Confronting Obstacles to the Development of a Post-Genocidal Society and State in Bosnia and Herzegovina



David Pettigrew, Ph.D.,
Professor of Philosophy and Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Southern Connecticut State University,
Member, Steering Committee, Yale University Genocide Studies Program


A Presentation for KRUG 99, Sarajevo
June 30, 2019


            Any society recovering from genocide and other war crimes can be assumed to be quite fragile. Special care would need to be given to issues related to supporting and protecting survivors, honoring the memory of the victims, pursuing restorative justice, and facilitating state-building. However, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been facing numerous obstacles that are destabilizing the nation and the region. Obstacles such as genocide denial, the glorification of convicted war criminals, hate speech, and threats of secession prevent the crucial process of healing and state building in a post-genocidal society. The failure of the international community to address these obstacles has enabled Republika Srpska to continue to pursue its founding genocidal goal of ethnic homogeneity.

          The current High Representative, the primary representative of the international community in Bosnia who has been in the office for about ten years, has also failed to respond effectively to the deepening crisis. The High Representative’s regular reports to the United Nations Security Council have clearly itemized his concerns about actions and statements in Republika Srpska that threaten the peace. In his most recent report to the U.N. Security Council, on April 17, 2019, the High Representative expressed concern about a number of negative developments, including challenges to “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member Milorad Dodik being again the most frequent exponent of such proclamations.”1 The High Representative further specified that “certain officials from the Republika Srpska continued to make frequent statements denying the statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while advocating for the secession of the Republika Srpska and a union with Serbia, saying for instance that the Republika Srpska is ‘already separated’.”2 The High Representative also expressed concern that “Senior political figures in the Republika Srpska continue to deny and belittle the genocide committed in Srebrenica…and to reject the verdicts and findings of international courts in war crimes cases.”3 Moreover, he lamented the fact that “Republika Srpska appointed commissions to reopen the interpretation of events in Srebrenica and Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995, commissions that will, according to the High Representative, detract from progress for “justice and reconciliation.”4 The High Representative referred ominously in his report to changes to the Law on Police and Internal Affairs in Republika Srpska that creates a reserve police force: “In April, the Republika Srpka National Assembly moved forward with legislation to create a reserve police force…This move, interpreted by some as an attempt to build an alternative military force, raised grave concerns in the Federation. …The issue has also been seen in the light of the previous controversy over the disproportionate purchases of long-barrel weapons by the RS police.”5 The High Representative explained that a member of the main board of the ruling party in Republika Srpska wrote that the reserve police is “a replacement for the Army of Republika Srpska.” The High Representative, emphasized that the situation “does not contribute to peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”6 He expressed concern that, in spite of the fact that Annex 7 of the Peace Agreement guarantees the right of return, “Recent incidents have undermined the confidence of returnees to areas where their ethnic group represents a numerical minority.” He was recalling the fact that on March 10, “the Ravna Gora Serb ultra-nationalist Chetnik movement …held its annual gathering in the Višegrad area, most wearing black uniforms and insignia similar to uniforms worn by Serb paramilitaries in the 1990s.”7 The High Representative reported that “Republika Srpska continues to refuse to adhere to judgments of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina concerning the registration of defense property,”8 and he warned of totalitarian developments in Republika Srpska, indicating that Milorad Dodik claimed that “changes and amendments to the Republika Srpska Criminal Code would include a prison sentence of three years or more for those refusing to respect the decisions of Republika Srpska bodies.”9 These are all troubling revelations, and certainly no less than an indictment of the leadership and policies of Republika Srpska, policies that should have motivated the High Representative and the international community to take action, but no action has been taken.
          But it should also be a matter of concern that the report from April 2019 looks hauntingly like other reports to the U.N. since the High Representative’s appointment in 2009.  In his report from May 21, 2009, the High Representative stated his concern about “anti-Dayton rhetoric challenging the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and constitutional order of the country” and mentioned that “Republika Srpska officials and institutions took steps and issued statements furthering the idea of eventual secession of the Republika Srpska from Bosnia and Herzegovina.”10 In his October 31, 2012 report, three years later, the High Representative expressed concern that “Statements uttered by senior RS figures, as well as actions initiated by them to erode the competencies of the state, raise profound doubts about the commitment of the current RS leadership to the most fundamental aspect of Dayton – the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH. This issue of open and growing advocacy for the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina by officials from the Republika Srpska, first and foremost by the entity’s President Milorad Dodik, is one which I believe deserves the special attention of the international community.”11 In 2016, approaching the 21st anniversary of the Dayton Accords the High Representative expressed numerous concerns about negative developments in Republika Srpska “with political and legal consequences detrimental to the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”12

