Thursday, 18 March 2010

War Crimes and Justice - How they affect people's sense of accountability and overall morality

Between grievance and justice, and between law and morality. A look at post-war ethics among Yugoslavia's war-torn people - or lack of, as the case may be

The wars in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo saw war crimes committed on a large scale, resulting in widespread bloodshed, destruction to property everywhere and devastated lives all round. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, as a result of all this carnage, these same wars also brought to local and worldwide attention alike numerous horror stories from all sides, each side accusing the other(s) of systematic abuses of human rights against its people, while also denying and/or undermining the claims of the other side(s).

The job of verifying the truthfulness of these allegations and counter-allegations fell to International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), simply called "The Hague Tribunal" as it is based at The Hague in the Netherlands. However, this has not been an easy job for that institution, and controversy has struck many times since its foundation. Nevertheless, it has brought forward many convictions, and also a few acquittals.

It has convicted men like Milan Babić and Milan Martić, the political and military leaders of the short-lived Republika Srpska Krajina, of war crimes and crimes against humanity against that entity's non-Serb population at the beginning of the war in Croatia. These two were found guilty of being part of a "Joint Criminal Enterprise" with Serbian president Slobodan Milošević at the helm, that had the aim of forming an enlarged ethnic Serb state, known as "Greater Serbia" (Velika Srbija), upon the territories of four former Yugoslav republics at the expense of numerous non-Serbian communities.

With regards to the war in Bosnia, Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstić was convicted of of the crime of genocide with regards to the Srebrenica Massacre, in which over 8000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in cold blood by Bosnian Serb troops under his control within only a few days in mid July 1995. It was thanks to that ruling by the Hague tribunal that this atrocity, the worst in all of Europe since World War Two, was recognised as a genocide.

Also regarding the Bosnian war, Milan and Sredoje Lukić were convicted for their personal involvement in a series of mass murders and torture of unarmed civilians committed in and around the Bosnian town of Višegrad envisaged upon that town's Bosniak population. These crimes committed in Višegrad were some of the most awful and appalling committed during that whole war, most of all for their cruelty and brutality. Among the many crimes these two were found guilty of was the murder of five out of seven men tortured prior to being shot on the banks of the river Drina, and two incidents in which dozens of people in each case were locked in and burnt alive. (See this article on the Srebrenica Genocide Blog for more information)

As for acquittals, the court acquitted Bosniak Commander Naser Orić, who was long-accused of masterminding a series of atrocities against Bosnian Serb civilians in villages around Srebrenica prior to the 1995 massacre there. This acquittal came as a shock to people in Serbia, who had long been led to believe that he was responsible for the deaths of up to 3000 Serbs in Eastern Bosnia (that figure has been discredited by the Hague Tribunal itself and by the Research and Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo).

The acquittals of Kosovo Albanian political and military leaders like Ramush Haradinaj and Fatmir Limaj also dismayed Serbian public opinion, but on the other side of the fence, they reaffirmed how Kosovo Albanians felt about these individuals who fought in their name and for their sake against the Serbian police and army, vindicating them of any possible responsibility for any war crimes. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty with regards to the outcome of Haradinaj's case, as it is believed that witnesses who intended to testify against him were allegedly intimidated by Haradinaj's associates in order not to go to the Hague.

There have also been a number of convictions made at home in the former Yugoslav republics, including the conviction in Serbia of four members of the Serbian paramilitary unit the "Scorpions" involved in the Srebrenica massacre, mentioned above, who were infamously filmed executing six Bosniak men and teenagers. That video recording shook the Serbian public, and helped to some extent undermine the efforts taken by some to deny the very occurrence of that gruesome and heinous crime.

But what I think should be considered more often is how these war crimes, and the justice taken to deal with them, affect ordinary people's views of the conflicts generally and personally; what kind of "moral impact" these events have initially on these people, and also what kind of endless affect their aftermath has upon these people's sense of morality to this day, taking into account how the pursuit of justice influences attitudes about accountability for war crimes. That is what I wish to examine in this article, with particular focus on attitudes commonly expressed by people from war-torn regions of the former Yugoslavia mentioned above.

Based on my personal observations, these attitudes have a habit of sometimes manifesting themselves in interactions between people from former warring sides either in real life on the ground, or in the virtual world of the World Wide Web. From what I've perceived, they are often accompanied by a sense of indignation demonstrated by their feelings of personal humiliation followed by a corresponding desire for justice or vengeance. And let's not forget that vulgarity and profanity can be very obviously noticed in such heated exchanges.

