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SREBRENICA MASSACRE ANSWERS (Revised Edition)

July 10, 2006

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SREBRENICA MASSACRE ANSWERS
FACTS vs. SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIAL
REVISED EDITION

Editorial (Srebrenica Genocide Blog)
Date Published: July 10, 2006.
Updated again on: July 29, 2006.
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Srebrenica Mother Shows Photo of her Child Killed During Srebrenica Massacre (Never Forget 7/11/1995 - Srebrenica Genocide)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. Srebrenica Mother Holds Photo of her Children who Perished During Srebrenica Massacre (Never Forget 7/11/1995 - Srebrenica Genocide)At least 8,106 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys 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 (see photo), who is in charge of the Bosnian Serb army attacking Srebrenica. On the occassion of the 11th Anniversary of Srebrenica Massacre, I am publishing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the massacre.
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Contents of this report:


(1) What is Srebrenica Massacre / Srebrenica Genocide?
(2) What is Srebrenica Genocide denial and revisionism?
(3) How many Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) died during Srebrenica Massacre?
(4) Were men and boys only victims of Srebrenica Massacre?
(5) Why do Srebrenica Massacre revisionists and Srebrenica Genocide deniers minimize numbers of killed Bosniaks in Srebrenica?
(6) Milosevic media claimed that forces under the command of Naser Oric killed over 3,000 Serb civilians around Srebrenica. What are the facts?
(7) Was war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, between 1992-1995, a civil war which resulted in Srebrenica Massacre?
(8) What were the United Nations’ conclusions about the role of Bosniak forces on the ground in Srebrenica?
(9) Was Srebrenica Massacre retaliation of Serb forces for Bosniak attacks on surrounding Serb villages? (justification of massacre, also see questions 6 & 10)
(10) Was Netherland’s NIOD Report flawed with respect to events leading to Srebrenica Massacre?
(11) Will Serbian masterminds of Srebrenica Massacre, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, ever be brought to justice?
(12) Did the Bosniaks bombed themselves to force NATO stop Serbian attacks on Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Gorazde, and other cities under siege?

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Bosniak child being led away and killed during Srebrenica massacre. (Never Forget 7/11/1995 - Srebrenica Genocide)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. Instead, Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages as a base for attacks on (and brutal siege of) Srebrenica.
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Question
(1) WHAT IS SREBRENICA MASSACRE / SREBRENICA GENOCIDE ?

Srebrenica massacre is the first legally established case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust. It is considered the largest mass murder in Europe since the 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.

Over 8,100 Bosniaks died in the Srebrenica massacre, mostly men and boys, ranging in age from babies to the elderly.

Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic and the political leader of Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic have both been indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Both of them are still at large.

So far, two people have been convicted for Srebrenica genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal, Serb general Radislav Krstic and Serb Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic.

Seven more individuals have been recently put on trial at the Hague and they are: Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero; Zdravko Tolimir is still at large.

Eleven more individuals are on trial in Bosnia-Herzegovina and they are: Milos Stupar, Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Miladin Stevanovic, Brano Dzinic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Branislav Medan, Dragisa Zivanovica, Velibor Maksimovic, and Milovan Matic.

In 2001, Radislav Krstic, a Serb commander who had led the assault on Srebrenica alongside Mladic, was sentenced to 46 years in prison.

On August 15 2001, Radislav Krstic filed a notice of appeal against the Trial Chamber judgement. The Appeal’s Chamber cut his sentence by 11 years and reaffirmed that the Srebrenica massacre was indeed an act of Genocide.

In a landmark ruling, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia widened the definition of genocide when it found Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic guilty of “aiding and abetting genocide” for his role in the systematic murders of Bosniak men and boys (children) in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The Krstic ruling expanded the legal definition of genocide to cover mass killing on the basis of gender. While the defence argued that “the VRS decision to transfer, rather than to kill, the women and children of Srebrenica… undermines the finding of genocidal intent”, in its final judgement the Appeals Chamber found that proof of intent to commit genocide by destroying the group physically or biologically was met “by the disastrous consequences for the family structures on which the Srebrenica part of the Bosnian Muslim group was based”. Rapes of women and slaughter of children were graphically described in Prosecutor vs. Krstic judgement, read excerpts here.

Vidoje Blagojevic was another person to be convicted on Srebrenica Genocide charges and other human rights violations. He was sentenced to eighteen years in prison. His case is currently on appeal.

On November 10, 2004, the government of Republika Srpska issued an official apology. The statement came after government review of the Srebrenica committee’s report. “The report makes it clear that enormous crimes were committed in the area of Srebrenica in July 1995,” the Bosnian Serb government said. A Serb commission’s final report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre acknowledged that the mass murder of Bosniak men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces was planned. The report recognized and gave details of the pre-planned murders.

On June 27, 2005, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution (H. Res. 199 sponsored by Congressman Christopher Smith and Congressman Benjamin Cardin) commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The resolution was passed with overwhelming majority of 370 – YES votes, 1 – NO vote, and 62 – ABSENT .

Question
(2) WHAT IS SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIAL AND REVISIONISM?

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.

Those who hold this position often further claim that Bosniaks and/or Western media know that the Srebrenica genocide never occurred, yet that they are engaged in a massive conspiracy to maintain the illusion of a Srebrenica Genocide to further their political agenda. These views are not accepted as credible by objective historians.

Srebrenica genocide deniers almost always prefer to be called Srebrenica Genocide revisionists. Most scholars contend that the latter term is misleading. Historical revisionism is a well-accepted part of the study of history; it is the reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards updating histories with newly discovered, more accurate, or less biased information. The implication is that history as it has been traditionally told may not be entirely accurate. The term historical revisionism has a second meaning, the illegitimate manipulation of history for political purposes. For example, Srebrenica Genocide deniers (or Srebrenica Genocide revisionists as they like to be called) typically willfully misuse or ignore historical records in order to attempt to prove their conclusions.

While historical revisionism is the re-examination of accepted history, with an eye towards updating it with newly discovered, more accurate, and less-biased information, Srebrenica Genocide deniers/revisionists have been using it to seek evidence in support of their own preconceived theory, omitting substantial facts.

