Which implies something about who the majority of the real victims were.

Strasbourg Court may Bankrupt Balkans (Voice of Russia, Aug. 12, 2010)

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg may make Balkans bankrupt if it fairly treats all property disputes on the territory of former Yugoslavia. The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was shocked by the court’s ruling to pay € 65,000 compensation to Serb Branimir Djokic, whose house was confiscated by Muslims during the war. At its extra meeting the government stated that the country will face financial collapse if the court makes the same decision regarding 20,000 other households which belonged to Serbian citizens before the war.

During the war Serbs were forced to leave their houses not only in Serbia but also in Croatia, Slovenia and in the Serbian region of Kosovo. In Bosnia and Herzegovina where three ethnicities were fighting against each other the property disputes now seem to be the most complicated ones. We hear from Elena Guskova, head of the center for the Balkan crisis under the Institute of Slavonic studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

“The case of the Serb from Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first when a person receives a compensation for the lost property following the ruling of an international court. We may expect the same ruling regarding the cases of Serbs in Kosovo where Muslims began to drive them away back in 1981. If 200,000-260,000 Serbs in Kosovo claim compensations for their lost property this small region will soon go bankrupt. The situation is very complicated. It is unlikely that any international organization on Balkans will be busy with these disputes. It is likely that they will entitle local governments with this unpleasant task and that means that this process will last for several decades.”

First of all these are the former leaders of former Yugoslavia who are guilty of ethnic cleansing during the Balkan crisis. Today the International court of human rights cannot bring them all to responsibility for obvious reasons. However all the person involved in the case of property rights fell into oblivion. Elena Guskova continues:

“When NATO aircraft attacked Serbian positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994-1995 the local Muslims took it as the support of their interests. From this point of view NATO’s support made Muslims more confident and they began to drive Serbs away more aggressively. In 1999, when NATO bombed Yugoslavia, Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija also saw NATO’s strikes as their support and became more active. In 2004, Kosovans rose again to kill Serbs and international organizations let this genocide happen so they are also partly to blame for the tragic events on Balkans.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina asked the court in Strasbourg to reconsider the verdict on paying a compensation to the Serb. So now it is the a moment of truth for the European Court of Human rights. To back down would mean betrayal of the values Europe is so proud of. To keep its decision unchanged would mean to create an important precedent and force the governments of Balkan countries and Kosovo region to pay compensations to Serbs. Considering that the EU and NATO are also responsible for those tragic events it would be logical to advance claims against them too.

Let’s hope.

Further to the point about victim status in the Balkans: You can always tell the real victims from the designated victims by the fact that the former have no international advocates. As Iseult Henry — an international aid worker who spent some years in post-war Kosovo — attests as she tries to help the Nikolic family (still living at a Greek KFOR base) get their appropriated (and burned) property back: “All the cases brought before regional court systems are usually brought by NGOs working on human rights issues [but] I know of no such NGO helping the Serbs or Roma in Kosovo.”

(Note: My use of the words “real victims” is not to discount the fact that there were very real Albanian victims of Western intervention and its KLA cohorts. But being on the winning side, whether they wanted any of this or not, even the non-aggressive Albanian victims got the spoils and the advocates.)