Serbian State Failure

Serbian State Failure

Today’s Daily Globe and Mail (www.theglobeandmail.com) headlines shout “Genocide Ruling Angers Bosnian Muslims” and so perhaps everybody should, shout and be angry that is. But this would be too easy and fails to consider several important distinctions in detail.

Was Serbian state “negligence” willful genocide, wilfully perpetrated by a state upon a helpless minority? or was it merely another example of a “failure of authority” or what we have come to recognize as “state failure”?

One cannot “sue” a State without the State’s permission. Nor can one sue a Milosovic or a Hussein without implicating the whole of the civil apparatus that supported them and countenanced their actions. On the other hand, if you focus on the individual you can effectively hold harmless civil society and the political classes.

This is apparently what has happened.

The political classes of the Serbian Republic have accepted European comity. They have recognized European collective authority and cooperated. They have shown themselves to be responsible civil society. It would seem fair and expedient then, to recognize Serbian civil society as a force for stability and continuity and lay responsibility for the genocide at the feet of those whose failure of leadership led to such excess.

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