BELGRADE'S DECEPTIVE MILITARY TACTICS IN BOSNIA REVEALED
By Georgie Anne Geyer
The Vindicator, p.A11
28 June 1994.
“At least now, they can never say these things didn’t happen.”
With those words, Dr. Cherif Bassiouni, the chairman of the U.N. commission investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, summed up the profound work he and his team have accomplished trying against all the odds to insert the missing word “justice” into the brutal war in Bosnia.
Note the words “at least,” because,
1) the commission, after being given almost no resources by the United Nations to fulfill virtually impossible work, has now been prematurely terminated;
2) there is no certainty that one murderer or rapist will be brought to justice; and
3) the Western nations and the international organizations would basically like there to be no record of atrocities to embarrass their neutrality in later decades.
However, having read crucial parts of the 65,000 pages of evidence they painstakingly brought together after a year of work, I see no less than the first, basically irrefutable moral history of this conflict.
Findings: That 80 percent of the victims of the war crimes investigated were Bosniaks, and 80 percent of the perpetrators were Serbs. That mass rape was commanded. And that the Serbian ethnic cleansing amounted clearly to just those “crimes against humanity” which the United Nations is itself supposed to punish.
“Take only the rape investigation,” says Bassiouni, accomplished professor of international law at Chicago’s DePaul University. “Our research shows that it was done with systematicity. There is no doubt that local commanders either incited or commanded the commission of rapes; and there is no doubt they did nothing to stop them.”
Some of the most fascinating portions of the report deal with the key military analysis of the conflict: the deliberate formation of overlapping and often shadowy military groups and units supposedly commanded “independently” of Belgrade or even of major Serb commanders on the ground.
This allowed those major leaders and commanders — such as the “regular” Yugoslav army generals in Belgrade, as well as the wily Serb Bosnian leader Radovan Karadzic and international criminal “Arkan” — to deny complicity in those groups’ actions, even while they were committing atrocities with the leaders’ active participation. This marked a new stage in military deception in these small wars that the world would do well to watch.
It is all quite simple: “You break units down into smaller groups,” Bassiouni says. “Then, in the next logical step, you recruit within those non-formal structures people who are most likely to do the worst things. Then you separate them from the army so there is no control.”
Now: All signs are that any implementation of the commission’s report is being effectively held hostage to the Western nations’ and the United Nations’ policy of neutrality.
And yet, the report is out — and no one can hide it. At least that!