Last year, on June 23, the President of the Bosnian Serb Republic Milorad Dodik stated that the Bosnian language does not exist. He claimed that only the Bosniak, Croat, and Serbian languages exist. In response, Bosniak parents moved their children from school into temporary classes to learn Bosnian instead of Bosniak.
The lessons from Bosnia shaped responses to Rwanda, Kosovo, Macedonia, Cyprus, East Timor and the conflicts in the South Caucasus and the Middle East. In effect, the international community -- the Western one at least -- learned that stopping a war is hard enough; rebuilding a functional country is nearly impossible.
Less attention has been paid to the émigrés who worked on behalf of peace and reconciliation in former Yugoslavia. These activists supported peace organizations in the region, helped to spread the word of human rights violations, and worked in large numbers for international organizations, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague.
The scent of nationalism was present in the former-Yugoslavia before Vladimir Putin effectively assumed power in Moscow. Already during the early stages of the conflict in Bosnia & Herzegovina, "BiH" solutions were being fashioned in the hope of, well appeasing is perhaps an appropriate term, those leaders in the region but also Moscow who saw feudal nationalism as the vehicle to replace authoritarian communism.
Healing is vital, but healing without education or justice will not be enough to change the global epidemic of sexual violence and rape in the world today, both in and out of war zones. We need continuing educational efforts to change individual, social and cultural views that condone sexual violence against women and children.
Yugoslavia fell apart in stages, and violence accompanied each of these stages. To assess these crimes and determine culpability, even as the wars continued to rage, the United Nations established the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993. It was the first war crimes tribunal since the end of World War II.