          In addition to his reports to the U.N., the High Representative has regularly commented in the press on similar concerns regarding certain developments or the behavior of politicians in the RS.13 In February 2018, the High Representative expressed concern that 2,500 weapons had been sold to Republika Srpska.14 In addition, the High Representative or his office responded sharply to the tweets from Rajko Vasić, condemning Vasić’s genocide denial and hate speech: “Specifically, the statement made by Rajko Vasić, SNSD Main Board member, on the Srebrenica genocide…goes far beyond a denial. … it threatens violence. And not any violence. It threatens genocide. … The High Representative urges the competent judicial bodies to promptly react.”15

          Hence, in his reports to the U.N., and in his statements to the media, the High Representative has clearly identified threats to the peace originating in Republika Srpska, but he has not responded effectively to those threats. What is the point of stating that something deserves the special attention of the international community if no action is to be taken?
          In his reports, the High Representative often justifies his decision not to use his “BONN Powers,” or “executive powers” to oversee the peace in the following way: “… I continue to refrain from using executive powers, in accordance with the policy of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board emphasizing “local ownership” over international decision-making.”16 Since 2009, the vast majority of the reports include this same explanation. In a few cases, decisions were actually made to remove bans on certain politicians that had been imposed by previous High Representatives.17 But the so-called BONN powers, which were provided precisely so that the High Representative would be able to respond to an intolerable or impossible situation in which ultranationalists are undermining the possibility of progress toward peace, justice, and reconciliation, were effectively suspended in 2006.18 Even in the limited cases where the High Representative would issue special reports regarding Republika Srpska’s direct violation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, these would be “interpretations” rather than decisions.19 This is attested to by the fact that after such a special report, on a matter of grave concern, the High Representative would state in his regular report to the U.N. that no executive decisions had been made during the reporting period.20
          But with this pronouncement that he will not wield his BONN Powers, it seems that the High Representative is operating within the confines of a false dilemma. This is a “false dilemma” in the sense that the High Representative seems to be arguing that either he would use his executive powers or he would have to do nothing. This is a logical fallacy that dooms the Office of the High Representative to paralysis. There are, arguably, other options that could be pursued apart from those two alternatives. There are other initiatives that could have been taken in the last decade, apart from the exercise of executive powers, which could have involved diplomatic communications and sanctions.  There have been a myriad of socially destructive initiatives in Republika Srpska–threats to the peace–that should have received a more concrete public responses and actions. These threats to the peace have included the construction of Serbian orthodox churches in Muslim villages. The Churches are part of an orchestrated campaign of psychological intimidation designed to prevent refugee return to the homes and communities from which they were forcibly expelled. Another threat to the peace has involved memorials installed in Republika Srpska to honor and glorify convicted perpetrators, such as the commemorative plaque on Vraca Hill honoring Ratko Mladić and the student dormitory named after Radovan Karadžić, both convicted of genocide and other war crimes and sentenced to life in prison. While perpetrators are honored, survivors are prohibited or discouraged from installing memorials in Prijedor, at Omarska, or near Trnopolje. These glorifications of convicted perpetrators and the prohibition of memorials for the victims prevent the possibility of reconciliation and healing on the local level, and present an obstacle to the right of return in Annex 7 of the General Framework for Peace.21 In each of these threats to the peace the High Representative should have responded more forcefully with diplomatic initiatives. The High Representative could have used his considerable influence and his diplomatic prestige to lobby United States and European Union officials to impose appropriate sanctions against Republika Srpska.  Such diplomatic pressure could have facilitated the installation of memorials to the victims in atrocity sites in Republika Srpska where they are prohibited. It seems reasonable to expect that the High Representative would respond to these instances of cultural provocation, oppression, and discrimination by coming to the defense of the survivors and to the defense of Annex 7. Only in the past week a provocative plaque referring to “Muslim hordes” was mounted in Srebrenica22 and a mural glorifying Draža Mihailović was “was put up on a central building in the eastern Bosnian town of Foča.”23 We must ask in this regard: “What has the High Representative been waiting for?”
