The Srebrenica Genocide: 28 Years Later
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The Srebrenica Genocide: 28 Years Later
10 July @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
28 years have passed since Bosnian Serb troops committed genocide in Srebrenica, with 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys slaughtered while the world watched. Since then, General Ratko Mladic (in charge of Bosnian Serb forces at the time) and the then-President of Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic, have both been found guilty of genocide (among other crimes) and sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The role of the international community in this outrage has often been questioned, especially because back in June 1993, Srebrenica had been declared a UN-safe area, meaning that the civilian population was supposedly guaranteed protection by UN forces. Much has been written about the weakness about the UN during this period, as UN troops stood by while the carnage took place.
On a broader scale, while the peace continues in name in Bosnia, the three ethnicities (Bosniak, Serbian, and Croatian) continue to disagree with each other on all matter of policies, with their wrangling often frustrating the country’s functioning. What is more, Milorad Dodik (the current president of Republika Srpska) continues to deny that genocide ever took place in Srebrenica.
So have the tensions gone away in Bosnia, or are they seething below the surface? What are the lessons learned from the Srebrenica genocide and can they be applied to other contexts, notably Ukraine? How should the international community approach protecting civilians going forward and in other instances where mass violence occurs?
These are some of the questions we plan to address as we commemorate the Srebrenica genocide, and we invite you to join our expert panel for this important discussion.
Dr Neven Andjelic is teaching international relations and human rights at Regent’s University London. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of Bologna and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Saarland. He served on the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities – Council of Europe from 2014 to 2018. Neven was a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley. Besides his academic activities, he was and remained an activist for human rights issues in his country of origin, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dr Andjelic has also had a career in journalism, working for CNN, BBC, ITN, Channel 4 in the UK and all the leading media in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He writes for academic journals and publications and has published a book titled Bosnia-Herzegovina: The End of a Legacy (2003). His latest book, “Covid-19, State-Power and Society in Europe: Focus on Western Balkans” has been published in 2022.
Ron Haviv is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, award-winning photojournalist, and co-founder of the co-founder of VII Foundation, dedicated to documenting conflict and raising human rights issues around the globe. He is also the co-founder of the non-profit VII Foundation, which concentrates on documentary projects and provides free visual journalism education. His first photography book, Blood and Honey: A Balkan War Journal, was called “One of the best non-fiction books of the year,” by The Los Angeles Times and “A chilling but vastly important record of a people’s suffering,” by Newsweek. His other monographs are Afghanistan: The Road to Kabul, Haiti: 12 January 2010, and The Lost Rolls. Haviv has produced an unflinching record of the injustices of war covering over twenty-five conflicts and his photography has had singular impact. His work in the Balkans, which spanned over a decade of conflict, was used as evidence to indict and convict war criminals at the international tribunal in The Hague. President George H.W Bush cited Haviv’s chilling photographs documenting paramilitary violence in Panama as one of the reasons for the 1989 American intervention. His work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, United Nations, Council on Foreign Relations, Fotografiska, and the International Center of Photography. Haviv is the central character in six documentary films, including National Geographic Explorer’s Freelance in a World of Risk, in which he speaks about the dangers of combat photography, including his numerous detentions and close calls. He has provided expert analysis and commentary on ABC World News, BBC, CNN, NPR, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, Washington Post, Good Morning America, and The Charlie Rose Show. He is currently co-directing two documentaries, Biography of a Photo and Picasso of Harlem.
Dr Aidan Hehir is a Reader in International Relations at the University of Westminster. His research interests include transitional justice, humanitarian intervention, and statebuilding in Kosovo. He is the author/editor of eleven books; his most recent book – Hollow Norms and The Responsibility to Protect (Palgrave Macmillan) – won the 2019 British International Studies Association ‘Working Group on Intervention and R2P’ book prize. He is co-editor of the Routledge Intervention and Statebuilding book series and is a regular contributor to national and international television and radio. His novel, The Flowers of Srebrenica was published in 2022 and all proceeds from the book go to the charity “Remembering Srebrenica”.
Dr Helena Ivanov is an associate research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. She recently completed a PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In her thesis, Helena examined the role propaganda played during the Yugoslav Wars and produced a model for studying propaganda which details the key phases, functions, discourses, and techniques of propaganda (the model itself is applicable to other contexts). Additionally, Helena also served as a Manager at the Centre for International Studies at the LSE.
Prior to her PhD, Helena completed an MPhil in Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and holds a BA in Politics from the University of Belgrade.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to welcome Dr Neven Andjelic, Ron Haviv and Dr Aidan Hehir to a panel discussion hosted by Associate Research Fellow Dr Helena Ivanov, titled The Srebrenica Genocide: 28 Years Later. Dr Ivanov started the discussion by providing a brief overview of the Srebrenica Genocide, before letting the three panelists take over in explaining their understandings and experiences of the conflict. Ron Haviv started the conversation off with a visual presentation of the Srebrenica Genocide; both of the terror, despair and confusion felt by families and survivors during the ongoing massacre and of the following discoveries made and continued grieving in the aftermath. Dr Andjelic highlighted the importance of visual proof, as well as the continued denial of the genocide, both by political elites and ordinary people. Dr Hehir blamed the structure of the international community and the UN for being ineffective in stopping such global violence since it was created to uphold the power of the superpowers rather than protect the vulnerable globally, leaving many vulnerable. All three speakers agreed that religion played a minor role in the conflict, but was used instrumentally by media and elites to ignite feelings of division and anger. Finally, the role of the international community was discussed with Dr Hehir calling for reform to the UN structure, Dr Andjelic pointing out how the UN system complicates its operational agenda, and Dr Hehir urging the audience to stay interested and engaged in world conflicts to ensure the continued betterment of the world.
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