US embassy cable - 92ZAGREB2586

CGY001: THE UGLY VIRUS OF MORAL SYMMETRY - - WHO IS DOING THE "ETHNIC CLEANSING" IN B-H?

Identifier: 92ZAGREB2586
Wikileaks: View 92ZAGREB2586 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Zagreb
Created: 1992-12-03 15:53:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREF PHUM HR PHUM HR PHUM HR BK War Crimes
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


                       CONFIDENTIAL


                       CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02        ZAGREB  02586  01 OF 03  041600Z
 COMSIXTHFLT//N2//
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK//N2/N22//
USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GM//ECJ3/ECJ5//
USEC BRUSSELS
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC 1175
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ZAGREB 02586 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
GENEVA FOR USDEL ICFY - JACKOVICH 
- 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL CSCE 
- 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS: PREF, PHUM, HR, PHUM, HR, PHUM, HR, BK, War Crimes 
SUBJECT:  CGY001:  THE UGLY VIRUS OF MORAL SYMMETRY - 
-         WHO IS DOING THE "ETHNIC CLEANSING" IN B-H? 
 
REF:  A) BELGRADE 12505 (NOTAL); B) ZAGREB 2554 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
--------------- 
SUMMARY COMMENT 
--------------- 
 
2.  WE ARE FRANKLY APPALLED BY THE THRICE-REPEATED 
CLAIM IN REF A THAT THE EVENTS IN AND AROUND PROZOR 
OVER 6 WEEKS AGO CONSTITUTE HARD EVIDENCE OF PAST AND 
LIKELY FUTURE CROATIAN ETHNIC CLEANSING IN BOSNIA. 
FROM A POLICY STANDPOINT, THIS PERSISTENT ALLEGATION 
IS DANGEROUSLY DISTRACTING.  AND PLAINLY INACCURATE 
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PAGE 03        ZAGREB  02586  01 OF 03  041600Z 
IN FACT.  END SUMMARY COMMENT. 
 
3.  WE ARE TROUBLED BY THE IMPLICATION THROUGHOUT 
REF A THAT THE FLIGHT OF ANY NUMBER OF PERSONS OF ANY 
ETHNIC GROUP IN B-H UNDER ANY ACTUAL OR FEARED THREAT 
FROM MEMBERS OF ANY OTHER ETHNIC GROUP CONSTITUTES, 
IPSO FACTO, "ETHNIC CLEANSING."  TO APPLY THIS VERY 
EVOCATIVE TERM IN SUCH A MANNER IN OUR VIEW DEBASES 
ITS CONSIDERABLE USEFULNESS.  THROUGHOUT THE LONG, 
WRENCHING SAGA OF YUGOSLAVIA'S BREAKUP, THE LEAP FROM 
SIMPLE RECOGNITION THAT NO SIDE IS WITHOUT BLAME TO 
THE POLICY-STULTIFYING CONCLUSION OF VIRTUAL MORAL 
EQUIVALENCE HAS BEEN MADE FAR TOO OFTEN AND TOO 
QUICKLY.  AGAINST THAT BACKGROUND, WE LAUD THE FACT 
THAT USG SPOKESMEN HAVE BECOME INCREASINGLY CLEAR 
ABOUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR "ETHNIC CLEANSING" IN 
BOSNIA.  AND WE THINK THE USG CAN TAKE PRIDE IN THE 
LEADING ROLE IT HAS PLAYED BOTH IN PUSHING FOR A WAR 
CRIMES TRIBUNAL TO IDENTIFY THE GUILTY (ON ANY SIDE) 
AND IN ASSEMBLING EVIDENCE TO ASSIST IN THAT PROCESS. 
CONTINUATION OF THIS USG CLEAR-HEADEDNESS WILL BE 
VITAL, WE BELIEVE, IF WE ARE TO COUNTER REPORTED 
SIGNALS FROM LORD OWEN, AMONG OTHERS, THAT TALK OF 
WAR CRIMES TRIBUNALS MAY NEED TO BE MUTED IN THE 
INTEREST OF FOSTERING POLITICAL COMPROMISE IN B-H 
INVOLVING POTENTIALLY GUILTY PARTIES. 
 