What about our victims; don't they count?!

You will find numerous victims on all sides involved in the wars. But what you will also find is that many people feel that their victims are not being acknowledged enough by people from the other side(s) of the conflict(s); many of these same people feel offended whenever people from the other warring side(s) pay tribute to their own victims, relating how their victims suffered at the hands of their neighbours, believing that they should be more willing to acknowledge the horrible crimes that their fellow ethnics committed against their loved ones!

Relatives of victims understandably feel pain for their lost loved ones who perished under dreadful circumstances brought about by disgraceful people from another side. And when people from that other side commemorate their victims, the relatives of victims from the first side feel very annoyed, especially when their fellow ethnics are being blamed!

Regarding the war in Croatia (which in Croatia is named the "Homeland war" ('Domovinski Rat'), my fellow Croatian Serbs accuse the Croatian army and state of committing ethnic cleansing and other war crimes and crimes against humanity upon them during 'Operation Oluja' (meaning "storm") in the August of 1995, during which around 200,000 Serbs fled their homes forming a column stretching many kilometres across Bosnia towards Belgrade. (During 'Operation Bljesak' (meaning "lightning") that occurred three months before 'Oluja', around 30,000 Serbs fled their homes.) And since many Croatian Serbs still live in Serbia today, where they originally sought refuge at the end of the war (many are now fully-fledged citizens of Serbia - but not all of them!), the Serbian state has a responsibility to uphold their grievances of their Croatian Serb citizens towards neighbouring Croatia, where they originally came from.

However, in response to these allegations by Croatian Serbs, many Croats angrily enquire, "But what about what happened in Vukovar?", the previously multiethnic city home to around sixteen ethnic groups on the Danube river that was raised to the ground by a number of Serb paramilitary formations in collusion with the JNA ('Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija', the "Yugoslav People's Army") sent there from Serbia. And likewise full of indignation, "What about Ovčara and Borovo Selo?", nearby villages in which hundreds of Croatian soldiers and civilians were murdered by those same paramilitary groups.

This is just one example of how discussion concerning the suffering of victims on either side is such a sensitive topic for all people who have lived through these recent wars; as you can guess, there are many, many more examples.

Why us; what about them?!

Whenever individuals from one warring side gets accused and charged for this or that crime against members of another warring side, the people from that side impulsively cry out, "But what about the things that they (the side which the victims of the accused came from) did to us?"

I've already demonstrated to you one example above of how many Croats feel offended by Serbs accusing them of war crimes, and like I've said there, that's just one of many examples. But what is interesting is that people from either side will admit that members of their ethnic group did commit war crimes on the other, and this is more often the case than a straightforward denial. However, many feel more comfortable equalising the crimes committed by their fellow ethnics with crimes committed by other ethnic groups, "Oh, I'm not saying that we didn't commit crimes ourselves, but they did it to us as well". On the other hand, there are others who feel offended by anyone equalising war crimes committed by members of their own people against others to crimes committed by members of other groups against them, "What they did to us and what we did to them are NOT the same!"

And the reason why this attitude prevails is this: even though people from all these sides are victims for whatever reason and to whatever extent, they as members of their ethnic group feel accused of committing war crimes, and as a result, they feel personally insulted! They feel, as part of a collective, accused of having committed crimes similar to crimes committed upon them, and so they often resort to such retorts mentioned in the above paragraph. A classic case in post-war former Yugoslavia of victims feeling accused of victimising others!

Nevertheless, there is also the attitude shared by many victims and survivors of these conflicts regarding war crimes committed by their own people that, "We have been stamped on by all and sundry, while everything we did to them is exactly what they deserved!" And as you can tell, this again shows the pain and desire for justice that these people collectively feel and continue to feel, because what they endured during that tumultuous time was a collective experience. The very use of the word "we" in the above sentences within quotes betrays this collective sentiment among people from each ethnic group from the war-torn parts of the former Yugoslavia.

That never happened to you; you didn't suffer as much as we did!!

In the environment in which accusations flew back and forth like bullets ricocheting, as was the case during and after the wars, denial was a very common propaganda tool, regularly serving as a bridge between accusation and counter-accusation! And along with denial often came contradicting interpretations of events, often serving a certain political agenda.

