A Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts

By Samuel Totten; William S. Parsons et al. | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 14

Genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina

MARTIN MENNECKE AND ERIC MARKUSEN

For most Europeans, the term "genocide" used to be limited to the historical experience of World War II and the Holocaust-or to events happening in places far away, coming only as close as the evening news. This illusion of peacefulness was abruptly dashed when an atrocious conflict unfolded during the 1990s in the Balkans. With the multiethnic, federal republic of Yugoslavia dissolving into several wars of secession, with millions of people displaced and hundreds of thousands killed, the terror of genocide came back to haunt Europe. Judge Riad of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) described the massacre of thousands of Muslim boys and men that followed the fall of Sre-brenica in July 1995 as "scenes of unimaginable savagery" and remarked that these were "truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history" (ICTY Press Release, November 16, 1995). As of today (spring 2004) the Yugoslav conflict persists in playing a visible role in daily politics, be that in the form of the ongoing Slobodan Milosevic trial in The Hague, or with the UN soldiers keeping the fragile peace in the Balkans. In the meantime, both scholars and politicians continue to wrestle with the question of how this all could come about; that is, how could genocide emerge once again in Europe?


Chronology of the Events

Yugoslavia's descent into war and genocidal violence began in 1991, when the republic of Slovenia and then the republic of Croatia declared their

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