Most Srebrenica Genocide deniers reject the term Genocide and insist that they do not deny the Srebrenica Massacre, prefering to be called “revisionists”. They are nevertheless commonly labeled as Srebrenica Genocide deniers to differentiate them from historical revisionists and because their goal is to deny the existance of the Srebrenica Genocide, by omitting substantial facts, rather than honestly using historical evidence and methodology to examine the event.

Question
(3) HOW MANY BOSNIAKS DIED DURING SREBRENICA MASSACRE?

On June 5, 2005 Bosnia’s Federal Commission for Missing Persons (Federalna Komisija za nestale osobe) issued a list of the names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers of 8,106 individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have gone missing and/or been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. The Federal Commission’s list was made public early in June. A verification process is underway for approximately 500 more victims whose disappearance or death has not yet been verified from two or more independent sources.


Updated info: A marble stone (photo) at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial Center Potocari is engraved with 8,370 names of Srebrenica victims (info as of July 6th, 2006).

The major challenge in Bosnia is the identification of the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre where over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, including preteen children and babies, were slaughtered after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-run enclave. Their bodies had initially been buried in a dozen of mass graves, but Bosnian Serbs moved them later by buldozers to a number of other locations in order to cover up their crime. Their body parts were separated, and forensic experts have sometimes found parts of a single victim buried in three different mass graves.



Question
(4) WERE MEN AND BOYS ONLY VICTIMS OF 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.

There were also reports of babies being taken away from their mothers and killed. Sabaheta Fejzic’s testimony is a sad one. She witnessed Serb soldiers indiscriminately taking girls, boys, and men out of camp. They also took her husband and tore her baby son from her arms. She never saw either one of them again.

According to the Secretary-General’s Report, A/54/549, quote:

389. The same day, one of the Dutchbat soldiers, during his brief stay in Zagreb upon return from Serb-held territory, was quoted as telling a member of the press that “hunting season [is] in full swing… it is not only men supposedly belonging to the Bosnian Government who are targeted… women, including pregnant ones, children and old people aren’t spared. Some are shot and wounded, others have had their ears cut off and some women have been raped.

A Dutch Bat medical orderly witnessed a rape, quote:

[W]e saw two Serb soldiers, one of them was standing guard and the other one was lying on the girl, with his pants off. And we saw a girl lying on the ground, on some kind of mattress. There was blood on the mattress, even she was covered with blood. She had bruises on her legs. There was even blood coming down her legs. She was in total shock. She went totally crazy. [See: Prosecutor vs. Krstic Judgement]

As a result of exhaustive UN negotiations with Serb troops, 25,000 women were forcibly deported (ethnically cleansed) from Srebrenica. Had UN negotiations with Serb troops failed, most Srebrenica women would likely meet the fate of Srebrenica men and boys. Some busses never reached the safety. For example, according to the witness accounts given by Srebrenica Massacre survivor – Kadir Habibovic – who hid himself on one of the first buses taking women and children from the Dutch United Nations base in Potocari to government-held territory in Kladanj, “Habibovic saw at least one vehicle full of Muslim women being driven away from Bosnian government-held territory.” [source]

One of his captors at one point complained that they were not getting a good choice of the Muslim women from Srebrenica. Habibovic’s account corroborates reports from refugees that many Srebrenica women were raped by Bosnian Serb soldiers. Habibovic said the men were taken to a remote location near Rasica Gai late in the evening. When the first group was taken from the truck and shot, he said he leapt from the truck and tumbled down a nearby slope. Gunfire from the soldiers missed him and he escaped. He later heard a large amount of gunfire, which he believes were the other prisoners being killed. He reached government-held territory on Aug 20, with his wounds still fresh.

Hague officials say that the tribunal’s progress in dealing with rape has come from three factors – the courage of the victims and witnesses who testified, the tenacity of the prosecuting lawyers, and the years of tireless lobbying by pressure groups. The breakthrough came when prosecutors established that these rapes were entirely foreseeable. Judges agreed that the generals in charge should have reasonably predicted that, under these conditions, the sexual assaults were likely. It was concluded that any rapes that took place in Srebrenica were therefore the fault of the commanders. Hague officials say that the tribunal’s progress in dealing with rape has come from three factors – the courage of the victims and witnesses who testified, the tenacity of the prosecuting lawyers, and the years of tireless lobbying by pressure groups.

Here are some excerpts from the ICTY’s (International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia) 260 page-rulling in the case of Prosecutor vs. Krstic which resulted in Srebrenica genocide verdict:

43. Killings occurred.
In the late morning of 12 July 1995, a witness saw a pile of 20 to 30 bodies heaped up behind the Transport Building in Potocari, alongside a tractor-like machine. Another testified that, at around 1200 hours on 12 July, he saw a soldier slay a child with a knife in the middle of a crowd of expellees. He also said that he saw Serb soldiers execute more than a hundred Bosnian Muslim men in the area behind the Zinc Factory and then load their bodies onto a truck, although the number and methodical nature of the murders attested to by this witness stand in contrast to other evidence on the Trial Record that indicates that the killings in Potocari were sporadic in nature.

44. As evening fell, the terror deepened.
Screams, gunshots and other frightening noises were audible throughout the night and no one could sleep. Soldiers were picking people out of the crowd and taking them away: some returned; others did not. Witness T recounted how three brothers – one merely a child and the others in their teens – were taken out in the night. When the boys’ mother went looking for them, she found them with their throats slit.

46. Bosnian Muslim refugees nearby could see the rape, but could do nothing about it becauseof Serb soldiers standing nearby. Other people heard women screaming, or saw women being dragged away. Several individuals were so terrified that they committed suicide by hanging themselves. Throughout the night and early the next morning, stories about the rapes and killings spread through the crowd and the terror in the camp escalated.

150. On 12 and 13 July 1995, upon the arrival of Serb forces in Potocari, the Bosnian Muslim refugees taking shelter in and around the compound were subjected to a terror campaign comprised of threats, insults, looting and burning of nearby houses, beatings, rapes, and murders.

517. More significantly, rapes and killings were reported by credible witnesses and some committed suicide out of terror. The entire situation in Potocari has been depicted as a campaign of terror. As an ultimate suffering, some women about to board the buses had their young sons dragged away from them, never to be seen again.

