Thursday, May 12, 2005

U.S. says Serbs still in denial over war crimes - REUTERS

By Beti Bilandzic

BELGRADE, May 12 (Reuters) - Most Serbs still do not believe their forces committed atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia or Kosovo, a senior United States diplomat said on Thursday, so the idea of holding war crimes trials in the country is problematic.

Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia are all trying to show their capacity to deal with the past after the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, insisting they are ready and able to dispense justice for war crimes cases at home.

U.S. charge d'affaires Roderick Moore, speaking at a seminar in Belgrade, said Serbs widely failed to recognise that their countrymen had committed war crimes, making it difficult for the judiciary to prosecute and convict perpetrators.

"I don't believe the political climate in Serbia is wholly favourable for trying war crimes impartially in domestic courts," said Moore, speaking in Serbian.

"I don't believe that your society has accepted the full extent of the crimes Serbs committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo," he added.

The seminar was part of a debate on whether countries involved in the wars sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia were ready to take over some of the heavy caseload of the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Moore said less than half of Serbia's population believed that 7,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica in 1995 by the forces of Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, despite the testimony of witnesses, graves found and even the admission of Bosnian Serbs.

"Only 37 percent believe it is a war crime and only 38 percent believe Mladic should go to The Hague to answer for the crime," the envoy said.

Polls show the level of denial is similar for other atrocities, such as the killing of some 200 prisoners of war in Vukovar in Croatia in 1991, or for the 800 Kosovo Albanian bodies buried in Serbia during the 1999 war and found later.

"Your society doubts the crimes happened at all," he said.

Serbia significantly improved its cooperation with the U.N. court this year, delivering 12 suspects since January in line with a surrender policy that earned Belgrade European Union approval to forge closer ties with the wealthy bloc.

While welcoming that, Moore criticised the way officials hailed those who surrendered as "patriots" and failed to point to the crimes with which they were charged.

"Officials organised lavish farewell parties for some of them," he told the seminar.


Anonymous said...

The power of propaganda, especially when the people desperately want to believe the message. The damage Milosevic has done to the Serb psyche will take a generation to un-do.

Anonymous said...

Its not that they deny of the masacres happening. They know they happened cuz they caused them. The issue is more serious. They still approve the genocide and the mascare of children, women, elders and other civilians.

Anonymous said...

The enemies of the Serbs are sad because the Serbs defended themselves and prevented another Jacenovac. American occupation of Iraq has led to 100,000 deaths or don't Iraqi deaths count? So America doesn't have the right to lecture anyone about so-called war crimes against one demonised people.

Anonymous said...

The comment about Jacenovac above is symptomatic of the Serb problem. Serb war crimes against other national groups in the 1990s has nothing to do with a Nazi concentration camp in WWII.

The Serbs were not defending themselves when they killed children, raped women, and looted whole towns. Nobody was attacking Belgrade, but Serbs were attacking Dubrovnik and Vukovar and Srebrenica and Srajevo and Pristina and killing mostly civilians. Some defense.

Anonymous said...

Yes it does, there were tens of thousands of Croat,Bosniak and Albanian Nazis in WW2. There are still a lot now.

Tito and (in the 1990's his disciple Milosevic) have been attacking Beograd since 1945 or haven't you noticed.

Anonymous said...

Albanians Nazi? How do you explain extra 50,000 Jewish people after the war living in what was ethnic Albania? They all ran from Serbia ;) cause of the "non-nazis", or better to say crazy blood hungry serbs with big beards who look more like bin ladens than anything else.

The fact is simple, no Serbian town was attacked by Croat, Bosniak or Albanian forces, while Serbs attacked mainly civilians. This my friends is terrorism.

Anonymous said...

How do explain Belgrade being the first capital in Europe that was declared free of Jews by the NAZIS.

Ferick said...

I kind of feel bad for Serbs right now.poor them, they have to go back 60 years to speak of their "good deeds". Does anybody ever ask you how you were? We do “how are you" around here. And if you ask, I have to say we are fabulous. How abort yourself?

MARTYR said...

ur moms in denile

Anonymous said...

Your mom is in whore house, getting the job done u know what i mean.

Anonymous said...

Children...if you can't conduct a civil discussion, STFU.