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The Geography of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia


David Pettigrew, PhD
Professor of Philosophy
Southern Connecticut State University

The scope of this paper concerns the extent to which the perpetrators of genocide (from 1992-1995) transformed “the terrain” in eastern Bosnia physically and psychically. Of course genocidal violence and transformation took place in other parts of Bosnia, but I am attempting to respond to the singularity of the stories of friends from an area near Srebrenica along the Drina River. The term “geography” is an abstract verbal noun that can be taken to mean, literally, “earth description,” that is to say, “writing on or about the earth.” In the case of “eastern Bosnia,” the perpetrators of genocide have “written” on the earth in the sense that villages, natal dwellings, mosques, post offices, schools and other cultural institutions were heavily damaged and in some cases razed to the ground. Civilians were displaced and murdered, women were subjected to sexual violence, and a new political-geographic entity, formally recognized as “Republika Srpska,” has been imposed.

There was a psychical conception of an ethnically homogeneous state that preceded this transformation of the terrain, a conception implemented and fostered by the founding leaders of Republika Srpska.ii The leadership formulated a conception of the terrain that would be “emptied” of Muslims. It is interesting to note that the founders of Republika Srpska are, to the last surviving person, either serving long jail sentences for crimes against humanity [Biljana Plavšić (Vice President) and Momčilo Krajišnik (speaker of National Assembly of RS)], on trial for such crimes [Radovan Karadžić, (President)], or a fugitive from justice [Ratko Mladić (Colonel General)].iii The following statements, for example, are attributed to Radovan Karadžić:

On October 12th 1991 he stated: “They [Bosniaks] will disappear, these people will disappear from the face of the earth”. 

A mere day later, on 13 October 1991, Karadžić, talking to Momcilo Mandic, said: “Within a few days there will be no Sarajevo, and there will be over 500,000 dead; within a month the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be destroyed!”

 Again, on 15 October 1991, Karadžić foresees the extermination of the Muslims in the event of war. Talking to Miodrag Davidovic and his own brother Luka, Karadžić said: “In the first instance, none of their leaders will remain alive, they will be killed within 3 or 4 hours. They will have no chance of surviving.”

… in early July 1995, shortly before Serbs attacked the United Nations-declared ”safe area” of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia.

 At one moment, he said the following sentence to me, “Miroslav, all of them need to be killed — whatever you can lay your hands on… ”iv

The International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia’s indictment states that Radovan Karadžić:

… participated in the below-charged crimes in order to secure control of those areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina which had been proclaimed part of the Serbian republic. …
 10. In order to achieve this objective, the Bosnian Serb leadership, including Radovan KARADŽIĆ, and at relevant times Momcilo KRAJISNIK, Biljana PLAVSIC and others, initiated and implemented a course of conduct which included the creation of impossible conditions of life, involving persecution and terror tactics, that would have the effect of encouraging non-Serbs to leave those areas; the deportation of those who were reluctant to leave; and the liquidation of others.v

As a result of such a re-conceptualization of the terrain, the Bosnian Serb and Serbian forces moved to eradicate Bosnian Muslims from within the newly configured territory of Republika Srpska. In eastern Bosnia, along the Drina River valley, south of Srebrenica, residents in the rural villages were attacked by Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces. One such village, which does not appear on the map, is called Shelling and sniper fire destroyed buildings and killed residents. At first shelling came from across the river in Serbia, and then originated from nearby as Serb soldiers seized adjacent villages. Hariz Halilovich, who was born in the village, has co-authored an article in which he reports:

“The first victim of the artillery pounding was a 12 year old girl, Sabera, who was mortally wounded by shrapnel from a shell that destroyed her family’s house – where she died after two hours in the cellar cum makeshift bomb shelter. The next victim, father of four Nasko, was cut to pieces by a shell that scored a direct hit of his recently-completed family home. … Sniper fire took the lives of five more people of Klotjevac: Esed, Husein, Eso, Ramiz and Fićo. By the end of 1992, twelve Klotjevac residents, a significant proportion of the village’s population, had been killed by shells and sniper fire from Serbia. The loss of life was just as devastating in the nearby hamlets of Prohići, Urisići and Sejdinovići.” (Ibid.)vii