Read more: Women & Srebrenica Massacre.

Question
(5) WHY DO SREBRENICA MASSACRE REVISIONISTS AND SREBRENICA GENOCIDE DENIERS MINIMIZE NUMBERS OF KILLED BOSNIAKS IN SREBRENICA?

Ask yourself: Why do Holocaust revisionists deny Holocaust? Why are 9/11 attacks on America target of conspiracy theories, revisionism and denials?

When it comes to Srebrenica massacre, consider Ed Herman, for example. Of Herman’s many dubious and outright false assertions about Srebrenica, one of the most contemptible is his attempt to make disappear from history the roughly 8000 Bosnian civilians massacred by Serbian forces. Some of his mystification is couched in slippery deniability, in a half-hearted attempt to deflect the criticism he deserves. But taken together, his comments comprise a clear endeavor at war-crimes denial. (1)

Herman is perturbed that the estimated number of victims has stayed relatively constant around 8000. (2) But this estimate has been documented in detail by several independent sources and has been accepted widely, from the corporate media to such progressive reporters as Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” (Srebrenica 10th anniversary report, July 11, 2005).

Though Herman uses misleading and out-of-date reports to cast doubt on the credibility of the lists of missing, he ignores the detailed documentation of the lists from several sources. The credibility of the lists deserves particular attention in rebuttal to Herman.

On June 5, 2005 Bosnia’s Federal Commission for Missing Persons (Federalna Komisija za nestale osobe) issued a list of the names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers of 8,106 individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have gone missing and/or been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. The Federal Commission’s list was made public early in June. (3)

A verification process is underway for approximately 500 more victims whose disappearance or death has not yet been verified from two or more independent sources.

Relatives and friends have registered a total of 7,789 names of people missing or known to be dead from the July 1995 events at Srebrenica with another reporting body, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross has compiled its own list, based on inquiries from friends and relatives. (The ICRC list is slightly shorter because it allows only those reported by relatives. Where entire families were wiped out, the ICRC does not accept reports from friends or neighbors.) The ICRC states that there are still 5500 missing persons from Srebrenica, in addition to the 2000+ identified dead. (July 2005).

Another list appears as an annex to the Republika Srpska Srebrenica Commission’s June 2004 report.

It should also be kept in mind that names appear on the missing-persons lists as a result of active inquiries from relatives and others close to the missing/deceased individuals in question. In addition to these names there are other individuals who were among the dead and missing in July 1995 but do not appear on any lists because they had no close friends or relatives there to inquire after them – including cases where whole families (or whole village populations) were killed.

For one of numerous reports on the difficulties faced by forensic investigators in attempting to identify some of the recovered bodies, see Srebrenica: ten years on, by Ed Vulliamy, July 6, 2005. That sort of information should be posted on ZNet as a counter-balance to Herman’s ridiculous denials.

Apparently Herman has never been to Bosnia, so he thinks he is able to preserve his ability to look at the issues with “objectivity,” unlike the surviving victims of the massacre. But his selective reliance on Serbian nationalists, right-wing

Republicans, and a handful of leftist ideologues produces historical revisionism that disgraces Z Magazine.

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(1) Herman’s denial of the magnitude of the massacre, excerpts:

> … 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, excerpts:

> 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. [49]

> 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

Question
(6) SERBIAN MEDIA CLAIMED THAT FORCES UNDER THE COMMAND OF NASER ORIC KILLED OVER 3,000 SERB CIVILIANS AROUND SREBRENICA. WHAT ARE THE FACTS?

With respect to Naser Oric’s forces, they are held responsible for mistreatment of about 15 Serb captives (of which about 5 died in custody). Contrast that with large scale slaughters of over 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica. The facts are that around 2,000 Serb civilians died in all of Bosnia (or 1,978 to be exact, respectively) – many of them from Bosnian Serb shells hitting besieged government-controlled cities.

Research and Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo, which includes joint Bosniak, Serb and Croat investigators, recently investigated number of alleged Serb casualties around Srebrenica and concluded that the alleged number of 3,287 Serb casualties in Central Podrinje is actually incorrect and nine to ten times lower than reported by the Serbian media. RDC closely works and aids ICTY Investigations and is funded by both international community and the joint government of Bosnia-Herzegovina (which is composed of Bosniak, Serb and Croat lawmakers). RDC concluded, quote:

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 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. [Read full report here]

Human Rights Watch agrees, quote:


The ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area. The campaign was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime, and many in Serbia were willing to accept that version of history.

But as the Oric judgment makes clear, the facts do not support the equivalence thesis. Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica.

In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died.

The critics also invoke unreliable statistics. A spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party of Serbia in the wake of the Oric judgment, for example, claimed that “we have documents showing that 3,260 people were found dead around Srebrenica from 1992-1995.” However, the book Hronike nasih grobalja (Chronicles of Our Graveyards) by the Serb historian Milivoje Ivanisevic (the president of the Belgrade Centre for Investigating Crimes Committed against the Serbian People), uses the significantly lower figure, of “more than 1,000 persons [who] died,” and contains the list, mostly made of men of military age. Among those killed, there were evidently a significant number of Bosnian Serb soldiers who died in the fighting, like in Kravica. [source]

For a list of killed Bosniaks in the Bratunac municipality, click here.

Naser Oric was found not guilty of any direct involvement in the murders of about 5 and mistreatment of another 10 Serbs. He was also found not guilty for the “wanton destruction” of homes and property. But he was found guilty of failing to control and discipline men under his command. The incidents took place from December 1992 to March 1993 (before Srebrenica became “Safe Heaven”), when Serbian forces were ethnically cleansing, torturing, raping, and killing Bosniak population of Eastern Bosnia (See RDC). Contrast that with over 8,100 Bosniaks who were summarily executed by Serb forces under the command of war crimes fugitives Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. One cannot even compare the case of genocide with the individual incidents of war crimes, because Srebrenica Bosniaks were subjected to Genocide. It should also be noted that Naser Oric was not on trial for genocide, nor was he on trial for mass murder of Serb civilians.

