RODNEY ATKINSON: MILOSEVIC APOLOGIST & SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIER
REBUTTAL TO RODNEY ATKINSON’S CLAIMS
In his latest article titled “Lies and Myths About Milosevic and the Serbs” (note the title, he doesn’t even hide his one-sided leanings), Mr. Rodney Atkinson “a British opponent of globalization” and amateur ‘historian’ repeats old-school Serbian propaganda claims about Bosnian war and reduces himself to Srebrenica genocide denier. Since I am limited with my time and not really fond of Milosevic’s apologists, I will take a few moments to address some of the issues Mr. Atkinson raised in his factually wrong, overly one-sided and narrow-mindendly reasoned essay. As you will notice, the only elements missing to Mr. Atkinson’s claims are objectivity and credibility.
Let’s start with some of his claims about the trial of Slobodan Milosevic who recently literary poisoned himself with pills to avoid guilty verdict:
Milosevic would have been found guilty of war crimes.
In fact the trial and Milosevic’s detailed and penetrating challenge to prosecution witnesses had made a complete fool of the kangaroo court which had effectively kidnapped him in Belgrade (using the same anti-constitutional methods as the European Union did to destroy the sovereignty of the nation states of Europe – Presidential or Crown Prerogative!) Milosevic was not accused in the International Court in The Hague but by a “special Tribunal” set up by the anti Serb forces. Blair and his partners in the illegal war were indicted at the REAL International Court – but refused to turn up.
The evidence at the trial proved Milosevic’s guilt.
Far from that the Court was repeatedly unable to make any connection between Milosevic’s orders and the assumed “atrocities”. Indeed several Serb army personnel gave evidence that Belgrade had always insisted that soldiers who committed crimes should be brought to justice. The Court case also revealed that Lord Paddy Ashdown had lied to the Court and one of the Prosecution’s star witnesses exonerated Milosevic and said he had been tortured to make him provide evidence against the accused.
Mr. Atkinson calls the International Court “the kangaroo court” which “kidnapped” Milosevic in Belgrade and used “anti-constitutional methods” etc, etc, complete nonsense. Who can take this guy seriously? He claims the International Court was set up by “anti Serb forces”. Ridicoulous. He’s a complete nonsense. Milosevic was charged with 66 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, and his chances of ending the trial as a “free man” were non-existent. The fact is that nobody was saddened more by Mr. Milosevic’s death, than his victims who wanted to see the justice served. Prosecution not only proved Milosevic’s guilt – it also proved that Serbia actively participated in the attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mr. Atkinson’s selective “claims” about who lied and who did not lie in the courtroom are nothing more but his personal ramblings and unqualified attempts of amateur ‘historian’ to become a judge with no legal background. Learn more:
1. How to Remember Milosevic: Last words (by: Mark Vlasic is a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He served on the Slobodan Milosevic and Srebrenica prosecution teams at The Hague and has taught at Georgetown University Law Center.)
2. Milosevic: A life in denial of truths (by: Roy Gutman – Pulitzer-winning journalist and eyewitness to genocide)
3. Too Early to Call Milosevic’s Trial a Failure (by: Lawrence Douglas)
4. Slobodan Milosevic as Hitler (by: Yuksel Soylemez)
5. You can find more resources by searching our blog.
What about the war time atrocities?
Most were myths, the rest questionable. The Sarajevo market bomb was not set by Serbs but by Bosnian Muslims, as the UN later confirmed. The skeletonic “concentration camp” victim was a hoax, as the BBC’s John Simpson confirmed.
First of all, the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia concluded that the side responsible for Sarajevo marketplace bombing was not Bosnian, but Serbian. Serb General Stanislav Galic was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for his role in terrorizing Sarajevo. The judge said that prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt 18 of the 26 sniping incidents they charged and all five of the shellings. That includes the 1994 Sarajevo marketplace shelling (markale market massacre) in which 68 people were killed and more than 100 injured. It has been a controversial incident, with many Bosnian Serbs saying Bosniaks shelled themselves to gain world sympathy and get the Bosnian-Serb army in trouble. But judges, who said they examined new evidence about the marketplace bombing, concluded that the mortar shell that caused the explosion was fired by the Bosnian Serbs. It also was the first time the court dealt with the charge of terror, as defined in the 1949 Geneva Convention. Learn more:
1. Serb Gen. Stanislav Galic guilty for terrorizing Sarajevo
2. International Tribunal: Serbs responsible for 1994 Sarajevo Markale Massacre
3. United Nations Report: Serbs Responsible for 1995 Sarajevo Markale Bombing
4. You can find more resources by searching our blog.
Next, Mr. Atkinson alleges that:
The Srebrenica “massacre of 8,000 Muslims” [note the quotation marks] consists of some 2,000 bodies including Serbs who died in battle over a long period. Teenagers among the dead were commonplace especially among Croat and Bosnian army troops.
