In July 1995, the entry of Serbian forces into the Srebrenica enclave in eastern Bosnia culminates in the massacre of some 10 000 civilians, despite the presence of Dutch UN troops in the region proclaimed by the United Nations as a ‘safe haven’.
The vain attempts of the European Community to mediate in Yugoslavia
On 1 July 1991, the European Ministerial Troika — composed of Jacques F. Poos, Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Hans van den Broek, Netherlands Foreign Minister, and Gianni de Michelis, Italian Foreign Minister — reports on the outcome of its diplomatic mission to Yugoslavia.
On 28 and 29 June 1991, during the meeting of the European Council in Luxembourg, the Heads of State or Government of the Twelve refer for the first time to the military and humanitarian situation in the Balkans.
On 30 June 1991, Jacques Poos, President-in-Office of the Council of the European Communities, writes to Ante Markovic, Prime Minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, President of the Republic of Serbia, Milan Kucan, President of the Republic of Slovenia, and Franjo Tudjman, President of the Republic of Croatia, to remind them of the commitments that they made during the European Troika’s visit to the Balkans.
‘I’d love to help, but I’m afraid of causing a massacre!’ (‘Death to all the rest’, ‘Independence for Macedonia!’, ‘A free Serbia’, ‘Long live Croatia’.) In July 1991, the French cartoonist, Plantu, considers the impotence of European diplomacy in the light of the deadly conflict in the Balkans.
‘Yugoslavia: “There’s a smell of burning!” “Maybe we should go and take a look …” “There’s no rush!” “Who’ll pay for the water?” “And the overtime?” “Stop pushing!”’ In 1991, French cartoonist Georges Million portrays the hesitations and vain efforts of European diplomacy to resolve the Balkans conflict. At the top of the fire engine ladder, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl holds a fire hose, while French President François Mitterrand tries to start the engine with a crank.
On 12 September 1991, the French weekly magazine L’Express speculates on the success of the Twelve’s attempts to use diplomatic mediation to end the violent conflict between the Serbs and the Croats in Yugoslavia.
On 15 January 1992, in an interview granted to the French daily newspaper Le Monde, Vladislav Jovanovic, Serbian Foreign Minister, criticises the Twelve’s attitude towards the conflict in Yugoslavia and offers his own point of view on the Yugoslavian crisis.
As the principles of the Carrington-Cutileiro peace plan are accepted by the three ethnic groups making up Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 8 April 1992 edition of French daily newspaper Le Monde describes how the efforts of the EEC Member States should help prevent war breaking out in this new state of the former Yugoslavia.
‘Can you all see properly?’ In 1992, the cartoonist Behrendt denounces the wait-and-see attitude adopted by Europe and the rest of the Western world towards the acts of genocide perpetrated in former Yugoslavia.
On 3 October 1992, Lord David Owen, European Union Co-Chairman of the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia, gives an account of his mission to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, emphasising human rights violations in the country.
On 8 November 1993, Alain Juppé, French Foreign Minister, and his German counterpart, Klaus Kinkel, submit to the Presidency of the European Union their suggestions for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
The vain attempts of the European Community to mediate in Yugoslavia
At a press conference held in Brussels on 3 March 1993, Manuel Marín, Vice-President of the Commission of the European Communities with responsibility for development cooperation policy, external economic relations with Mediterranean countries, Latin America, Asia and the ACP countries as well as humanitarian aid, announces the granting of a first tranche of emergency aid to the victims of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
On 29 November 1993, at the United Nations (UN) Office in Geneva, the Foreign Ministers of the European Communities meet the political and military representatives of the conflicting parties in the former Yugoslavia. In the run-up to this meeting, Francis Briquemont, commander of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR), Willy Claes, Belgian Foreign Minister, and Douglas Hurd, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, emphasise the priority placed on transporting humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict.
On 30 October 1995, in anticipation of the peace talks on Bosnia-Herzegovina to be held in Dayton, United States, the General Affairs Council of the European Union outlines the Fifteen’s long-term policy for restoring peace in the former Yugoslavia.
‘Soon we are going to show our teeth.’ In 1992, while war has been ravaging the territory of the former Yugoslavia for a year, the cartoonist Behrendt portrays the helplessness of the United Nations, which, despite threatening the belligerents with economic and political sanctions, does not have the means to intervene militarily in the conflict.
On 6 February 1993, the French daily newspaper L'Humanité discusses the ill feeling among the Member States of the UN Security Council caused by the peace plan for Yugoslavia proposed by Cyrus Vance, United Nations Special Envoy, and Lord Owen, representative of the European Community.
Following a new proposal to divide Bosnia into three ethnic states, revealed on 20 August 1993 by UN mediators Thorvald Stoltenberg and David Owen, the French daily newspaper Le Monde presents the ambiguous reactions of the Bosnian Muslim authorities.
On 30 November 1994, the UN peacekeepers of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) patrol the streets of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in armoured vehicles during the visit of the United Nations Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
‘Memories of Srebrenica’. In 1999, the cartoonist Behrendt considers the powerlessness of the Dutch blue helmets of UNPROFOR to prevent the massacre of the Bosniak citizens of the town of Srebrenica perpetrated in July 1995 by the Bosnian Serb Army led by General Ratko Mladic.
On 21 November 1995, at a press conference held at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, in the United States, US negotiators Richard Holbrooke and Christopher Hill comment on the negotiations which seek to put an end to the war raging in the former Yugoslavia since 1992.
On 15 October 1996, on behalf of the Defence Committee of the Assembly of Western European Union (WEU), the Dutchman Jan Dirk Blaauw submits a report on the role of Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina and outlines the tasks of the Implementation Force (IFOR) in connection with the application of the Dayton Peace Accords.
On 23 January 1996, in a statement to the European Commission for Democracy through Law, Helmut Steinberger, Independent Adviser to the Delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the application of the Dayton Agreements and Member of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, evaluates the organisation and operation of the new Bosnian State made up of two territorial entities: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic.
In anticipation of the expiry of the mandate of the Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the North Atlantic Council, at its Ministerial Session held on 10 December 1996, welcomes the work of IFOR and decides to replace it with the Stabilisation Force (SFOR).
‘The hunt is on’. In 1997, cartoonist Fritz Behrendt emphasises the efforts of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to arrest Radovan Karadžic (on the right), leader of the Bosnian Serbs, accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and Ratko Mladic (on the left), Bosnian Serb Army Chief of Staff, accused of genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.