Home > srebrenica massacre > FACES OF EVIL (15 minutes of shame)

FACES OF EVIL (15 minutes of shame)

July 21, 2006


Brief Update: Serb General, Radislav Krstic, who was originally awarded 46-year prison term for his involvement in Srebrenica genocide, is currently serving appealed sentence of 35-years in prison for aiding and abetting Srebrenica genocide. Serb Colonel Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide. Seven other Srebrenica genocide suspects are on trial; an eight suspect remains on the run. Other Srebrenica genocide suspects on the run include Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic and former Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Ratko Mladic hid in Belgrade until January this year. 11 persons accused of Srebrenica genocide are currently on trial in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Background: International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. Slobodan Milosevic (center), Radovan Karadzic (left), and Ratko Mladic (right)THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Judges at the United Nations’ War Crimes Tribunal on Friday – July 14th – began the latest and largest trial of military officers blamed for the summary execution 11 years ago of over 8,100 Bosniaks in Srebrenica.

Charges of genocide make the case against the seven former Bosnian Serb officers one of the most important in the tribunal’s history, especially following the death of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic four months ago before his own genocide trial could be completed.

Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte was to give an opening statement Friday before the court adjourns for its summer recess. The case is due to resume in late August.

The trial began in the week that the town in eastern Bosnia — which the U.N. had declared a safe haven — marked the anniversary of that July week in 1995 when Bosnian Serb forces massacred over 8,100 Bosniak men, elderly and children there.

Serb General, Radislav Krstic is currently serving 35-year prison sentence for Srebrenica genocide.It once again highlights the tribunal’s failure to capture and put on trial the two men viewed as chief architects of the slaughter — former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who have been on the run for more than a decade.

Earlier this week, 505 bodies exhumed from mass graves were reburied in Srebrenica after painstaking efforts to formally identify them. Thousands wait for DNA identification, while others are missing.

Del Ponte attended Tuesday’s commemoration in Srebrenica, partly to focus attention on efforts to have the two chief suspects arrested.

Vidoje Blagojevic is currently serving his 18-year sentence for complicity in Srebrenica genocide.“I’m here for the ceremony, for the victims, for the survivors and for the criminals Karadzic and Mladic who are still at large,” she told reporters.

The Hague-based court has staged only a handful of trials dealing with the Srebrenica atrocities, but made the landmark ruling that Bosnian Serb forces waged a campaign of genocide in the eastern Bosnian enclave.

Gen. Radislav Krstic, Mladic’s deputy, is serving a 35-year prison term for aiding and abetting genocide, and Col. Vidoje Blagojevic is appealing his 18-year sentence for complicity in genocide.

Radovan Karadzic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The suspects in the case which begun July 14th are: Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Radivoje Miletic, Milan Gvero and Vinko Pandurevic. An eighth suspect, Zdravko Tolimir, remains on the run.

Each faces eight counts, ranging from genocide to murder and persecution. All have pleaded not guilty. They face maximum life sentences if convicted.

Although the defendants have entered their pleas, opening statements in the trial are not due until after the tribunal’s summer recess. The case was adjourned until opening statements on August 21.

Six men have so far been convicted over the Srebrenica massacre, and two of those on genocide charges.

Ratko Mladic, charged with genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.“It is good that a few senior people are going to be held hopefully to account, because so few have been,” said Avril McDonald, an international law expert at the Hague-based TMC Asser Institute.

The allegations are hauntingly familiar from television images; Muslim men and boys separated from women and ferried away by bus to locations including schools, farms and river banks around the Srebrenica enclave.

There, they were gunned down and their bodies plowed into mass graves.

Vujadin Popovic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.In one of several massacres listed in the indictment, Bosnian Serb special forces summarily executed more than 1,000 men who had been captured and imprisoned in an agricultural warehouse in the village of Kravica.

“The soldiers used automatic weapons, hand grenades, and other weaponry to kill the Bosnian Muslims inside the warehouse,” the indictment alleges. The victims’ bodies were dumped in two mass graves 11 years ago – on July 14 1995.