Omer Suljemanović, a resident of Klotjevac who lost his brother, brother-in-law and four cousins at Potocari, told me that his cousin Esed (the Esed just mentioned above), was shot by a sniper “in the back, through the heart.” They had to retrieve the body and bury him at night under cover of darkness. viii

When residents left the area on the banks of the river under the towering cliffs of the Tara National Forest in Serbia, they fled to a UN-designated “safe area,” surrounding Srebrenica.ix As a “safe” area, Srebrenica was intended to be, “free from any armed attack or from any other hostile act” (Ibid.). The “safe area” resolution was the U.N.’s response to the fact that area was already undergoing a violent transformation, physically and psychically. Halilovich and Adams write that “By the summer 1992 Klotjevac and most of the Srebrenica region, … was completely cut off from the rest of the country and the outside world” (Ibid.). People fled to Srebrenica and the population swelled from 10,000 to 40,000. As we now know, the UN “safe area,” a geographic zone within Republika Srpska, actually facilitated, paradoxically and tragically, the full purpose of the Serbian reconceptualization and geographic re-description of the region. Bosnian Muslims were to become concentrated in the area of Srebrenica to such an extent that the “safe area” became a “killing zone.” Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić stood in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, and stated that Srebrenica was being returned to the Serb people: “We present this city to the Serbian people as a gift.” Poised to move on Potočari, Mladić proclaimed further that the time had come “to take revenge on the Turks in the region.”x

The political and psychical pressures in the safe area had produced a kind of atmospheric effect whereby the genocidal ideation intensified and became a reality in the condensation nuclei of the some 25,000 refugees who had fled to the UN base at Potočari ahead of Mladić’s advance. Further, more than 8,000 noncombatants –men and boys –were to be murdered as they attempted to flee north to Tuzla. Approximately 1,000 of the men were collected at the soccer field in Nova Kasaba and another 1,000 were taken to agricultural warehouses in Kravica. All were systematically murdered. Video documentary footage, filmed by the Skorpioni military unit that had been deployed from Belgrade to Srebrenica, provided incontrovertible evidence of their own unit’s direct involvement in the murder of innocent civilians in the surrounding hills.xi

As has been well documented, following these murders, the victims of Srebrenica were buried in mass graves that continue to mark the landscape with traces of the crime. A map with red dots indicating the locations of mass graves across Bosnia – posted at the secondary mass grave near the Potočari cemetery xii –suggests that the mass graves literally “dot” the land. When the geographic delineation of Republika Srpska was formally recognized by the Dayton Peace Accords,xiii the leadership of Republika Srpska was motivated to oversee the movement of the bodies of the victims from the primary mass graves to secondary and tertiary mass graves in an attempt to hide the evidence of the crimes. These mass graves are perhaps a corollary of the geography of genocide, which would entail such efforts to conceal the traces of criminality. Dehumanized and demonized, the victims were not allowed their own properly destinal dying or proper burial. Survivors were and are deprived of the process of burial and mourning. Each year additional bodies are found and identified.xiv One of many such secondary mass graves was discovered in 2007 in the hills above the Potočari cemetery along a gravel road among fields and wheat stacks.

If the goal of the eradication of the Muslims entailed a reconceptualization of the geography of the region, the primary source of such an “earth description” was the manipulation of certain myths by the political leadership of Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic rose to power in Serbia on a platform of securing a “greater Serbia” and seeking the reclamation of as much of the territory of Yugoslavia as would be possible. His initial strategy involved the re-appropriation of Kosovo. The battle of Kosovo at Kosovo Polje in 1389– when the Serbs met the Ottoman Empire on the battlefield—had become the mythical touchstone of Serbian cultural identity. Milosevic made various speeches designed to galvanize Serbian nationalism, including his well-known oration at Kosovo Polje on June 28, 1989, which was delivered on the 600th anniversary of the battle, a date that had been “commemorated” earlier with the Bosnian Serb assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. Milosevic’s rhetoric played effectively on the Serbian sense of victimization by the Turks, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Nazi Ustaša.xv Hasan Nuhanović, who would later become the U.N. translator at Potočari, reported on the divisive and chilling effect of the June 28th speech.xvi