          The failure of the office of the High Representative to take action in the face of these obstacles has been all the more troubling due to the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a “post-genocidal society.”24 The priority in a post-genocidal society, for a leader such as the High Representative, should be to protect and support the survivors whose loved ones were murdered and who themselves suffered forcible displacement from their homes. The survivors continue to endure trauma as a result of their direct experience, or through trans-generational trauma. The survivors of a genocide are a highly vulnerable group that should be protected from psychological harm and re-traumatization.25 However, in Bosnia, due to the inaction of the High Representative, survivors are assaulted psychologically, on a daily basis, by reminders of the genocide. The founding genocidal project of Republika Sprska lives on in the cultural practices of genocide denial the glorification of convicted war criminals, hate speech, and the prohibition of memorials for the victims, all tactics designed to prevent non-Serbs from returning to their former homes from which they were forcibly expelled and hate speech. Such a “cultural genocide” is a form of genocide to which Raphael Lemkin alluded in 1944.26 In response to this cultural genocide, diplomatic action should have facilitated the installation of memorials for the victims in places where, as in the case of Srebrenica, the atrocities have been judged to be war crimes, crimes committed as part of one or more Joint Criminal Enterprises to render Republika Srpska ethnically homogeneous. The High Representative could have been guided by the principles that were clearly articulated in the four “executive decisions” that were taken by three successive High Representatives, in a coordinated way, over the course of eight years, to establish the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery. These executive decisions were strongly supported by the United States.27 It is relevant to recall that the decision enacting the Law in June 2007, followed the International Court of Justice judgment, that genocide had occurred in Srebrenica, by four months. The principles to which I refer, included the establishment of a memorial to achieve “reconciliation” that would “promote the return of displaced persons and refugees and permanent peace,”28 and more pointedly, “the observance of human rights and the protection of refugees and displaced persons.”29 Moreover, the High Representatives’ decisions from 2000 to 2007, asserted the importance of recognizing “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of each and every human being.”30 Finally it is crucial to note that the successive decisions surrounding Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery articulated the importance of establishing a memorial in a “solemn place.”31 In other words, the cemetery and memorial were established in Potočari, and the Battery Factory was incorporated into the memorial, because this was a place where atrocities took place, a place with meaning for the survivors, the place where many saw their loved ones for the last time. Following the establishment of Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center and Cemetery, the current High Representative, during his tenure, could have followed the example of his predecessors, and could well have expanded this vision of “the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of each and every human being” by establishing memorials in Omarska, Prijedor, Trnopolje, Foča, Višegrad, and other solemn places of pain.32
          The failure of the High Representative to respond decisively to the prohibition of memorials for the victims in Republika Srpska has facilitated cultural genocide. It is important to note that, in this way–through cultural genocide–the founding genocidal impulse of Republika Srpska actually continues to haunt the survivors. In this sense, then, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not simply “post-genocidal,” but rather is plagued by a continuation of the founding genocidal intention of Republika Srpska. The inaction of the High Representative and of the international community has allowed this genocidal culture, replete with nationalistic and fascistic tendencies, to continue to flourish in Republika Srpska. We should therefore ask again: “What has the High Representative been waiting for?” If the High Representative has been willing to render decisions lifting bans on politicians that were imposed by his predecessors, could he not also render decisions lifting the “bans” in Republika Srpska that prohibit the installation of memorials for the victims of genocide?
         
