Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Commentary: Picking The EU For The Nobel Peace Prize Was Wrong

Muslim women in the town of Vlasenica, in an ethnically Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, sit before a mass funeral in April 2012 for victims of the Bosnian conflict.
Muslim women in the town of Vlasenica, in an ethnically Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, sit before a mass funeral in April 2012 for victims of the Bosnian conflict.

Related Articles

Video EU Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

The European Union has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for "over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."
By Tanya Domi
As the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced it had selected the European Union as the winner of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, a news story from Bosnia-Herzegovina reported the remains of 11 people had been recovered from a mass grave in northeastern Bosnia.

The International Commission on Missing Persons said the bodies were found in shallow graves near Trnovo, and were believed to be Muslim civilians from the area of Vlasenica, a former Bosniak-populated municipality in eastern Bosnia where hundreds of war crimes were committed by Bosnian Serbs between May and June 1992. By the time those soldiers were done with their lethal handiwork, more than 3,000 Muslims had been killed and thousands more imprisoned -- in addition to the thousands who fled into exile with only the clothes on their backs. Within a month of the Serb takeover there in June 1992, there were very few, if any, Muslims left in Vlasenica.

Similar scenes played out in hundreds of other villages from Croatia to Kosovo. Men were routinely imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Women were tortured and raped -- a form of ethnic cleansing committed in the most violent and humiliating manner. Many rape survivors subsequently took their own lives, unable to tolerate the shame or overcome the deadening depression that took over their lives in those attacks' destructive aftermath.

In a decade of war in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, unspeakable crimes were carried out by armies, soldiers, and irregulars under the leaderships of Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman. Together and apart, they plundered, pillaged, and raped their way across Marshal Tito's highway of "brotherhood and unity" destroying lives, uprooting families and entire villages, in order ultimately to forge an independent state in Croatia during the first war. To be sure, crimes were committed by the army under Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, but there is no evidence of systematic abuse and atrocities approaching the level of the Bosnian Serb Army, known as the VRS, or Serbian Army, once known as the JNA.

Milosevic's march toward a "greater Serbia" was finally stopped by NATO aircraft that engaged in a 78-day bombardment of Serbia led by the U.S. Air Force.

These wars are notable for concentration camps, the systematic rape and enslavement of women, and a massive genocide in Srebrenica, where some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were executed and cast into open graves littering the countryside of eastern Bosnia. Mass graves of Kosovar Albanian victims dot the Serbian countryside. Milosevic and his cronies went to great lengths to hide them, including by burying 50 victims in a refrigerator truck that was dumped into the Danube River.

Prosecution of the most egregious of these crimes is handled at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague and in various national human rights and war crimes courts in the region.

These heinous crimes are familiar to Europeans.

That's what makes the Nobel Committee's selection of the EU as this year's Peace Prize laureate simply unbelievable to me. I read and re-read the citation: "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." Knowing what happened and did not happen to stop the wars in the Balkans, how can the EU claim it has carried out an honorable diplomatic and military effort in the Balkans?

Indeed, the late U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke, who brokered the Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian war in 1995, once called the Bosnian war "the greatest collective security failure of the West since the 1930s." Surely Europeans bear major responsibility for telling the Americans to "butt out" of business in their backyard at the beginning of the Balkan unraveling. According to the late U.S. congressman Frank McCloskey's account captured in Samantha Power's book "Genocide:  The Problem from Hell," President Bill Clinton wanted to engage in a bombing campaign in Bosnia as early as 1993 but complained to McCloskey that he was effectively thwarted by British Prime Minister John Major, whose government obstructed all efforts to launch a military intervention under the auspices of the UN Security Council.

Now a political unraveling is unfolding in Sarajevo once again, calling into question this Nobel Peace Prize and its delusional citation. Indeed, the EU presence in Bosnia has persisted with weak, appeasing overtures to Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia's Serb entity, who has cried foul for months, repeatedly claiming that Republika Srpska will someday be its own country.

Through the Office of High Commissioner Valentin Inzko, the EU has repeatedly failed to stop an escalating war of words and deeds, resulting in continuous obstructions of federal governance in Bosnia, paralyzing its ability to function at all.

So when the EU accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in December, will it do so mindful of the 30,000 people who remain missing and unidentified in the Balkans? Will it accept this prestigious prize knowing that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the Bosnian war? Will it acknowledge that European refugees from the Balkans fled the European continent to more than 80 countries around the world in the 20th century?

The most decent thing the EU could do now is to contribute a substantial portion of the Nobel Peace Prize's financial award to those humanitarian organizations that continue to support the survivors of three major wars on the European continent in the past 20 years. Until there is justice, there will be no peace, despite the Nobel Committee's belief to the contrary.

Tanya Domi is an adjunct professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, where she teaches human rights in the Balkans for the Harriman Institute.  Domi served in the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996-2000. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: dragan from: sydney
October 13, 2012 15:03
propaganda,all u talk about is what serbs did to others , and most of that is that wrong,but why dont u tell us what croatians and bosnians did to serbs,but of course you never will tell us that, because ur just a propaganda spreader giving us false evidence to paint our brains with the pictures you want

never giving us any real evidence of anything,just catchy words and prases

spooking us out,while repeating them over and over time
the serbs
this and that
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 13, 2012 21:14
I can give you most important answers.
I am not a Serbian, I have no nationality,
Being sentenced to death in 1947, at 4,
For solutions to help suffering humanity,
I refused be plagiarized slave of Russia.
If Nobel prize could be given to me also,
All my life helping to make World better,
I will not mind - but stolen by Bolsheviko.

In 1954 Prussians from Russia leured British monarchists and
"Bechtel" family to unite in plans to resurect Russian, German,
Austrian and British Empires.
Russians-Prussians asked British for Atomic plants technology
produce more concentrate for A-bombs, not for USSR that was already becoming largest termo-nuclear power in the World, but for ethnic Russians-Prussians, to blackmail and, if necessary, use A-bombs on non-Russian nations.
Bechtel gave it to them - they already use blackmail against Georgia and the whole CIS.

Beside influxing Russians in USSR republics and Eastern Europe, they started first international porovocations, using
usurped by Russia Soviet Army in 1956 in Hungary and
Georgia, than in rest of Eastern Europe, than in Afghanistan,
unleashing bestial genocide - using special forces, trained
by British and Germans to cut-off human heads and mortify whole populations and countries - as Serbian special forces,
trained among Russians by British and Germans did in Yugoslavia.

Narrowing it only to Yugoslavia events, it was planed to be devided, as the rest of Eastern Europe, among Austria,
Germany and Russia.
Leaders of Yugoslavia and Albania new it all too well, that
included not only Serbs, but also Horvatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
All of them, being told that otherwise their nations would be destroyed, submitt to pressure and started to prepare to be enemies and occupied, eventually, by Germano-Austrians and Russians.

Serbians had better choice to refuse obediance to imperial resurectors, but they declined my proposition, as they declined proposition of Stalin before - go to UN, ignore "Mashtrih" and
offer to Yugoslavia republics "Common Wealth of Independent States" of Yugoslavia and, maybe, Albania, negotiating borders
according to past, recent and unreveling history - not withstanding Germano-Austrian illegal pacts, negotiating common interests and projects at the borders.
You probably are right in that respect - Serbia was more able to
prevent it than Bosnians.
By the way, ideologicly, intermarried with Christian muslim population in Bosnia, would be against war, if given the Serbian choices, while Serbians seems were more for Chauvinist
hate of Russia-Prussia, not CIS of Yugoslavia, even loosing
it all.

Answering your particular question, Croatians committed
similar crimes, thought they had less artillery than Serbs and
less Special Forces trained by Germans and British.
Both Croatians and Bosnians agree to submit to Germans and Austrians take-over and WW2 hate tovard Serbs, provoking
them, while denying ethnic Serbs in Kraina and Serbian Bosnia genuin Serbian lands.
All sides used awailable to them tools.
The methods Muslims used were to kill as "freedom fighters" dressed as civilians and lead by German instructors and spies.
The methods Serbs used were to use artillery on areas that stinged them, as did Croatians too.
Your solidarity of Bosnians and Croatians seems shifting to
interests of mastership by Austrians and Germans...

Sure all that comitted crimes against humanity must be tried
by just court (not necessary by quiet chockin and murdering outspoken Serbs tor saying truth in German Sweezerland).
Not only Serbs must be tried, non-uniformed groups of
Muslims, if guilty, are no better than uniformed Serbs.
After all, Serbs peasants like bring home after serving in the army their uniforms for cold winter, also, inspired by Rashkas,
they like show-off in it, like during Yugoslavian Civil War...
In Response

by: dragan from: sydney
October 15, 2012 04:04
some facts about the ww2 in the balkans
first of all ,around 600 000 serbs died from croatian ustache (nazi supporters) concentration camps ,many of the deceased there were my ancestors,when the german nazis came to the camp and witnessed the attrocities of the ustache they were much suprised to what they saw ,the torture and the brutal killings could , even the auschwitz could not bare the sufferings of the jasenovac camp,

check anywhere ,serbs did not kill 10 times lesser than that number,we had no concentration camps of any kind,most of the serbs back then were either in 2 groups,one called chetnicks who were supporting the serbian king and were fully backed by the british intelligence,and the other half were in the yugoslav communists ,and both of those groups were fighting on the allied side,while the ustashe were figting for hitler
now tell me who did more attrocities serbs or croatians and bosnian muslims who were also fighting on the nazi side

another fact
kosovo did not exist than as a nation,before the ww2 it was just another region who the serbs had fought to defend from the ottomans for 500 years 1389-1812,before the ww2 it was mostly populated by the serbs,
then as albania was communist ,the yugoslav leader tito welcomed the albanians into the kosovo region as a gesture of friendship to the albanian leader

later on after the fall of the communism,peace fell apart,sectarian violence erupted,the albanians in kosovo were supported by the us and western europe and the leaders of kosovo were mafia groups who sold drugs ,smuggled illegal weapons,trafficked human organs and killed people who opposed them,yes those people were tried in the hague for a small bunch of their crimes,but every time they had to go to court,somehow everyone of their witnesses got executed or died of heart of attacks and ....,does that raise any eyebrows about the great albanian kosovo freedom fighters who burned about 1500 christian churches in the last 30 years,forced ethnic serbs from their homes and gypsies whose only crime was having dark skin colour,they also fled to serbia where they found a home,
wow how democratic is kosovo and how undemocratic and racially hateful is serbia,dang

while the usa puts itself in the world sphere as a freedom fighters,they support many of the worlds biggest criminals
even in the ww2 ,they did not want to join the allies until it would be clear who won and then later on the they joined us ,as nazis starting loosing

In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 15, 2012 20:08
I know all of that and I would add even more -
Serbians suffered genocide since before "First War",
International character of Serbs (beside Russia-spoiled)
Is known, Tesla lived there, Einshtein married a Serbian girl,
Many non-Serbians lived in Serbia - but Serbs were walled.

It is the history and the choices nations make, provoked,
By larger power that play its games, even "bratushkas".
I new only about three Serbs in City I stood quite long,
One played footbol and during Khrutchev broke scull
Of Albanian goalkeeper, another hit my liver - strong.

And all of that by order of Russia, turning lying state
Of expanding and influxing neighbors imperio-weld.
Albania for critic on Khrutchev, me for family name
Of my Georgian father, killed in WW2. It was Serb
In City I knew was OK, but he found a different job.

I don't condamn one by choices, one forced make.
Choices they make defining their forseeable future,
Thought. After WW2 Serbs said it was to risky way
Go to UN with offer of CIS of Yugoslavia, butchered
In WW2 and encircled by West's armies at the bay.

Instead they smashed Stalin for proposition, to play
Little empire with Austrian UN Secretary and Czars,
Staffed by Russian monarchists Serbs made a day.
Could Serbs accept more positive future then, in 45?
Coud they accept after blood speeled - a better way?

They still can, but the only way I see, in this situation,
Is to go publicly to UN and to the World for all nations
With similar propositions - Ignore "Mashtrih" as illegal,
Return to Serbia rightfull land and property, and recall
Refugees of all Yugoslavia nations, decide all borders.

That would be impossible without "CIS of Yugoslavia",
Because potential enemies don't give-take each-other
Anything and don't like borders drawn as "fiordy" lines.
Many parts, energy and economy, are the vital gutter,
Can be collectivly owned - neighbors in CIS don't fight.
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
October 13, 2012 22:45
Dragan, this is because the Serbs had the courage to stand up to the full might of the US and were considered by the US as "the enemy". The western media just followed along - and still does. It is the same double-standards as now, with the western media over-reporting on the Pakistani Taliban shooting a school-girl but with the non-reporting of US drones killing them in their hundreds. Entire families wiped at wedding feasts because the US "got it wrong" - again.
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
October 20, 2012 13:18
So you say the Serbs did right in wasting us balije??? And the USA should have let them? And let them snuff the albos too??? And now they should let Bashar al Assad snuff his people too?? But as usual you will be too cowardly to answer.
In Response

by: Rory from: London
October 13, 2012 23:26
A well argued piece. We shouldn't think that the US was any more inclined to do the necessary to stop the war, just that the politics there were different. But the sad truth is that when the EU talks about 'Europe' it consciously excludes the Balkans. The EU has long condescended to, misunderstood and mishandled the region.

Dragan - saw a lot of the war from Australia? I guess it's easy to be a patriot when you don't suffer the consequences of ongoing conflict. I suspect the reason that people talk about Serbian crimes first and foremost is because the wars were caused by the Serbian nationalist project and Serbs committed the vast majority or crimes includIng genocide in Bosnia and because until now, despite the effort of some incredible brave people in Serbia, Serbian society in general has, twenty years after Vukovar, made no serious effort to come to terms with the past and is still pursuing the old nationalist goals, in Bosnia and Kosovo. It's not propaganda.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
October 25, 2012 06:46
Rory, Rick, Ben and Roberto, article paiving a wrong way.
And so are you - thought all sides were guilty in abuses,
Thought Serbs even more than others - let them pay.
Why twist to reposess land and property of Serbs?
Robb hot greedy hands - German nazi's friends?

Law of God and International law say no change
Can happen in taking given properties and lands
Among families, Clans, Tribes and even nations.
Serbs live in Kraina, Bosnia, Kosovo and places.
German-Austrian invaders forged "Mashtrih" end.

They cut Serbia in peaces, unleashed cleansing,
Used local hate, remaining since Ottoman wars,
And till present legitimizing annexations-stealings
As in Caucasus and Georgia repopulate by "vors".

By pact - Russia, Brits, Germany-Austria in 1954,
Divide again the World - Ugoslavia to be annexed,
All by Austria-Germany. Belgrade for Russia vors.
If Serbs agree for Germans look "good" look "bad".
Rory - Brits and Germs trained Serbs "cut heads"!

Sure, all must pay before Just Court (If it was just),
But why nationalist or not, blaime, if Serbs robbed?
Is it nationalist goals, amalgamated imperialist bast
Of Russia, Britain Germany and Austria, ask stolen
Be return to people that lived there - land cleansed?
In Response

by: rick
October 14, 2012 05:02
You are correct ,
how many know about this , for exemple ....

In Response

by: Ben from: Bosnia
October 15, 2012 08:11
Rory, thank you for what you said. Dragan, you are asking for proof, i think it is enough to mention Dobrica Cosic and his plan of "clearance the land" of "non serbian elements"... Srebrenica is a good proof too, you want more, tell me once in Belgrade there was tens, hundreds of mosques... where are they today??!! so, we are not the same, we muslims, we were fighting for all people of Bosnia, serbs, muslims, catholics, gypsies, jews... just look now, how many serbs are living and working in Sarajevo, and how many muslims live and work in the smaller part of Bosnia??!!

by: roberto from: san francisco
October 13, 2012 15:14
excellent and timely analysis -- thank you, tanya!

by: Jack from: US
October 13, 2012 16:41
wait, and they will pick Taliban for Nobel peace prize next time. After all, US government, its NATO/EU minions are friends and allies with Taliban and its foster parents in Pakistan

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
October 13, 2012 17:11
Tanya Domi teaches human rights-and by human she means muslim.No wonder western media paints its distorted crooked version of current events in the Balkans and everywhere else-its propaganda fits perfectly shamericans` own self delusions of world super-duper power grandeur & WASP egotism.Samanta Power`s book contains a lot of material dealing with US responsabilities for the recent genocides,unlike Domi`s perversions...meanwhile judging by her name - is she albanian? And judging recent arab `spring` events caused by shamerican interests how should we label Shamerica but the Godfather of the Muslim Brotherhoods??? Now Tanya Domi should unite with Con Doleeza Mice,Mad Elaine All Bright and Hillarious Hillary to form The American Muslim Sisters of this world and they should build a turkish bath where the twin towers stood and hold their hanky-panky sessions there!!!Long live Shamerica!!! And Israel,too!!!

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
October 13, 2012 19:10
The Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to Pakistani brave young girl, Malala Yousafzai!
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
October 18, 2012 22:20
Yes, much more deservedly. I hope other young girls in Pakistan and such places as Afghanistan or Yemen will not be discouraged. She's an incredibly courageous person. I pray that she will recover. Once she said she would go inti politics. Well I hope so, and much more deserved than others. And NOT all Muslims are women oppressors! I for one, am not, and none of the Muslims I know, and I know many, is either.

by: Alex from: LA
October 13, 2012 23:38
how double standard(y). Justice here for Muslim being victims, but not the other way around, the reason and excuse is it's been 97 years ago and they are part of NATO now and strategic ally, so what?
In Response

by: Abdulmajid
October 18, 2012 22:22
So, accordsing to you ,Muslims do not deserve justice because they areMuslims, right? Then I don't want the friendship of those like you. If you think you're better than the fascist antisemites of the 1930s and 40s you're very wrong.

