Criminology is the scientific study of crime, of criminal behavior, and of penal treatment. Throughout time, many criminological theories have been developed which attempt to explain why certain individuals commit crimes. Some belief that the reasons are based on rationality, others believe that the reasons are biological, while others believe that the reasons for engaging in criminal behavior are driven by the environment. This paper will attempt to explain the reasons for the genocide that took place in Srebrenica in 1995 through the routine activities theory developed by Cohen and Felson in1997. The paper will be divided into three parts. The first one will explain the crime, the second one will explain what the theory consists of, and the third will analyze how this particular theory explains the Srebrenica genocide.
Genocide in Srebrenica
In order to understand the massacre that occurred in Srebrenica, a province of Bosnia-Hercegovina, it is crucial to understand the overall conflict in the former Yugoslavia occurring at the time. The conflict that erupted in the region was more ethnic than political in nature. Yugoslavia was created after the end of the Second World War. The Communist Republic, which came to be named The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, was composed of six republics: Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Montenegro. (Hayden 1996: 787). Ethnic diversity was high within Yugoslavia; however, each province was known for having a high and uniform concentration of a specific ethnicity. For many years all these different ethnicities were able to peacefully coexist within Yugoslavia. However, after the death of long time Yugoslav leader Bronze Tito in 1980 and the fall of the League of Communists, nationalistic ideas began to emerge in each republic. Nationalism started to be seen in Yugoslavia starting in 1992, when Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia declared their independence from Yugoslavia (Barria and Roper 2005: 350-351).
The secessions of the two most homogeneous republics -Slovenia and Macedonia- underwent relatively peacefully. However, the secession of Bosnia involved major violations of human rights. The Bosnian government declared the Serbian population to be a minority. However, the Bosnian-Serbs valued the idea of creating a greater Serbia and with the Support of the republic of Serbia and the Yugoslav army, they began to attack the non-Serbian population from Bosnia. This was the beginning of the Bosnian-Muslim ethnic cleansing from the region, followed by the genocide in Srebrenica. The Bosnian-Serbs managed to get control of nearly three quarters of the country, and set up their own territory, which they called Republika Srpska. However, the eastern part of Bosnia, where Srebrenica was located was still under the control of the Bosnian government and was declared a territory that was “free from arm attack or any other hostile act” by a UN resolution (United...