Genocide in Bosnia: The Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing"

By Norman Cigar | Go to book overview

4. The Responsibility Dilemma
Did the Muslims Have an Option?

Western observers have often placed a large part of the responsibility on the Muslims themselves for the concatenation of events in Bosnia-Herzegovina that led to their genocide. In essence, this attitude tacitly placed a portion of the blame on the victim.


Where Did the Responsibility Lie?

According to this view, the proximate cause of what befell the Muslims was the latter's pursuit of Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence after a positive vote in the February 29, 1992 referendum.1 After this, the Serbs, allegedly not wishing to stop being part of Yugoslavia or to become a minority in another state, took up arms, with the help of their fellow-Serbs from the neighboring rump Yugoslavia. Implicitly, based on this premise, had the Muslims acted with greater self-restraint and remained within the rump Yugoslavia (already shorn of Slovenia and Croatia, and eventually also of Macedonia), they would not have become victims of ethnic cleansing. A related strand of conventional wisdom is the foreign-recognition-as-precipitant theory. According to this view, without the "premature" recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence by the European Community (the EC, later renamed the European Union, or EU) and the United States in April, 1992, somehow there would have been no fighting and no ethnic cleansing.

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Genocide in Bosnia: The Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing"
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Zemlja NaU+aa vii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • 1 - Genocide 3
  • 2 - The Historical Context 11
  • 3 - The Preparatory Phase 22
  • 4 - The Responsibility Dilemma 38
  • 5 - The Implementation Phase 47
  • 6 - Motivating the Perpetrator 62
  • 7 - The Denial Syndrome 86
  • 8 - The Denial Syndrome 107
  • 9 - Spin-Off War Crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina 123
  • 10 - Stopping Genocide 139
  • 11 - Must a Victim Remain Defenseless? 166
  • 12 - Heading for the End-State 181
  • Appendixes 201
  • Notes 208
  • Index 243
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