Friday, March 09, 2007

Trying a nation

I find it interesting that the United Nations can come up with the logic in trying an entire nation for genocide.  At issue is the Bosnian genocide during the Serbian/Bosnian crisis in the early 90s. 

The international court in the Hague, Netherlands, exonerated the Serbs for the crimes by rejecting monetary reparations.  This is the Serbs in general, not any individual or set of individuals, or even the government, although that’s where the money would come from I assume. 

I’m really torn on the wisdom of doing something like this.  So your people were getting slaughtered by the Serbian army during the conflict back about 15 years ago.  That’s been documented and is monumentally true.  But Bosnia is it’s own country now, separate and distinct from Serbia or the old Yugoslavia.  Who are you trying to punish now?

Is it the leadership of the Serbs during that time?  They’re mostly gone, but those that are certainly aren’t getting released for trial by the Serbs, who appear to be protecting them to a certain degree.  Is it the government, which is arguable since they’re responsible for the army and it’s doings?

Is it the people themselves, driven to a state of fascist nationalism, convincing themselves that driving a part of their own population out of existence was in their own best interest?

      The Serbian leaders "should have made the best effort within their power to try and prevent the tragic events then taking shape," in the U.N. enclave, the scale of which "might have been surmised," the ruling said.

      Key to the court's findings was its conclusion that no one in Serbia, or any official organ of the state, could be shown to have had the deliberate intention to "destroy in whole or in part" the Bosnian Muslim population - a critical element in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

I can see their point in the logic behind that finding.  But if that’s the case you won’t EVER see a trial against a country as a whole work. 

I would argue that you should be able to sue a country for this purpose only if it can be proven that any part of the strategy of the country or it’s army was to oppress or eliminate a portion of it’s own citizens, or if crimes by members of the military or civilians are not punished by the country itself.  Otherwise it’s a waste of time.

However, when does a country as a whole become liable for this sort of thing.  When do you as a citizen become accountable for what you allow the government to get away with?  Should we have sued the entire nation of Germany after WWII?  Who would get the reparations?

Truly I think that Bosnia should move on here.  They have a chance to start fresh and live their own lives, with the protection of being a sovereign nation not beholden to the Serbs in any way.  Trying to recover something from the Serbs, who aren’t doing that well themselves, is just keeping the wounds open.

It’s just as stupid for the UN to state that there’s no proof that anyone in Serbia had the deliberate intention to “destroy in whole or in part” Bosnian Muslims.  Like it’s going to be on the official documents list or something.  Memo:  Begin systematic elimination of Muslims.

Despite what I said above, the Serbs still harbor much hatred and nationalistic fervor that spills into racism, much like what we’re seeing from many European countries these days.  However I fail to see how suing for cash is going to solve that problem.

And speaking of genocide in the modern era, don't forget about Sudan (Darfur) and Zimbabwe.

No comments: