocide’ intentional to create more ‘genocides’ around the world?
Disputed Term or Plain Politics?
During the Bosnian War, Bosnian Serb forces entered an UN-designated “safe haven” in the town of Srebrenica. Killing more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys, between 11 and 14 July 1995, the forces dumped their bodies into pits in the surrounding forests.
On 16 November 1995, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and the Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic were indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was created in May 1993 — for the Srebrenica genocide and other crimes against humanity. In 2004, the ICTY ruled that the massacre constituted genocide, a crime under international law.
In 2007, the International Court of Justice upheld the ruling and concluded that the massacre at Srebrenica was indeed genocide. The forcible transfer and sexual abuse of between 25,000 and 30,000 Bosnian women, children and elderly, accompanied with the killings of men and boys, was found to constitute genocide. Stopping short of declaring Serbia guilty of the genocide itself, the ICJ found Serbia guilty of failing to prevent genocide in the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić officially apologized for the massacre in April 2013, although he stopped short of calling it genocide. In July 2015, Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have condemned the denial of Srebrenica massacre as genocide.
In condemning the tragedy, Russia maintains that the Srebrenica massacre is the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The Preliminary List of People Missing or Killed in Srebrenica, compiled by the Bosnian Federal Commission of Missing Persons, contains 8,373 names. By July 2012, 6,838 victims were identified through DNA analysis of body parts recovered from mass graves; the task of identifying and burying them properly continues to this day — more than 1,000 are still listed as missing.
However, genocide is defined by a 1948 UN Convention as actions “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such.” Yet the ICTY never found proof of such intent. In fact, writes RT, ICTY’s president Theodor Meron cited as relevant “evidence,” a hearsay claim that Bosnian Serb leaders decided in the early 1990s they would kill a third of the Muslims, convert a third to Orthodoxy and the rest would leave on their own.
Massacre or Genocide, the War Continues
The massacre at Srebrenica may or may not be called genocide. However, the deaths of over 100,000 Bosnian Muslims and Croatian civilians from April 1992 — when the government of the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia — to 1995; by Bosnian Serb forces was definitely the worst act of genocide since the Nazi regime’s destruction of nearly 6 million European Jews during World War II.
Even as Serbian officials continue to deny the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre was genocide, even as Karadzic is found guilty of orchestrating the July 1995 Srebrenica slaughter and sentenced to 40 years in prison, does the Srebrenica carnage still provide an excuse for the West to destroy lives in the East? Maybe.
Is Srebrenica an Excuse for Western “Humanitarian” Warfare Worldwide?
Genocide denier and radical Serbian ultranationalist, Nebojsa Malic says that “as a result of protecting Libyans, Syrians, Yemenis, Iraqis and Afghans, the West has racked up a death toll that has long since eclipsed the worst exaggerations about the Bosnian War.” He writes for RT:
“The insistence on Srebrenica as genocide goes back to 1999, when NATO attacked Serbia in support of a Kosovo Albanian rebellion. The Serbian government was accused of genocide amid claims of 100,000 Albanian deaths, which later turned out to have been made up – just like the claims of 300,000 deaths in Bosnia, later revised down to 96,000. The Kosovo War was then spun into the so-called “responsibility to protect” doctrine of supposedly humanitarian interventions, usually featuring NATO bombers and local proxy forces overthrowing governments and plunging countries into chaos.
“Those calling for a NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 claimed that the government of Colonel Gaddafi was preparing “another Srebrenica” in rebel-held Benghazi. The following year, Saudi Arabia tried to intervene in the Syrian civil war by comparing the rebel-held Homs to “Srebrenica.” Syrians rejected the claims as “shameful” and part of a “sea of lies” told about their country. And when Islamic State arose on the ruins of Iraq and Syria in 2014, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura bemoaned the plight of the besieged Kurds in Kobani with cries of “Do you remember Srebrenica?”
Interestingly, classified documents, declassified cables, exclusive interviews and testimony to the ICTY show that the fall of Srebrenica 21 years ago — which prompted the massacre — was not a shocking and unheralded event, but a key element of the strategy pursued by Britain, America and France in order to cede Srebrenica to Serbs.
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