Monday, December 18, 2017

Was It Ethnic Cleansing In Yugoslavia?


Bosnian War 1992-1995! ( Part 1/2)The Death Of Yugoslavia BBC Documentary
Published on Mar 15, 2017

Bosnian War 1992-1995! ( Part 2/2)The Death Of Yugoslavia BBC Documentary
Published on Mar 15, 2017

Grim history of Bosnia’s 'rape hotel' - BBC News

BBC News
Published on Apr 8, 2016
U.N. court: Serbs' actions in Croatia not considered genocide
By Greg Botelho, CNN
Tue February 3, 2015
A U.N. court has ruled that Croatia failed to prove its claims of genocide against the Serbian government.
(CNN)Serbian forces committed egregious violent acts against ethnic Croatians in the early 1990s, but they don't equate to genocide, a U.N. court ruled Tuesday.
The 153-page ruling from the International Court of Justice means that modern-day Serbia will not have to pay restitution to Croatia, which in 1991 split from what was then Yugoslavia. The decision relates only to the two national governments' responsibility to one another, not the culpability of any individuals for targeting members of an ethnic group. Such individual cases are handled by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), another U.N. court.
"Croatia has not established that the only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the (Serbians') pattern of conduct ... was the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Croat group," the International Court of Justice (or ICJ) ruled. "... It follows ... Croatia has failed to substantiate its allegation that genocide was committed."
In addition to dismissing Croatia's case that its citizens had been victims of genocide, the ICJ also rebuffed Serbia's counterclaim that Croatian forces had committed genocide against its own citizens.
This all relates to what happened in the 1990s, in the bloody aftermath of Yugoslavia splintering into separate nations. Many of the most horrific allegations have been levied against those aligned with the Yugoslavia government -- the closest equivalent to what is now the Republic of Serbia -- for its actions in Kosovo and Bosnia.
In fact, several Serbians have been charged with genocide, though none yet specifically tied to actions inside Croatia. They include Radislav Krstic, sentenced to 46 years after the ICTY convicted him in relation to a five-day slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in what's been called the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by a U.N. tribunal when he was charged with 66 counts for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes, though he was found dead in his cell before his years-long trial in front of the ICTY finished.
Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is still on trial for two genocide charges and nine others related to ethnic violence during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. When Ratko Mladic's own trial on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity opened in 2012, the former general -- who is accused of orchestrating a horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing -- showed no remorse, even appearing to threaten victims in court.
Yet even as such individual cases push forward, courts have been reluctant to hold governments involved in the conflict directly responsible for genocide.
In 2007, for instance, the International Court of Justice acquitted Serbia of committing genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But, in the same ruling, the U.N. court did find Serbia guilty of failing to prevent genocide in Srebrenica.
Proof of large-scale killings, but not intent
Tuesday's ICJ ruling relates specifically to what Serbian forces did in Croatia between 1991 and 1995.
The violence began when Serbian troops went into Croatia ostensibly to aid armed ethnic Serbians trying to create their own autonomous states there. The U.N. court considered reams of evidence, from both sides, about what happened in the years that followed.
And some of what happened, the U.N. court ruled, was consistent with genocide.
For example, the ICJ found Serbian and allied forces responsible for a "large number of killings" that disproportionately affected Croats, "which suggests that they may have been systematically targeted." The forces also "injured (ethnic Croatians) and perpetrated acts of ill-treatment, torture, sexual violence and rape (that contributed) to the physical or biological destruction of the protected group," according to the court.
Croats were singled out in other less lethal ways, like restricting their movement to create "a climate of coercion and terror" and spur them to leave, the ICJ said. The court didn't find sufficient evidence, however, to implicate Serbian forces on other grounds, like depriving Croatians of food and medical care.
But even if some of the acts could fall under the umbrella of genocide, there must be evidence of intent -- that the forces went in aiming to destroy a group of people -- in order for these actions to be labeled genocide under the so-called Genocide Convention, which dates to 1948.
That was not proven, in the eyes of the International Court of Justice.
"In view of the fact that dolus specialis has been established by Croatia," the court said, using the legal term for a specific intent, "its claims of conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and attempt to commit genocide also necessarily fail.
"Accordingly, Croatia's claim must be dismissed in its entirety."

