Ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian War

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Ethnic distribution at the municipal level in Bosnia and Herzegovina before (1991) and after the war (1998)

Widespread ethnic cleansing accompanied the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–95), large numbers of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) and Bosnian Croats were forced to flee their homes and were expelled by Bosnian Serbs;[1] and some Bosnian Croats also carried out similar campaign against Bosniaks and Serbs. Also, Bosnian Muslims conducted similar acts against Croats, especially in Central Bosnia.[2] However, the scope of crimes by Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims was significantly lesser than those carried out by Bosnian Serbs.

Beginning in 1991, political upheavals in the Balkans displaced about 2,700,000 people by mid-1992, of which over 700,000 of them sought asylum in Europe.[3][4]

The methods used during the Bosnian ethnic cleansing campaigns by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas"[5]) included "murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extra-judicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, confinement of civilian population in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property".[6]

Definitions[edit]

Ethnic cleansing "is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas. (Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780)".[5]

An earlier draft by the Commission of Experts described ethnic cleansing as "the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous." which it based on "the many reports describing the policy and practices conducted in the former Yugoslavia, 'ethnic cleansing' has been carried out by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extra-judicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, confinement of civilian population in ghetto areas, forcible removal, displacement and deportation of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property. Those practices constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Furthermore, such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention"./[6]

Ethnic cleansing is not to be confused with genocide. These terms are not synonymous, yet the academic discourse considers both as existing in a spectrum of assaults on nations or religio-ethnic groups. Ethnic cleansing is similar to forced deportation or 'population transfer' whereas genocide is the "intentional murder of part or all of a particular ethnic, religious, or national group."[7] The idea in ethnic cleansing is "to get people to move, and the means used to this end range from the legal to the semi-legal."[8] Some academics consider genocide as a subset of "murderous ethnic cleansing."[9] Thus, these concepts are different, but related, "literally and figuratively, ethnic cleansing bleeds into genocide, as mass murder is committed in order to rid the land of a people."[10]

In reviewing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Bosnian Genocide Case in the judgement of Jorgic v. Germany on 12 July 2007 the European Court of Human Rights quoted from the ICJ ruling on the Bosnian Genocide Case to draw a distinction between ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The term 'ethnic cleansing' has frequently been employed to refer to the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina which are the subject of this case ... General Assembly resolution 47/121 referred in its Preamble to 'the abhorrent policy of 'ethnic cleansing', which is a form of genocide', as being carried on in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ... It [i.e. ethnic cleansing] can only be a form of genocide within the meaning of the [Genocide] Convention, if it corresponds to or falls within one of the categories of acts prohibited by Article II of the Convention. Neither the intent, as a matter of policy, to render an area “ethnically homogeneous”, nor the operations that may be carried out to implement such policy, can as such be designated as genocide: the intent that characterizes genocide is “to destroy, in whole or in part” a particular group, and deportation or displacement of the members of a group, even if effected by force, is not necessarily equivalent to destruction of that group, nor is such destruction an automatic consequence of the displacement. This is not to say that acts described as 'ethnic cleansing' may never constitute genocide, if they are such as to be characterized as, for example, 'deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part', contrary to Article II, paragraph (c), of the Convention, provided such action is carried out with the necessary specific intent (dolus specialis), that is to say with a view to the destruction of the group, as distinct from its removal from the region. As the ICTY has observed, while 'there are obvious similarities between a genocidal policy and the policy commonly known as 'ethnic cleansing' ' (Krstić, IT-98-33-T, Trial Chamber Judgment, 2 August 2001, para. 562), yet '[a] clear distinction must be drawn between physical destruction and mere dissolution of a group. The expulsion of a group or part of a group does not in itself suffice for genocide. |ECHR quoting the ICJ.[11]

Lašva Valley ethnic cleansing[edit]

Based on the evidence of numerous HVO attacks at that time, the ICTY Trial Chamber concluded in the Kordic and Cerkez case that by April 1993 Croat leadership had a common design or plan conceived and executed to ethnically cleanse Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley. Dario Kordic, as the local political leader, was found to be the planner and instigator of this plan.[12] According to the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center (IDC), around 2,000 Bosniaks from the Lašva Valley are missing or were killed during this period.[13]

Ethnic cleansing in Bugojno[edit]

The ethnic cleansing of Croats in Bugojno was a joint criminal enterprise of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its political leadership in Bugojno which had the intetion to ethnically clean Croatian population in Bugojno.[14] The ethnic cleansing expelled 14,000 Croats. 200 Croats, of which 85 civilians were murdered. Around 2,000 Croats were in concentration camps, of which 550 in the notorious camp "Stadion". 294 camp prisoners for eight months were mentally and physically abused. The bodies of 36 Croats have not yet been found, including the bodies of 16 civilians.[15]

