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Archive for August, 2008

15 ACTIVIST DUTCH SOLDIERS TO TESTIFY IN KARADZIC’S FAVOR

August 30, 2008 6 comments

A group of former Dutch soldiers with questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings are on a crusade to deny Srebrenica genocide and get their 15 minutes of shame…

Acccording to Serbia’s Vecernje Novosti, a group of former Dutch soldiers who were stationed in Srebrenica enclave in 1995, came to Belgrade on Wednesday “at their own expense” to meet with Milivoje Ivanisevic.

Milivoje Ivanisevic is a Belgrade-based Srebrenica genocide denier whose, so called, research has been discredited by the International Criminal Tribunal as “…a shameful denial and relativisation of the facts that this court has established beyond reasonable doubt about the genocide committed in Srebrenica.” (source: ICTY)

This fringe group of Dutch activists, who clearly have questionable agenda and pro-Serb leanings, say they want to testify in Radovan Karadzic’s favor. As ridiculous as it may seem, but these offensive liars and Srebrenica genocide deniers claim that Serb Army did not commit crimes in Srebrenica. Karadzic, the architect of Srebrenica genocide, is currently on trial at the Hague.

We spoke to two Srebrenica genocide survivors and they told us they have dealt with this type of propaganda for the last 13 years. For Srebrenica genocide survivors, this kind of irresponsible behavior, on the part of the Dutch, is nothing new. After all, the Dutch soldiers abandoned people of Srebrenica in 1995 and left disgusting material behind themselves (see photos of Dutch graffiti in Srebrenica).

Activist Dutch veterans told Ivanisevic they had to “protect themselves from the Muslims, rather than protect Muslims from the Serbs” in Srebrenica. What they failed to mention is that Serb soldiers wore Dutch helmets and disguised themselves as UN peacekeepers to trick Bosniak population of Srebrenica into surrendering. In this situation, it was impossible to distinguish between real and fake peacekeepers.

Srebrenica genocide resulted in the summary executions of 8,000 Bosniaks, including at last 500 children, and forcible deportations of thousands of women and children. Women would not be spared, but Serbs were sensitive to the public opinion so they opted for forcible deportations instead (read more here) – as concluded by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

CAN GENOCIDE BE COMMITTED BY LETTING THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN GO? HERE IS THE ANSWER

August 21, 2008 6 comments

NOTE: Expanded Edition (Reading Time: 10-15 minutes)
Updated: September 17, 2008 / Feel Free to Copy and Redistribute
By: Srebrenica Genocide Blog


QUESTION: In order to deny and justify Srebrenica genocide, many apologists question how could Serbs commit genocide by killing mostly men and elderly, while at the same time deciding to deport most women and children from the U.N. ‘protected’ Srebrenica enclave? This is something that can also puzzle individuals without an apologist agenda. More than 8000 Bosniaks were executed during the genocide at Srebrenica, mainly men, but also many children and some women as well. About 20,000 women were separated from their menfolk and forcibly deported from the enclave. A prominent Srebrenica genocide denier and a pro-Serbian lobbyist – former U.N. General Lewis Mackenzie – is on record as saying that: “…if you’re committing genocide, you don’t let the women go since they are key to perpetuating the very group you are trying to eliminate.” So, the question is: Can one commit genocide by letting the women and children go?

ANSWER: Here is a detailed answer to this question directly from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Appeals Chamber, Prosecutor vs. Radislav Krstic):
31. As the Trial Chamber explained, forcible transfer could be an additional means by which to ensure the physical destruction of the Bosnian Muslim community in Srebrenica. The transfer completed the removal of all Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica, thereby eliminating even the residual possibility that the Muslim community in the area could reconstitute itself. The decision not to kill the women or children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion. In contrast to the killing of the captured military men, such an action could not easily be kept secret, or disguised as a military operation, and so carried an increased risk of attracting international censure.

32. In determining that genocide occurred at Srebrenica, the cardinal question is whether the intent to commit genocide existed. While this intent must be supported by the factual matrix, the offence of genocide does not require proof that the perpetrator chose the most efficient method to accomplish his objective of destroying the targeted part. Even where the method selected will not implement the perpetrator’s intent to the fullest, leaving that destruction incomplete, this ineffectiveness alone does not preclude a finding of genocidal intent. The international attention focused on Srebrenica, combined with the presence of the UN troops in the area, prevented those members of the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army] Main Staff who devised the genocidal plan from putting it into action in the most direct and efficient way. Constrained by the circumstances, they adopted the method which would allow them to implement the genocidal design while minimizing the risk of retribution.
The Appeals Chamber Judgment, Prosecutor vs. Radislav Krstic, is publicly available at the ICTY web site.

In a U.N. assisted ethnic cleansing, Srebrenica women were forcibly bussed to the Government-controlled territory. Some busses never reached the safety. For example, according to the witness accounts given by Srebrenica genocide 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.” One of his captors at one point complained that they were not getting a good choice of the Muslim women from Srebrenica. [source]

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.

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 conviction:
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 thecrowd 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.

45. That night, a Dutch Bat medical orderly came across two Serb soldiers raping a young woman:

“[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.”

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

389. The same day [17 July 1995], 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.

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 Serb Army’s commanders.

