SREBRENICA MASSACRE: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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FACTS vs SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIAL
Edition Updated: May 31, 2006 (new!)
July 11th, 1995: one of the worst moments in the history of modern Europe unfolds. The United Nations-declared “safe area” of Srebrenica is effectively handed over to advancing Bosnian Serb forces by the Dutch UN contingent entrusted with defending its civilian population.
The result is the continent’s worst massacre since the end of the Second World War. At least 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) men – possibly many more – are killed by the Bosnian Serb army, while the women are singled out for rape and mass ethnic cleansing deportations. Incredibly, the leader of the Dutch contingent then goes on to drink a toast with general Ratko Mladic, who is in charge of the Bosnian Serb army attacking Srebrenica.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Did you know? The Serbs never demilitarized around Srebrenica. The Bosnian Government had entered into demilitarization agreements with the Bosnian Serbs. On 21 April 1993, the UNPROFOR issued press release saying that the process of demilitarization of Bosnian defenders of Srebrenica had been a success. According to the Agreement, the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs refused to demilitarize. They never honored their part of agreement.
1. What is Srebrenica Massacre / Srebrenica Genocide?
The Srebrenica Massacre is considered one of the largest mass murders in Europe since World War II and one of the most horrific events in recent European history. The slaughter of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) at Srebrenica is recognized as the gravest atrocity to take place in Europe since the Nazi genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia has ruled the Srebrenica Massacre officialy a Genocide.
2. How many Bosniaks were killed during the Srebrenica Massacre?
No. It is estimated that hundreds of women and female children were raped during Srebrenica Massacre. The Serb troops abused women and even children who they had herded into makeshift enclosures. Due to cultural stigma attached to rape, many women refused to testify against the rapists. You may visit their website – Woman-Victim of War.
Srebrenica Genocide denial, also called Srebrenica Genocide revisionism, is the belief that the Srebrenica genocide did not occur, or, more specifically: that far fewer than around 8,100 Srebrenica Bosniaks were killed by the Bosnian Serb Army (numbers below 5,000, most often around 2,000 are typically cited); that there never was a centrally-planned Bosnian Serb Army’s attempt to exterminate the Bosniaks of Srebrenica; and/or that there were no mass killings at the extermination sites.
5. Why do Srebrenica Massacre revisionists continue to downplay Srebrenica Genocide?
(1) Herman’s denial of the magnitude of the massacre:
> … there is a major issue of how many were executed, as numerous bodies found in local grave sites were victims of fighting, and many Bosnian Muslim men who fled Srebrenica reached Bosnian Muslim territory safely.
> … the evidence for a massacre, certainly of one in which 8,000 men and boys were executed, has always been problematic, to say the least …
> There are also lists of missing, but these lists are badly flawed, with duplications, individuals listed who had died before July 1995, who fled to avoid BSA service, or who registered to vote in 1997, and they include individuals who died in battle or reached safety or were captured and assumed a new existence elsewhere.
> The 8,000 figure is also incompatible with the basic arithmetic of Srebrenica numbers before and after July 1995.
(2) Herman on the list of dead and missing persons:
> One anomaly connected with Srebrenica has been the stability of the figure of Bosnian Muslim victims-8,000 in July 1995 and 8,000 today, despite the crudity of the initial estimate, the evidence that many or most of the 5,000 “missing” reached Bosnian Muslim territory or were killed in the fighting, and the clear failure to produce supportive physical evidence despite a massive effort. In other cases, like the 9/11 fatality estimate, and even the Bosnian killings and Kosovo bombing war estimates, the original figures were radically scaled down as evidence of body counts made the earlier inflated numbers unsustainable. 
> But the link of this propaganda triumph to truth and justice is non-existent. The disconnection with truth is epitomized by the fact that the original estimate of 8,000, including 5,000 “missing”–who had left Srebrenica for Bosnian Muslim lines-was maintained even after it had been quickly established that several thousand had reached those lines and that several thousand more had perished in battle. This nice round number lives on today in the face of a failure to find the executed bodies and despite the absence of a single satellite photo showing executions, bodies, digging, or trucks transporting bodies for reburial.
(3) As an alternative to Herman’s make-believe denials, readers might be interested in a couple of documents with much detail about the massacre:
Srebrenica Investigation: Summary of Forensic Evidence – Execution Points and Mass Graves
Dean Manning witness statement on Srebrenica in Milosevic trial
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6. Is it true that Naser Oric (Commander of Srebrenica defence forces) killed thousands of Serb civilians in the villages around Srebrenica?
The answer is No. In fact, less than 2,000 Serb civilians died in all of Bosnia (or 1,978 to be exact) – many of them from Bosnian Serb shells hitting besieged government-controlled cities. (Source: The Research and Documentation Centre, as of December 15, 2005). 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.
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7. THE MYTH OF BRATUNAC: A BLATANT NUMBERS GAME
The allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts. The RDC’s [Research and Documentation Center] research of the actual number of Serb victims in Bratunac has been the most extensive carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and proves that the overall number of victims is three to nine times smaller than indicated by Serbia and Montenegro.
