The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council is heartened by the U.S. brokered cease-fire which has restored electricity and other basic services to many Bosnian cities and towns. The long siege on Sarajevo has been lifted and routes to many Muslim enclaves have been opened. In September, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke persuaded the Foreign Ministers of Bosnia, Croatia’ and Serbia to agree to a framework set of principles that are intended to guide the forthcoming peace settlement negotiations.
However, the fighting has not stopped completely and ethnic cleansing and systematic rape reportedly continue. The NJCRAC is very concerned about the indiscriminate infliction of civilian casualties, including large-scale killings of civilians, forced relocation and detention of Muslims and Croats by the Serbian forces. Furthermore, the NJCRAC has been troubled by reports of human rights abuses by Croats and Muslims. The organized Jewish community denounces all such atrocities and calls for an international standard to which all parties must be held accountable.
The NJCRAC supports President Clinton’s endorsement of the UN War Crimes Tribunal against those who ordered and implemented atrocities such as mass rapes and summary executions, and who promoted conditions of starvation in concentration camps as well as other cruelties as parts of the Serbian “ethnic cleansing. ” The NJCRAC continues to call for those who are accused to be tried and if convicted punished.
The NJCRAC calls for the following:
- The United States must continue to condemn and call for an immediate stop to all atrocities while pursuing a regional peace involving Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs.
- International peace keepers must be charged with reporting any future atrocities in the region and actively helping to support the people under attack.
- The United States government should support a fully funded UN War Crimes tribunal obliged to try all individuals already indicted on charges of genocide and those who may be indicted in the future.
Dissent: The Jewish War Veterans of the USA continues to oppose and to dissent from any proposals to employ or to deploy American Land Forces in the former Yugoslavia without there being clear military objectives, a defined American national security interest and a determined withdrawal date.