While much is well known about the genocide at Srebrenica, a few things are less well known and always get my attention:
- The Dutch government fell in 2002 due to a report that came out that criticized the Dutch performance in 1995. Yes, a seven year delay but I find it remarkable that a government would fall for something that happened early and... was mostly not their fault. It was mostly the UN's fault for not allowing NATO planes to strike the Bosnian Serbs that were attacking "safe areas" that were supposed to be under UN protection. To use force, NATO and UN officials had to agree--a dual key system. And, no, the UN guy failed to give his consent. It is more complicated than that, of course, but more blood is on the UN's hands on this than on the Netherlands's.
- The Canadians were in Srebrenica before the Dutch but chose to re-deploy so that they would not be present during something like what happened. So, yeah, the Canadians owe a bit of an unknown debt to the Dutch for taking the hit for the team.
- The chase for PIFWC's (persons indicted for war crimes) took longer not just because of Serbia hiding some but also
- the US didn't try to fulfill this key part of the NATO Stabilization Force mandate in its sectors because Bill Clinton told his commanders that the highest priority was force protection--that the US not experience another Blackhawk Down and suffer casualties in a peacekeeping op. Since chasing PIFWCs was something that could lead to confrontations, riots and such, the US military avoided doing it for a while
- When they did start, it was done by Special Operations, so I would get kicked out of the room when this stuff was discussed in 2001-2002 as it was above my Top Secret clearance level.
- That when these searches did happen, it seemed that the French forces in the NATO mission would alert the Bosnian Serbs. In the name of getting the support of the local authorities but perhaps more likely helping the side with which they had some historical affinity. Oops.
Anyhow, happy Mladic Conviction Day! Better late than never.