Letter: Western dishonesty fuels the Balkan conflict

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The Independent Online
Sir: War tends to generate atrocities and unjust suffering. Almost all the parties in the war in the former Yugoslavia have committed excesses, but the record of Serbia calls for searching examination. It includes:

Unilateral ending of autonomy for Kosovo, with the dominance of a 10 per cent Serb minority over the majority and the closing of many Albanian institutions.

The unprovoked attack by the Serb-led National Army on Slovenia, where there was no Serb minority.

A savage attack on Croatia, destroying whole towns such as Vukovar, and seizing 33 per cent of the territory on behalf of an 11 per cent Serb minority.

The bombardment of beautiful and historic Dubrovnik.

The grabbing of at least two- thirds of Bosnia-Herzegovina on behalf of a Serb minority of some 33 per cent. The destruction of the beautiful cities of Sarajevo and Mostar. Ethnic cleansing of Croatian and Muslim minorities, accompanied by multiple, planned rapes.

Torture and execution in detention camps, well attested by survivors. American intelligence has suggested that 70,000 people are still held in camps, some in Serbia proper, where there has been no international inspection.

The breaking of innumerable ceasefires. Failure to comply with UN resolutions and agreements made in Geneva, for example, the no-fly resolution and the August 1992 agreement to place heavy weapons under UN supervision. Failure to hand back the 'pink zones' in Croatia and total disregard of international law and accepted conventions.

In view of the length of this list, how can anyone say that humanitarian aid is all that is necessary? Economic sanctions, especially in oil, should be strengthened until they work. This is likely to take an unacceptable time, during which further lives will be lost. Stronger measures should, therefore, be devised, which will be understood by the Serbian authorities.

Yours faithfully,


House of Lords

London, SW1

26 January