Serbia – Safe Heaven for War Criminals

War crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic hid in modest flats in the Serbian capital until January this year, according to an indictment against 10 people accused of helping him, the daily Politika reported on Wednesday.

Radivoje Miletic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.
Quoting a source who saw the indictment, Politika said it lists the addresses of flats where the former Bosnian Serb Army commander hid from mid-2002 to January 2006.

Mladic is accused of genocide in the Bosnia war. Serbia must deliver him for trial to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague in order to resume suspended talks on closer ties with the European Union.

“It is matter of five or more flats in (the neighbourhood of) New Belgrade, and the persons who helped Mladic paid the rent and supplied him with food,” the daily quoted its source as saying.

The flats Mladic used were “relatively modest”, with rents of up to 400 euros (274 pounds) per month, Politika said. New Belgrade is a densely populated area, built in the 1960s as a dormitory suburb of concrete high-rises.

Drago Nikolic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.A flurry of reports earlier this year said Mladic had been tracked down and was negotiating surrender, but nothing came of them. The government said Mladic had virtually no helpers left and was now on the run, whereabouts unknown.

The European Union suspended pre-membership talks with Serbia in May because it had failed repeatedly to meet deadlines for the handover of Mladic, who is twice indicted along with his wartime political boss Radovan Karadzic, also at large.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica this week presented a plan to find and deliver Mladic, which EU officials said could get talks restarted if Belgrade’s efforts to implement it were convincing.

Ljubisa Beara, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.It includes a shake-up of the security services, passing of new legislation, and an operative part which is secret, officials said.

Mladic and Karadzic are wanted for the Srebrenica massacre of over 8,100 Bosniak men and children and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo. (see Sarajevo Photo Tour, Summer 2005). Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history — longer even than Stalingrad.

The seven men and three women indicted for helping Mladic were arrested following a military intelligence report which listed some 50 people who allegedly helped hide the fugitive, who was last seen in army facilities in mid-2002.

Vinko Pandurevic, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.The indictment lists a former officer of the Bosnian Serb army who was arrested in January as the key man who organised Mladic’s hideouts in Belgrade.

Mladic has been on the run since 1995 when the United Nations war crimes court charged him with genocide for his part in the Srebrenica massacre.

Carla Del Ponte, the chief U.N. prosecutor, has repeatedly accused the Serbian authorities of knowing Mladic’s location, claiming they could have arrested him before he disappeared again.

11 on Trial in Bosnia (update)

Presiding Judge Hilmo Vucinic and the two foreign judges comprise the Judicial Council in Srebrenica massacre case in which 11 individuals stand accused of Genocide.

Milan Gvero, currently on Srebrenica massacre trial charged with Genocide.Tomislav Dukic, a prosecution witness in the case against 11 persons accused of killing around a thousand Bosniaks in Kravica in July 1995, testified that the principal defendant Milos Stupar was seen in the vicinity of the farmon 13 July 1995, the day of the massacre.

Witness Dukic is a former member of the Armored Platoon of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police, which was deployed along the road near Kravica during the attack on Srebrenica in July 1995.

Several prosecution witnesses who testified earlier claimed that Stupar was a commander of the Second Squad of the Sekovici Special Police until mid-July 1995.

Zdravko Tolimir, charged with Genocide in relation to Srebrenica massacre. Currently on the run.The indictment, confirmed on 19 December 2005 before the Bosnia-Herzegovina Court, accuses Milos Stupar, Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Brana Dzinic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Miladin Stevanovic, Velibor Maksimovic, Dragisa Zivanovic and Branislav Medan of “being members and deliberate perpetrators of a joint criminal enterprise aimed at forcefully evicting women and children from the Srebrenica enclave…and to capture, detain, execute by summary procedure, bury and re-bury thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.”

They all pleaded not guilty.