An even greater tragedy of the High Representative’s inaction is that all of the aspects of the continuation of the genocide embedded in the culture of Republika Srpska are at the same time classical predictors of a genocide to come; predictors of another genocide against non-Serbs in Bosnia. Genocide denial, especially from the leadership of Republika Srpska and Serbia condones the atrocities that were committed. The glorification of convicted war criminals suggests that the atrocities were not crimes but were a heroic public service, even a noble undertaking, thereby threatening future atrocities.  This reminds us of the law in Republika Srpska that established memorials for the heroes of the “war of liberation”. In other words, it was not a genocide, it was a “liberation”! The memorial to the perpetrators in Visegrad that is visited by the Ravno Gorski Pokret, refers to the “brave defenders of Republika Srpska”. So it was not a genocide, it was a “defense”!  For a genocide survivor, denial and the glorification of convicted war criminals constitute hate speech. When President Dodik claimed that Muslims were re-occupying the Podrinje, this was dehumanizing hate speech.33 When Rajko Vasić threatened another genocide, this was hate speech and the High Representative himself referred to it as a criminal offense.
          A friend asked me recently: “Do you think things are getting worse in Bosnia?” But looking back after the recognition of Republika Srpska in 1995, a recognition that was a legitimation of the genocidal crimes through which it was brought into existence, and recognizing the continuation of the strategies of dehumanization and exclusion in Republika Srpska, I wonder if it possible to say that things have ever improved? There has been, rather, a continuation of the genocide, since 1995, in the socio-cultural policies and practices of Republika Srpska, a continuation that lays the foundation for another genocide. Hence, Bosnia remains suspended, as it were, in an impossible threshold between the continuation of the genocide, through cultural and political means, and the threat of the onset of another genocide.

          I would like to conclude by recalling a comment by political thinker, Hannah Arendt, who fled Europe with her husband in 1941 with the assistance of Varian Fry, an American who managed the Emergency Rescue Committee in Marseille, an operation that later became the International Rescue Committee that we know today.  In an article published in 1945, Arendt reflected on Germans who, after the Shoah, declared that they were “ashamed of being Germans.”34 But Arendt’s response to this sentiment was that she was “ashamed of being human” (Ibid). The idea of humanity she writes, entails that “in one form or another, humans must assume responsibility for all crimes committed by humans and that all nations share the onus of evil committed by others” (Ibid.). And thus the international community must confront its shame for its failure to assume its responsibility to respond to hate speech, genocide denial, threats of secession and to the entrenchment of Serbia ultra-nationalism that is destabilizing the country and the region, a nationalism that has inspired terrorist attacks against Muslims in Europe. Once again, we must ask, “What is the High Representative waiting for?”


Notes

1. “55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919. It was Mr. Inzko’s “21st regular report to the UN Secretary-General since assuming the post of High Representative for BiH in 2009.”

2. “Summary,” “55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919

3.”D. Challenges to the General Framework Agreement for Peace, Rhetoric on War Crimes,”

“55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919

4.”Summary,” “55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919

5. “Detailed Report Presented By The High Representative Valentin Inzko to the UN Security Council,” SarajevoTimes, 10 May, 2019, http://www.sarajevotimes.com/detailed-report-presented-by-the-high-representative-valentin-inzko-to-the-un-security-council/  Also see, “Remarks by High Representative Valentin Inzko to the United Nations Security Council,” OHR 8 May 2019,  http://www.ohr.int/?p=100943 . The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council also expressed its concern: “The disproportionate purchases of long-barrelled weapons by some law enforcement agencies has raised concern.” “Communiqué of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council” OHR, 6 June, 2018, http://www.ohr.int/?p=99545

6. “Remarks by High Representative Valentin Inzko to the United Nations Security Council,” OHR 8 May 2019,  http://www.ohr.int/?p=100943

7. IX. Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons, “55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919.

8. “II. Political Update, A. General Political Environment,” 55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919.

9. “V. Republika Srpska,” 55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919.