4.  BASED ON THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO US, IT IS 
THE CONCLUSION OF ALL INTERESTED ELEMENTS OF THIS 
EMBASSY THAT CROATIAN FORCES IN BOSNIA HAVE NOT 
ENGAGED IN ETHNIC CLEANSING -- EITHER AS A MATTER OF 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ZAGREB  02586  01 OF 03  041600Z 
POLICY DIRECTED BY SENIOR LEADERS OR AS A WIDESPREAD 
PRACTICE ON THE GROUND.  THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT IN 
ISOLATED INSTANCES IN B-H MUSLIMS AND SERBS HAVE NOT 
FLED IN THE FACE OF CROATIAN ARMS.  NOR IS IT TO 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 01        ZAGREB  02586  02 OF 03  041602Z 
ACTION EUR-01 
 
INFO  LOG-00   AGRE-00  AID-01   CA-02    CIAE-00  C-01     DODE-00 
      ANHR-01  CISA-02  EB-01    CSCE-00  FDRE-01  HA-09    H-01 
      INRE-00  INR-01   IO-19    L-03     ADS-00   NSAE-00  OIC-02 
      PA-01    PM-02    PRS-01   P-01     RP-10    SCT-03   SP-00 
      SR-00    SS-00    TRSE-00  FMP-00     /063W 
                  ------------------825F69  050505Z /21 
P 031553Z DEC 92 
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2949 
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 
USMISSION GENEVA 
AMEMBASSY ANKARA 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS 
AMEMBASSY BONN 
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 
AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY MADRID 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 
AMEMBASSY VIENNA 
USMISSION USNATO 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USMISSION USVIENNA 
USIA WASHDC 2556 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ZAGREB  02586  02 OF 03  041602Z 
 COMSIXTHFLT//N2// 
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK//N2/N22// 
USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GM//ECJ3/ECJ5// 
USEC BRUSSELS 
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC 1176 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 03 ZAGREB 02586 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
GENEVA FOR USDEL ICFY - JACKOVICH 
- 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL CSCE 
- 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PREF, PHUM, HR, BK 
SUBJECT:  CGY001:  THE UGLY VIRUS OF MORAL SYMMETRY - 
-         WHO IS DOING THE "ETHNIC CLEANSING" IN B-H? 
 
ARGUE THAT CERTAIN CROATIAN ELEMENTS, NOTABLY HOS, 
DID NOT ENGAGE IN ISOLATED CRIMES AS HEINOUS AS SOME 
OF THOSE ROUTINELY COMMITTED BY BOSNIAN SERB FORCES. 
BUT WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF CROATIAN FORCES ENGAGING 
IN ETHNIC CLEANSING AS THAT TERM IS NOW USEFULLY 
APPLIED TO THE CONCLUSIVELY-DOCUMENTED BOSNIAN SERB 
PRACTICE OF:  BOMBARDING A VILLAGE FROM AFAR, ENTERING 
IT IN A SHOWY DISPLAY OF MILITARY FORCE, IMMEDIATELY 
COMMITTING SUCH TERRORIZING PUBLIC ATROCITIES AS 
SLITTING A DOZEN OR SO PERSONS' THROATS ON THEIR 
DOORSTEP AND RAPING A YOUNG GIRL OR TWO IN FRONT OF 
THEIR FAMILIES AND OTHER TOWNSFOLK IN THE PUBLIC 
SQUARE, THEN TRANSPORTING THE MEN AND BOYS TO TORTURE 
AND DEATH CAMPS AND THE WOMEN AND GIRLS TO SERBIAN 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        ZAGREB  02586  02 OF 03  041602Z 
MILITARY BROTHELS.  ANYONE WHO HAS READ THE ACCOUNTS 
OF THE SERBIAN DEATH CAMP SURVIVORS WILL KNOW THAT 
THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE. 
- 
5.  CULPABILITY FOR THE EVENTS IN NOVI TRAVNIK AND 
PROZOR IN MID-OCTOBER IS DISPUTED.  THE CROATS CLAIM 
TO HAVE RADIO INTERCEPT "PROOF" OF ORDERS GIVEN BY 
RADICAL MUSLIM ELEMENTS TO KILL CROATS.  THERE ARE 
OTHER REPORTS OF BATTLE CRIES FROM CROATIAN ELEMENTS 
TO KILL MUSLIMS.  AND THE AFTERMATH INDICATES THAT 
MUSLIM CIVILIANS DID SUFFER DISPROPORTIONATELY. 
NOTWITHSTANDING WHO IS MORE GUILTY FOR THIS BOUT OF 
CROATIAN/MUSLIM MADNESS, BOTH SIDES ARE PAINFULLY 
AWARE THAT IT CONTRIBUTED DIRECTLY TO THE FALL OF 
JAJCE.  IN THE WAKE OF THAT TRAGEDY, IZETBEGOVIC AND 
TUDJMAN SAY THEY HAVE CLEARED THE AIR, AND CROATIAN 
AND MUSLIM FORCES APPEAR TO HAVE REESTABLISHED A 
MODICUM OF CIVILITY AND COOPERATION IN MILITARY 
ACTIONS.  ALTHOUGH WE ARE NOT AWARE OF SUBSEQUENT 
"PROZORS," NONE OF THIS IS TO SAY THAT THERE WON'T BE 
OTHER CROATIAN/MUSLIM SKIRMISHES FROM WHICH MUSLIMS 
AND/OR CROATS MAY FLEE.  IT IS TO SAY, HOWEVER, THAT 
BY NO REASONABLE STRETCH OF MIND OR LANGUAGE DOES 
"PROZOR" CONSTITUTE EVIDENCE OF CROATIAN ETHNIC 
CLEANSING, LET ALONE A LIKELIHOOD OF "CONTINUED" 
CROATIAN ETHNIC CLEANSING. 
 
