Britain’s ‘Unfinest Hour’? From Sarajevo to Srebrenica: The British reaction to the unfolding crises
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
This paper investigates how and why the British Government formulated its responses to the human rights’ violations in Bosnia, from the siege of Sarajevo to genocide at Srebrenica. The British have often been portrayed, not least by themselves, as championing international opposition to human rights abuses. However, a closer examination of the British reaction to the Bosnian crises, demonstrates the importance of considerations of Realpolitik both internally and externally. At the same time, this paper highlights the fact that British responses were also shaped by other contextual factors – especially the important role played by the British media and the public in pressurising their government to act as the situation worsened in Bosnia. The paper will compare the official British government stance, to those of the armed forces, the media and the general public. This research draws upon recently released documents from the British National archives, parliamentary proceedings, newspapers and interviews with various groups (including, but not limited to government and foreign office officials; members of the armed forces; journalists; survivors from Sarajevo and Srebrenica. The paper also includes a discussion regarding the evolving nature of the research due to COVID-19, not least the move from archival visits to a widespread use of hitherto unused digital sources. This paper also forms part of my larger research project which examines Britain’s reaction to what Samantha Powers has referred to as a Problem from Hell.
When is genocide ‘successful’ for governments implementing mass violence as a political strategy?
Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany
Genocide is an act of heinous violence, but in its genesis it is also just one of several (violent and non-violent) policy options that governments have in dealing with internal conflict. While there has been much work on when governments choose genocide as a policy option, there is considerably less literature on the consequences that this policy choice has for the governments. Non-systematic evidence suggests that the egregious horror of genocide frequently provokes international outrage and intervention, subsequently leading to a loss of power for the government, rather than the consolidation of power that was intentioned. However, there are also numerous examples of governments who implement genocide, successfully consolidating their rule and remaining in power. This paper draws on a dataset of genocides from 1900-2013 to interrogate under what conditions governments lose power after genocide and when governments ‘successfully’ implement genocide and retain their power. Given that multiple factors can coalesce in different ways to provide for multiple pathways these outcomes, the paper pursues a configurational approach and provides the results of a crisp set Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The results will then be interpreted in terms of their contribution to possible prevention strategies for curbing genocide.
Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands, The
In this panel I would like to discuss cultural genocide; not as a specific category, but as an element in the barrage of violence with the sole attempt to eradicate an identity and/or an identifiable group from a landscape, nation-state, area etc. I will show that this eradication falls in the same process of Othering and Selfing that is at the nucleus of genocide. Or, as a matter of fact, it is the physical outcome of essentializing the Other (Hinton 2002:5), but more importantly establishing a new “Self” through the destruction of another identity and its heritage. Genocide is symbolic violence against an imaginary existential enemy. Cultural genocide is a part of a larger process.
The Media, Power Politics, and the Dilemma of Civilian Protection in the Post Libyan Responsibility to Protect Intervention
Despite the broad acceptance of the Genocide Act and the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP), the World continues to witness systemic holocaust, with the Rohingyas in Myanmar, Kasmir and in India and the Uyghur in China as most recent. Though studies abound of mass atrocity against civilians, only few have interrogated the current and ongoing holocaust experiences in Myanmar, India and China. Therefore, this study attempts to provide questions through broader engagement with the emerging and contending issues within the context of media conspiracy, lack of global concern and the implications of these cases on civilian protection and the future application of both the Genocide Act and the RtoP doctrine. Qualitative methods were employed for this study. Though, the widespread mass atrocity perpetrated against the Rohingyas, Kasmiris and Uighuris dates back decades, the renewed state sponsored violence against these minority groups in the post RtoP intervention in Libya suggests that the way and manner the international community responds to holocaust situations remains shrouded in Power politics and economic imperialism. This has been made worse by the apparent lack of media coverage, adequate reporting and unperturbed posturing of the United Nations Security Council. While these cases have thrown up intractable challenges, there is a need for robust judicial process to punish those culpable of mass atrocity against civilians in these cases in line with the Genocide Convention, broader engagement with the RtoP doctrine to address its conceptual and operational dilemma, stiffer sanctions for perpetrators of mass atrocity, national and regional government commitment, early conflict detection, expansion of the membership of the United Nations Security Council, prompt and accurate international media reporting of mass atrocities as they occur, and more importantly, ensuring that future intervention in holocaust scenarios are guided by the principle of Jus in Bello and Jus Ad Bello.