The Butcher of Bosnia - BBC Newsnight
BBC Newsnight
Published on Nov 16, 2017
The Bosnia Crisis: Serbs, Croats and Muslims: who hates who and why: Tony Barber in Zagreb traces the ancient roots of a culture clash that has shattered what was Yugoslavia into warring pieces
From Tony Barber in Zagreb
Saturday 8 August 1992
ESTIMATES vary of the death toll in 13 months of civil war in what was Yugoslavia, but it certainly runs into many thousands, making the conflict the most violent in Europe since the Second World War. The immediate origins of the war lie in the collapse of the post-1945 Communist order and subsequent clashes between a variety of militant nationalisms. But the deeper roots lie far back in history.
The main rivals are the Serbs and Croats, two Slavic peoples with similar languages - though Serbian is written in Cyrillic and Croatian in Latin script - but whose histories are very different.
The Serbs are Orthodox Christians whose religion was crucial in keeping alive their national identity during almost four centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation. Of the nations that formed Yugoslavia in 1918, the Serbs were alone in having liberated themselves from foreign rule and set up an independent state in the 19th century.
The Croats spent centuries under the Austro-Hungarian empire and their Catholicism and Central European outlook were equally important in shaping their identity. They resented the fact that the first Yugoslav state, which lasted from 1918-1941, was to a great extent Serbia writ large, with a Serbian king and army and a Serb- dominated political system.
When the Nazis dismembered Yugoslavia in 1941, they created a fascist puppet state of Croatia, which incorporated most of Bosnia. This state slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Jews. From 1941-1945 more than a million Yugoslavs died, more than half at the hands of each other.
Tito rebuilt Yugoslavia as a Communist federation of six equal republics, but ethnic antagonisms were never far below the surface. The Serbs disliked Tito's recognition of the Macedonians and the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina as distinct nationalities.
The effect of recognition of the Muslims - Slavs converted to Islam under Turkish rule - and growth in the Muslim population was to turn Bosnian Serbs into a minority in a republic where they had been the largest ethnic group.
The collapse of Communism in 1990-91 led to the election of governments in Slovenia and Croatia committed to independence. Although the Serb-led Yugoslav army tried briefly to prevent Slovenian independence, the Serbs' main concern was Croatia. Croatia had a 600,000-strong Serbian minority, descendants of Serbs who had fled Turkish rule centuries earlier. With the memory of Second World War atrocities behind them, the Serbs were unwilling to live in an independent Croatia again. For their part, the Croats viewed the Serbian minority as a group that had enjoyed special privileges under Communism.
Supported by the army and Serbia itself, the Serbs rose in armed rebellion. They now control about a quarter of Croatia and have set up two autonomous regions that are under the protection of United Nations forces sent in to keep a fragile peace. Croatia has vowed to recapture these regions, by force if necessary.
In Bosnia, three nationalities lived before the latest conflict in inextricably mixed communities: the Muslims with 44 per cent of the population, the Serbs with 32 per cent and the Croats with 17 per cent. The communities lived in relative harmony. After the European Community demanded a referendum on independence in Bosnia in February, the vote split on ethnic lines. Muslims and Croats supported independence but the Serbs boycotted the vote and, again with the army's support, began a fight for territory.
The feature of the Croatian and Bosnian wars that has caught the world's attention has been the Serbian expulsion of Croats, Muslims and smaller nationalities from their native areas in an effort to make the regions purely Serbian. This policy of 'ethnic cleansing' is responsible for the huge wave of Muslim refugees flooding into many European countries. The detention camps where Serbs are holding large numbers of Muslim prisoners are not, however, places of extermination in the Nazi sense. The primary Serbian goal is to remove Muslims from an area comprising about two-thirds of Bosnia so that this territory can be merged into one lump with the two autonomous Serbian regions of Croatia and Serbia proper. This will be 'Greater Serbia'.
At the same time, the Croatian army has helped Croats in Bosnia to take over much of the west of the republic that lies near Croatia's Adriatic coast. Just as the Serbs have declared an 'Independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina', so the Croats have proclaimed an autonomous region of Herzeg-Bosnia with Mostar as its capital. De facto, Croatia has colluded with Serbia in carving up Bosnia, although it has escaped with much less international censure.
The real losers, then, are the Muslims, who have been left with almost no land. Both Serbs and Croats have claimed that Muslims are not a genuine nationality but are 'really' Serbs or Croats beneath their religion. Both have also claimed Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of their own historic territory. The Muslims might once have preferred to stay in a united Yugoslavia where their ethnic and religious rights were protected, but now they are locked in a struggle for their very survival.
The Breakup of Yugoslavia, 1990–1992
Issued on October 18, 1990, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 15–90 presented a dire warning to the U.S. policy community:
Yugoslavia will cease to function as a federal state within a year, and will probably dissolve within two. Economic reform will not stave off the breakup. [...] A full-scale interrepublic war is unlikely, but serious intercommunal conflict will accompany the breakup and will continue afterward. The violence will be intractable and bitter. There is little the United States and its European allies can do to preserve Yugoslav unity.
1993 map of the former Yugoslavia. (Central Intelligence Agency)
The October 1990 judgment of the U.S. intelligence community, as Thomas Shreeve noted in his 2003 study on NIE 15–90 for the National Defense University, “was analytically sound, prescient, and well written. It was also fundamentally inconsistent with what US policymakers wanted to happen in the former Yugoslavia, and it had almost no impact on US policy.” By January 1992, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ceased to exist, having dissolved into its constituent states.