Many of the 52 witnesses that the prosecution called were members of the Bosnian Serb Army who participated in the seige and massacre of over 8,100 Srebrenica Bosniaks. The case is on appeal. The prosecution has also been accused of providing forged documents which three expert witnesess failed to authenticate, and has also been warned but not sancioned for witholding exculpatory evidence. The judges at one point attempted to reduce the time that defence witnesses were allowed to testify, until an appeals chamber overturned this decision. There was also outrage at the 18 year sentence that the prosecution has asked for. Drazen Erdemovic, was a Serb soldier serving in Srebrenica and although he confessed to killing 70 Bosniak civilians during the Srebrenica massacre he only received a 5 year sentance.

The judges in Oric case described conditions in Srebrenica at the times of the crimes in 1992 and 1993 as abysmal. They noted that militarily superior Serb forces encircled the town and that there was an unmanageable influx of refugees there, as well as a critical shortage of food and the breakdown of law and order. Oric was given 2 year sentence and immediately released, because he already spent more than 3 years on trial.

Consequently, the sentence imposed reflects this uniquely limited criminal responsibility.” – concluded judges. [ICTY Press Release].

The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS military presence in some Bosnian Serb villages. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Bosniak civilians. [source]. Secondly, the Oric judgment found the presence of Serb military in several villages that the Bosniak forces launched an offensive on, including the presence of sophisticated weapons such as tanks, anti aircraft, rocket launchers etc. Therefore, putting the offensive actions against those specific villages where there was a VRS presence in much different light than the one purported by the genocide deniers.

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.

From Simon Mardel, a WHO doctor who was based in Srebrenica at the time, wrote:

People are completely trapped. The water supply from higher up the valley is now cut off. The present situation can only be described as an impending holocaust. [source]

Here is a short excerpt from United Nations’ General Assembly Resolution 53/35 that addresses issue of Naser Oric’s raids [full text], quote:

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.

Question
(7) WAS WAR IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, BETWEEN 1992-1995, A CIVIL WAR WHICH RESULTED IN SREBRENICA MASSACRE?

War in Bosnia-Herzegovina cannot be characterized simply as ‘civil war’, as forces loyal to the Bosnian government were composed of members coming from all ethnic backgrounds. For example, high ranking Bosnian General, Jovan Divjak, was a Serb. He was one of Generals in charge of defending Sarajevo from Serbian attacks.

The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a direct response to a full blown international attack on Bosnia-Herzegovina by neighboring Serbia. According to the statement by Chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, to the Security Council on June 7 2006, the Prosecution has proven an international armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina no less than five times, quote:

The instrument of the adjudicated facts is therefore a key tool to reduce the scope of the trials. For instance, the Prosecution has proven an international armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina no less than five times, wasting months and months on proving the same facts, sometimes with the same witnesses, in case after case. We have to prove it again, for the sixth time, in the on-going Prlic et al. trial. [read more]

You can learn more by reading this article on our blog: War in Bosnia-Herzegovina was an International Conflict Between Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia.

Question
(8) WHAT WERE THE UNITED NATIONS’ CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE ROLE OF BOSNIAK FORCES ON THE GROUND IN SREBRENICA?

Here is what United Nations’ General Assembly concluded [source], quote:

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.

Question
(9) WAS SREBRENICA MASSACRE ‘RETALIATION’ OF SERB FORCES FOR BOSNIAK ATTACKS ON SERB VILLAGES? (justification of massacre, also see question #6 & #10)

Absolutely not. This claim is just one of many claims used by Serb apologists to justify massacre in Srebrenica. [See my response: Sick Reasoning (Justification of Massacre)] In fact, local Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica on a daily basis as I elaborated in my answers to questions #6 and #10. The U.N. Report 53/35 concluded:

“Even though this accusation [that Srebrenica massacre was ‘retaliation’ of Serb forces for Bosniak attacks on Serb villages] is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it.”

The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS military presence in some Bosnian Serb villages. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Bosniak civilians. [source]. Secondly, the Oric judgment found the presence of Serb military in several villages that the Bosniak forces launched an offensive on, including the presence of sophisticated weapons such as tanks, anti aircraft, rocket launchers etc. Therefore, putting the offensive actions against those specific villages where there was a VRS presence in much different light than the one purported by the genocide deniers.

Human Rights Watch agrees:


In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. [source]

Question
(10) WAS NETHERLAND’S NIOD REPORT FLAWED WITH RESPECT TO EVENTS LEADING TO THE SREBRENICA MASSACRE? (also see question #9)

Dutch NIOD Report is not as objective as one might have expected it to be. NIOD Report was published by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. This is the document, commissioned by the Dutch government following criticism of the way its peacekeeping force in the Srebrenica behaved at the time of the massacre. [See: Srebrenica Massacre Lawsuit Against U.N. and Dutch Government]

Although the Dutch government refused to apologize for the failure of Dutchbat to prevent the Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report was the Netherlands’s attempt to wash their hands of direct involvement in the Srebrenica massacre. The report is extremely biased in some parts, depending on the sources or references used.

For example, Part II – Chapter 2 talks about “The history preceding the conflict in Eastern Bosnia up until the establishment of the Safe Area“. By reading this part of the report, one can easily get the impression that Bosniaks constantly attacked Serb villages while Serbs were constantly defending themselves from Bosniaks. But since this report was Netherland’s attempt to shift blame by virtues of ‘moral equivalency’, no wonder they came up with such grotesque claims. Earlier U.N. Report 53/35 concluded:

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 judgment in Naser Oric case clearly shows that surrounding Serb villages were used as bases to attack Srebrenica on a daily basis from day one:

Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, page 43-51)

Serb forces continued to attack Srebrenica even after Srebrenica became a “Safe Heaven”:

Later, a Dutch battalion replaced the Canadian troops. The weapons of Bosnian Muslims were, at least to some extent, turned in or confiscated. Larger military operations by both Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were effectively brought to a halt. However, incidents of Serb military action continued to occur, causing casualtiesamong the Srebrenica population. (Naser Oric Judgement, pdf format, page 52-53)

The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS military presence in some Bosnian Serb villages. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Bosniak civilians. [source]. Secondly, the Oric judgment found the presence of Serb military in several villages that the Bosniak forces launched an offensive on, including the presence of sophisticated weapons such as tanks, anti aircraft, rocket launchers etc. Therefore, putting the offensive actions against those specific villages where there was a VRS presence in much different light than the one purported by the genocide deniers. Human Rights Watch agrees:


In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. [source]

The NIOD report cites too many biased Serb sources and even suggests that over 1,000 Serbs died around Srebrenica, which was proven to be false by the internationally sponsored Research and Documentation Center (RDC), which concluded that less than 400 Serbs died there, three quarters of them soldiers (source). Manipulating the number of victims is a form of propaganda that in practice is very difficult to deal with. The Bosnian Government did the same in the 1990s, stating that over 200,000 people died. RDC has concluded that not more than 150,000 people died in Bosnia (and RDC’s incomplete data as of today lists around 100,000 people).

