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The mass crimes in the former Yugoslavia: participation, punishment and prevention?

30-06-2008 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 870, by Samuel Tanner

This article discusses sanctions for and the prevention of mass violence by non-state perpetrators. The author's reflections are based on case studies of four former Serbian militiamen who took part in mass violence in the former Yugoslavia. He argues that it is of the utmost importance to consider the typical grassroots relationship between these local players and their own community, so as to maximize the effect of sanctions and perhaps prevent further offences by potential future perpetrators.

   

Samuel Tanner is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Criminology of the University of Montreal. He is also a research assistant at the International Centre for Comparative Criminology, University of Montreal. 
 
Abstract 
This article discusses sanctions for and the prevention of mass violence. But rather than take a classic approach centred on statutory players such as soldiers, officers or political leaders, all of them acting within a legal chain of command, I focus on nonstate perpetrators. My reflections are based on case studies of four former Serbian militiamen who took part in mass violence in the former Yugoslavia. I argue that it is of the utmost importance to consider the typical grass-roots relationship between these local players and their own community, so as to maximize the effect of sanctions and perhaps prevent further offences by potential future perpetrators.  


 
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