Yugoslavia—the land of South (i.e. Yugo) Slavs—was created at the end of World War I when Croat, Slovenian, and Bosnian territories that had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire united with the Serbian Kingdom. The country broke up under Nazi occupation during World War II with the creation of a Nazi-allied independent Croat state, but was reunified at the end of the war when the communist-dominated partisan force of Josip Broz Tito liberated the country. Following the end of World War II, Yugoslavian unity was a top priority for the U.S. Government. While ostensibly a communist state, Yugoslavia broke away from the Soviet sphere of influence in 1948, became a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961, and adopted a more de-centralized and less repressive form of government as compared with other East European communist states during the Cold War.
The varied reasons for the country’s breakup ranged from the cultural and religious divisions between the ethnic groups making up the nation, to the memories of WWII atrocities committed by all sides, to centrifugal nationalist forces. However, a series of major political events served as the catalyst for exacerbating inherent tensions in the Yugoslav republic. Following the death of Tito in 1980, provisions of the 1974 constitution provided for the effective devolution of all real power away from the federal government to the republics and autonomous provinces in Serbia by establishing a collective presidency of the eight provincial representatives and a federal government with little control over economic, cultural, and political policy. External factors also had a significant impact. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989, the unification of Germany one year later, and the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union all served to erode Yugoslavia’s political stability. As Eastern European states moved away from communist government and toward free elections and market economies, the West’s attention focused away from Yugoslavia and undermined the extensive economic and financial support necessary to preserve a Yugoslav economy already close to collapse. The absence of a Soviet threat to the integrity and unity of Yugoslavia and its constituent parts meant that a powerful incentive for unity and cooperation was removed.
Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s president from 1989, took advantage of the vacuum created by a progressively weakening central state and brutally deployed the use of Serbian ultra-nationalism to fan the flames of conflict in the other republics and gain legitimacy at home. Milosevic started as a banker in Belgrade and became involved in politics in the mid-1980s. He rose quickly through the ranks to become head of the Serbian Communist Party in 1986. While attending a party meeting in the Albanian-dominated province of Kosovo in May 1987, Serbians in the province rioted outside the meeting hall. Milosevic spoke with the rioters and listened to their complaints of mistreatment by the Albanian majority. His actions were extensively reported by Serbian-controlled Yugoslav mass media, beginning the process of transforming the former banker into the stalwart symbol of Serbian nationalism. Having found a new source of legitimacy, Milosevic quickly shored up his power in Serbia through control of the party apparatus and the press. He moved to strip the two autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina of their constitutionally-guaranteed autonomy within Serbia by using mass rallies to force the local leaderships to resign in favor of his own preferred candidates. By mid-1989 Kosovo and Vojvodina had been reintegrated into Serbia, and the Montenegro leadership was replaced by Milosevic allies.
The ongoing effects of democratization in Eastern Europe were felt throughout Yugoslavia. As Milosevic worked to consolidate power in Serbia, elections in Slovenia and Croatia in 1990 gave non-communist parties control of the state legislatures and governments. Slovenia was the first to declare “sovereignty” in 1990, issuing a parliamentary declaration that Slovenian law took precedence over Yugoslav law. Croatia followed in May, and in August, the Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina also declared itself sovereign. Slovenia and Croatia began a concerted effort to transform Yugoslavia from a federal state to a confederation. With the administration of George H. W. Bush focused primarily on the Soviet Union, Germany, and the crisis in the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia had lost the geostrategic importance it enjoyed during the Cold War. While Washington attempted during the summer of 1990 to marshal some limited coordination with its Western allies in case the Yugoslav crisis turned bloody, Western European governments maintained a wait-and-see attitude. At the same time, inter-republic relations in Yugoslavia spiraled out of control. 
Slovenia overwhelmingly voted for independence in December 1990. A Croatian referendum in May 1991 also supported full independence. Secretary of State James Baker traveled to Belgrade to meet with Yugoslav leaders and urge a political solution to no avail. Slovenia and Croatia both declared formal independence on June 25, 1991.
The Yugoslav Army (JNA) briefly intervened in Slovenia, but it withdrew after 10 days, effectively confirming Slovenia’s separation. The Serb minority in Croatia declared its own independence from the republic and its desire to join Serbia, sparking violence between armed militias. The JNA intervened in the conflict ostensibly to separate the combatants, but it became quickly apparent that it favored the Croatian-Serbs. The war that followed devastated Croatia, resulting in tens of thousands dead, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, a referendum on independence took place in March 1992, but was boycotted by the Serb minority. The republic declared its independence from Yugoslavia in May 1992, while the Serbs in Bosnia declared their own areas an independent republic. Macedonia itself also declared independence following a September 1991 referendum, and a U.S. peacekeeping and monitoring force was dispatched to the border with Serbia to monitor violence.
Croatia and Slovenia were internationally recognized in January 1992, with Bosnia’s independence recognized soon thereafter. The three countries joined the United Nations on May 22, 1992. Serbia and Montenegro formed a new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a successor state to old Yugoslavia, but the international community did not recognize its successor claim. Over the next three years, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions from their homes, as Europe witnessed the most horrific fighting on its territory since the end of World War II. In 1998–1999, violence erupted again in Kosovo, with the province’s majority Albanian population calling for independence from Serbia. A NATO bombing campaign and economic sanctions forced the Milosevic regime to accept a NATO-led international peace keeping force. The province was placed under U.N. administrative mandate. With the economy crumbling, Milosevic lost his grip on power in 2001, was arrested, and turned over to the International Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He died in prison in 2006, before his trial concluded. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized by the United States and most European states, despite Russian objections.
Also See:

Do You Remember Yugoslavia?