Noncompliance with the Geneva Conventions in the wars of Yugoslav secession
R. Craig Nation
Do the Geneva Conventions matter ?
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2017
The wars of Yugoslav secession were characterized by multiple violations of the law of war and armed conflict. Understanding why these violations occurred is an important foundation for determining how such outcomes might be tempered looking forward. This chapter addresses the sources of war crimes during the Yugoslav wars from various perspectives, including the deficiencies of professional military education, ethnic mobilization on the basis of hate narratives in a context of state failure, the role of paramilitary forces, leadership failures, and ineffective legal constraint. In future armed conflicts of a comparable nature one must be aware of the gap between the conventional interstate conflicts for which the Geneva Conventions were originally devised and the demands of contemporary new wars, where sovereign states are no longer primary actors, irregular forces play a greater role, and emotionally laden discourses of identity and cultural integrity replace classic geostrategic goals.