As a matter of the fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, so far, more than 6,000 bodies of Srebrenica genocide victims had been exhumed from primary and secondary mass graves around Srebrenica and are awaiting for DNA identification at Tuzla morgue. The DNA identification process is very slow and is expected to last for years, because Serbian army exhumed and re-buried most bodies in second mass graves in an attempt to hide the crimes (bones and skeletonal remains are mixed, thus making process of DNA identification more challenging). Here is a preliminary list of 8,100 Srebrenica victims, click here. Learn more:
1. Srebrenica Genocide Denial and Revisionism
2. Facts: 8,106 Bosniaks killed in Srebrenica Genocide
3. Srebrenica Investigation: Summary of Forensic Evidence – Execution Points and Mass Graves
4. Radislav Krstic Convicted of Srebrenica Genocide, Sentenced to 46 years
5. Srebrenica Massacre Questions and Answers
6. You can find more resources by searching our blog.
First of all, Naser Oric was charged for not preventing killings of 12 Serbs (this is command, not individual responsibility) and plundering Serb villages for food. Compare that to 8,106 Bosniaks killed by the Bosnian Serb and Serbian forces. Beheadings of Serbs in Bosnia were nothing more but a convenient Serb propaganda; no beheading videos were introduced during Naser Oric’s trial. For Serbian beheading propaganda, read “He was Bosnian, not Serb soldier: Srebrenica massacre photo story“.
The “International Community” never describes the massacres of Serb villagers around Srebrenica before the Yugoslav army moved in, nor the evil Muslim Commander Naser Oric who, Roland Keith testifies, carried out those raids and showed journalists video tape of the beheadings he ordered. Oric withdrew his troops from Srebrenica before the Serbs arrived. His army was later caught and badly defeated – which explains the origins of the Bosnian bodies found.
So how many Serbs died in Bosnia? In fact, less than 2,000 Serb civilians died in all of Bosnia (or 1,978 to be exact according to the latest data as of December 15, 2005 by The Research and Documentation Centre) – many of them from the Bosnian Serb shells hitting besieged government-controlled cities. It should also be noted that Naser Oric is not on trial for genocide, nor is he on trial for mass murder of Serb civilians.
During the Bosnian war (1992-1995), Srebrenica was under constant siege by Bosnian Serb millitary; no food or medical supplies were allowed into the enclave. Apart from never ending starvation, the civilian population of Srebrenica was subjected to constant Bosnian Serb artillery attacks. The only way to survive was to counter-attack surrounding Bosnian Serb villages (which served as Bosnian Serb military bases) and search for food and other supplies. In fact, long before Naser Oric counter-attacked Bosnian Serb forces around Srebrenica, close to 90% of Bosniak population of Eastern Bosnia was ethnically cleansed by Bosnian Serb and Serbian military forces. Here is a short excerpt from United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution 53/35 that addresses issue of Naser Oric’s raids:
A third accusation leveled at the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniaks launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years which is was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Visnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of “moral equivalency” through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long.
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Fall of Srebrenica – Role of Bosniak Forces on the Ground
Fifty-fourth session, Agenda item 42
The situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina
15 November 1999, pages 103-104
Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35
475. Criticisms have also been leveled at the Bosniaks in Srebrenica, among them that they did not fully demilitarize and that they did not do enough to defend the enclave. To a degree, these criticisms appear to be contradictory. Concerning the first criticism, it is right to note that the Bosnian Government had entered into demilitarization agreements with the Bosnian Serbs. They did this with the encouragement of the United Nations. While it is also true that the Bosnian fighters in Srebrenica did not fully demilitarize, they did demilitarize enough for UNPROFOR to issue a press release, on 21 April 1993, saying that the process had been a success. Specific instructions from United Nations Headquarters in New York stated that UNPROFOF should not be too zealous in searching for Bosniak weapons and, later, that the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs never did withdraw their heavy weapons.
476. Concerning the accusation that the Bosniaks did not do enough to defend Srebrenica, military experts consulted in connection with this report were largely in agreement that the Bosniaks could not have defended Srebrenica for long in the face of a concerted attack supported by armour and artillery. The defenders were undisciplined, untrained, poorly armed, totally isolated force, lying prone in the crowded valley of Srebrenica. They were ill-equipped even to train themselves in the use of the few heavier weapons that had been smuggled to them by their authorities. After over three years of siege, the population was demoralized, afraid and often hungry. The only leader of stature was absent when the attack occurred. Surrounding them, controlling all the high ground, handsomely equipped with the heavy weapons and logistical train of the Yugoslav army, were the Bosnian Serbs. There was no contest.
477. Despite the odds against them, the Bosniaks requested UNPROFOR to return to them the weapons they had surrendered under the demilitarization agreements of 1993. They requested those weapons at the beginning of the Serb offensive, but the request was rejected by the UNPROFOR because, as one commander explained, “it was our responsibility to defend the enclave, not theirs.” Given the limited number and poor quality of Bosniak weapons held by UNPROFOR, it seems unlikely that releasing those weapons to the Bosniaks would have made a significant difference to the outcome of the battle; but the Bosniaks were under attack at that time, they wanted to resist with whatever means they could muster, and UNPROFOR denied them access to some of their own weapons. With the benefit of hindsight, this decision seems to be particularly ill-advised, given UNPROFOR’s own unwillingness consistently to advocate force as a means deterring attacks on the enclave.
478. Many have accused the Bosniak forces of withdrawing from the enclave as the Serb forces advanced on the day of its fall. However, it must be remembered that on the eve of the final Serb assault the Dutchbat commander urged the Bosniaks to withdraw from defensive positions south of Srebrenica town – the direction from which the Serbs were advancing. He did so because he believed that NATO aircraft would soon be launching widespread air strikes against the advancing Serbs.
479. A third accusation leveled at the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few “raids” the Bosniaks mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniak forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniaks launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years which is was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Visnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of “moral equivalency” through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long.