2017: Kosovo, Serbia, Srebrenica
Clio Travel 2017: Serbia, Kosovo and Srebrenica
9th of April - 16th of April €360,-
Subscription: January 13th 09:00-21:00 on https://www.clio.nl/events/travel-sign-up
First stop: Belgrade
Belgrade, also known as the White City is the capital and beating heart of the Serbian nation. It is home to an ancient fortress, the beautiful Saint Sava Cathedral and magnificent architecture left over from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, all next to Communist-era block construction. Nestled between Danube and Sava rivers, Belgrade combines not only old and new but also nature and city life in the best way possible, as it is known all over the world for its vibrant nightlife with floating nightclubs on the rivers.
Second Stop: Srebrenica
The Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Bosnian Serb forces was the worst episode of mass murder within Europe since World War II. It also involved gross mismanagement by the Dutch forces of the UN stationed there to protect the Bosniaks and up to this day has left deep emotional scars on survivors and created enduring obstacles to political reconciliation among Bosnia's ethnic groups.
When the autonomous leader of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito died in 1980, things started to change in the countries of Yugoslavia. Nationalistic calls and calls for independence became more eminent. However the most powerful nation of the group, Serbia, did not like the idea of independent states and because they mostly owned the Yugoslavian army, they were willing to put their boots on the ground and that is how different, sometimes very bloody and cruel independence wars started in e.g. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia. The international community seemed unwilling or unable to do anything sustainable, due to lack of cooperation and strong mandates. This is visible in the Srebrenica massacre, the mass rapes of women, the concentration camps and the war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as genocide.
A large majority of Kosovo sees itself as Albanian. However, after experiencing oppression by the Serbian regime, fed up Albanians started their own army, the UÇK, which was first seen by many as a terrorist organization. In 1998/1999, after many provocations of the UÇK, the Serbs started a large offensive. Following, the international community tried to have a peace agreement, granting Kosovo autonomy for 3 years and having NATO troops on the ground to monitor the agreement. The UÇK signed, whereas the Serbs did not. This is when the US under the NATO, (without any UN mandate), started to bomb targets in Kosovo and Serbia. This lasted 78 days until an agreement was signed.
A UN interim government was installed and until today a NATO mission is on the ground to monitor the agreement. In 2008, the Kosovo parliament declared independence in a rushed meeting without the Serbian representatives present.
As was to be expected, Serbia did not agree with this declaration of independence and does still not recognize it as independent. Recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign state remains a difficult topic, with states such as the Netherlands, the US and Egypt recognizing Kosovo, whilst states such as Serbia, Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina do not.
A big issue of the Serbian government is the fact that in the northern part of Kosovo, the majority of the population consists of Serbs. A landmark agreement in 2013 between Serbia and Kosovo grants the Serbs in the north a high degree of autonomy and the two parties agreed that they won't block each others efforts to join the EU