A blog on Bosnia, the Balkans, and other random thoughts.
Bosniak researcher Mirsad Tokaca (RDC) was the first one to collapse severely inflated figures of dead in the Balkans.Casualties: "Of the civilians,83 percent were Bosnian Muslims, 10 percent were Serbs and more than5 percent were Croats, followed by a small number of others such asJews or Roma."Mirsad Tokaca also collapsed the myth of so "thousands of Serb victims" around Srebrenica who were proven to be pure lie perpetrated by Milivoje Ivanisevic (aka: as Belgrade researcher who wrote a book denying Srebrenica genocide).Having said that, there is one more thing that Mirsad Tokaca failed to mention - he calculated all 8,000 victims of Srebrenica as soldiers, accusing mothers of Srebrenica for lying to the Sarajevo government that their sons were active soldiers so they could get thousands of dollars in reparations.When I have time I will publish in depth article clarifying the issue even further...
The status of the victims in BiH as either civilian or soldier is; as the RDC and Tokaca have fully acknowledged a shorfall in what otherwise seems to appear to be a well organized database. There are a few things that should be kept in mind.1. Civilian v. Soldier classification only refers to the status of the victim at the time of their premature death. It should NOT be understood as being the same as Non-Combatant v. Combatant status. In other words; a POW, a surrendered soldier without a weapon would all be listed as "soldiers" on the RDC list; even though they were clearly non-combatants at the time of the deaths. Having someone be formally listed as a soldier; does NOT mean that their death was not a war crime or an atrocity. Simply that at the time of the their death; they were at least on paper; a member of an army or a police force.2. Tokaca also acknowledged that there are problems with the soldier v. civilian classification. The RDC only had to go on the formal documents it was given. Therefore, if the document given to the RDC lists someone as formally being a member of an army or the police; they are classified as a "soldier" on the list. The RDC obviously has no influence over whether a document on a victim labels them as a soldier. In an interview w/ Emir Suljagic; Tokaca fully acknowledges this problem; with classifications of soldiers v. civilians. Tokaca does not seem to accusing any victims of lying in order to get "Thousands of Dollars in Reperations." And I haven't seen any document; in English at least; where they said that the RDC classified ALL of the victims of Srebrenica as soldiers. What he is acknowledging is 1. Some people formerly listed as soldiers were in fact civilians at the time of their death. 2 The reason WHY some civilians were listed as soldiers was a matter of basic survival; and being able to provide for their families. The labeling of anyone as a soldier or a civilian should not be assumed to be set in stone end-all be all. The labeling of someone as a soldier does NOT mean that they were a combatant at the time of the death. Tokaca also acknolwedges that some people were listed as soldiers (because that is what the formal government document said) but were in fact civilians. Since the issue of soldier v. civilian is so constroverstrial; perhaps the next step to be taken; is to further sub categorize the deaths of those officially listed as "soldiers" into deaths occuring during combat and death in non-combat situations (i.e. summary executions; POWs.).Also, perhaps if there is question as to someone's status; i.e. if one document says the person was a "soldier" and one a "civilian" than the RDC can acknowledge this descreprency. Also, if according to the government document a person is listed as a soldier; but the RDC has information that the person in question was not an active soldier at the time of the death; than this should also be acknowledged.Of course, even with this further classification there is still bound to be problems; and mis-classifications; but I think it would help a bit more.Hope that helped.
Hi Shaina,You said: "In other words; a POW, a surrendered soldier without a weapon would all be listed as 'soldiers' on the RDC list; even though they were clearly non-combatants at the time of the deaths."That is a very interesting observation! Those soldiers who were without weapons trying to break out from Srebrenica and those who surrendered should clearly not be classified as "soldiers".You said: "Tokaca does not seem to accusing any victims of lying in order to get 'Thousands of Dollars in Reperations.'"Oh yes, he did accuse them publicly. Read my latest analysis titled "The Bosnian Book of Dead" (please check your e-mail first, because I made a mistake and published a draft article), ops!
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