Critics of the NIOD Report allege that the massive tome is full of inaccuracies and amounts to a whitewash designed to clear the Dutch of any wrongdoing. IWPR’s piece, titled Controversial Srebrenica Report Back on Table (source), exposes flaws of NIOD Report:

They [the critics] claim that the government-financed report now provides a “one-stop shop” of information for all sides if the conflict, because it was watered down too much for it to take a real position on anything. According to Jan Willem Honig, senior lecturer in war studies at London’s Kings College and co-author of the highly-praised “Srebrenica, Record of a War Crime”, the truth lies somewhere in between. Although he says the report “has an aura of independent academic research,” Honig is critical of its length, saying the sheer abundance of information makes it possible for anyone to pluck from it whatever they need to make their point. This, he says, is a liability because the report is not always consistent. “It’s possible to draw different conclusions from the different parts in the book. Therefore one can imagine it is useful to both defence and prosecution,” he said. Honig said he found numerous errors in the report as well. For example, he said an explanatory map inserted as a graphic aid to explaining the Bosnian Serb battle plan does not correspond with the plan as described in the text. And neither the written description nor the map accurately describe the actual plan. Worse than the inaccuracies, according to Honig, is the fact that the report has no clear objective. “They [the researchers] should have considered better what they wanted to establish with the report. That might have saved thousands of pages. With its leisurely narrative approach they shot themselves in the foot. The project escaped their control; it became too big,” he said. Honig is not alone in criticising the report. Many readers have complained that the index is poorly organised and full of errors, particularly regarding peoples’ names. Even those who worked on the NIOD report have been critical of it. One of the nine NIOD-researchers, anthropologist Ger Duijzings recently told the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, “Information from sources that I found unreliable, I found back in Part 1 [of the report] – used by [fellow-researcher] Bob de Graaf, if he thought it fitted in his argumentation.”

The direct Dutch involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and subsequent shameful collaboration with Ratko Mladic’s genocidal forces is one of the issues in the upcoming lawsuit against the Dutch government and the United Nations. Dutch forces have direct (although not primary) responsibility for the fall of Srebrenica and the subsequent massacre of over 8,000 Bosniaks.

According to Hasan Nuhanovic, who survived Srebrenica massacre, the NIOD Report has not determined the level of responsibility and guilt of the Dutch troops and officials for genocide in Srebrenica [full text].

According to ambassador Arria, who initiated the visit of the UN Security Council delegation to Srebrenica in April 1993, and was at its head, described the situation in the enclave as “genocide in slow motion”. [source] Shocking images of poverty, destruction, starvation and squalor were hidden from the public. As the Venezuelan ambassador testified, this was done with the collusion of the UNPROFOR troops deployed in the enclave declared a “protected area” a little while ago. Arria took the first photographs of the destruction of Srebrenica and its starving inhabitants. Those were the only photographs in existence at the time. He refused to hand over his camera to UN members.

Ambassador Arria testified at the International Tribunal that the international community “did not move its little finger” to protect the Muslims in the enclave and “did not make it possible for them to defend themselves”. He openly accusing the then UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali and his staff of withholding the reports about the real situation in Srebrenica and misinforming the Security Council.

The report on the “humanitarian disaster in Srebrenica”, Arria claims, appeared before the Security Council 12 days after the dramatic appeal by the then UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata. There was a tendency in the Security Council, he said, to “morally equate the victims and the aggressor”, thus avoiding the need to take action to prevent the humanitarian disaster.

The Venezuelan diplomat claims that the blue helmets in the enclave did nothing to prevent the “gradual genocide”. Quite the contrary, during the visit of the Security Council delegation to Srebrenica, the then UNPROFOR commander, Brigadier Hayes did all he could to prevent them from seeing the real situation and the truth about the area which had already been officially declared as “protected”.

As he said, the international community had been hoping, before the declaration of the safe haven, that the Serbs would overrun the enclave quickly, thereby “solving the problem”. The defenders of Srebrenica, Arria contends, were a problem for the international community. It turned out that the UN-protected enclave was in fact a “scene set for genocide”, Arria said, adding that today he was “sorry [he] proposed the establishment of the protected area together with the other representatives of the non-aligned countries in the Security Council”.


Question

(11) WILL SERBIAN MASTERMINDS OF SREBRENICA MASSACRE, RADOVAN KARADZIC AND RATKO MLADIC, EVER BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE?

It’s hard to speculate. There is no genuine will in Serbia to arrest Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic. Serbia has been protecting and financially supporting war criminals for over a decade now. Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic drew his army general’s pension in Serbia up until November last year while on the run from international justice. An investigation had revealed that Mladic’s wife, son and two Army officers, one retired and one still active, had been authorized to pick up the money in 2002, when Mladic dropped out of sight to avoid arrest. He was active in the Yugoslav Army until 2002, one year after Milosevic’s arrest.

On June 7 2006, in a statement to the Security Council, Chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, complained that rather than arresting Mladic, the Serbian authorities had wasted time trying to get him to surrender voluntarily. And while a series of operations targeting his support network earlier this year might have succeeded in producing a lot of column inches, she added, they lacked the discretion needed to acquire information that could have led to his arrest. In addition,

Del Ponte voiced suspicion that inconsistencies in reports submitted to her office by the Serbian authorities were a sign that the information in them had been “doctored for political reasons”.

