Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime

Jan Willem Honig, Author, Norbert Both, With Penguin Books $16 (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-026632-0
Srebrenica not only is the name of an obscure town in former Muslim Bosnia but, like Auschwitz and Dachau, has come to signify torture and genocide. Both authors of this book are Dutch, as was the U.N. battalion sent to Srebrenica on its ill-conceived mission to maintain peace. They have documented events with imposing detail and the impartiality of a surgeon reporting on the progress of a malignancy. From the beginning of the Serb siege, around July 8, 1995, to Srebrenica's fall and the massacre of many of its Muslims seven days later, the events at the scene are reconstructed in depth, as are the global negotiations and diplomatic and political imperatives that shaped U.N. policy. What emerges is unequivocally incriminating: of the Western powers, which remained more interested in image and national agendas than in humanitarian ones; of the U.N., whose bureaucracy and dependence on the (nonexistent) will of its powerful members rendered it impotent; and of the Serbs as aggressors. Political and military misjudgment at high levels leaves readers stunned, as well as Serbian manipulation of the much greater Western powers through fear. Culpability is so blatant in this report that the analysis in the last section is mostly denouement. Nothing can rectify past horrors, but, as today's regional conflicts multiply, this book targets crucial changes needed if U.N. peacekeeping is to succeed in the future. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997
Release date: 03/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0378-4
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