The trial of members of the Bosniak wartime Presidency of Bugojno, Nisvet Gasal, Musajb Kukavica and Senad Dautović, led by Dževad Mlaćo began in February 2008.[16] In November 2011 Dautović was sentenced to 13 years in prison for war crimes against civilians in Bugojno. In addition, Dautović was sentenced for war crimes against the wounded and war prisoners. The judgment stated that Dautović knowingly participated in a criminal enterprise. Gasal was sentenced to six years in prison. Due to lack of evidence, Kukavica was acquitted. The sentence was handed by the presiding judge Davorin Jukić.[16][17]

Destruction of Roman Catholic religious buildings in Bosnian War (1992-1995)[edit]

Ruins of Roman Catholic Church in Glamoč, destroyed by Serbian extremists
Destruction of Roman Catholic religious buildings in Bosnian War (1992-1995)
Building Destroyed Heavily damaged Damaged Total
by Serb extremists by Muslim extremists by Serb extremists by Muslim extremists by Serb extremists by Muslim extremists by Serb extremists by Muslim extremists Total
parish churches 64 1 40 14 43 23 147 38 185
other churches 53 7 40 13 38 17 131 37 168
chapels 44 19 32 23 57 52 133 94 227
rectory 56 9 65 19 56 21 177 49 226
monasteries 8 - 9 5 6 2 23 7 30
cemeteries - 8 27 26 68 35 95 69 164
Total 269 313 418 1000
Source:[18]

Destruction of Islamic religious buildings in Bosnia 1992-1995[edit]

Destruction of Islamic religious buildings in Bosnia 1992-1995)[19]
Destroyed by Serb extremists Destroyed by Croat extremists Damaged by Serb extremists Damaged by Croat extremists Total destroyed during the war Total damaged during the war Total Total no. before the war Percentage of pre-war damaged or destroyed
congregational mosque 249 58 540 80 307 620 927 1,149 81%
small neighbourhood mosque 21 20 175 43 41 218 259 557 47%
Quran schools 14 4 55 14 18 69 87 954 9%
Dervish lodges 4 1 3 1 5 4 9 15 60%
Mausolea, shrines 6 1 34 3 7 37 44 90 49%
Buildings of religious endowments 125 24 345 60 149 405 554 1,425 39%
Total 419 108 1,152 201 527 1,353 1,880 4,190 45%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, The Ethnic Cleansing of Bosnia-Hercegovina, (US Government Printing Office, 1992)
  2. ^ "Studia Croatica:ANATOMY OF DECEIT, by Jerry Blaskovich, M.D.". © 1997 Jerry Blaskovich. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  3. ^ Bosnia: Dayton Accords
  4. ^ Resettling Refugees: U.N. Facing New Burden
  5. ^ a b Report of the Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780 (1992), 27 May 1994 (S/1994/674), English page=33, Paragraph 130
  6. ^ a b Report of the Commission of Experts Established Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 780 (1992), 27 May 1994 (S/1994/674), English page=33, Paragraph 129
  7. ^ [Schabas W. A., 2000, Genocide in International Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.][1]
  8. ^ Naimark, 2001 [Naimark N. M., 2001, Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in 20th Century Europe, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.][2]
  9. ^ [Mann M., 2005,The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.][3]
  10. ^ [Naimark, N. 2007, Theoretical Paper:Ethnic Cleansing, Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence [4]
  11. ^ ECHR Jorgic v. Germany §45 citing Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro (“Case concerning the application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”) the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found under the heading of “intent and 'ethnic cleansing'” § 190
  12. ^ "ICTY: Kordic and Cerkez verdict". 
  13. ^ "IDC: Victim statistics in Novi Travnik, Vitez, Kiseljak and Busovaca". 
  14. ^ Popović, Ana (16 September 2011). "Zločin u Bugojnu je sada udruženi zločinački poduhvat" (in Croatian). Večernji list. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  15. ^ Popović, Ana (23 November 2010). "Progon 14.000 Hrvata iz Bugojna nije incident već etničko čišćenje" (in Croatian). Večernji list. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Rovčanin, H. (23 November 2011). "Bugojno - udruženi zločinački pothvat: za zločine nad Hrvatima u Bugojnu 19 godina zatvora" (in Croatian). Dnevni list. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  17. ^ "Za zločin u Bugojnu 15 godina zatvora" (in Bosnian). Balkan Insight. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  18. ^ (Croatian) www.slobodanpraljak.com
  19. ^ Islam and Bosnia: Conflict Resolution and Foreign Policy in Multi-Ethnic States, Maya Shatzmiller, page 100, 2002