The Times, editorial, Monday 6 June 2011 – “Memory Against Forgetting”

Nine years have passed since the editorial linked to below was published, a full decade after the end of the final act of the Balkan Conflicts of the 1990s.  

The main thrust of the editorial is to damn ‘the malign intellectual subculture that seeks to excuse savagery by denying the facts’.  

Has this attitude stood the test of time?  

Since it was written, we have learned that many of the ‘facts’ – such as the 6,400 ‘identifications’ made by the International Commission for Missing Persons (later increased in to 6,800) – were mere allegations, without hard supporting evidence.  Laws passed in Croatia and Bosnia empowered the ICMP to reject any subpoena forcing it to hand over raw forensic and DNA evidence for independent assessment.  To this day, no one outside the ICMP has ever had access to this evidence. 

And, one by one, many of the other claims in this editorial have withered under close scrutiny.  On his deathbed Alija Izetbegovic admitted to Bernard Kouchner and US Diplomat Richard Holbrooke – much to their surprise – that there had been no death camps in Bosnia.  Two secret UN reports, which have never been published, concluded that it was the Bosnian Muslims, not the Bosnian Serbs, who had caused two of the infamous atrocities in Sarajevo.  Those who have read the first Republika Serpska report on Srebrenica will have seen that it is a conscientious and painstaking assessment.  Paddy Ashdown, a hugely autocratic UN High Commissioner for Bosnia, rejected it because he didn’t like the conclusions.  He then used his powers to dismiss many senior members of the Rpublika Serpska administration and put the re-draft under the control  of a Bosnian Muslim.  

The full text of The Times editorial is here: