Topic 1: Serbian Question
Committee: Historical General Assembly of 1994
Delegate: Ms.Brianna Carlin and Ms.Asucena Boyer
In 1991, the government of the yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia, which, one year later, caused Yugoslavia to weaken drastically. This happened because of the pressures of ethnic conflict, economic issues, and the manipulative nature of Slobodan Milosevic- the Serbian leader. The string of ethnic conflicts arose shortly after Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence inside the territory of Yugoslavia along with an outbreak in war crimes in the ongoing war between the two. The Bosnian Serb forces, supported by the Yugoslav Army, began to commit a form of genocide, targeting Bosniak and Croatian citizens. Over the next several years these crimes resulted in the death of over 100,000 people. Along with the mass murder of those people, many other atrocities are being committed by both sides. One extremely sickening act that occurred during the war is the multitude of sex crimes and sexual violence. Even worse, perhaps, is the fact that these acts weren’t even just an act of lust, but a deliberate strategy in the Bosnian Serb campaign for victory. In fact, rape had been planned at the highest levels of the Bosnian Serb military structure. For example, detention camps were set up for the sole purpose of raping women.
In response to the issue of sexual violence during armed conflict, the United Nations General Assembly pushed for the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict in 1947. This declaration recognizes that women and children, being more vulnerable, are more easily taken advantage of, therefore they are more likely to suffer in armed conflict. Another solution the U.N. put to action in order to stop the “flow of arms” to the conflicted sides, was an arms embargo. Their ultimate goal was to put a stop to most, if not all, of the war between the afflicted sides.
Regarding the issue of establishing peace in the Balkan region, President George H. W. Bush decided that it was primarily an European issue. This was clearly not the right decision, however, because the response was major war crimes and continuous ethnic cleansing. In attempt to remedy this, candidate Bill Clinton urged to lift the arms embargo, putting the Bosnian Muslims and Croats at more of an advantage. When an effort to gain support for the “lift and strike” strategy failed and exposed major holes in NATO’s actions in conflict, alliance members that were participating in U.N. Protective Force began to fear for the safety of their troops. Their troops were widely dispersed, lightly armed and not of great multitude, therefore they were very vulnerable to guerrilla warfare. In order to establish a safe zone, on April 16th 1993 in UN security Council Resolution 819, the council demanded that the town of Srebrenica and some areas surrounding it, is a safe zone, in which soldiers and citizens are safe from any armed or hostile attack. Further, they demanded that all hostilities of Bosnian Serb paramilitary forces secede from the areas in and around Srebrenica.