Even now, the joint forces of denial and revisionism still abound, which often includes minimising the numbers of victims and gravity of certain crimes, or even justifying their occurrence in the first place, treating the pain incurred to the victims as just recompense.

For instance, when Bosnia is in discussion, many Serbs still question the truthfulness of war crimes committed by fellow Serbs like the Srebrenica massacre (Masakar u Srebrenici), even though it has been twice declared a genocide by two international courts. Denial of Srebrenica has been prevalent for much of the past decade, and it was particulary strong within the first ten years following the event.

Surprisingly, many Serbs still find the mere mention of the genocide in Srebrenica, especially how it has been labelled a genocide, an "insult" to their nation. The reason why they feel offence at hearing about Srebrenica on the news and elsewhere is this: for them, the only genocide that occurred in their part of Europe was committed during World War Two against their people, in places like the infamous Jasenovac concentration camp, in which up to a hundred thousand people - half of whom Serbs - were slaughtered by Croatian fascists known as the Ustaše.

Based on the above explanation, as far as many Serbs are concerned, nothing can compare to what they endured in their history, not even anything that their fellow Serbs did to others. And this same attitude is shared by many Croats. For many Croats who lived through the war in Croatia, the crimes committed upon them by their ethnic Serb neighbours far outweigh anything that their fellow Croats did to Serbs during that same conflict - in fact, they couldn't care less! And the same can be easily said for Bosniaks and Kosovo Albanians.

As we've established above, relatives of victims from one side tend to only feel compassion and pain for their own victims, rather than victims from other sides. And you can also notice that such people often show a careless but spiteful ignorance to the suffering of people from other ethnic groups caught up in the wars, founded on an attitude characterised by, "Your people did this and that to my people, and that is all that matters to me!" And when it comes to crimes committed by their own people on other people, this ignorance can sometimes be followed by doubt, likewise coloured by that same spite, "I doubt we did this and that to you; I doubt we were that bad to your people", followed by the belief that, "Your people did worse things to us, you evil people! F*ck your mothers!"

And so you can see, this sense that the terrible things that happened to other people in the wars are unimportant, even if some of it was caused by their fellow ethnics, is very common among people from all the warring sides, including the phrase "F*ck your Serbian/Croatian et al mothers!" ('J*b*m vam mater/majku srpsku/hrvatsku i.d.!') - that's very common! And I believe the reason for this lack of compassion for the other former warring sides' victims is because the victims' survivors feel a sense of duty to maintain the memory of their lost loved ones' appalling end at the hands of others, and also to preserve the memory of their own awful experiences as survivors from that time lest it occur again.

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Looking at all that we've examined above, we get an impression that many people's sense of accountability regarding war crimes, specifically those who've suffered from war and the trauma that keeps haunting them, depends on their experiences from that time, but as a result of which, their moral standing is compromised. It also seems that many of these people are inclined to continue harbouring such sentiments with an overt obstinacy, described by the local word Inat.

There is a lot to say about how media stations in the Former Yugoslav republics like Croatia and Bosnia. The media from one former warring side often interprets recent history in a way that befits what the ordinary people they represent on the ground experienced, but also in way that seems self-serving to the interests of nationalist politicians keen on either maintaining the current status quo or changing it altogether.

It would make a worthy debate to consider how the local media in the war-torn regions of the former Yugoslavia contribute to maintaining these attitudes, fanning the flames of hatred and resentment whether intentionally or not - that's also very debateable. But let's not forget that these people themselves are perfectly capable of maintaining such sentiments without too much help from the media to remind them of the very things that happened to them not very long ago. And it is their sense of morality and accountability that is the focus of this article.

Looking at the wider historical context, these people (Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Kosovo Albanians et al.) used to live in a much larger country, in which they shared a common identity based on the belief that all people in their country are equal and essentially one people, regardless of the religious distinctions that characterised whole communities or the differing historical experiences that further divided them. Now, thanks to nationalist politics and war, their common identity is long gone and nowadays they live in smaller countries, and worst of all, many of these people still bear the scars from that time.

But you have to remember that the Yugoslav wars of the 90s not only caused so much carnage and loss of life, the turmoil of that period turned these people's worlds upside down; the way they saw the world around them and themselves in it was completely overturned within five awful years. And along with that feeling of everything going upside down, their sense of morality fell apart; their moral compass had shattered into a million pieces. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to anyone that this turnaround has had a huge affect on their interactions with other people, particularly with their former fellow countrymen and women.

