UNDER THE UN FLAG: THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AND THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE
Author: Hasan Nuhanovic
Book: Under the UN Flag: The International Community and the Srebrenica Genocide
Available in: English, Bosnian / 567 pages.
Foreword: (By the Dutch Interchurch Peace Council IKV)
This book you are now holding in your hands is an important publication! Numerous are the reports written on the Srebrenica genocide, among which the UN report (1999), the French Parliament report (2001), the Dutch NIOD report (2002), and the report of the Dutch Parliamentary Inquiry on Srebrenica (2003). David Rohde wrote his well-known book “Endgame - The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica” (1997), and numerous journalists and authors followed [a.o. Honig & Both (1996), Westerman & Rijs (1997), Matton (2006)]. Dutchbat III commander Thom Karremans wrote a book as well, with the somewhat strange title “Srebrenica. Who cares?” (1998).
But this is a different type of book, incomparable with all of the other publications. It is the first comprehensive presentation of facts and observations from the ranks of the people who suffered most: the Bosniak citizens of and refugees in Srebrenica. It goes well beyond individual eye-witness statements. It combines analyses of books and documents with such statements. And as interpreter for the international forces [Hasan Nuhanovic], he was in person present at numerous important meetings and in contact with many people.
Having in mind the loss of lives of more than 8,000 men and women, primarily the story of the Srebrenica citizens and refugees should be heard across the world. Regrettably, reality shows that this is not the case. We all too often neglect their suffering, and ignore their quest for truth and justice. This has become most visible – in a very painful way – in the discussions in the Netherlands.
Five years ago, the neither Dutch government nor NIOD considered it worthwhile to invite survivors of the Srebrenica genocide to the presentation of the NIOD report on Srebrenica. The parliamentary inquiry commission decided (by majority vote) that it would not be useful to organise special hearings with the survivors – in order to directly get their information, listen to their assessment of events in July 1995. So, we from IKV invited survivors to the NIOD presentation, and we organised over the years regular meetings where they could meet with members of Dutch parliament. So far, the Dutch government has been unwilling – even after the resignation of PM Wim Kok and his cabinet, April 2002, to apologise to the survivors of the Srebrenica genocide for the mistakes made in July 1995... Logically, IKV's lobby will continue.
The IKV lobby on Srebrenica would not have been possible without the gigantic work that Hasan Nunanovic initiated, that is to collect relevant data, gather and alayse documents, and add the perspective and crucial information from the part of the citizens and refugees in Srebrenica. For this book, Nuhanovic undertook the effort to interview an additional 100 people where other sources remained indecisive or information was not yet available at all. We were happy to support this huge endeavour, with financial means and, where useful, some suggestions or comments on texts. We used the information for our own IKV publication “Srebrenica – The genocide that was not prevented.” (2002)
It is a bitter but inevitable conclusion that the need to listen to the survivors' voices is as big as ever before, in the Netherlands and elsewhere. What happened in Srebrenica cannot be undone. What we can do is support – to the maximum of our capacities – the campaign for truth and justice that Hasan Nuhanovic and the Srebrenica associations started already many years ago. This book played and must continue to play an important role in that work.
Dion van den Berg
Senior Policy Adviser
IKV Pax Christi
Note: As of January 1st 2007, the Dutch Interchurch Peace Council (IKV) and Pax Christi Netherlands joined forces and now constitute one organisation: IKV Pax Christi.