Phillip Corwin: Serbophobia Prevents Reaching the Truth
"Bosnian Serbs were concerned with protecting the Serbs, not killing the Muslims or Croats", Phillip Corwin
Interview with Phillip Corwin by Cathrin Schütz, Junge Welt
American Phillip Corwin was the highest UN official in Bosnia from spring to summer of 1995, serving as Civil Affairs Coordinator and Delegate of the Special Representative for the UN Secretary General. Previously, from 1994 to the spring of 1995 he held the same office for the region of Eastern Slavonia in Croatia. Duke University Press published his memoirs: Dubious mandates - A Memoir of the UN in Bosnia, Summer 1995.
Q: Richard Holbrooke, Paddy Ashdown and many other Western representatives who were involved in the Yugoslav tragedy, unanimously assessed the arrest of Radovan Karadzic's as the capture of one of the most brutal war criminals of our time. What is your opinion?
PC: Holbrooke and Ashdown used the wars in former Yugoslavia to build their careers. Their phrases like "one of the most brutal" and "good Nazi" -- that's how Holbrooke characterized Dr. Karadzic just now in the Spiegel interview -- remind us of their terrible bias and the severe harm that they caused as so-called diplomats. They foment the Serbophobia even now, making a fair process against Dr. Karadzic in The Hague impossible.
Q: What do you expect from the trial of the former president of Republika Srpska in Bosnia before the ad hoc tribunal in The Hague?
PC: In any criminal process the question of the intent is of central importance. Based on my personal contacts with Bosnian Serbs, including with Dr. Karadzic, I can only say that I am convinced the issue with Bosnian Serbs was to protect the Serbs, not to kill Muslims or Croats. Incidentally, the Gypsies allied with the Serbs -- they probably still remember all too well the treatment they were given during the Second World War by the "good Nazis" on the Croat and Muslim side. The Serbs were never threatened by the Gypsies and vice versa, the Serbs never undertook anything against the Gypsies. As always in the Hague, Dr. Karadzic can't expect a fair trial. He will be accused of participating in a 'conspiracy' and they will blame him for the deeds of soldiers in the field, whom he didn't know and to whom he never issued any orders.
Srebrenica Takeover: 700 Muslims Killed at Worst
Q: One of the main charges is Karadzic's alleged responsibility for the genocide of 8,000 Muslim males from Srebrenica. At the time Srebrenica was taken over by the Bosnian Serb Army in July 1995 you were the highest civilian official of the UN in Bosnia. What really happened?
PC: What happened on July 11 1995 in Srebrenica is part of a greater tragedy and cannot and must not be taken out of the context. Those who do are clearly doing it with intention to twist things to the detriment of one of the warring parties. What happened in Srebrenica was not a single massacre Serbs committed against the Muslims, but a series of bloody attacks and counterattacks during three years and escalating in 1995. The number of Muslims killed most probably was not higher than the number of the Serbs killed in the region during the previous years in the assaults of the Bosnian Muslim war commander Naser Oric. The number of missing Bosnian Muslims is also exaggerated. All this shows that the official reports are of purely political nature.
In May 1995, two months before the last battle for Srebrenica, the Croat army led the Operation Lightning in which 90 percent of the Serbs who lived in western Slavonia were expelled, i.e. they conducted the ethnic cleansing. A month after Srebrenica, 200,000 Serbs were expelled from their ancestral land in Krajina region [also in Croatia]. The international community remained silent in both cases! Srebrenica must be viewed in the context of events. If there really was a massacre -- and it seems realistic to speak about 700 victims -- then this is a war crime and the perpetrators must be held accountable. But the difference between the 700 and the commonly referred to 8,000 is not numerical -- it is political.