These victims of all the wars, brought about by political turmoil and resulting in widespread bloodshed and destruction, do deserve our sympathy for all the suffering that they've endured and for everything they've lost through absolutely no fault of their own. However, without the slightest offence intended to anybody, we should not assume that all these people, who are rebuilding their lives after everything they've been through, are very kind and loving people these days. Instead, it shouldn't surprise us at all that, as a result of this moral breakdown, which has blighted their lives since that period, along with many other factors, some of them have turned into very unkind and even hateful people. But you'll also find many more people who put on a polite and friendly face around people from the other side(s) of the conflict(s), while hiding the scars, pain and hatred they still feel for those people deep inside them, along with an undying desire for justice sometimes coloured by revenge.

The dignity and decency that characterised their lives in Yugoslavia as her citizens have been replaced by selfishness and spitefulness thanks to the politics and wars that destroyed their common country and took away their common identity from them.

So where is the justice for these people; and where is the morality in them? These two highly valued notions in all human societies the world over should, as a rule, go hand-in-hand. But do they always?

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See also:

  • History that offends people
  • 13 comments:

    Owen said...

    Not a lack of interest, Alan, just needing time to think about all you've written here.

    Owen said...

    I think you've made a very important point in drawing attention to the way people's whole lives were overturned in a short period of years.

    This retreat into the security of a collective identity that preserves one's own moral worth at the expense of other people's isn't something unique to former Yugoslavs.

    It's a natural human response, a form of survival instinct, but like all instinctive behaviour its irrationality means that it has the potential to be very destructive.

    There is a point at which we have to realise that our moral survival doesn't depend on the other person's moral annihilation/worthlessness.

    I don't think it serves any purpose to call you "brave", I hope you'll take it more as a compliment if I call you "consistent" in speaking out about injustice whoever was responsible for perpetrating it.

    Our instinct to defend ourselves under attack makes us reluctant to expose any possible chinks in our armour to a possibly unscrupulous opponent. But honesty and trust are essential if decent people are to be able to get back to the vital task of constructing a common future.

    And that's not simply a matter of Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians. It's the same for all the different communities and groups in the UK, in London, within the borough.

    Look at the terrible killing in the fight at Victoria station this week. It seems to have happened because of rivalry between two schools - or better said, between two groups who seemed to have given themselves the right that to represent their schools however they chose.

    Collective rivalry/defensive behaviour has ended up with a dead fifteen year old and a family and school community mourning him. What on earth does that have to do with school and education?

    Alan Jakšić said...

    Owen, I've missed your comments! But I'm glad I've posted articles worthy of them!

    I was wondering what you meant by, "…[O]ur moral survival doesn't depend on the other person's moral annihilation/worthlessness." But I think you were referring to the attitude of self-righteousness. Am I correct?

    I do strongly agree that it is natural of all humans to avoid "expos[ing] any possible chinks in our armour", especially to other people who are ill-willed towards us.

    But as you know, I'm also of the opinion that, "…honesty and trust are essential if decent people are to be able to get back to the vital task of constructing a common future", wherever in the world. The only problem is there are lots of people who are not so decent and have an interest in making a mess for someone else to clean up afterwards.

    And although the scale and gravity of murders such as those between rival gangs in London's boroughs are far outweighed by the scale and gravity of the Yugoslav wars, you are correct to point out that "collective rivalry/defensive behaviour" can lead to violence between people and grief for their families; that principle does apply to communities in both situations, regardless of the differing circumstances.

    But I do disagree with this: "I don't think it serves any purpose to call you "brave"…"

    Why not? It will raise my street cred with the chicks! :-)

    Owen said...

    Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. What I meant was that in the most primitive of situations where people are fighting for survival, a collective notion of moral superiority provides a group with a shared identity that makes it easier for its members to defend themselves against the common enemy.

    But once survival is assured, the persistence of that defensive notion of moral superiority is liable to get in the way of a realistic appreciation of people outside the group with whom it may be far more beneficial to cooperate than to fight.

    I'm only too happy to promote your street cred if I can, but unfortunately any endorsement from me is more like having Edgar Allen Poe's raven on your shoulder!

    Mrki said...

