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Boston College Third World Law Journal
Volume 14 | Issue 2
Article 6
The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War by
Misha Glenny
Joanne Kelsey
Follow this and additional works at: http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/twlj
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History Commons
Recommended Citation
Joanne Kelsey, The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan War by Misha Glenny, 14 B.C. Third World L.J.
369 (1994), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/twlj/vol14/iss2/6
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Books. 1992. Pp. 194.
MISRA GLENNY. New York: Penguin
All of us have had, now and then, a terrible, horrifying dream, a
nightmare, from which we wake up in the middle of the night or
at dawn bathed in sweat from the terror we have experienced. We're
overcome by joy to find that it was only a dream and not reality.
Sadly, what is happening around us today, this horror, this chaos
on our soil, in the heart of Europe, at the beginning of the
twenty-first century, this destruction, this killing, this hatredthis, alas, is no dream but a living nightmare.!
The nightmare began on June
25, 1991
when the Republic of
Slovenia, followed shortly thereafter by the Republic of Croatia, declared independence from the Federation of the Republics ofYugoslavia. 2
response, the Serbian-led Yugoslav People's Army
vaded Slovenia, sparking the fire that ignited the entire Balkan region. 3
Todorovic, statement to YUTEL, Nov. 2, 1991, quoted in MISHA GLENNY, THE FALL OF
2 A Whirlwind of Hatreds: How the Balkans Broke Up, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 14, 1993, at E5
[hereinafter Whirlwind]. Slovenia's secession arose from its dispute, primarily with Serbia, over
the future political relationships among the country's republics and provinces. See Richard F.
Iglar, Comment, The Constitutional Crisis in Yugoslavia and the International Law of SeifDetermination: Slovenia's and Croatia's Right to Secede, 15 B.C. INT'L & COMPo L. REv. 213,216 (1992).
Croatia and Slovenia, supported by Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo, favored a loose
confederal system, rather than the centralized federal system desired by Serbia, Montenegro, and
Vojvodina. Id.
3 This invasion included efforts to seize Slovenia's international border crossings. Whirlwind,
supra note 2, at E5. Slovenia's militia successfully resisted the attack. Id. The Yugoslav army also
attacked Croatia, which, having lost 30% of its territory, declared it would continue fighting to
reclaim it. Sabrina P. Ramet, War in The Balkans, FOREIGN AFF., Fall 1992, at 79, 8l.
The violence in Croatia and Slovenia and the European Community's recognition of these
states pushed Bosnia into an abyss. With Croatia and Slovenia under Serbian attack, the Bosnian
government had three choices: it could remain within the fugoslav Federation and be ruled by
Serbia, it could accept the territorial division of Bosnia between Serbia and Croatia, or it could
apply to the United Nations for recognition as an independent state. GLENNY, supra note 1, at
143. Bosnian-Croats and Moslems, wary of Serbian domination, considered the first solution
unacceptable; the Moslems, unhappy with the prospect of a division of their country, rejected
1 Boro
[Vol. 14:369
The ensuing battles,4 the systematic rape of women,5 and the Serbian
campaign to "ethnically cleanse"6 the Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina
have been documented and publicized in excruciating detail.
Because observers have lacked sources that accurately depict the
historical events fueling this violence, few people understand the underlying causes of the bloodshed. The sources that do address this
subject often lack credibility, leading to misrepresentations and rumors
that only fan the flames of ethnic hatred. 7 From this perspective, the
contribution of Misha Glenny'S The Fall of Yugoslavia: The Third Balkan
War is readily apparent. The book provides a vivid personal account
of the events and personalities that led to Europe's first war since 1948. 9
Through a detailed account of his personal interactions with the people of the Balkans and their leaders, Glenny provides a foundation for
the second alternative; and the Serbs, as they fought to create a "greater Serbia," found the third
proposal unacceptable. See generally id. Each option appeared to lead to armed conflict among
the different groups.
In April 1992, just prior to the United States' and European Community's recognition of
Bosnia-Hercegovina's independence, Serbian nationalists and the fugoslav Army launched their
attempt to claim the Bosnian territory for Greater Serbia. Whirlwind, supra note 2, at E5. In the
winter of 1994, despite dozens of cease·fire orders and efforts by the United Nations to end the
conflict, the fighting still continued.
4 Mark Weller, Current Developments: The International Response to the Dissolution of the
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, S6 AM.]. INT'L L. 569, 570, 571-73 (1992).
5 Theodor Meron, Rape as a Crime Under International Humanitarian Law, S7 AM.]. INT'L
L. 424, 424-25 (1993) (describing rape in Bosnia as deliberate, massive, and egregious). An
unpublished European Community report described rape as a Serbian war strategy. Arthur H.
Matthews, Yugoslavia's Waiting Game, WORLD,Jan. 16, 1993, at 12. According to the report, sexual
assaults against an estimated 20,000 women and children should not "be seen as incidental to
the main purpose of the aggression, but as serving a strategic purpose in itself." Id.; see also Petition
Decries Practice of Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina, GAZETTE, Mar. 11, 1993, atA3. The experience
of one 17·year-old, as described to journalists, is representative: "Mter raping [Marijanal and her
mother, Serb irregulars carried [her 1 off to a camp in the forest, where she and a group of other
women were raped repeatedly over several weeks. They finally freed her when she became
pregnant .... " Bruce W. Nelan, Rumor & Reality, TIME, Aug. 24, 1992, at 46.
6 The term "ethnic cleansing" has been defined as "the forcible eviction of particular populations variously defined by their ethnicity and culture, including religion and language, from