The 2007 conference, co-hosted by the Institute for Research on Crimes against Humanity, took place in Sarajevo in the war-torn Balkan nation of Bosnia- Herzegovina, Doubt presented a paper based on the implications of the recent World Court decision on genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the case of Serbia v. Bosnia.
"This World Court decision was deeply demoralizing to Bosnians," Doubt said, referring to a ruling that did not hold Serbia responsible for genocide in the Bosnian community of Srebrenica even though the court itself concluded that genocide had occurred in Srebrenica in 1995 during a series of wars waged by former Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic against Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia.
"Most scholars who see the evidence conclude that Serbia did indeed plan, initiate and carry out genocide in Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia," he said. "This evidence is carefully documented and overwhelming, but for some reason key aspects of the evidence were not considered by the World Court."
During the conference, Doubt visited Potocari, a small village near Srebrenica, where 12 years ago nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered by Serbian forces despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping forces deployed to the area by the United Nations.
Doubt "observed the burying of the remains of more than 400 people from various mass graves in the area." Often the remains of one person were found in multiple graves because the remains, which have been identified using DNA testing, had been re-buried several times in an effort to conceal the mass murder in Srebrenica.
In addition to the group visit to Potocari, in Sarajevo, Doubt watched films at the conference, listened to presentations by Bosnian and non-Bosnian genocide scholars, and heard the poignant testimonies of survivors. "Reacting to Genocide before it's too late - Genocide studies and its prevention" was the theme of the conference this year.
In his paper titled, "Destructive Secrets and Destructive Consequences: Carla del Ponte and the World Court Decision," Doubt wrote, "The World Court decision is disheartening and difficult to discuss; the judgment is surprisingly under-reported and hardly analyzed in the world media. The decision, however, consummates a long history of betrayal that the people of Bosnia have suffered. The opportunity to change this history was available but lost with the World Court's decision."
Doubt teaches an Honors Course at Wittenberg titled "Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Interdisciplinary Study." In this course, the history, culture, literature and politics of the country are studied from the viewpoint of sociology, anthropology, history and literature.
In his syllabus Doubt notes that, "When one studies the compelling character of Bosnia's social traditions, recounted eloquently in leading scholarly works on Bosnia, one would predict that Bosnia would be the last place where ethnic cleansing and genocide could have occurred with such viciousness and sadism."
In 2003, the Honors course included a public campus symposium in which Wittenberg students and people from Bosnia living in the United States gave presentations on multicultural understanding, violence and justice. Doubt notes as well that, "My presentation this summer and my recent book, Understanding Evil: Lessons from Bosnia, with Fordham University Press, stem directly from the teaching of this course and the insightful and mature responses of Wittenberg students to this material."
Doubt, who holds a bachelor's degree from Dickinson College and master's and doctoral degrees from York University in Toronto, Canada, has hosted a visit by Svetlana Broz, author of Good People in an Evil Time, to speak at Wittenberg. He has also hosted visits by Bosnian poet Senadin Musabegovic and American Studies scholar from University of Sarajevo Omer Hadziselimovic, with whom Doubt edits the interdisciplinary, bilingual, online journal "Duh Bosne/Spirit of Bosnia."
Doubt is the author of four books: Understanding Evil: Lessons from Bosnia, Towards a Sociology of Schizophrenia: Humanistic Reflections, Sociology after Bosnia and Kosovo: Recovering Justice, and Sociologija nakon Bosne [Sociology after Bosnia]. He has received three prestigious Fulbright Awards in his career, and he is has authored numerous articles on the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its aftermath.
He said that his visit to Bosnia will allow him to share new knowledge with both students and colleagues and again invite colleagues to Wittenberg to speak on campus and visit classes.
Written By: Kelly Juravic '08
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