In the years following the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, Serbian social, cultural and political responses to the wars of the 1990s have fallen under intense international scrutiny. But is this scrutiny justfied, and how can these responses be better understood? Jelena Obradovic engages with ideas about post-conflict societies, memory, cultural trauma, and national myths of victimhood and justified war to shed light upon Serbian denial and justification of war crimes. Starting with the idea that violence and war are often reframed, reconstructed and incorporated into culturally acceptable parameters, Obradovic looks at how, after conflict, societies facing accusations of war crimes often engage in denial and justification of their actions. In Serbia, political and cultural discourse on conflict and war crimes has often centred on such denial and justifications of war crimes in order to evade responsibility and justice at war crimes tribunals - seen particularly in Serbia's reluctant cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Rather than treating denial as a failure to come to terms with the past or as resurgent nationalism, Obradovic considers the social responses produced by violent events, and argues that the justfications of atrocities are often the result of a need to understand and incorporate violent events within culturally acceptable boundaries. Close attention is paid to the strategies and motifs used in denial strategies, including notions of Serbian victimhood, conspiracy theory, and use of national myths. In a bid to further understanding of violence, Obradovic also looks at perceptions of figures such as Ratko Mladic, Slobodan MiloA evic and Radovan KaradA ic. This is a detailed and considered investigation into the socio-political contexts in which the denial of war crimes occurs, looking at political and public discourse, representation, mediation and initiatives on war crimes in post-MiloA evic Serbia, including ethnographic and interview research which provides a unique perspective on ordinary Serbians' views.
Ethnic Conflict and War Crimes in the Balkans
The Narratives of Denial in Post-Conflict Serbia