    Nice text I just found on global guerrillas blog :

    “We expect the universe to make sense, to be consistent, and when the contingencies change we get testy. Interestingly, this is not unique to humans. In one experiment, two pigeons were placed in a cage. One of them was tethered to the back of the cage while the other was free to run about as it wished. Every 30 seconds, a hopper would provide a small amount of food (a fixed interval schedule, as described earlier). The free pigeon could reach the food but the tethered one could not, and the free pigeon happily ate all the food every time. After an hour or so of this, the hopper stops providing food. The free pigeon continues to check the hopper every 30 seconds for a while, but when it’s clear that the food isn’t coming, it will go to the back of the cage and beat up the other pigeon. Now, the interesting thing is that the tethered pigeon has never eaten the food and the free pigeon has no reason to think the other is responsible for the food stopping. The frustration is irrational, but real nonetheless. John Hopson, a game researcher at Microsoft.”

    Well said. This easily explains the root of civil war in former Yugoslavia. We couldn’t solve real life problems but we for sure knew how to burn kill and destroy. Sad.

    Alan Jakšić said...

    Fascinating comment from John Hopson. Thanks Mrki. So what is your opinion of my lengthy article then? :-)

    Mrki said...

    I am scratching my head, really not sure what to say. Would like to be more critical.
    I think you are seriously wrong when you write that all nations in ex Yu shared one identity,. I think this is a typical Serbian mistake. Especially regarding Albanians. I have strong feeling from my reading and little experience that they never had felt part of Yugoslavia. Similar in more or less degree for other groups. I think the only true Yugoslavians were the Serbians. And I think you paint that period (SFRJ) in pink color. While it was much better than now economically I think that this cruel war started because of this period, or this was one of more important reasons.
    Regarding victims and guilts that is a one long story. Best would perhaps be not to think about victims as Serbian Or Albanian, but to call them what they true are in the first place, humans, victims of injustice whoever they are.
    It would be of most importance to find out the history, what really happened in ast few hundred years around here, perhaps that could be a healing thing for all different groups here. Anyway I am writing more about my ideas than about what you wrote. Also I am to tired right now. Have a nice day.

    eric siverson said...

    The trouble is eastern europe has never been denatzified . Croatia and perhaps the Bosnian muslims are really more old fashion naziis than new fangled socialists . Its the Serbs that I cant figure out , why would they want to join the EU and NATO ? and give up their country to do it . Why cant the bosnians Serbs Join Serbia ? Why could not The Serb krajlia be part of Serbia . Serbia does not have to give Albania part of Serbia .
    All Serbia has to do is ask the Russian to help negotate a more reasonable divisions of land in Old Yugoslavia . Yelsin tried to help Serbia and his negotations actually ended the NATO or NAZi bombing . The destruction of Yugoslavia sent a powerfull message to Russia . The Orthadox church and Alexsaner Solhenitzyn found Putin , Since 1999 Russia has been preparing for the same kind of economic developement Yugoslavia got . Putin strengthed Russia faster than Hitler strengthed Germany in the late 30s . Russia is now in a position of helping people that need help . And Russia would like nothing better than to anounce to Germany that they do not control europe .

    Owen said...

    Mrki/Sasha, you seem to be suggesting that the wars in Yugoslavia were simply a matter of individuals turning on one another irrationally. That's not how it seemed from outside, where we weren't watching what was happening on a personal level, where that may be true. What we saw was a more coherent picture, of political motivation and rational criminality. You seem to have a genuine concern for the basic humanity of individuals caught up in historic processes but remember, it was humans that were manipulating the pigeons' situation, not contingencies.

    Mrki said...

    The trouble is eastern europe has never been denatzified . Croatia and perhaps the Bosnian muslims are really more old fashion naziis than new fangled socialists .

    *Perhaps you are right, especially regarding the Croats. But still we have to ask ourselves, why did the nazification appear at all. Perhaps because of some historically stresses, strains, wounds, similar to what happened to Germans after WW1 ?

    Its the Serbs that I cant figure out , why would they want to join the EU and NATO ?

    *Simply because the model of EU and Nato seems to work much better than what we have here. I am 36 years old and didn't work (legally) for more than year or two, do you know how does that look like?

    . Why cant the bosnians Serbs Join Serbia ?
    Thats also my strong objection, which I wanted to ask the bloger who is our host here. Everybody does have the right to seccession except the mean evil Serbs. Is that democratic or just?

    Why could not The Serb krajlia be part of Serbia . Serbia does not have to give Albania part of Serbia .