As he succeeded in his rise to political power by recalling the myth of the Serbian stand against the Ottoman Empire, Milosevic engineered constitutional reforms to reverse the provisional autonomy that had been granted to Kosovo by Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. Louis Sell reports that Milosevic “used mob pressure to intimidate the Yugoslav federal organs into giving him a free hand in Kosovo.”xvii On February 27, 1989 “special measures” were imposed in Kosovo, measures that Sell suggests were a “euphemism for a ‘state of emergency’” (Ibid.). In late March 1989, provisions of the 1974 Constitution that had granted Kosovo a degree of autonomy were revoked. Further, Sell reports that on July 5, 1990, the Serb Assembly “formally dissolved its Kosovo counterpart” and “assumed all legislative functions in the province” (Ibid., 93). Cultural institutions were closed, “tens of thousands of ethnic Albanian employees were dismissed from their jobs,” and “virtually all Albanian education and medical personnel” were dismissed. The result was described by Sell as “Apartheid,” He writes:

No aspect of life in Kosovo was left untouched. The Albanian theatre in Pristina was shut down…The local film company was put under Serb direction while the Albanian ballet was closed altogether. During the siege of Sarajevo, Serb gunners destroyed Bosnia’s cultural and historical heritage by lobbing incendiary shells into the national library. In Kosovo, the Serbs accomplished the same task by theft. (Ibid., 94)

Milosevic’s conjuration of the ghost of the Ottoman past in Kosovo, marginalized Albanian Kosovars, and paved the way for the demonization of the Bosnian Muslims, a dehumanization that soon served to exclude the Muslims from the social, cultural, political and legal spheres.

For Giorgio Agamben, such an exclusion is the by-product of a declaration of the state of exception, where the declaration, according to Carl Schmitt’s classical formulation, places the sovereign above the law.xviii Agamben suggests that the sovereign’s movement above the law is accompanied by the expulsion, in the same moment, of certain persons outside the socio-legal sphere in which rights and protections are conferred.xix The person expelled from the socio-juridical order is the one who becomes, to borrow a phrase that appears in a 1920 publication authored by legal specialist Karl Binding and Professor of Medicine Alfred Hoche: “lebensunwerten Leben” [“Life unworthy of being lived”].xx Agamben writes that Binding sought to extend the scope of a concept, namely, the “unpunishability” of killing of certain forms of life that are deemed unfit, that no longer have value for the person or for society (HS 138). Binding wanted to include the incurably ill as well as those with disabilities in this category, and he saw no reason “not to authorize the killing of these men who are nothing but the frightening reverse image [Gegenbild] of authentic humanity.”xxi

Agamben reconsiders Binding’s concept of “life that does not deserve to live,” with a term from Roman Law: homo sacer.xxii Agamben’s interpretation of Roman Law is that homo sacer is the one who can no longer be sacrificed and who at the same time can be killed with impunity (HS 71). Agamben understands this as a “double exclusion” from the “sanctioned forms of both human and divine law”(HS 82). For Agamben this exclusion (of homo sacer) opens a sphere or space that is “only ever maintained in a state of exception,” (HS 83) and excluded from socio-political culture. The term is translated in Agamben’s book as “sacred life” but the Latin can also be rendered as “accursed,” which seems more intuitively appropriate for the context.

For Agamben, the ultimate accomplishment of the degradation of the homo sacer was the World War II death camp. He describes the camp as an “extratemporal and extraterritorial threshold in which the human body is separated from its normal political status and abandoned in a state of exception, to the most extreme misfortune” (HS 159). Indeed, for Agamben, the camp is the space that is “opened when the state of exception begins to become the rule” (HS 168-169). One could say, further, that the space of the camp that is opened by the designation of homo sacer, insures, in turn, the fate of homo sacer. Agamben’s appropriation of the concept of homo sacer allows for a clarification, then, of the geography of genocide.

The UN-designated “safe area” of Srebrenica/Potočari can be said, by analogy, to have been opened as a genocidal space through the designation of its Muslim inhabitants as homines sacri, an area that then determined the fate of its inhabitants. But this “nomos” of the camp pertained just as well to the entire geographic area of Republika Srpska in which Bosnian Muslims were no longer given the right to live. Serbs above the law, Muslims outside the law and susceptible to extermination: Republika Srpska can only be said to have been conceived as such. Agamben describes such a zone of exclusion as a “dislocating localization” (HS 175). Hence Muslims could be murdered, thrown in mass graves, shot, displaced, and raped, since all of Republika Srpska was such a geographic entity: a dehumanizing zone of exclusion within itself.

