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Srebrenica, it was genocide

landmark verdict of the Hague Criminal Court

Life in jail was handed down to Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara, the militaries guilty for the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995. Punishments from 5 to 35 years jail for other 5 officers. Before the International Criminal Court for the Crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia (ICC) they were accused of planning and taking part in the massacre aimed at evicting the enclave of Bosnian Muslims protected by the UN and to eliminate all men from Srebrenica by murdering 8,000 of them, including elderlies and boys.

The verdict reads out as follows: “The scale and nature of the murder operation, with the staggering number of killings, the systematic and organized manner in which it was carried out, the targeting and relentless pursuit of the victims, and the plain intention — apparent from the evidence — to eliminate every Bosnian Muslim male who was captured or surrendered proves beyond reasonable doubt that this was genocide”.

The director of the office of the Serbian National Office for Collaboration with the ICC Mr. Ignjatovic declared: The Court of Appeal may express a different advice, but it is apparent that both the ICC and the Tribunal took the stance that in Srebrenica in July 1995 the Serbian forces perpetrated a genocide against the Bosniak population and, whatever may be the liking of this legal definition, it will be very hardly changed”.

11 June 2010

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Ethnic cleansing

in the former Yugoslavia

The federal Yugoslavia was formed by six republics (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia) and two autonomous regions united to Serbia (Kosovo and Vojvodina). As Tito died in 1980, there was a breakout of political tensions which resulted in the civil war between the different republics that formed the federal State.
From 1990 to 1999, with a precedent in 1989, when Serbia opposed Kosovo independence, the clashing forces used repeatedly ethnic cleansing in order to prevail. The data on the breadth of the mass murder are still provisional: the continuous discovery of mass graves makes it difficult to estimate it. Certain massacres, like the Srebrenica Massacre in 1995 in which the Serbs killed nearly 8000 Bosniak men and assaulted the remaining women, are historically infamous and provoked an international response.. The genocides were far from one sided, as most sides in the conflict attempted to eradicate the other through ethnic cleansing. These brutal attempts of homogenizing the country were inspired by extreme nationalism. The destabilization in the face of Tito's death provoked each ethnicity to vie for total control of the territory and ethnic purity.  The ensuing Yugoslav Wars where characterized by this type of violent ethnic conflict and consequently this series of conflicts is known as the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War 2. By 1995, nearly 100,000 people had been killed during this genocide.

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