Blurring Reality: Denial of Genocide in Srebrenica

Bojan Perović

Cohen distinguishes three types of denial – literal, interpretive, and implicatory. Literal denial is the claim that something did not happen or is not true. In literal (factual or open) denial, facts and findings are denied. This is the most extreme version of denial in practice, and is usually accompanied by interpretive and implicatory denial. In the case of interpretive denial, the point is not to deny the raw facts, but rather to give them a different meaning or put them in another context. Implicatory denial exists when one is not trying to deny the facts or even their interpretation, but rather focuses on minimizing the psychological, political or moral implications. At a certain level, after the fall of Milošević, all three forms of denial can be detected in Serbian political and intellectual elites, but the most dominant form is the interpretative model

The overthrow of Slobodan Milošević is often referred to as a revolutionary event in recent Serbian history that should have brought about numerous mechanisms for dealing with the past. After Milošević’s fall in 2000, Serbia was supposed to start its transitional justice processes. Fifteen years later, little has been done, but much more has been relativized and brought to the level of complete banality in terms of transitional justice, and especially in the context of the events in Srebrenica. In this paper, an analysis of Milošević’s successors, characterized as pro-democracy forces, will highlight the matrix that “democratic” followers in the process of facing the past used, primarily concerning their attitudes to the war in Bosnia and even more towards Srebrenica. This paper analyzes the three most important political fi gures after 2000 (Vojislav Koštunica, Zoran Đinđić and Boris Tadić) as well as the coupling of various infl uences on their relation to Srebrenica that led to the main thesis of this work, i.e. the “blurred reality.” Thus, the aim of this paper is to analyze the policies that were employed by these three politicians in regard to Srebrenica. We might observe the same pattern repeated albeit with specifi c modalities, which were more or less successful. But all three had one thing in common, and that was genocide denial.

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Sources

  1. Sluiter, A. (2016). Remembering the Bosnian genocide: justice, memory and denial. Institute for Islamic Tradition of Bosniaks.

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