  1. Shaina
    July 21, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Glad to see your back online. There is going to be a new major motion picture called “Spring break in Bosnia” starring Richard Gere as an American journalist who travels to Bosnia to attempt to track down/capture Karadzic.

    Hopefully the film will put Karadzic back into the spotlight again, and lead to his capture. (One can hope)

  2. Srebrenica Massacre
    July 21, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Shaina,

    I am encouraged to see people like you putting things into proper context and condemning genocide denial. This world is a much better place to live in because of people like you and Owen, and I really mean it.

    There is an interesting Anonymous comment about the manipulation of alleged number of “killed Serbs around Srebrenica”; local Serb newspapers were cited among others.
    (link: http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2006/07/thoughts-on-niod-report-chomsky-un.html)

    The comment is seemingly long, but interesting, so I will translate only a few interesting points, and also add some of my thoughts.

    Anonymous cites from local sources interesting argument made by the ICTY’s Spokesperson Florence Hartman. I will translate this paragraph as best as I can:

    “Responding to media questions about recently published claims about more than 3,500 alleged Serb victims around Srebrenica, Florence Hartman pointed out that the International Crimes Tribunal has always been careful in using the term ‘victim’. In the context of criminal investigation, fallen soldiers and police officers who died in military confrontations cannot be regarded as victims who died as a result of war crimes, such as, for example, mass executions.”

    Anonymous states that “the list of killed Serbs around Srebrenica” contains only names; no other identifiable information is provided. And this is very important point, because the list of 8,106 Srebrenica massacre victims is well established and documented and contains verifiable names of victims, names of victims’ fathers, JMBG (which is comparable to American Social Security Number, or Canadian Social Insurance Number), and the victims’ dates of births.
    (link: http://www.domovina.net/srebrenica/page_006/Preliminarni_spisak_Srebrenica_1995.pdf)

    Another point Anonymous makes also comes from Serbian sources and it states that the list of alleged Serb casualties around Srebrenica contains names of Serb soldiers who fought around Sarajevo, Hadzici, Kladanj, Olovo, Bihac and other cities all over Bosnia, and whose body remains were transfered to the Bratunac cemetery. (Bratunac is a city in Central Podrinje, close to Srebrenica). All of them were counted as “victims of Naser Oric terror”.

    As I pointed earlier, Sarajevo was under siege longer than any other city in modern history – longer even than Stalingrad. Around 14,000 people died in Sarajevo as a result of daily Serb attacks on the city under siege. When Sarajevo was unified (which was direct result of Dayton Peace Agreement) Serbs dug out graves of their dead from surrounding parts of Sarajevo that were under their control (Hadzici, Vogosca, etc) and reburied their dead in Bratunac. They did this because of Serbian propaganda which brainwashed them that their dead would never have peace in a “Muslim territory”. They were told that Sarajevo would be capital of “Islamic state”, etc.

    I would also like to point out that the war-time Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina fought for democratic, secular, united, internationally recognized, and multi-cultural Bosnia-Herzegovina. These were, indeed, the main objectives of the government. The Serbs were the least secular people during the conflict. For example, their regular war-time military insignia was religiously marked – “God Saves the Serbs”. Their hymn has also been comprised of religious overtones. Regular war-time insignia of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina contained fleur-de-lis emblem. War-time hymn of Bosnia-Herzegovina had no religious overtones.

    As a Bosnian boy growing in a war-time Bosnia and being around the soldiers all the time, I learned to cherish values of democracy, human rights, and secularism, because every one of Bosnian-government fighters that I remember of stood for these values. During the war, nobody could influence me to hate other people (aka: the Serbs), because none of Bosnian soldiers that come to my mind ever used the word “hate”. They even helped local Serb neighbours with food and other necessities. We didn’t look at them as “Serbs”. For us, they were people trapped in conflict and surviving daily artillery attacks of joint Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces attacking our city.

    PS: Just so there is no confusion, I am not originally from Srebrenica.