The condensation nuclei of genocidal hatred that came to presence in Srebrenica and Potočari not only precipitated the violence but also ultimately precipitated Republika Srpska itself. The founding leadership of Republika Srpska may be in prison, on trial, or fugitive from justice, but their geographic re-description of the terrain in genocidal terms perdures and deepens its roots daily. This genocidal geography continues to be expressed in physical and human terms. Some of the mosques that were destroyed have been replaced by Churches. The authorities have changed or erased place names, written the names in Cyrillic lettering, and created signage in that new lettering. The signage could easily involve Serbo-Croatian words written in both Latin and Cyrillic letters, as is the case with the national currency, but throughout Republika Srpska the signs are almost exclusively in Cyrillic lettering. It seems there has been an over-determined effort to identify a “national” language expressed in Cyrillic letters in an apparent attempt to assert ethnic purity or alliance with Serbia proper.xxiii In many cases, when “bi-alphabetical” signs have been installed (with both Cyrillic and Latin letters), the Latin letters have been defaced. Schools in Republika Srpska have a separate curriculum from those in the Bosnia Federation. The Office of the High Representative has expressed its concern that the leadership of Republika Srpska, Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, has been creating parallel institutions that will make the kinds of functional reunification intended by the Dayton Peace Agreement more difficult to achieve.xxiv Recent reports indicate that Republika Srpska is attempting to open its own diplomatic missions in certain countries.xxv

Further, while former residents have the right of return, there are severe disincentives.xxvi Their relatives are dead, they themselves lived through a trauma that they associate with the place, and their homes are in ruins.xxvii Factories were destroyed and employment is scarce. In rural areas returnees or visitors face the threat of land mines and unexploded ordnance. A further troubling fact is that one’s neighbor could be a perpetrator. In October 2005, a special working group assembled by the Bosnian Serb Government identified 19,473 Bosnian Serb soldiers who were involved directly and indirectly in the massacre. Many of them still live in the area and “are thought to be working for the Bosnian Serb government, army or police.”xxviii When the first bus traveled to Klotjevac in 2007 with a group of Australian students, survivors thought that the driver had been a perpetrator. Hence, many are afraid or unable to return to ground zero of the genocide. The terrain has been redefined and reshaped. Sometime after the end of hostilities, a sign was posted in Klotjevac that warned: “Klotjevac Hunting Zone”. What did this mean? Was it a reference to the ethnic cleansing? Was it an allusion to the fact that the ruins of the village were already being overgrown and reclaimed by the surrounding forest? Or was it a cruel threat to the Muslim residents who might attempt to return? xxix

What I would like to suggest is that the intent, the mens rea of genocide –“…genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”– a mens rea that was explicit in the statements of Bosnian Serb leaders, and implicit in the murders of Bosnian Muslims, is now imbedded, if not “programmed,” if you will, into the political, social and cultural fiber of Republika Srpska. The momentum of this psychical and physical re-description of the earth described thus far continued after the initial violence abated, and continues today unabated. Republika Srpska, in its current state, can be seen as the institutionalization of a genocidal geography, the legitimization of the zone of exclusion through which it was brought into existence. If such is the case, then, insofar as genocide is a crime, the very existence of Republika Srpska would need to be called into question by the diplomatic community. The zone of exclusion would need to be reversed through constitutional reforms that would serve to unify all political, social and cultural institutions in the two entities created by the Dayton Peace Accords (the Bosnia Federation and the Republika Srpska). Those entities would need to be dissolved into the reunified sovereign nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the “Inter-Entity Boundary Line” would be erased. But in the face of a geography of genocide the challenge is greater than diplomatic or political. xxx

Further, while the arrest and trial of Radovan Karadžić, for example, is important on many levels, as were the trials of Krstić or Milošević, as well as other efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia, they alone do not respond to the myriad of injustices entrenched in such a genocidal geography. A number of sources have reported that survivors of Srebrenica found the capture of Karadžić to be a hollow gesture. Whether their loved ones are still missing, or whether they have been identified and buried, the loss remains deeply traumatic. In addition, they live in exile, whether in Australia, Europe or the United States, or in refugee settlements,xxxi or perhaps with relatives in Sarajevo, in a kind of internal exile. Judicial processes at all levels should be pursued, but those processes cannot be a substitute for a more comprehensive response to the geography of genocide.

