I've read a number of books about the Balkan Wars and the events at Srebrenica always feature at some point. I decided to read this book to get a better understanding of what actually happened.
A befits a book that is titled 'a record of a war crime' this is an academic text that very thoroughly documents the events leading up to the mass killings that shocked the world.
Despite being rather dry in places, it is written clearly and gives a very valuable insight into the international politics that led to the creation of the Safe Areas, and in particular why it was the Dutch who ended up in Srebrenica. It also shows how the Peace Keepers were badly equipped and hampered by low morale and a very complex, impractical chain of command. It presents the entire UN led mission in the Srebrenica Safe Area as poorly conceived, under-resourced and badly managed.
I finished this book with more understanding for the Dutch soldiers who have taken so much criticism after Srebrenica, but less sympathy for Dutch politicians at the UN who seemed clueless, the UN command structure which was so bewilderingly complex it seemed like four or five phone calls had to be made before anyone was allowed to fire a gun and the entire Safe Area concept, which on examination looks doomed to fail from the outset.
But let's not forget that for all the failings and mismanagement, the international community wasn't responsible for the terrible crimes at Srebrenica. Horrific raids were carried out by brutalised refugees on the villages around Srebrenica, which don't get talked about very much, and the very worst crime, the genocide of men and boys, was committed by Bosnian Serb forces under the control of Ratko Mladic.
Please read this book if like me, you struggle to understand the Balkan conflict and you want to gain a better understanding of this terrible event.