Genocide In The Former Yugoslavia Essay, Research Paper
Genocide in the Former Yugoslavia
The Catholics, Muslims, and Orthodox Christians in the former Yugoslavia have been fighting for centuries. They fight for land, they fight for ideas, and they fight for proof that they are best race. The fighting between these three have taken a devastating turn in the latter part of the 20th century. The Serbs (Orthodox Christians) have systematically killed Ethnic Albanians (Muslims), both soldiers and civilians. This is called genocide. Genocide is the systematic destruction by a government of a racial, religious, or ethnic group (encyclopedia.com).
The war that this genocide was a part of started in 1992 when the US and the European community recognized Bosnia as an independent country. The president of Yugoslavia at the time, Slobodan Milosevic, a Serb, became infuriated and began attacking the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. He claimed that the Muslim majority was being unfair to the Serbs, who made up 32 percent of the population. He sent in snipers who shot helpless civilians in the streets of Sarajevo throughout the war.
The Ethnic Albanians were vastly outgunned during the war. The Serbians had more men, more money, and superior weapons. The UN refused to help fight the Serbs, instead UN peace keepers were instructed only to make sure all the Ethnic Albanian supply lines remained open.
Throughout the war, the UN refused to step into the war in a military fashion, even as reports of Serbian concentration camps became undeniable. Slobodan Milosevic knew that the UN would not enter the war so he continued killing Ethnic Albanians without fear of the consequences. By the time the war ended in 1995, over 200,000 Muslims had been killed and 2,000,000 had become refugees due to Milosevic’s policy of “ethnic cleansing”.
During the war, the UN formed the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Located in The Hague, the Netherlands its purpose was, and still is, “to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991″ (www.un.org/icty/glance/keyfig.htm). The judges at the trials of the accused people number 14 and the total staff of the ICTY number 914 representing 71 countries.
Since its inception in 1993 the ICTY has publicly indicted 94 people with 27 of them still at large. Among the accused still at large are Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and his right hand man, Radovan Karadzic. During the war, Karadzic was the President of the Bosnian Serb Republic. The Bosnian Serb Republic was never actually a real country, instead it was just a fake government for the Serbs in Bosnia.
The most famous person accused by the ICTY is, by far, Slobodan Milosevic. In comparing this act of genocide to the Holocaust, Milosevic would be the equivalent of Adolf Hitler. He is currently the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia although it is believed that he attained that position falsely. The fact that he is the president of a country makes him difficult to arrest, so he is still at large. Although he never actually killed any Muslims he is the one that ordered the “ethnic cleansing” so he is the one held most responsible. Currently he has 5 international warrants for his arrest for crimes against humanity as agreed upon at the Geneva Convention.
Radovan Karadzic was responsible for determining military strategy and negotiating on behalf of Bosnian Serbs. In July 1995, the ICTY indicted him and 22 other Serbs for genocide and crimes against humanity including ethnic cleansing. Very few of these people have actually been captured. Geographically, Karadzic now controls the eastern part of the Bosnian Serb Republic while Biljana Plasvic controls the north and west parts. He currently has 1 international warrant for his arrest and remains at large. He is known as the most wanted man in the world. He coordinated roundups of Muslims eerily similar to the Nazi roundups of Jews during W.W.II. He also was in charge of all of the concentration camps in Yugoslavia under Serb control.
One of the worst ethnic cleansing camps was at Omarska. As Mark Danner said in his essay “America and the Bosnia Genocide”: “In Omarska as in Auschwitz the masters created these walking corpses from healthy men by employing simple methods: withhold all but the barest nourishment, forcing the prisoners’ bodies to waste away; impose upon them a ceaseless terror by subjecting them to unremitting physical cruelty; immerse them in degradation and death and decay, destroying all hope and obliterating the will to live.” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/karadzic/atrocities/omarska.html). Over 5,000 people were housed at Omarska and they were held in almost the exact same way as the Jews were held during the Holocaust. Omarska is like the Auschwitz of this ethnic cleansing. Other concentration camps include Doboj, Kljuc, Vares, Bihac, Teslic, and over 100 more inside the Bosnian borders. If you look at a map of the concentration camps it shows the outline of what the Serbian leaders wanted their country’s borders to be.
Throughout this report I have shown the ethnic cleansing that the Serbians attempted against the Muslims but all three sides in this war have been guilty of crimes against humanity although the Serbs have been the worst. The Muslims have been the most passive at committing genocide as only one of their leaders, Zejnil Delalic, has been publicly indicted by the UN. He is accused of running the Celebici concentration camp in central Bosnia. On the Croat side, Dario Kordic, Vice President of the Croatian community in Bosnia, has been publicly indicted for his involvement in the planing of ethnic cleansing against the Muslims. Another Croat, Tihomir Blaskic, was the chief of staff for the Croatian army and has been caught since the end of the war. His trial is over and he has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Between 1992 and 1994, he ordered attacks on Muslims villages in Bosnia that resulted in hundreds of deaths, rapes, and severe beatings to men, women, and children.
In conclusion, the Croats, Muslims, and Serbs in Bosnia have all been guilty of genocide in the 1990’s although the Serbs have been the most active. Their head leaders, Slobodan Milosevic and Rodovan Karadzic, have warrants out for their arrests although neither have been captured. The Muslims have been murdered by both the Croats and Serbs so they started their own policy of genocide, although on a smaller scale. Throughout this war the UN refused to step in militarily. They have been publicly criticized for this. After W.W.II many people thought that genocide was a thing of the past but as this conflict and the conflicts in Rwanda have shown, the world still has a long way to go before genocide is only a thing read about in history books.