According to Del Ponte, there are established leads connecting Serbia to Radovan Karadzic and that it is certain that part of his network and of his family remains in Republika Srpska (Serb part of Bosnia). During 2005, there was no real attempt to locate and arrest Mladic. Part of Karadzic’s family is living in Montenegro, and he can count on numerous supporters there.

In 2000, the U.S. Jury returned $4.5 billion verdict against Radovan Karadzic.

The U.S. Government is offering $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Radovan Karadzic and/or Ratko Mladic.

Question

(12) DID THE BOSNIAKS BOMBED THEMSELVES TO FORCE NATO STOP SERBIAN ATTACKS ON SARAJEVO, SREBRENICA, GORAZDE AND OTHER CITIES UNDER SIEGE?

Absolutely not. The Markale massacres were two massacres committed by the Army of Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb Army) on Sarajevo civilians during the Siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War. They occurred at the Markale marketplace located in the historical core of Sarajevo. The first happened on February 5, 1994 when 68 people were killed and 144 more were wounded.

The second occurred on August 28, 1995 when a mortar shell killed 37 people and wounded another 90.

United Nations concluded that both attacks came from Serbian army (see: Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/55):

438. Five mortar rounds landed in a crowded area of downtown Sarajevo shortly after 1100 hours on 28 August [1995]. Four of the rounds caused only minimal material damage; one round, however, landed in the Markale marketplace, the scene of a similar attack on 5 February 1994. Thirty-seven people, most of them civilians, were killed in and around the marketplace, and approximately 90 were injured. A confidential report to the UNPROFOR Commander concluded that the five rounds had been fired from the Serb-held area of Lukavica, to the west of Sarajevo. (The secrecy surrounding the UNPROFOR investigation into this incident gave rise to speculation, fuelled by the Serbs, that there was doubt as to which side had fired the mortar rounds. A review of United Nations documentation, however, confirms that UNPROFOR considered the evidence clear: all five rounds had been fired by the Bosnian Serbs.)

439. On the day of the attack, the Force Commander based in Zagreb, who controlled the United Nations “key” to launch air attacks, was absent on personal business. The key had therefore passed temporarily to the UNPROFOR Commander in Sarajevo. The latter decided to initiate a request for NATO air strikes against the Serbs, calculating that force could be used to advantage. The goal of the “enforcement operation” would be to remove Serb weapons from within striking distance of the safe area of Sarajevo, and to lift the siege of the city. Two problems, however, prevented the UNPROFOR Commander from turning the key immediately. First, despite sustained efforts over two months to remove UNPROFOR troops from positions from which they could be taken hostage by Serb forces, a detachment of UNPROFOR troops was moving through Serb-held territory in eastern Bosnia, on its way out of Gora de. Second, UNPROFOR’s facilities in Sarajevo were, as ever, scattered across the floor of the valley in which Sarajevo lies, exposed to fire from Serb mortars and artillery in the surrounding hills.

440. The UNPROFOR Commander called Mladic to ensure that the movement of UNPROFOR troops out of Serb-held territory would not be hindered. Not wishing to arouse the Serbs’ suspicions, which could have led to the detention of the exposed UNPROFOR troops, the UNPROFOR Commander decided not to tell Mladic that UNPROFOR experts had confirmed that the mortar rounds had been fired by the Serbs, or that he was planning to launch an air campaign against the Serbs in response. Mladic was apparently satisfied, allowing the UNPROFOR unit in eastern Bosnia to proceed across the international border into the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a manoeuvre which was completed in the same evening. Again concerned not to arouse Serb suspicions, the UNPROFOR Commander also made a statement to the press in which he was equivocal, both as to who had fired the mortar rounds and as to how UNPROFOR intended to respond. The press, and the Bosnian Government authorities, were, like Mladic, convinced that there would be no dramatic response to the massacre. The Government lodged a protest against what it described as the latest example of a pattern of UNPROFOR inaction.

441. The UNPROFOR Commander turned his key at approximately 2000 hours on 28 August, without consulting his superiors in the United Nations or any of the troop-contributing countries. (The Secretariat noted with concern that it had learned of the decision only six hours later, and had not yet received any information confirming responsibility for the mortar attack itself.) The UNPROFOR Commander did, however, speak several times with the Commander of NATO’s Southern Command,holder of the NATO key. The latter dispatched a message stating that, in the common judgement of the UNPROFOR Commander and himself, the conditions for the initiation of air strikes against the set of targets in the Sarajevo area had been met. He said that he and the UNPROFOR commander had agreed that air strikes would begin as soon as the weather and technical considerations allowed. He added that the air strikes would continue until, in the common judgement of the NATO and United Nations military commanders, the attacks on, or threat to, Sarajevo had ceased.

Serb General Stanislav Galic was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison for terrorizing Sarajevo. The International Court’s judges 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). It also was the first time the court dealt with the charge of terror, as defined in the 1949 Geneva Convention.

  1. Shaina
    July 11, 2006 at 3:45 am

    Very detailed and good overview-especially the part dealing with revisionist/denial. Here is my very simplified, non-academic overview at Srebrenica revisionists.
    IMO, Srebrenica denial/revisionism can be split into 4 groups.

    1st: Those who deny that any massacre happened. This view was touted by the most radical RS advocates right after the war. Thankfully, due to the ICTY judgements, and confessions from VRS officers involved in Srebrenica-they have largely been silent.

    2nd: Those who significantly deny the numbers of victims. These are people like Diane Johnstone etc. For an excellent analysis of Ms. Johnstone’s failed analysis: check out this blog: http://eastethnia.blogspot.com/2005/10/long-post-anatomy-of-denial.html
    Despite the fact that approx. 8,000 Bosniaks killed has been cited by the Red Cross, ICTY, RS, UN, etc.-they still deny that anymore than fraction of that number has been killed.

    3rd: Genocide justification. Since the statistical information about a massacre having taken place is very solid-and since every year there has been more and more VRS soldiers giving detailed confessionals about what happened-the last stop of the revisionist train-is that of tit for tat justification. There seems to be several parts to this justification.
    1st: Deny that the VRS has a genocidal plan when they attacked Srebrenica in July 1995. According to the revisionists, what happened in Srebrenica was not genocide-but “local vengence.” gone awry.