  3. Shaina
    July 23, 2006 at 8:21 am

    Thanks Daniel for your comments, they were very much appreciated. Also, thanks for your blog. I was suprised at the large amount of Srebrenica genocide deniers/revisionists there are on the net (or maybe they are just very vocal) it is very welcoming that there are people who are “fighting” these revisionists.

    About war crimes/genocide. The VRS committed the overwelming majority of war crimes in Bosnia (90% to be exact). The VRS also was the only ‘side’ to organize and plan genocide. But soldiers from all sides committed horrible war crimes. I think it is important for the historical record, and for Bosnia that all war criminals, regardless of their ethnicity, to face prosecution-that is the only way that the multi ethnic, multi confessional state that so many people faught honorably for will thrive.

    About Naser Oric and war crimes:
    Like the other ICTY cases, particularly those dealing with the Srebrenica area, I followed this case intently. I actually read most of the transcripts. Based on the evidence tendered in court-I believe the verdict and sentence were absolutely correct. I have never seen so much mitigating circumstances presented at an ICTY trial before.
    It is also clear that extremist Serb sources have embellished the extent of Bosniak war crimes in order to justify genocide.
    That being said, it is also clear that Bosnian Serb civilians were also victims of war crimes in the Srebrenica area. It is also important to acknowledge their suffering as well. The war crimes committed against Serbs in no way justifies the genocide in 1995. Just as the fact that Oric prevented an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Bosniaks in 1992, does not excuse war crimes commited against Bosnian Serb civillians.
    I felt that this case was one of the most important and controversial cases at the Hague. Because of that, and because I believe the Hague trials are so important, I’m thinking of maybe even putting an analysis of the case on my blog.

    Thanks again for your blog, and thanks for keeping the memory of Srebrenica alive.

  4. Srebrenica Massacre
    July 25, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Shaina,

    I do not accept moral equivalism or moral relativism as it leads to errors in judgement. There is no comparison between Serb and Bosniak casualties in and around Srebrenica or in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole. Serb civilian casualties are minimal, almost non-existent. Less than 2,000 Serb civilians died in Bosnia-Herzegovina, many (if not most of them) from Serbian shells hitting besieged Bosnian Army controlled cities. How can you equate their suffering with tens of thousands Bosniak civilians who were brutally tortured and murdered by genocidal forces of Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic? This is wrong Shaina, and you know it.

    Here is what the state agency, supported by the joint Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina (with Bosniak, Serb, and Croat members), concluded with respect to alleged Serb casualties around Srebrenica:

    “The allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts.”

    “…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.”

    “…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 [Bosnian Serb Army] 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….Subsequently, they were all classified as ‘victims of Muslim terror’ by the RS authorities.”

    Source: http://www.idc.org.ba/project/the_myth_of_bratunac.html

    I am not really fond of the justice produced in the Netherlands, as I have already criticized flawed NIOD Report and the Dutch government’s involvement in the slaughter of over 8,000 Bosniaks in Srebrenica.
    [See: http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2006/07/thoughts-on-niod-report-chomsky-un.html ]

    For example, Drazen Erdemovic, was a Serb soldier serving in Srebrenica and although he confessed to killing 70 people during the Srebrenica massacre he only received a 5 year sentance. And the judges even said: “The Accused is reformable and should be given a second chance to start his life afresh upon release, whilst still young enough to do so”. [see: http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/p299-e.htm ] Yeah right, what about Bosniak boys – children who were slaughtered and burried and then reburied in mass graves? What about all those civilians he killed? They were not given an option for a second chance and “fresh start”. Subsequently, Erdemovic received identity protection and he was relocated to live in one of Western European countries. Is this Dutch justice? Well, I had enough of it. Moral equivalism is sickness that plagues human judgement.

    Even United Nations concluded:

    “…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.”

    Source: http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2005/12/un-report-fall-of-srebrenica-role-of.html

  5. Owen
    July 27, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Daniel, ICTY decisions aren’t Dutch justice, they’re international justice.

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