View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Srebrenica - 17 years on

In two months' time, it will be 17 years since the UN-protected area of Srebrenica in Bosnia was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladic. The hopelessly outgunned Dutch battalion acquiesced to the demands by the Bosnian Serbs, and helped them to separate the Bosnian Moslim men and boys. Seven thousand of them were taken to a nearby forest, and summarily executed.

The three officers in charge of Dutchbat, headed by retired Col Karremans, now face legal proceedings on a possible charge of genocide. Karremans and his subordinates were aware of the fact that the lives of Moslims were in danger, yet proceeded to evict them from the Dutchbat compound. A number of them had worked for Dutchbat, but found their deaths at the hands of Mladic. The eviction, in the minds of survivors and relatives of those killed, amounts to complicity.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reports that a special advisory chamber in the Dutch judiciary has ruled that these proceedings can be filed.Whether they will is a decision of the public prosecutor.

Wednesday 9 May

Quite a nice, bright day after a night of rain. It wasn't warm, with the mercury at 11C / 52F. However, it was possible to sit outside, in the sun and out of the wind, reading my book.

Local news website Hebrides News is a valuable asset for keeping up to date with local news. Today, it contained a few errors. The word "negligible" was mangled into "ineligible", and the number of years that Queen Elizabeth on the throne, for which she is now celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, was put at 50. The latter mistake came in a report about a jubilee streetparty in Laxdale, just outside Stornoway.

The anagrammatical slip (negligible vs ineligible) was in a report about excessive transmission charges for electricity generated by renewable energy schemes in the Highlands and Islands. It is a two-edged sword, as far as I am concerned; it may put the tin hat on windfarms, but could also stifle sea-based schemes, such as wave- or tidal-power schemes.