- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (October 18, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781536609776
- ISBN-13: 978-1536609776
- ASIN: 1536609773
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,831,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Butcher's Trail, The MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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Borger describes how Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and her predecessor Louise Arbour shamed and cajoled governments into cooperating with the ICTY, noting that while Biljana Plavsic, a former leader of the Bosnian Serbs, was the only female indicted for war crimes, “the two people who did more than any other individuals to ensure the suspects were all tracked down happened to be women.” He also describes the toxic cocktail of nationalism and sexism that prompted politicians and media in Croatia and Serbia to shower Del Ponte with derogatory epithets. During the conflict the same mindset fuelled sexual violence on a horrific scale.
There are other paradoxes. When German peacekeepers in Bosnia were wounded during the October 2000 arrest of a man indicted for running a wartime centre where detainees (many of them teenagers), were raped, the troops became “Germany’s first combat casualties since 1945, wounded in the course of bringing a concentration camp commander to justice.”
The process of apprehending suspects in Serbia and spiriting them into Bosnia and Herzegovina to be charged and then flown onward to The Hague prefigured the practice of rendition that followed 9/11, although those involved in these operations in the Western Balkans insisted that “‘what we did there was underpinned totally in terms of legality . . . It had nothing to do with what came later’.”
Borger provides excellent portraits of the principal characters. Of Slobodan Milosevic he writes: “Like many tyrants past their peak, he seemed to be the last person in the country to realize his day was done.” He gives a vivid and compelling account of the days preceding Milosevic’s downfall.
Radovan Karadzic, he writes, “wove his own legend, drawing on a life immersed in a cultural tradition in which mysticism, epic storytelling, warfare, and politics were all tightly enmeshed”, yet “he cut such a plump, vainglorious figure, with his trademark vertical quiff like a gray cockatoo, that Western reporters who witnessed these performances initially had trouble taking him seriously.” A perceptive and accurate description.
Despite the ICTY’s successes, the number of those who have been tried is small compared to the scale of the crimes that were committed. People in the Western Balkans have had to live for a generation in the knowledge that guilty men remain free, in many cases residing in the same communities they once terrorized.
“There are too many graves containing the bones of all ethnicities for international justice to cope with, given finite resources,” Borger concludes. “Such inadequacy does not discriminate against Serbs in favor of Bosniaks, Croats and Kosovars. It discriminates against victims in favor of perpetrators.”
This is a well-researched and valuable account of events that have a huge bearing on society, and not just in the Balkans. The Butcher’s Trail documents the resolute effort to bring those accused of war crimes to justice and by doing so to uphold a key principle of civil society, that crimes cannot be committed with impunity.
I read The Guardian most days... in particular the day RK was sentenced to prison. I now have since began reading The Butcher's Trail.
That said, I can say without reservation the hunt for those indicted and those yet to be indicted, but well known to the locals commenced long before 1997/SFOR (Stabilization Force)were, but rather spring of 1996 by IFOR (Implementation Force). That said, several American military provided information on the movement of named individuals who may not have been on the indictment list, but were well known killers during the reign of seige in northeastern Bosnia, but in particular in and around Brcko to include the infamous camp on the Sava River/Brcko.
The Bosnian special police in G. Rahic were often contacted about these movement for "security" reasons. Often times in the days following, that individual was taken down by Bosnian special police units..and possibly those special operators from the US or UK..but, I have no knowledge of the tier above the meetings in G. Rahic.
The book provides insights that few of us knew in particular to the days "on the run" by the most infamous killers and implementer's of ethnic cleansing or genocide in Bosnia or Croatia for that matter. I used to pass the grave site of those murdered in Vukovar almost each day..and each time, I hopes that those who planned and executed those mass killings would meet those who they killed. Unfortunately, many who pulled the trigger are still leading "normal" lives somewhere in Serbia.
As an American military officer with nearly 45 months in the Balkans, I find even today and with the references in the book, most Serbs simply do not believe or wish to believe their countrymen committed such horrific acts...this is most unfortunate because within the international community, this bleak reality only reinforces the division between the west and many of those in Serbia. And, until the country comes to reality about the atrocities committed in Bosnia and Croatia in reference to mass (emphasis added) killings, Serbia and its people will never integrate into the west..and will always and forever feel attached to their Russian comrades. If so, let it be!
And lastly, how was it that the Europeans let this genocidal war take so many lives...Bosnia and Croatia are within half day driving of Austria. And to the end, the real culprit was the UN..for their in-action and in-decision which directly led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Both the Europeans and the UN must take some blame for what happened in the Balkans. Unfortunately, it took Screbencia and the murder of 8,000 men and boys to bring in the US military. Our rules of engagement which I personally had the opportunity to explain to the Serbs near Brcko was the following.."if your soldiers raise their long guns above 45 degrees, we will fire on you..if you un-holster your side arm, we will fire on you."
Haiti/Bosnia (Brcko)/Croatia (Vukovar, Osjiek), Nuba Mts, Sudan, SE Afghanistan, Iraq, Juba, Sudan & Uganda