On March 24, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity after a trial lasting over five years. Many survivors of the Bosnian War of the 1990s were disappointed in the sentence of forty years, believing that with time served, Karadzic could possibly walk out of prison one day. Most experts agreed that the trial and verdict were very important symbolically, since Karadzic is the most senior leader to be convicted. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic died in 2006 before his trial concluded.
We have published a number of books about the Bosnian War and about Milosevic. As the Balkans continue to come to terms with their recent history, these scholars’ and former officials’ firsthand perspectives offer crucial background.
Twilight of Impunity is a gripping first-person account of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague. Judith Armatta, a lawyer who spent three years in the former Yugoslavia during Milosevic’s reign, had a front-row seat at the trial. She brings the dramatic proceedings to life, explains complex legal issues, and assesses the trial’s implications for victims of the conflicts in the Balkans during the 1990s and international justice more broadly.
In Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia former U.S. foreign service officer Louis Sell covers both the domestic Yugoslav side of the collapse and the history and consequences of international interventions in the wars in Slovenia and Croatia in 1991, Bosnia in 1992–1995, and Kosovo from 1998–1999. Sell provides first-hand observations of Milosevic from the heady days of his rise to power and, later, in the endgame of the Bosnian war, including the Dayton Peace Conference. (Sell’s new book about the end of the Soviet Union will be out in August.)
Dubious Mandate offers a close look at a critical year in the history of peacekeeping. 1995 saw the dramatic transformation of the role of United Nations’ forces in Bosnia from a protective force to being an active combatant under NATO leadership. Phillip Corwin, the UN’s chief political officer in Sarajevo during the summer of that year, presents an insider’s account of the momentous events that led to that transformation. Dubious Mandate interweaves personal experiences of daily life in a war zone—supply shortages, human suffering, assassination attempts, corruption—with historical facts, as Corwin challenges commonly held views of the war with his own highly informed, discerning, and trenchant political commentary.
Swanee Hunt was Ambassador to Austria during the Bosnian Wars. During her tenure as ambassador and after, she made scores of trips throughout Bosnia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia, attempting to understand the costly delays in foreign military intervention. She has written two books building on her experiences in the Balkans. Worlds Apart tells of a well-meaning foreign policy establishment often deaf to the voices of everyday people. Its focus is the Bosnian War, but its implications extend to any situation that prompts the consideration of military intervention on humanitarian grounds. This Was Not Our War shares amazing first-person accounts of twenty-six Bosnian women who are reconstructing their society following years of devastating warfare. Over the course of seven years, she conducted multiple interviews with each woman. While they are candid about the difficulties they face, they are committed to rebuilding Bosnia based on ideals of truth, justice, and a common humanity encompassing those of all faiths and ethnicities. Their wisdom is instructive, their courage and fortitude inspirational.