    All Serbia has to do is ask the Russian to help negotate a more reasonable divisions of land in Old Yugoslavia . Yelsin tried to help Serbia and his negotations actually ended the NATO or NAZi bombing . The destruction of Yugoslavia sent a powerfull message to Russia . The Orthadox church and Alexsaner Solhenitzyn found Putin , Since 1999 Russia has been preparing for the same kind of economic developement Yugoslavia got . Putin strengthed Russia faster than Hitler strengthed Germany in the late 30s . Russia is now in a position of helping people that need help . And Russia would like nothing better than to anounce to Germany that they do not control europe .

    * here is where we disagree a lot. Rusia had many chances to help us if they would or could. We had sanctions Rusia could stop it, but hey, they didnt care. Rusia could stop NATO bombing, but they didnt care or didnt dare. They didnt even want to supply Serbia with weapons which would certainly help a lot. What are you talking about, we should ask for help Russians? That seems to me like a bad proposal. And I don't really see how is their "development" real, they have enormous natural resources which is the base of their "development". They are just another evil superpower, possibly worse than the west is right now. Could you remind me whome did Russia help, aside from selling them products of their military industry products?

    Mrki said...

    Mrki/Sasha, you seem to be suggesting that the wars in Yugoslavia were simply a matter of individuals turning on one another irrationally. That's not how it seemed from outside, where we weren't watching what was happening on a personal level, where that may be true. What we saw was a more coherent picture, of political motivation and rational criminality. You seem to have a genuine concern for the basic humanity of individuals caught up in historic processes but remember, it was humans that were manipulating the pigeons' situation, not contingencies.

    Hi Owen,
    I was implying something else. I have related the behavior of the pigeon to behavior of ethnically defined groups in former Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavian society was not able to solve its deeply rooted problems and conflicts and has then turned instead to irrational hate and civil war. This was repeated numerous times in history, where minorities were accused for all problems. After all its much easier to hate than to creatively solve a problem.
    You should know that you have "watched" from outside and you did get to see what mass media wanted you to see. Medias are incredibly simple and powerful tools for manipulation.
    Same as in the case of Hitler, Milosevic Tudjman and Izetbegovic have being more or less democratically elected.
    Good point about the experiment, but still, I think that nobody can manipulate individuals (and groups) unless they agree to be manipulated. Its kind like the question what is older egg or the chicken. Did we have bad and evil leaders because they were like this or did we make them be like this? And what was the reason? And most important of all, did we solve our problems with this war? If not what next?

    Owen said...

    Hello Mrki/Sasha

    You can be manipulated without wanting to be, it's simply a matter of not being alert enough to keep one jump ahead of the people that want to do the manipulating.

    You didn't make them bad and evil leaders, they were malevolent opportunists who took the chance and took advantage of you all. Not a phenomenon unknown elsewhere. Once they took control of the institutions you weren't together enough to stop them going forward.

    I don't know enough about the situation on the ground in the period between Tito's death and the collapse of FRY but I guess there wasn't that much time - or at least time free of economic pressures - to develop truly accountable institutions that could challenge the opportunists. A bit like post-Gorbachev Russia or the capitalist free-for-all after the fall of the Berlin Wall before anyone got a chance to look around the wallets had been stolen.

    Maybe time will help but things don't look good. The effect of sticking with Dayton is a crime. Serbia doesn't seem to be able to escape from post-Milosevicism. The EU has a lot wrong with it but being forced to adapt did Britain a lot more good than being on the outside. Hopefully once the rest of the FRY has joined Slovenia there'll be a chance for people to rebuild functioning societies from the bottom up, and rebuild the confidence to handle things better next time they come close to the edge.

    Anonymous said...

    for whatever reason or rhyme, not all serbs [perhaps not even 50% of them] wanted to establish even politicly A or THE greater serbia, let alone by waging war[s].

    i suggest such people knew or fully expected that croats [for some posters on this site ALL croats are tacitly deemed and called nazis] cld not be defeated.

    and because of a protracted war that may have lasted a decade or longer, wld have rendered serbia quite vulnerable to an attack from hungary, bulgaria, sandzak, bosnia, and hungary-vojvodina.

    it is just possible that serb generals wanted revenge for personal reasons; persuading ruling serbs that it wld be a piece of cake getting even and obtaining A greater serbia.
    and that's why kadijevic, yug'v DM at that time, is hiding in russia today! tnx