Genocide and the ending of war: Meaning, remembrance and denial in Srebrenica, Bosnia
Crime, Law and Social Change
Reason for embargo
The occurrence of genocide during war is a serious security predicament facing humanity in modern times, producing civilian casualties measured in millions. The persistence of this heinous crime renders imperative understanding of the effects of genocide in the course of war and its aftermath, effects that this paper examines in the context of the Srebrenica genocide of July 1995 – the darkest moment in European history since the Holocaust. The analysis is grounded on a critical examination of the concept of genocide and its close connection with war. It shows that relations of power are central to the happening of genocide and the ways of dealing with it in the post-conflict setting. When embedded on asymmetrical relations of power, war can be conducive to genocide because it creates organizational, political, and psychological conditions that facilitate large scale killing of targeted people. Whilst in the course of war genocide benefits the perpetrators, in the aftermath of fighting genocide can lend credence to the victims’ community demands for recognition, accountability and redress. At the same time, the perpetrators and their community – frequently – deny genocide with the view to avoiding responsibility and reparations. The instrumental utility of genocide reflects rationales that go at the heart of enhancement of national identity and (contested) claims for political authority and legitimacy. More than twenty years after the Srebrenica genocide, these competitive and divisive claims do not bode well for Bosnia’s societal cohesion and transition to sustainable peace.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer Verlag via the DOI in this record.
Published online 3 July 2017