by: Mike
October 13, 2012 23:53
No doubt that the author is Albanian and just a little biased here. Why didn't you mention the Albanian KLA group who smuggled organs from live Serb victims? Why didn't you mention how before the war over 250,00 Serbs lived in Kosovo and now there are merely 50,00 or so? Perhaps you can even mention how the Bosnian Muslims recruited Muhajideen fighters and now host Al Qaeda networks in and Wahabi movements in Bosnia. Yes, the EU did let us ALL down. There was no such thing as the promise of a 'greater Serbia'. That's simply Western propaganda to initiate the war machine. Serbia moved to protect their people in the former Yugoslav regions. Such as the 300,00 who were ethnically cleansed from the Krajina region of Croatia with help from their old WWII friends the Germans. You can write whatever you wish, however there is much untold truth to that war.
In Response

by: Tanya Domi from: New York City
October 15, 2012 09:20
Questions about my own ethnicity: yes, I am second-generation Albanian AMERICAN and happen to be Greek Orthodox, so that should turn upside down most of these stereotypes about my ethnic background. My grandmother came to America in 1928 and was a Greek minority from Southern Albania--she was not Muslim, although I do not presuppose that all Serb Orthodox persons of faith are bad people. The sad aspect to this terrible recent history in the Balkans is that too many people have suffered and vast over generalizations about the motivations of people based upon ethnic and religious stereotypes hurt everyone.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
October 14, 2012 07:59
I can agree with you Tanya that the European Union does not deserve the Nobel Prize..
Only for one such conclusion-"over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." you can talk with the originator of this text- manly (with the right hand to the jaw)...

On the other hand I do not understand your position..
We all know what happened in Yugoslavia and how thugs of different nationalities committed crimes..However, I would remind you that such crimes were committed not only in Yugoslavia.
There are places where bandits killed civilians, not less, sometimes more than Yugoslavia.
Here you remind about Srebrenica where bandits killed 8000 men and boys..And what do you know about Abkhazia where аbkhaz gunmen in a few days killed 12 thousand women. children and the elderly or take the Nagorno-Karabakh, where thousands of civilians killed..
If you want to discuss such issues and the role of the EU in this (or rather inaction the EU and its hypocritical stance) then write not only about Yugoslavia, but also other parts of Europe where there were crimes against humanity..
you do not get very frank-talking about one, say nothing about the other...

by: GeoV from: Wales
October 14, 2012 11:41
I share the writer's horror at the events in BiH in the 1990s. Indeed, as a UK citizen, the obstructive actions of the UK government at the time disgust me. What is more, I week ago I actually wrote to the Office of High Representative in Sarajevo which, it should be made clear, acts on behalf of the UN as well as the EU, expressing disquiet about its effectiveness in pressing for a more functional central government in BiH and the consequent closure of cultural institutions. However, I completely dissent from the writer's conclusion.
The Nobel citation relates to the promotion of peace (and democratic values) in Europe over decades, beginning after the Second World War. The EU is far from perfect - you might well say this of other Nobel Peace Prize winners also - but the award was for its core values over a long period as much as anything. It can promote values but it dos not have the military means to enforce them. especially where a country, such as Yugoslavia, lies outside the EU. There is a perfectly good argument that the 'international community' failed BiH badly in the 1990s. Also, I would be inclined to think the EU should be doing more to promote its values in BiH at the moment. However, it has to be admitted that promoting EU values (and membership) over a sustained period is a monumental task and, somewhere along the line, BiH politicians have to take responsibility for their actions.
That being said, the article manages to conflate the UK, NATO, the EU and the 'international community'. Its argument and conclusion lack rationality.

by: Trajko from: Aegean & Pirin Macedonian
October 14, 2012 13:14
The EU is NOT worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize due to the fact how it tolerates how its members, especially Greece and Bulgaria treat their minorities. For example these overtly nationalistic countries still pretend that Macedonians don't exit. Yes, that's write in the year 2012 they're the only 2 countries in the world that deny Macedonians their basic Human Rights
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
October 14, 2012 19:11
Macedonian nation dear UDBA traiko,is a stalinist komintern invention.Old Uncle joe drank a lot of adulterated georgian pigswill,pardon wine and decided the follow the good old british colonial imperial way of divide and rule.You can build a thousand monuments stealing your neighbours` history ,but you will never cure your inferiority complexes.Your only chance of EU membershipwill be when you become a part of Great Albania,or Great Kosovo,or Bosnia-the muslims recognize you as a `nation`,just like the serbian UDBA kgbs!!!But there is one thing I admire the real macedonians-they know very well what they are in their proverb which says:Што je маке све je лай_ _,meaning all macs are sh_ _,well you can finish it!!!
Comments page of 2