Genocide in Bosnia: The Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing"

By Norman Cigar | Go to book overview

11. Must a Victim Remain Defenseless?
A Case for Self-Defense

As the experience in Bosnia-Herzegovina illustrated, the measures that the international community is willing to take may simply not be enough to prevent or stop genocide. In certain scenarios, providing security assistance in order to enable the victims to protect themselves and to offer effective resistance to their victimizers may be the most effective, and the only realistic, means of inhibiting or stopping genocide. There is nothing that says that victims must remain defenseless.


The Arms Embargo's Unequal Equality

The continuation of the blanket arms embargo imposed on Yugoslavia in September, 1991, made it impossible for the Bosnian government to obtain significant amounts of weapons and ammunition. The Bosnian Serbs, however, were not affected by the arms embargo, thanks to the arsenal transferred to them by the departing Yugoslav People's Army and the continued resupply of arms and munitions from neighboring rump Yugoslavia ( Serbia and Montenegro).

The embargo, although initially intended to reduce the level of violence, implicitly placed the victim and perpetrator on an equal moral plane and unquestionably favored the well-armed Serbian aggressor. In moral and practical terms, to have treated the two parties equally made little sense,

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