For more information contact Glenn Ruga at 978-461-0909
HADLEY, MA --Friends of Bosnia condemns violence committed by Kosovar Albanians against Serbs & Roma in Kosovo.
Friends of Bosnia (FOB) was formed in early 1993 by concerned citizens in western Massachusetts who were outraged by the crimes committed by Serb nationalists against Bosnian Muslims in Bosnia. We were outraged by the horrendous nature of the violence, but also because individuals were singled out solely because of their ethnic and religious identity. Many of the early FOB activists were Jews who understood very clearly what genocide and ethnic cleansing meant. Other FOB members were drawn to the issue on humanitarian grounds as they watched in the last decade of the twentieth century crimes being committed that we thought were eradicated from our vocabulary.
FOB was an early advocate for U.S. intervention in the more recent conflict in Kosovo as we watched the same Serb nationalist war criminals commit equally horrendous war crimes against Kosovar Albanians.
FOB now unequivocally condemns the violence committed by Kosovar Albanians against Serb and Roma civilians in Kosovo.
Since the months following the end of the war in Kosovo, Serb and Roma civilians, including the elderly, young and infirm, have been attacked and killed by Kosovar Albanians. The desire for revenge is all too understandably human but is not an excuse for this violence. It was a crime against humanity when committed by Serb nationalists and it is a crime against humanity when committed by Kosovars. This ethnically-based violence will also work against the interests of the Kosovar Albanians by isolating them politically and run counter to their goal for economic development and recognition by the international community.
FOB supports a lasting and just peace in the Balkans and above all this means the application of international laws of justice. Persons of any ethnicity who have committed war crimes should be investigated, indicted if evidence is sufficient, apprehended and prosecuted by the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. This includes Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, and Slobodan Milosevic. It also includes individuals of all ethnicities in the Balkans who have committed ethnically based war crimes.
For peace to prevail in the Balkans, the cycles of violence must be stopped. The first step is innocent civilians must no longer suffer collectively for the crimes committed by their ethnic kin. The second step is that those responsible for these crimes be held accountable.