    2nd: Over exaterate/always assume the absolute worse about Bosniak crimes. In particular, Naser Oric’s raids are used to jusify what happened in Srebrenica.
    The book “Srebrenica: Record of a War crime” refutes this justification: In a review: Brendan Simm writes:
    The also effectively dispose of the notion that the men of Srebrenica were themselves “war criminals” felled by the righteous wrath of the victorious Serbs. Certainly, the Bosnian garrison under Naser Oric had been guilty of atrocities, especially during the winter of 1992/3; and they had undoubtedly not disarmed, as envisaged under the “safe areas” plan. But these crimes were reactive; they are in no sense comparable with the calculated campaign of aggression and ethnic displacement waged by the Serbs. Besides it was only the skill and ruthlessness of Oric which had saved Srebrenica from early extinction at the hands of its Serb neighbours in 1992. Moreover, Bosnian raiding parties violating the ceasefire were a direct result of Serb bad faith in blocking aid convoys, which compelled Oric to forage for food.
    Most importantly, Honig and Both are sure about the aim of the massacre, which was part of a systematic programme to “cleanse” the area of Muslims. Hence, they argue: “The Serbs were also guilty of crimes against humanity”, in particular genocide, as defined by the UN Convention of 1948, which covered any act “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

    http://www.bosnia.org.uk/bosrep/report_format.cfm?articleID=1802&reportid=117
    And of course, the VRS own documents about the number of casualties dispells the myths of thousands of Serb civillian casualties. For example, as you cited, the Kravica case. Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor also countered the claims of 3,000 Serb casualties in Bratunac. http://www.sense-agency.com/en/stream.php?sta=3&pid=6783&kat=3
    3rd: Ignoring Bosnian Serb Army Crimes against Bosnian Muslims. While denying any genocidal plot, or overexaterating the extent of Bosnian Muslim crimes-they remain silent about the crimes of ethnic cleansing. Or, I suppose, they assume that the these crimes are exaterated. For evidence of ethnic cleansing see the Oric trial transcripts. In particular, the testimony of British, American, Canadian military officers. UN official, a history professor, and 2 aid workers with well respected international aid organizations. ALL of them testify to the fact ethnic cleansing took place in Srebrenica.

    4th: Those who deny what happened at Srebrenica was genocide. This is based (IMO) less out of genocide denial and more out of ignorance over what genocide is. Because *most* of the women and children forcefully trasfered instead of killed-they argue that what happened at Srebrenica was not genocide. This is based on the false notion that genocide means KILLING or attempting to kill everyone/part of a group. They argue that 8,000 Bosniak males are too small of statistical number of it to be genocide.
    However, the Kristic trial chamber in detail went over why Srebrenica was-without a doubt an act of genocide.
    From the transcript of the verdict:
    However, for reasons the Trial Chamber has been unable to clarify,

    Page 10182

    1 the decision was then taken to kill all the men of fighting age. The

    2 result was inevitable: the destruction of the Bosnian Muslim population in

    3 Srebrenica.

    4 At issue is not only the commission of murders for political,

    5 racial or religious reasons, which already constitutes a crime of

    6 persecution. At issue is not only extermination of the Bosnian Muslim men

    7 of fighting age alone. At issue is the deliberate decision to kill the

    8 men, a decision taken with complete awareness of the impact the murders

    9 would inevitably have on the entire group. By deciding to kill all the

    10 men of Srebrenica of fighting age, a decision was taken to make it

    11 impossible for the Bosnian Muslim people of Srebrenica to survive. Stated

    12 otherwise, what was ethnic cleansing became genocide.

    13 The Trial Chamber is also convinced beyond any reasonable doubt

    14 that a crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica.
    http://www.un.org/icty/transe33/010802it.htm
    The Kristic judgement goes into the legal arguements that proves-from a legal standpoint that what happened in Srebrenica was genocide.
    http://www.un.org/icty/krstic/TrialC1/judgement/index.htm
    The appeal verdict, while lessening Mr. Kristic’s personal guilt, also upholds the fact that what happened at Srebrenica was an act of genocide.http://www.un.org/icty/krstic/Appeal/judgement/index.htm

    In the West, genocide revisionist/justification can be found on both the far right and far left.

    The right seems to have two main arguements.
    The first arguement of the extreme right is a racist one. They argue that Naser Oric was Bosnia’s version of Osama Bin Laden and that the 28th Division was composed of dangerous Islamists, who were attacking “White Christians.” Of course, this arguement has absolutely no basis what so ever-and it really is a bunch of bullshit. Nevertheless, people have used anti-Muslim bias to dehumanize the Bosnian-Muslims and justify what happened.

    The second form of right wing denial/justification comes from those who do not want the US to become involved in any foreign affairs. In their opinion, the US should remain isolationist-therefore any intervention into foreign affairs is wrong. Antiwar.com is the main proponent of this isolationist stance.

    There has been tons written about left-wing revisionism. Partially, because they are so vocal. Partially because (IMO) the left wing revisionism stands in contrast to the left-which for so long has sided with the victims of facist aggression. Yet, in this case, they are siding with a state that committed genocide against a civillian population.
    Balkan Witness website has tons of great articles refuting leftist (and rightwing) revisionists. I can’t add to their arguments: so here is their website. http://www.glypx.com/BalkanWitness/Articles-Bosnia.htm

    IMO, the leftwing revisionists don’t care at all about Bosnians or Serbians. If it had been the other way around, if the Bosnian Gov’t committed genocide against the Serbs-they would still deny a genocide. Their denial is based upon their mistrust of NATO, American foreign policy and the media.
    They question why the US government got involved in the situation in Bosnia, because the US gov’t usually acts out of selfish motives, and there are plenty of times where genocide took place and US government didn’t get involved.
    I’m not denying any of these arguments. But, what does that have to do with Srebrenica? Just because there are many faults with foreign policy-that does not mean that US intervention in Bosnia was not justified. In fact, the only thing that wasn’t justified is that it took us 3 years to get there.
    Of course, not everyone who is progressive/leftist denies that an act of genocide took place in Srebrenica. ;-)

    I know this was a very long reply. But your long post sort of enouraged me to write a long reply ;-)
    I’m very sorry about EVERYONE who was killed in Bosnia. I’m not denying Bosnian-Serbs were victims of crimes. I saw a picture of an elderly Bosnian-Serb woman at her son’s grave-and my heart broke for her; just as my heart breaks when I see those pictures of Bosniak families mourning their deceased loved ones.
    But, I’m disgusted by the genocide revisionists who seek to deny that a genocide took place. Or, who seek to “justify” the massacre by overexaterating Bosniak crimes. For the sake of the historic record, for the sake of the victims and for the sake of everyone in Bosnia-it is important that the truth be understood. Srebrenica was an act of genocide that can never be jusfified.

