Posted 13.07.2012 08:47:54 UTC
Updated 08.08.2012 07:22:51 UTC
July 11, 2012 was the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The remains of 520 people exhumed and identified were buried in the Potocari cemetary with a ceremony attended by tens of thousands of people. The total number of people buried in that cemetary has thus risen to 5657. The predictions of the International Missing Persons Commission say that 8100 Bosnians were killed in Srebrenica in 1995.
What happened in Srebrenica in 1995 is the only incident in continental Europe in the past 6 decades recognized as a genocide. That is why it is one of the incidents casting a shadow on the conduct of the international community. During the Bosnia war, Srebrenica was a town declared a safe haven by the United Nations with the purpose of protecting the civilian Bosnians.
The UN Security Council resolution number 836 and dated June 4, 1993 provided for the UN troops to use force and even ask for air support in the event of attacks on and around the safe haven. However, neither the number of UN troops deployed in the area nor the weapons they had were enough to safeguard security in the region. It was believed that the declaration of Srebrenica as a safe haven and the deployment of UN troops there would be sufficient for the protection of the town. That was a big fallacy.
The Serbs led by General Ratko Mladic launched an attack on Srebrenica on July 6, 1995. Despite the attack, the mechanism set up for the protection of the safe haven did not become operational. As 30 Dutch soldiers were held hostage by the Serbs, the Dutch brigade tasked with ensuring the security of Srebrenica stopped short of doing what it had to do, displaying a conduct marked with inaction. When the Serbs threatened to kill the Dutch hostages, the UN special envoy's office in Bosnia stopped air raids against Serb positions, which led to Mladic and his soldiers entering Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. The safe haven turned into a safe death camp.
The massacre of more than 8 thousand Bosnians was disregarded in return for 30 Dutch soldiers. And for the first time ever in history, a genocide was carried just before the very eyes of the world. Today, the monumental cemetary in Potocari is like a valley of Bosnian martyrs.
Because of the Dutch soldiers' gross negligence in Srebrenica, the Dutch government led by Wim Kok resigned on April 16, 2002. The thing is that in the same country, the soldiers who consigned Srebrenica to the Serb soldiers were each decorated with a medal of honor in December 2006.
About 4,5 years after the massacre in Srebrenica, the UN commissioned a report on Srebrenica. Released on November 15, 1999, the report said the UN had committed a lot of mistakes in Srebrenica, had made faulty predictions regarding developments and had failed in providing sufficient protection to the regional people. A commission set up by the Bosnian Serbs put the number of those who were directly or indirectly involved in the Srebrenica genocide at 25 thousand.
Several mothers have today returned to Srebrenica. Having forgotten to rejoice over what life offers to humans, they continue their existence in deep sorrow hoping that the bodies of their beloved ones will one day be found.
Bosnians are of the conviction that all the evil that befell them was plotted in neighboring Serbia and Montenegro and the administration of Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade orchestrated all the wars in the entire geography of former Yugoslavia. That is why the Bosnians have found completely lacking in justice the decision taken by the International Court of Justice on February 26, 2007 in the lawsuit Bosnia Herzegovina filed against Serbia. As can be recalled, that decision stressed the genocide took place only in Srebrenica and held the Bosnian Serbs' army responsible for that misdeed.
The civilian deaths outside of Srebrenica were not qualified as genocide for lack of concrete evidence. As for Serbia, it was not deemed guilty of any of the crimes which merit severe punishment as mentioned in the 3rd article of the Genocide Treaty.
Serbia was found guilty only for non-compliance with its commitment to prevent those who carried out the genocide in Srebrenica and for failure to arrest and consign the perpetrators to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Bosnians are not happy over the decision by the International court of Justice and believe that the ruling passed is blatantly political.
The unraveling of the facts pertaining to the Bosnia war is very important in terms of a feeling of justice in the near and dear of victims because without justice the process of conciliation in Bosnia will always be incomplete and what is more, international law and justice will be a blurred system unless the reality of the Srebrenica genocide has also been clarified.