A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society by Matthew Parish

By Matthew Parish

Following the brutal wars which raged within the former Yugoslavia within the early Nineteen Nineties, Bosnia and Herzegovina was once awkwardly partitioned into governing entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. yet there has been one a part of the rustic which may no longer be geared up into both type: the Breko District, a strategically serious land-bridge among the 2 elements of the Bosnian Serb territory. This sector used to be the topic of a hugely strange scan: positioned below a regime of across the world supervised executive, Breko turned a ""free city,"" evoking the reminiscence of Trieste or Danzig within the nineteenth century. What has this test in state-building published concerning the background of this bothered nook of the Balkans - and its destiny? What classes could be utilized to clash solution in different elements of the realm? And used to be the scan winning or have the electorate of Breko suffered additional by the hands of the foreign group? A unfastened urban within the Balkans investigates the increase and fall of Breko and post-war Bosnia and investigates what classes might be realized for overseas peacekeeping missions elsewhere.

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Sample text

Vukovar, on the river Danube border between Serbia and Croatia, had a mixed Croat and Serb population and had been the subject of a devastating Serb siege. Serb forces also held a significant area of Croatia to the west and north west of Bosnia, in what came to be known as the self-declared Republic of Serb Krajina (RSK). The capital of the RSK was Knin, but it took in the towns of Gračac, Plitvice and Petrinje. The RSK was never internationally recognised and suffered total economic collapse, surviving only until a surprise Croatian offensive, ‘Operation Storm’, to expel Serb forces from the Krajina region in August 1995.

The policy consequence of partition theory is therefore that in imposing a settlement upon a civil war from outside, one needs to pursue partition of territory into viable mono-ethnic contiguous units. To the extent that population separation has not occurred through murder, terror, expulsion and voluntary separation in the course of the war, the international community must complete the task. It need not be done using methods as brutal as those that occur in wartime, and those displaced can be compensated and provided with new homes.

It is said that it legitimises genocide and ethnic cleansing, wars of aggression and war crimes against civilians. It is also an unwelcome recipe for ‘Balkanisation’ of countries: that is to say, splitting multi-ethnic nations into a multiplicity of ethnically pure mini-states of questionable viability. These criticisms are probably also unfair. The partition theorist’s response is that commission of war crimes, like any criminal act, is a matter for criminal prosecution of those responsible. The partition theorist is not legitimising war crimes against civilians, and where they occur they should be punished.

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