10. 35th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, OHR 22 November, 2009, http://www.ohr.int/?p=35967

11. 42nd Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, OHR, 8 November, 2012, (my emphasis), http://www.ohr.int/?p=32530. November 16, 2012, in an address to Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Mr. Inzko stated that Inzko quoted the  (then) President of Republika Sprska Milorad Dodik, “Bosnia and Herzegovina is a rotten state that does not deserve to exist”, and “Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely falling apart and it will happen sooner or later. As far as I am concerned, I hope to God it dissolves as soon as possible.” Ambassador Inzko warned that President Dodik’s remarks should not be ignored and that it would be a mistake to dismiss his words as empty or election-driven rhetoric because they threaten the peace and stability of BiH.  https://www.acbih.org/ambassador-valentin-inzkos-warning-at-the-un-security-council/

12. Fiftieth report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, 28 October 2016,  http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2016_911.pdf

13. On June 3, 2019, an op-ed essay authored by the High Representative addressed concerns about the  “rule of law,” in relation to the work of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and the BiH Prosecutor’s office. “HJPC: Time to change,”

OHR, 3 June, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=101282.

14. The High Representative stated: “I would like the country to have as few weapons as possible.” “Arms shipment to Bosnian Serbs stokes EU fears,” 13 February, 2018, The Guardian,https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/13/bosnian-serb-police-arms-purchase-stokes-eu-fears

15.“The High Representative condemns in the strongest possible terms recent statements by a number of public figures denying the genocide in Srebrenica, glorifying war crimes and using hate speech and even threats. The genocide committed in Srebrenica is a fact confirmed by two international tribunals,” the OHR said “OHR condemns RS entity’s denial of Srebrenica genocide,”NI, http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a403213/OHR-and-US-embassy-in-Sarajevo-condemn-Bosnian-Serb-official-s-statement-on-Srebrenica-genocide.html

16. II. Political Update, B. Decisions of the High Representative during the Reporting Period,” “55th Report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on BiH to the Secretary-General of the United Nations,” OHR, 8 May, 2019, http://www.ohr.int/?p=100919.

17. See for example, “High Representative decisions during the reporting period, §20,” Thirty-Eighth Report of the High Representative, OHR, 21 October, 2010,  http://www.ohr.int/ohr-info/pdf/38th_report.pdf. The High Representative lifted bans, for example, “on persons previously barred from being candidates for elections and from holding any executive office at any level due to obstruction of the General Framework for Peace.”

18. Annex 10 Article V: Final Authority to Interpret, The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Initialed in Dayton on 21 November 1995 and signed in Paris on 14 December 1995, OHR, http://www.ohr.int/?page_id=1252.

“The High Representative is the final authority in theater regarding interpretation of this

Agreement on the civilian implementation of the peace settlement.” http://www.ohr.int/?page_id=63269. Also see Article XI. 2, of the Peace Implementation Council BONN Conclusions: “The Council welcomes the High Representative’s intention to use his final authority in theatre regarding interpretation of the Agreement on the Civilian Implementation of the Peace Settlement in order to facilitate the resolution of difficulties by making binding decisions, as he judges necessary, on the following issues: a. timing, location and chairmanship of meetings of the common institutions; b. interim measures to take effect when parties are unable to reach agreement, which will remain in force until the Presidency or Council of Ministers has adopted a decision consistent with the Peace Agreement on the issue concerned; c. other measures to ensure implementation of the Peace Agreement throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Entities, as well as the smooth running of the common institutions. Such measures may include actions against persons holding public office or officials who are absent from meetings without good cause or who are found by the High Representative to be in violation of legal commitments made under the Peace Agreement or the terms for its implementation.” OHR, 12 December 2007,  http://www.ohr.int/?p=54137#11

19. Special Report on a Referendum in Republika Srpska against Bosnia and Herzegovina State Constitutional Court Decisions, OHR, 21 October, 2016, http://www.ohr.int/?p=96479

20. “B. Decisions of the High Representative During the Reporting Period: Despite serious challenges to the constitutional order of BiH and the GFAP during the reporting period, I continued to refrain from using my executive powers in line with the PIC Steering Board’s policy of emphasizing “local ownership” over international decision-making.”

