Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Serbia Moves On

It's a good day for Serbia. Four ex-paramilitaries have been convicted of carrying out the killings of six Bosnian Muslims during the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995. It might not seem like much when set against the 8,000 or so Muslim men and boys who died at Srebrenica, but there are two things that are particularly significant about this case.

First is that the killings were filmed. While that made it easy to convict the four, the fact the tape has been widely played in Serbia in recent years has proved to disbelieving Serb civilians what the rest of the world already knew; that Serbs didn't just kill Muslims in the heat of battle, but sometimes lined them up and shot them down.

The other reason why this is such a big deal, is that the four were found guilty by a Serb court. This is the most serious case so far heard at the Serb war crimes court, which takes cases the big international tribunal in The Hague doesn't have time for. Even though the evidence was pretty overwhelming, it's still welcome to see the Serb system has at last moved on enough to find some of its own people guilty of taking part in Srebrenica. For Serbia, and Bosnia too, it's another step on the long road back from that hellish war.

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