The Bosnian War was, to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes: nasty, brutish, and long. But, it was also more than that. The effort by the Serbian government and the puppet “Republika Srpska” government to carve out an ethnically pure Serbian state alongside the Drina River, was a calculated and highly organized plan of ethnic cleansing and of genocide.
Perhaps no other event symbolized the brutality or calculation of the war than the attack, take over and massacre in Srebrenica, in Eastern Bosnia. The massacre in Srebrenica was also the first legally recognized genocide in Europe since the Holocaust.
As a result, almost immediately there has been a calculated effort by Serbian ultra nationalists, the allies on the extreme left and right, and (although this is gradually changing everyday) by too many citizens of Serbia and the RS canton to deny or justify the genocide in Srebrenica.
In the past this has manifest itself in outright denial of any massacre; or a significant reduction of the number of dead. However, as a result of DNA evidence, confessions by VRS soldiers, that form of denial has been reduced to the most extreme fringe. Unfortunately, genocide denial has manifest itself in another form. This is form looks at the attack in July 1995, not as an attack with a genocidal intent, but revenge for Bosniak war crimes that got out of hand. Furthermore, they claim that not only was the mass murder motivated by revenge and not an intent to destroy the group (therefore not genocide), specifically they also deny that the attack in July of 1995 had the makings of genocide because not everyone in Srebrenica was killed.
This is a gross misinterpretation of the genocide convention and of the events in Srebrenica. In particular there are three areas of misinterpretation by genocide deniers/justifiers:
1. The calculated pattern of ethnic cleansing leading up to Srebrenica; and the importance of capturing Srebrenica.
2. The claim that the attack on Srebrenica was an act of revenge for Bosniak war crimes; by over exaggerating Bosniak war crimes, while ignoring Bosnian Serb war crimes.
3. A misinterpretation of the genocide convention, and what “genocide” is.
In these posts, I would like to take on all three points to show, that unlike the position of the genocide justifiers, what happened in Srebrenica was an act of genocide borne not out of revenge, but out of a desire to eradicate the Bosnian Muslim population of Eastern Bosnia. (Of course, I realize that I have as much chance of changing any one’s mind as I do getting struck by lighting, winning the lottery and winning the Academy Award on the same day. ;-) )