6.  THE PERVERSE IRONY IN THIS TIRESOME CHARGE IS 
EVIDENT IN WHAT UNHCR SPECIAL ENVOY MENDILUCE TOLD 
EUR/EE DIRECTOR HABIB NOV 20.  MENDILUCE OBSERVED 
THAT SOME 350,000 MUSLIMS ARE NOW LIVING OR SHELTERING 
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                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        ZAGREB  02586  02 OF 03  041602Z 
IN CROATIAN-DEFENDED B-H (IN ADDITION TO THE OVER 
350,000 B-H MUSLIM REFUGEES IN CROATIA).  MENDILUCE 
NOTED THAT ONE OF THE KEY PROBLEMS WITH THE BOSNIAN 
CROATS WAS THEIR APPARENT DETERMINATION TO KEEP OUT 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NNNN 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 01        ZAGREB  02586  03 OF 03  041604Z 
ACTION EUR-01 
 
INFO  LOG-00   AGRE-00  AID-01   CA-02    CIAE-00  C-01     DODE-00 
      ANHR-01  CISA-02  EB-01    CSCE-00  FDRE-01  HA-09    H-01 
      INRE-00  INR-01   IO-19    L-03     ADS-00   NSAE-00  OIC-02 
      PA-01    PM-02    PRS-01   P-01     RP-10    SCT-03   SP-00 
      SR-00    SS-00    TRSE-00  FMP-00     /063W 
                  ------------------825F7A  050507Z /21 
P 031553Z DEC 92 
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2950 
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 
USMISSION GENEVA 
AMEMBASSY ANKARA 
AMEMBASSY ATHENS 
AMEMBASSY BONN 
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 
AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY MADRID 
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 
AMEMBASSY VIENNA 
USMISSION USNATO 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USMISSION USVIENNA 
USIA WASHDC 2557 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        ZAGREB  02586  03 OF 03  041604Z 
 COMSIXTHFLT//N2// 
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK//N2/N22// 
USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GM//ECJ3/ECJ5// 
USEC BRUSSELS 
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC 1177 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 03 OF 03 ZAGREB 02586 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
GENEVA FOR USDEL ICFY - JACKOVICH 
- 
USVIENNA FOR USDEL CSCE 
- 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:  PREF, PHUM, HR, BK 
SUBJECT:  CGY001:  THE UGLY VIRUS OF MORAL SYMMETRY - 
-         WHO IS DOING THE "ETHNIC CLEANSING" IN B-H? 
 
THE VAST NUMBER OF SERB-GENERATED MUSLIM REFUGEES 
SEEKING TO FLEE DISPUTED OR B-H GOV'T-DEFENDED 
TERRITORY FOR THE RELATIVE SECURITY OF BOSNIAN 
CROAT-DEFENDED TURF.  THIS PRACTICE, ESPECIALLY IF IT 
PERSISTS, WILL WARRANT GREATER ATTENTION, AS WILL 
REPORTED SPORADIC CROATIAN BLOCKAGES OF RELIEF 
CONVOYS.  BUT IT STANDS ON ITS HEAD THE ALLEGATION 
THAT CROATS ARE NOW ENGAGED IN ETHNIC CLEANSING OF 
MUSLIMS IN B-H. 
 
NEITZKE 
 
 
 
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PAGE 03        ZAGREB  02586  03 OF 03  041604Z 
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