As part of such a comprehensive response, former residents would need to be supported in their return to their homes. Homes, schools, post offices and mosques would need to be reconstructed. In limited cases, an agreement was reached in Republika Srpska, such as in Divič (in the municipality of Zvornik), to remove and relocate the church that had been imposed, and to allow the mosque that had been destroyed, to be restored.xxxii Further, during the war Muslim women faced sexual violence and incarceration in rape camps. Rapists would need to be brought to justice, which is currently a difficult matter. If trials are held in Republika Srpska, Bosnian women need to travel by car to the court and are surrounded by Bosnian Serb police, judges and juries. In one reported case, the witnesses could not bring themselves to stay overnight in the town where the trial was being held. Adequate provision would need to be made for counseling and psychological support. The task of the exhumation of the mass graves and the identification of the bodies would need to be continued.

Finally, if the geography of genocide involves a unilateral re-description and reconceptualization of the terrain, then an authentic response would require a return to the definition of geography as “earth description” or “writing on or about the earth.” In response to the entity of Republika Srpska, a geography of justice would be understood as a hermeneutic enterprise of mutual dialogue and co-interpretation. In addition to “physical redress,” through the reconstruction of mosques, schools, homes, and the installation of bi-lingual signage, there would need to be a concomitant “psychical redress” that would undertake a re-conceptualization and re-description of the terrain; a re-description of eastern Bosnia that would contribute to the reversal of the dehumanizing zone of exclusion, a reversal that would allow the Bosniaks to live and flourish in their homes and communities once again.




i My thanks to Omer Suljemanovic and Hariz Halilovich for their friendship and for their guidance concerning my research in Bosnia.


ii October 24th, 1991, in the context of the declarations of independence of Slovenia (June 1991) and Croatia (June, 1991) and the impending declaration of independence in Bosnia, Bosnian Serb political leadership “declared their own parliament, voting to remain part of Yugoslavia. Any illusion that the nationalist coalition was still functioning had been destroyed.” [Laura Silber’s and Allan Little’s Yugoslavia: Death of A Nation (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 216, my emphasis, hereafter cited as SL following by the page number.] With apparent assurances of military support from Milosevic, “Bosnian Serb politicians took steps to preempt international recognition [of Bosnia] and the planned Bosnia wide referendum. On January 9th, they declared their own Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (later renamed Republika Srpska)” (SL 218). The boundaries of Republika Srpska were later legitimized by the Dayton Peace Accords.


iii Nikola Koljević (Vice President 1992-1995) died in 1997.


iv See the following references: Srebrenica Genocide Blog, 12 October 2007, (accessed March 2, 2009). The New York Times, November 22, 2003, (accessed March 2, 2009). BBC News, “Karadzic ‘ordered’ Bosnia carnage,” November 22, 2003 (my emphasis). In the early stages of the declaration of the entity Republika Serpska Karadžić made the following chilling remarks: “You want to take Bosnia and Herzegovina down the same highway of hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia are travelling. Do not think that you will not lead Bosnia-Herzegovina into hell, and do not think that you will not perhaps make the Muslim people disappear…How will you prevent everyone from being killed in Bosnia-Herzegovina”” (LS 215).


v (accessed March 2, 2009), (my emphasis).


vi In “Klotjevac: forced displacement and ethnic cleansing in an eastern Bosnian village,” Hariz Halilovich & Ron Adams write, “Klotjevac is located in a fertile valley some 50 km down the Drina from Višegrad and 30 km from Srebrenica. It faces Mt. Tara across the river in Serbia and is backed by the Sušica gorges on the Bosnian side. Just under 280 metres above sea level, its geographical location is fixed at 43.9864 latitude and 19.3442 longitude.” (extract from forthcoming publication) ( Hereafter cited as Halilovich and Adams.


vii “As the year progressed the free Bosnian territory in the east of the country started to shrink rapidly in the face of a massive offensive by the Serbian army involving three military corps based in Čačak, Užice and Novi Sad, in Serbia” (Ibid.).


viii Personal conversation with Omer Suljemanović, August 2008.


