Easing Sanctions Against Serbia a Blunder
“It is shocking that the majority of the Security Council members can be so criminally naive and negligent. Have they forgotten that Milosevic was, and still is, a war criminal?”
New Straits Times
12 October 1994
By Fan Yew Teng, Kuala Lumpur
The decision of the UN Security Council on Sept 24 to ease sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro is unwise, premature, and may in fact prolong Bosnian Serb atrocities in Bosnia.
The Security Council says the easing of sanctions is a reward to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for cutting war supplies to the Serbs in Bosnia. This is a fallacious position.
First of all, let us not forget so easily and quickly that Milosevic was one of the chief architects of the holocaust in Bosnia and Croatia — a holocaust motivated by the goal of Greaters Serbia which has killed, over the last three years, a few hundred thousand innocent people; in which tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped, and thousands of homes and other properties destroyed, and turned more than a million people into refugees.
In any event, what evidence has the Security Council that Milosevic has in fact cut war supplies to the Serbs in Bosnia? As the Security Council very well knows, hitherto, fewer than half of the planned 135-man UN monitorin g team have arrived to observe the 500-kilometre-long border between Serbia and Bosnia.
Only as recently as Sept 21, 1994, a senior official of the UN had said that UN military observers had monitored several helicopter sorties over northeastern Bosnia in the past week, in complete violation of NATO’s ‘No-Fly Zone’.
Many of these helicopter sorties appeared to have been night flights from Serbia into Serb-held parts of Bosnia. According to the same senior UN official, officials at the headquarters at Zagreb of the UN peacekeeping mission believe that the flights were used to take supplies to the Bosnian Serbs in the territory they hold north and northwest of Tuzla, and possibly also to move personnel.
Thus, isn’t the Security Council acting against the better knowledge of UN officials on the ground?
Moreover, as Roger Cohen of the New York Times Services has pointed out, the position of the Yugoslav Army over the decision to cut off the Bosnian Serbs remains unclear. General Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serbs, a former Yugoslav Army officer, still has close links with the Yugoslav Army in Serbia.
And what is there to prevent military supplies being sent through Montenegro to the Bosnian Serbs? Is the Montenegro-Bosnia border being monitored?
It is schocking that the majority of the Security Council members can be so criminally naive and negligent. Have they forgotten that Milosevic was, and still is, a war criminal?