Theater of Cruelty

Supports Serbia's military

While Serbia still claims Kosovo, Norway will strengthen the Serbian army.


By Tarjei Leer-Salvesen

When Norwegian money and expertise are now going to help shape Serbia's new military forces, Norway is providing military aid to an old enemy. There is still a lack of clarification of Kosovo's post-war status in the 1990s. Serbia will not give Kosovo independence, and while it is awaiting clarification, the area today is in practice an international protectorate. At the same time, the outside world is paving the way for a better relationship with Serbia, which Norway and other NATO countries went to war against in 1999.

- In this year's defense budget, just over NOK 2,5 million has been set aside for the measures aimed at the Serbian defense, in addition to employed personnel spending a lot of time on follow-up and training, Deputy Director General Kåre Helland-Olsen in the Ministry of Defense informs Ny Tid. In February, Serbian officers were in Norway

to gain insight into how the Norwegian Air Force operates.

Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen visited the Balkans this week. The trip, for example, went to Serbia's capital Belgrade and Pristina in Kosovo.

“Serbia is the key to stability in the Balkans and is therefore the main focus. Norway provides extensive support for the preparation of a long-term plan for the Serbian defense, ”states a statement from the Ministry in connection with Strøm-Erichsen's journey.

Defense reforms should enable countries to safeguard their own security effectively and responsibly.

Norwegian support will continue for many years, and the intention is to approach the NATO standard on the forces.

July 10, Serbia's former president Milan Milutinovic stands before the UN war crimes court in The Hague, indicted for war crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999. The day after marks the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, and next weekend hearings in The Hague begin against seven Bosnian-Serbian generals and others officers charged in connection with the Srebrenica massacre.

Concerned Albanians

[reform] – I knew nothing about this program, and it comes as a surprise to me, says Daut Haxhaj when he hears about the Norwegian military aid to Serbia. Haxhaj is the leader of the Norwegian branch of the Kosovo Democratic Union (LDK), which has been the ruling party in Kosovo for several years.

- It is frightening if Norway helps Serbian military that has not been reformed yet. The Serbian military is still hiding war criminals, and Kosovo's status has not been clarified, Haxhaj said.

He is in constant contact with the Norwegian authorities, but this project has never been mentioned.

Hax shark notes that Norway has virtually withdrawn from Kosovo militarily, although the situation is still tense and unclear. At most, Norway had close to 1000 soldiers in Kosovo. Now there are only six observers left.

- I can only hope Norway has a positive vision with this. The Serbian defense needs to be reformed.

He hopes for continued support to the Albanian side as well. Norway has contributed both to local police and to democracy projects and infrastructure in Kosovo.


  • Kosovo is formally a province of Serbia and has enjoyed partial autonomy. The population is dominated by Kosovo Albanians.
  • Large sections of the population want a permanent detachment from Serbia.
  • The Kosovo crisis in 1999, in which Albanians were run by Serbs, ended with NATO countries going to war against Serbia. Since 1999, a large number of foreign forces have been based in the country to contribute to stability until clarification of Kosovo's status.
  • Norway participated in the war against Serbia and has since had troops deployed in Kosovo.


Terrible July

Svein Tore Bergestuen

news editor

[srebrenica] The settlement after the worst massacre in recent European history does not receive the attention it deserves. Maybe because things are going so terribly slow. More than a decade has passed since the atrocities in the Bosnian enclave Srebrenica, and the responsibility for the right to lie lies with the international community and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Slobodan Milosovic died before his final verdict, and yet the world has not been able to suck on General Ratko Mladic or Radovan Karadzic. It is a pity, because it is simply historically essential to convict those responsible after the slaughter of over 8000 boys and men in and outside Srebrenica in July 1995.

Besides being the largest mass murder in our continent since World War II, it is also a stain on recent UN history. A lawsuit is now being prepared against the Netherlands and the UN after Dutch UN soldiers did not intervene when Mladic and his men started the massacre. In a week, the hearings in The Hague will begin ahead of the trial of seven Bosnian Serb generals and officers. The war crimes tribunal has already ruled that it is genocide – with the UN as a passive spectator. Just two years earlier, the French general leading the UN forces, Philippe Morillion, had visited an overpopulated and unstable Srebrenica. He reassured terrified citizens that they were under UN protection and that the UN would never let them down.

Late at night, July 9, 1995, motivated by a lack of resistance, President Radovan Karadzic ordered the attack on "UN safe" Srebrenica. What happens in the days that follow is nothing but cruel. Lifeguard fled 20-25.000 people to the Dutch UN camp. But there was no protection there. UN soldiers and personnel became silent witnesses to the murder and rape of children, youth, adults and old people. On July 13, thousands were executed following a carefully directed arrangement. First, boys and men were gathered at empty schools and department stores, then driven in buses to the execution sites, where they were lined up and shot. Preferably backbone and with a blindfold. Then the bodies were disappointed in mass graves of bulldozers. When the hearings begin, the stories come to life. And that is good. We need a reminder of our near history.

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