Fiftieth report of the High Representative for Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, OHR, 28 October 2016, http://www.ohr.int/?p=96460

21. Annex 7, Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, OHR,  http://www.ohr.int/?page_id=63261


22. Mladen Lakic, “Plaque Commemorating Killed Serbs in Srebrenica Sparks Dispute,” BalkanInsight, 19 June, 2019. The inscription on the plaque says it is “in memory of the innocently killed Serbs of the Podrinje and Birac area in the period 1992-1995, committed by Muslim hordes”.

23. Mural glorifying Chetnik leader appears in Foca, victims’ associations react, N1 Sarajevo, 25 June, 2019,  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a352225/Mural-glorifying-Chetnik-leader-appears-in-Foca-victims-associations-react.html

24. Prosecutions have lead to convictions for Genocide in Srebrenica, and other for war crimes throughout the territory of Republika Srpska and in Sarajevo.  While neither Karadzić or Mladić were convicted of genocide for Count 1 in the Municipalities, the indictments and the Statements of Republika Srpska’s own leaders indicated that the plan was to render the territory of Republika Srpska ethnically homogeneous. As I have argued in the past, the recognition of Republika Srpska at Dayton was a reward for a successful genocide.

25. Supporting and protecting the survivors would require concrete efforts to achieve restorative or reparative justice, as part of which Republika Srpska would need to take responsibility for its crimes. Only in this way can justice and reconciliation can be possible.

26. “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group…. Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor’s own nationals.” Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Analysis, Proposals for Redress, (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), p. 79.

27. The decisions were: Wolfgang Petritsch High Representative, “Decision on the location of a cemetery and a monument for the victims of Srebrenica,” OHR, 25 October 2000, http://www.ohr.int/?p=67588; Wolfgang Petritsch High Representative, “Decision establishing and registering the Foundation of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery,” OHR, 10 May 2001, http://www.ohr.int/?p=67761; Paddy Ashdown, High Representative,  “Decision ordering the transfer of ownership of the Battery Factory “AS” a.d -Srebrenica to the Foundation of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery and establishing an ad hoc Battery Factory “AS” a.d.- Srebrenica compensation Commission,” OHR, 25 March 2003, http://www.ohr.int/?p=65883; Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, High Representative, “Decision Enacting the Law on the center for the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide,” OHR, 25 June 2007, http://www.ohr.int/?p=64715
The enactment of the Law followed the Judgement of the International Court of Justice that genocide had occurred at Srebrenica: “§297. The Court concludes that the acts committed at Srebrenica falling within Article II (a) and (b) of the Convention were committed with the specific intent to destroy in part the group of the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina as such; and accordingly that these were acts of genocide, committed by members of the VRS in and around Srebrenica from about 13 July 1995.” Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 2007. https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/91/091-20070226-JUD-01-00-EN.pdf

28. Decision establishing and registering the Foundation of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery, OHR, 2001, http://www.ohr.int/?p=67761; and “Decision Enacting the Law on the Center for the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide,” OHR, 25 June, 2007,


29. “Decision Enacting the Law on the center for the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide,” OHR, 25 June 2007, http://www.ohr.int/?p=64715

30. “Decision Enacting the Law on the center for the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide,” OHR, 25 June 2007, http://www.ohr.int/?p=64715

31. “Decision ordering the transfer of ownership of the Battery Factory “AS” a.d -Srebrenica to the Foundation of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery and establishing an ad hoc Battery Factory “AS” a.d.- Srebrenica compensation Commission,” OHR, 25 March 2003, http://www.ohr.int/?p=65883

32. I borrow this phrase– “places of pain”–from the title of Hariz Halilovich’s book, Places of pain: Forced displacement, popular memory and trans-local identities in Bosnian war-torn communities (New York: Berghahn, 2013).

33. Igor Spaic, “Bosnian Serb President in ‘Hate Speech’ Probe,” BalkanInsight, 18 July 2017,

34. Hannah Arendt, “Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility,” The Portable Hannah Arendt, edited by Peter Baehr (New York: Penguin Books, 2000), 154.

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