Situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council is appalled by the ruthless and systematic violence that continues to be perpetrated against Moslem and other citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina. As Jews we are deeply pained by the recurrence of such human tragedy in this century. The United States, as well as the UN and other governments, must take the necessary steps to separate the warring factions, assist them in negotiating a peaceful settlement and restore peace and normalcy to Bosnia-Herzegovina.


In view of the continuing assault on the people of Bosnia by Serbian military and paramilitary forces, and the apparent failure of the conflict to be resolved peacefully in an expeditious manner, the NJCRAC calls upon the Clinton Administration to take the necessary steps, in concert with other governments and the United Nations, to:


  • accelerate humanitarian relief efforts;


  • if there is no progress in the negotiations to end the violence and establish peace, lift the discriminatory arms embargo imposed on Bosnia- Herzegovina. This independent and besieged country must be allowed to obtain the means for self-defense;


  • enforce a no-fly zone over Bosnia, and end the siege of Sarajevo and other cities and strategic areas, including the use of limited air strikes;


  • investigate all allegations of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, including mass murder, mass rapes, torture, and other crimes against humanity, and to set up an international tribunal that would bring those responsible for these crimes to be tried and punished;


  • urge the United Nations to add the crime of rape to the list of internationally-recognized war crimes;


  • establish an effective United Nations peace enforcement presence in the former Yugoslavian republics;


  • recognize and condemn unequivocally the savage means being employed by Serbian military and paramilitary forces to implement their stated policy of “ethnic cleansing,” aimed at eradicating the Moslem population of Bosnia- Herzegovina through death or forcible population transfer and other means of intimidation;


  • press all parties, in particular the Serbians, to desist from all acts of violence as a precondition to continuing peace negotiations;

In addition, the United States Government should immediately take the following actions:


  • establish a watch list to bar from entry to this country any individuals who have been determined responsible for war crimes committed in Bosnia;


  • provide for the acceptance of refugees from Bosnia to enter the United States if they wish to come; 


  • While these steps alone will not bring about the peaceful resolution of this tragic conflict, the NJCRAC believes a more aggressive posture by the world community, led by the United States, is essential to encouraging the Serbian forces to desist from their destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are deeply concerned that if these measures are not implemented with dispatch and authority, the conflict may spread to the neighboring republics of Kosovo and Macedonia.