Perhaps the clearest illustration of gross exaggeration is that of Kravica, a Serb village near Bratunac attacked by the Bosnian Army on the morning of Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 1993 . The allegations that the attack resulted in hundreds of civilian victims have been shown to be false. Insight into the original documentation of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) clearly shows that in fact military victims highly outnumber the civilian ones. The document entitled “Warpath of the Bratunac brigade”, puts the military victims at 35 killed and 36 wounded; the number of civilian victims of the attack is eleven.
In addition to information received from relatives and family members of the victims and inspection of cemeteries, RDC has collected all existing primary sources, official documents and documentation of RS Ministry of Defense and Bratunac brigade of VRS, as well as research by the Serb authors. The victims have been categorized on the basis of two time-related criteria: the first was the municipality of residence at the time of the beginning of war; the second was the municipality of premature and violent death.
After all the sources have been processed, cross-referenced and reviewed, the results showed that 119 civilians and 424 soldiers classified in the first group died in Batunac during the war. Under the second category the number of civilians is somewhat higher (119) whereas the number of soldiers is 448. The result demonstrates that 26 members of other VRS units other than Bratunac brigade of VRS fought and died in combat in the municipality of Bratunac .
RDC inspection of the military cemetery in Bratunac showed that of 383 victims buried it is impossible to ascertain the exact cause of death for 63 victims, even though they may have died during the war. In addition, 139 victims who have lived elsewhere at the time of the outbreak of war and died in fighting either in their places of residence or elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are now buried in Bratunac military cemetery. 48 victims buried in Bratunac fought and died in Hadžići; 36 fought and died in Srebrenica; 34 and died in Vogošća; 3 in Konjic and 3 more in Ilijaš; 2 fought and died in Sarajevo, two more in Ilidža; one in Trnovo, Pale and Tuzla each.
Of the remaining victims from outside Bratunac one lived in Kiseljak, but died in Hadžići; one lived in Srebrenica and died in Jajce; three lived in Travnik and died in Hadžići, three lived in Ilidža and died in Hadžići, nine lived in Sarajevo and died in Hadžići, one lived in Hadžići and died in Vogošća, one lived in Zenica and died in Vogošća, one lived in Zenica and died in Srebrenica. Furthermore, one victim lived and died in Tuzla , one lived in Bosanski Brod and died in Olovo, one lived in Srebrenica and died in Bihać. Lastly, two individuals who lived in Kakanj and died in Hadžići are buried in the military cemetery in Bratunac, one who lived in Hadžići and died in Ilidža, two who lived in Vitez and died in Hadžići; four residents of Konjic who died in Hadžići, two residents of Pale who died in Hadžići, seven residents of Zenica who died in Hadžići, one resident of Vareš and one resident of Kakanj, who both died in Ilijaš.
The number of victims from Central Bosnia buried in Bratunac is consistent with the population movements after the war, especially the Serb population from the suburbs of Sarajevo . Under the Dayton Peace Accords, the suburbs of Sarajevo held by the VRS were to be re-integrated into the city of Sarajevo . The then leadership of the RS called on the local Serb population to leave Sarajevo and even take the graves of their loved ones with them. In fact, such a large majority followed the instructions that parts of the city of Sarajevo remained deserted for months. The remnants of their loved ones have been buried in Bratunac after the war, but their deaths are presented as the result of actions taken by the Bosnian Army units from Srebrenica.
As importantly, a number of foreign nationals (mainly from Serbia and Montenegro and Croatia) are included in the overall figure of Serb victims in Bratunac. At least 15 such individuals lost their lives in Bratunac as a result of fighting; it may be of some significance that all of them were members of a paramilitary group that arrived to Bratunac in April 1992, upon invitation of Bratunac Serb Democratic Party and in coordination with the State Security Service of Republic of Serbia (see testimony of Miroslav Deronjić, President of Municipal Board of SDS Bratunac, at International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia). Some of those individuals are Vesna Krdžalić, Dragica Mastikosa, Aleksandar Grahovac and Sreto Suzić who all died in combat on May 29, 1992 . Subsequently, they were all classified as “victims of Muslim terror” by the RS authorities. However, individuals from Serbia continued arriving to Bratunac throughout the year 1992, if the death records of the Bratunac brigade are to be trusted: one such individual died in fighting in August (Žarko Komnenski) and one more in November (Đuro Vujaklija). Furthermore, death records show that “volunteers” arrived from Serbia to Bratunac even in 1993, such as Dragan Milićev, who died in combat in January 1993 and Dragoslav Stanković who died in February 1993.
8. 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.
9. Response to outdated style propaganda that Bosniaks (or Muslims as they like to call us) bombed themselves
So, briefly – what are the facts?
1. UN Report: Serbs Responsible for 1995 Sarajevo Markale Market Massacre (must read – read this first!)
2. ICTY Ruling: Serb General, Stanislav Galic, guilty for 1994 Sarajevo Markale Market Massacre
3. International Criminal Tribunal: Bosnian Serbs Responsible for Sarajevo Markale Massacre