ix Srebrenica was declared a safe area by virtue of UN Security Council resolution 819, April 16, 1993. The resolution includes the following passage: “Concerned by the pattern of hostilities by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units in towns and villages in Eastern Bosnia and in this regard affirming that any acquisition or taking of territory by the threat or use of force, including through the practice of ‘ethnic cleansing’ is unlawful and unacceptable.” The full text is available on the following websites:
“SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS – 1993” (accessed March 2, 2009), (note: scroll down the list of resolutions to resolution 819); (accessed March 2, 2009).


x David Rohde, End Game The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica Europe’s Worst Massacre Since World War II (Boulder Colorado: Westview Press, 1998), p 167.


xi The involvement of Serbian Orthodox church members is established in the video as a priest blesses the unit’s members, urging them to fight the Bosnian Muslims because: “Turks are unlike other men, they are all beasts from Asia.” The blog, “Controversial documentary The Scorpions has opened Serbs’ eyes to state atrocities,” Catherine Heffernan, 21 November 2007,; Times Online, “Serb gunmen guilty in landmark Srebrenica trial,” April 10, 2007,;
Independent/World “Serb ‘Scorpions’ guilty of Srebrenica massacre,” by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Wednesday, 11 April 2007, (all accessed 2 March, 2009).


xii I visited this secondary mass grave in July 2007 with the International Association of Genocide Scholars. I have posted photos to my website:


xiii The text of Dayton Peace Agreement documents initialed in Dayton, Ohio on November 21, 1995 and signed in Paris on December 14, 1995, refers to the establishment of an “Inter-Entity Boundary Line”: “the boundary between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (the “Inter-Entity Boundary Line”) shall be as delineated on the map at the Appendix.” The document states further that “The Parties welcome and endorse the arrangements that have been made concerning the boundary demarcation between the two Entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, … The Parties shall fully respect and promote fulfillment of the commitments made therein.” (accessed March 2, 2009).


xiv For example, 465 of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre whose remains had been identified through DNA analysis were buried in Potočari Memorial Cemetery on July 11, 2007 as part of the commemoration of the genocide.


xv Earlier, in a famous 1987 speech outside of Prishtina, Milosevic had asserted that, “No one should dare to beat you.” In Noel Malcolm, Kosovo: A Short History (New York: Harper Collins 1999), p. 341.


xvi Elizabeth Neuffer, The Key to My Neighbor’s House: Seeking Justice in Bosnia and Rwanda (New York: Picador 2001), p. 7.


xvii See Louis Sell, Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Durham: Duke University Press 2002), p. 84.


xviii Carl Schmitt, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty, trans. George Schwab (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1983), p. 1. “The Sovereign is he who decides the state of exception.”


xix Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), p. 83. Hereafter cited as HS followed by the page number.


xx This is presumably Daniel Heller-Roazen’s translation. (HS 137) Binding, Karl and Alfred Hoche, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwertens Lebens [Authorization for the Annihiliation of Life Unworthy of Being Lived] reprinted Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006. Originally published by Leipzig: Felix Meiner, 1920. The phrase is translated as “life devoid of value,” in the extant English version: The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, trans. and ed. with commentary Robert Sassone (Santa Ana, CA: Life Quality Paperback, 1975).


xxi “Again, I see no reason, neither from a legal, social, moral nor religious point of view to forbid euthanasia of these people. These people are just a caricature [Gegenbild] of true man and arouse dismay in everyone.” The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value, trans. and ed. with commentary Robert Sassone (Santa Ana, CA: Life Quality Paperback, 1975), p. 21. Karl Binding/ Alfred Hoche, Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens reprinted Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006, p. 30. Agamben reports that orders to eliminate “life that does not deserve to live” were given by Hitler and took the form of a “Euthanasia Program for the Incurably Ill.” Those selected received a 2-centimeter dose of Morphium Scopolomine and then were sent to the gas chamber. Others were killed with a “strong dose of Luminal, Veronal and Morphium.” More than 60,000 were killed by these methods within the 15 months that the program was in operation (HS 140-141).


xxiiAt homo sacer is est, quem populus iudicavit ob maleficium: neque fas est eum immolari, sed qui occidit, parricidi non damnatur… ‘si quis eum qui eo plebei scito sacer sit, occiderit, parricidia ne sit.’” Pompeius Festus, De verborum significatione.


