View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


As General Mladic was walked out of the courtroom amidst acrimony at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague yesterday, a court in the Netherlands ruled that that country was responsible for at least three of the deaths that occurred at Srebrenica in 1995. The town was a UN safe-haven until it was overrun by Gen Mladic's Bosnian Serb forces. The Dutch, who were responsible for the protection of the safe haven, claim they were not given sufficient means to do the job, and that they were abandoned by the UN. It will be a singularly bitter day for the men of Dutchbat, some of whom I know personally.

At the end of the day, nobody was responsible for the 8000 dead of Srebrenica but the Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Mladic. One Dutch soldier is still kicking himself that he, and his comrades, did not empty their machineguns into him as he was talking to their commanding officer.

Monday 4 July

I hope my American friends have had an enjoyable Fourth of July, it being 235 years since the Declaration of Independence. I am pleased to note that public debate is raging fierce and free in the Land of the Free, with no holds barred.

I have not got much else to say about this day, as it was a singularly bad one for me. At some future stage I may tell more about it, but don't hold your breaths.