Friday, June 20, 2008

Return to Srebrenice

It was one of the disgraceful episodes in the way the international community, as represented by the EU and the UN handled the War of Yugoslav Dissolution, which lasted throughout the nineties. Srebrenice was declared a safe zone, protected by the UN and the men were disarmed. The Dutch troops in their blue helmets panicked when the Serbs approached or, perhaps, decided that the Bosnians were not worth protecting. Not only did they refuse to fight, they actually helped to separate the men and the boys from the rest of the town.

8,000 men and boys were murdered by the Serb troops. The mass graves are still being dug up.

The UN did what it usually does - disclaimed responsibility. Oddly enough whenever there is a successful operation (well, no, now that you mention it, I can't think of one either) the UN claims credit; when there is a complete mess that results in thousands of deaths and other catastrophic events, the UN piously announces that it cannot do anything as it is merely the sum of its members.

So it was with Srebrenice. The Dutch were blamed and, to be fair, they shouldered the blame.

However, the situation may change if a court decision sought by families of those killed goes through.
The families are seeking compensation after Serb forces killed more than 8,000 men and boys around the UN-declared safe zone of Srebrenica in one week in July 1995.

Dutch UN peacekeepers were overwhelmed by the Serbs' superior force and even assisted in separating women and children as the victims were led away from their custody.

Lawyers for the Dutch government told the Hague district court that the UN is immune from prosecution in national courts.

But lawyers for the families said on Wednesday there was nowhere else to turn for a fair hearing of grievances.
The BBC also reports on the case and says that judgement will be given on July 10. Should UN responsibility be acknowledged - an unlikely outcome, one must admit - it might open the gates to other legal cases.


AMDG said...

I see the number reported continues to increase. Why are not they finally exhumated?

A different account on Srebrenika.

Tory Historian said...
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Helen said...

That is a link to a website that lists other links. Not really sure where you get the idea that the numbers have increased.