xxiii March 6, 2010)


xxiv “Of particular note are the ongoing attacks by the Government of the Republika Srpska against State institutions, competencies and laws.” Thirty-fifth report of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1 November 2008-30 April 2009, (accessed March 6, 2010) The following description of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) is extracted from the OHR website: “Office of the High Representative (OHR) is an ad hoc international institution responsible for overseeing implementation of civilian aspects of the accord ending the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The position of High Representative was created under the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, usually referred to as the Dayton Peace Agreement, that was negotiated in Dayton, Ohio, and signed in Paris on 14 December 1995. The High Representative, who is also EU Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is working with the people and institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international community to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina evolves into a peaceful and viable democracy on course for integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.” For further information see and (accessed March 6, 2010).


xxv Balkan, “Republika Srpska EU Office Triggers Dispute,” 13 February 2009, (accessed March 2, 2009).


xxvi Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Article II, 5, (accessed 2 March 2009). See also The Dayton Peace Accords, General Framework Agreement for Peace, Annex 7: Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, (accessed 2 March 2009).


xxvii “A law enacted in September 2006 includes a section that says homes should be provided for victims of sexual torture during the war. It is not clear who should implement the act, and there is no agency making sure the law is enforced, according to the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees. Meanwhile, authorities say, one victim, named Jasmina, should return to her mother-in-law’s rebuilt house in Bijeljina. But she says she will never go back to the place where she lost 39 members of her family and where her abuse began. It is a fear shared by other women, according to Alisa Muratcaus, the president of the Association of Concentration Camp Survivors — Canton Sarajevo — a group that offers classes and other support to Jasmina and 1,200 other women across the capital, including 150 victims of mass rape. ‘Many of our members must deal with the realities of return. Not all members are able psychologically to return to regions in which they suffered such extreme human rights abuses,’ she said. ‘No one raped woman has returned to their pre-war houses, since it is immoral and inhuman to request their return while the war criminals who tortured them are still free and live in these regions.’ The Sarajevo municipality that owns Jasmina’s apartment says that it does not plan to evict her and that any such directive would come from the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees. Saliha Djuderija, head of the Ministry’s Department of Human Rights, said she was aware of victims who could not face returning to the places where they were tortured and was working on a solution. In the past couple of years, between 15 and 20 women have been given somewhere to live, but lack of funding is restricting the help that can be given. Priority was given to women who testified against their attackers, and Jasmina is not in that group, as her case is still unsolved.”, Rachel Clarke, “Sex slave: ‘Every day we were raped,’” July 22, 2008, (accessed March 2, 2009).


xxviii “The secret list, compiled since 2003, includes almost 900 people still thought to be working for the Bosnian Serb government, army or police.” BBC News, “Srebrenica Massacre List Compiled,” 5 October 2005, (accessed March 2, 2009).
The International Center for Transitional Justice, 15 October 2005, (accessed March 2, 2009).


xxix See Halilovich and Adams.


xxx Nonetheless, diplomatic, political and conceptual initiatives are crucial components of a pathway to long term stabilization and justice. A crucial step was suggested by a United States House of Representatives Resolution (Resolution 171) May 12, 2009, urging Bosnia “to increase the functionality of the Bosnian state to be achieved by constitutional reform” : “Resolved, That it is the sense of the [US] House of Representatives that– (1) it is increasingly urgent that Bosnia and Herzegovina work toward the creation of an efficient and effective state able to meet its domestic and international obligations with more functional institutions, including a state government capable of making self-sustaining reforms and fulfilling European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) requirements…”, my emphasis (accessed September 7, 2009). Further, in an article in Foreign Affairs 88 (5): 69-83, Patrice A McMahon and Jon Western underline the urgency of creating an effective national state. They assert that while it stopped the violence, “Dayton sowed the seeds of political instability by creating a decentralized political system that undermined the state’s authority” (70). The authors call for the international community to “reverse the centrifugal trends” caused by Republika Srpska’s (RS) leader Milorad Dodik who has resisted constitutional reforms and has openly floated “the prospect of secession for the RS” (70). They warn further that, “Unless checked, the current trends toward fragmentation will almost certainly lead to a resumption of violence” (71, my emphasis).


xxxi lensculture: Photograpy and Shared Territories, “Blood+Honey,” photographs and text by Nathalie Mohadjer, (accessed March 2, 2009).


xxxii Ema Kovac, “Controversial Church Relocated,” in, 08/06/09, March 6, 2010)

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