  2. Owen
    July 11, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Shaina, I endorse every word you’ve said.

    I’ve just seen an article about six convicted Bonsian Serbs at the Hague going on hunger strike over the Oric verdicts. The article repeats the claim used to justify the massacre at Srebrenica – when it is actually acknoweldged to have taken place – “For Bosnian Serbs Oric, 39, is the man who terrorized Serb villages around Srebrenica for years.
    Many even claim that it was his attacks which spurred Bosnian Serb fighters to exact that a horrific revenge on the enclave in 1995.”

    It has to be a constant refarin where Srebrenica is concerned – even on the eleventh anniversary today – that per Franklin Roosevelt “”Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”

    Whatever crimes Oric was guilty of on the ground they were of a different order of magnitude to what happened in the days following 11 July 1995. And whatever they were they were not the implementation of a strategic plan whose accomplishment involved the deliberate perpetration of a crime which as you have demonstrated was a crime of genocide.

    The evidence is there in the documents.

    (1)On 12 May 1992, Momcilo Krajisnik, President of the RS National Assembly executed the following “DECISION ON STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES OF THE SERBIAN PEOPLE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA”, which was published in the Official Gazette of the Republika Srpska on 26 November 1993:

    “The strategic objectives or priorities of the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are to:

    1. Establish State borders separating the Serbian people from the other two ethnic communities.
    2. Set up a corridor between Semberija and Krajina.
    *** 3. Establish a corridor in the Drina river valley, that is, eliminate the Drina as a border separating Serbian States. ***
    4. Establish a border on the Una and Neretva rivers.
    5. Divide the city of Sarajevo into Serbian and Bosnian Muslim parts and establish effective State authorities in both parts.
    6. Ensure access to the sea for Republika Srpska.”

    (2) On 4 July 1994, Lt-Col. Slavko Ognjenovic, Commander of the Bratunac Brigade, issued a report to all members of the Brigade stating that said “We must continue to arm, train, discipline, and prepare the RS Army for the execution of this crucial task — the expulsion of Muslims from the Srebrenica enclave. There will be no retreat when it comes to the Srebrenica enclave, we must advance. The enemy’s life has to be made unbearable and their temporary stay in the enclave impossible so that they leave the enclave en masse as soon as possible, realising that they cannot survive there.”

    (3) On 8 March 1995 the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces of the Republika Srpska issued Operational Directive 07, in which Republika Srpska President Radovan Karadzic directed the VRS (specifically the VRS Drina Corps) to “…complete the physical separation of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals between the two enclaves. By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity, with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica or Zepa.”

    (quotes taken from the Indictment against Ljubisa Beara, ICTY case IT-02-58-I)

  3. Owen
    July 11, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Sorry, the six hunger strikers, names not revealed, aren’t at the Hague, they were sentenced by a local Bosnian Serb court and are in a Banja Luka prison. serving prison terms of up to 20 years for war crimes committed against non-Serbs, notably Muslims, in northwestern Bosnia.

  4. Shaina
    July 13, 2006 at 6:34 am

    Owen, Thanks for your comments.

    The documentary evidence you cited shows beyond any shadow of a doubt that the attack on Srebrenica was part of a strategic military plan to rid Eastern Bosnia of the Bosnian Muslims.

    It is also important to remember that Srebrenica was not an isolated war crime. While in a horrific war, it was the most horrific war crime-it was hardly the only crime. From 1992-1995 there were many “little Srebrenicas” all over Bosnia. These crimes reflect Belgrade’s/ RS’s/VRS’s massive ethnic cleansing campaign-with the goal (as your documents show) to create a “Greater Serbia.” Of course, this fact is ignored by genocide justifiers because it flies in the face of their claims that:
    1. Everyone was equally guilty of war crimes in Bosnia.
    2. There was no genocidal plan by the top RS officials.
    3. And, in particular, their claim that Srebrenica was an act vengance killings-not part of a planned act of genocide.

    Another factor that I think that gets ignored too much (even by the mainstream media-who does acknowledge that what happened in 1995 was a genocide)-is the full extent and brutality of the ethnic cleansing campaign against Srebrenicians. The Oric trial judgement found that it was part of the war plan of Mladic to starve the people of the enclave. I know that the OTP has defined the genocide in Srebrenica to the events in July 1995-but if the planned & calculated starvation of 50,000 people is not “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;” ,I don’t know what is.

    By the way, even though I write a lot about the Srebrenica deniers/justifiers, I think that many more people recognize that what happened was genocide. It is just that the deniers are very vocal.

  5. Owen
    July 21, 2006 at 11:05 pm

    Shaina, without wanting this to sound too much like a bit of a mutual admiration society, thanks for the “conditions of life” reference. A lot of the genocide deniers do so on the basis of claims that make it plain as daylight that they’ve never even bothered to look at the wording of the Genocide Convention.

  6. Anonymous
    December 24, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Great site, I am bookmarking it!Keep it up!
    With the best regards!
    David

  7. Christopher Tuckwood
    April 25, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Hi,

    I’m looking for a list of the killed/missing from Srebrenica to incorporate into a memorial service that we are planning for the anniversary of the massacre this year. Could you help me find a copy of it? Thanks for any help.

  8. Srebrenica Massacre Editor
    April 26, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Christopher

    Here is a list of Srebrenica genocide victims (pdf):

    http://www.domovina.net/srebrenica/page_006/Preliminarni_spisak_Srebrenica_1995.pdf

    More on Srebrenica genocide denial here:

    http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2006/01/facts-8106-killed-in-srebrenica.html

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