HASAN NUHANOVIC INTERVIEW: THE UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM

August 18, 2008 3 comments
Recently, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invited Hasan Nuhanovic to come for an interview and give his perspective on the arrest of the Srebrenica genocide architect Radovan Karadzic (photo). The Holocaust memorial has dedicated a special room in the Museum to commemorate victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

Voices on Genocide Prevention is bi-weekly audio series and podcast service, hosted by Committee on Conscience Project Director Bridget Conley-Zilkic, that brings you the voices of human rights defenders, experts, advocates, and government officials.

Hasan Nuhanovic’s family was killed by the Bosnian Serb forces when they overran the UN declared safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995 and slaughtered more than 8,000 people, including at least 500 children. Mindful of international public opinion they proceeded to complete the ethnic cleansing of the enclave by deporting the thousands of women and children from the enclave (see Appeals’ Judgment, Prosecutor vs Krstic).

We encourage you to contact wonderful people at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience and thank them for remembering the victims of genocide in Srebrenica. Do your part and thank them. Please use this contact form.

REMEMBERING CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN BOSNIA

August 13, 2008 1 comment
BOSNIAN GENOCIDE: Remembering Serbian-run concentration camps in Bosnia, where Bosniaks (Muslims) and Croats (Catholics) were detained, tortured, and killed:


HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH / Bosnia-Herzegovina / The Unindicted: Reaping the Rewards of “Ethnic Cleansing” / January 1997 Vol. 9, No. 1 (D)

Two of the concentration camps, Omarska and Keraterm, were places where killings, torture, and brutal interrogations were carried out. The third, Trnopolje, had another purpose; it functioned as a staging area for massive deportations of mostly women, children, and elderly men, and killings and rapes also occurred there. The fourth, Manjaca, was referred to by the Bosnian Serbs as a ‘prisoner of war camp,’ although most if not all detainees were civilians… The Commission of Experts determined that the systematic destruction of the Bosniak community in the Prijedor area met the definition of genocide.


The Prijedor opstina, or administrative district, includes at least seventy-one smaller towns and villages.(1) The names of some are now familiar due to the atrocities which took place there; among them are Kozarac, Omarska, and Trnopolje. While the towns and villages within the wider Prijedor district have their own officials, they are governed by the opstina. Thus, the Prijedor authorities wield influence over a considerable area. Prijedor was considered a strategically important town by the Bosnian Serbs, who wanted to create a corridor between Serbia proper and the Croatian Krajina, which was until 1995 controlled by rebel Serbs in Croatia. As early as 1991, the Serbs organized a Serb-only alternative administration in Opstina Prijedor, under the guidance of a central administration in Banja Luka. The designated Serb “mayor” was Milomir Stakic, a medical doctor who functioned as deputy mayor under the duly elected Bosniak mayor of the town, Muhamed Cehajic.

After the Serbs took power on April 30, 1992, they opened at least four detention camps in the Prijedor opstina. Two of the concentration camps, Omarska and Keraterm, were places where killings, torture, and brutal interrogations were carried out. The third, Trnopolje, had another purpose; it functioned as a staging area for massive deportations of mostly women, children, and elderly men, and killings and rapes (2) also occurred there. The fourth, Manjaca, was referred to by the Bosnian Serbs as a “prisoner of war camp,” although most if not all detainees were civilians.(3)

“Despite the absence of a real non-Serbian threat, the main objective of the concentration camps, especially Omarska but also Keraterm, seems to have been to eliminate the non-Serb leadership,” the U.N. Commission of Experts found. “From the time when the Serbs took power in the district of Prijedor, non-Serbs in reality became outlaws. At times, non-Serbs were instructed to wear white arm bands to identify themselves…According to Serbianregulations, those leaving the district had to sign over their property rights and accept never to return, being told their names would simultaneously be deleted from the census.” (4)

According to Ed Vulliamy (5), the first journalist to report from the Omarska camp, “Omarska was a monstrosity: an inferno of murder, torture and rape. It was a stain upon our century.” (6)

During the period when many persons were interned in the concentration camps, family members sometimes tried to obtain information from the police station in town. “Instead of receiving information concerning the whereabouts of their family members, they were in some cases offered the alternative of paying for an “exit visa” for the family at large.(7) In order to receive an “exit visa,” sums of money had to be paid to various municipal authorities and to the local “Red Cross,” run by the Bosnian Serb authorities, and real property had to be signed over to the municipality.

The Commission of Experts determined that the systematic destruction of the Bosniak community in the Prijedor area met the definition of genocide. (8)

The persecution of non-Serbs in Prijedor did not ease after international pressure succeeded in forcing the Bosnian Serbs to close the concentration camps in 1992, as evidenced by the ICRC’s attempt to evacuate all remaining non-Serbs from Opstina Prijedor in March 1994. (9)

As documented by Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, a final wave of mass expulsions of non-Serbs from Prijedor and many other towns in Serb-controlled territory occurred in September and October 1995, when the infamous Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic joined local forces to conduct “ethnic cleansing” operations. (10) Forced expulsions in Prijedor began on October 5 during which those expelled were again forced to finance their own “ethnic cleansing” by paying transportation fees to the local “Red Cross” and were harassed, robbed, and threatened while waiting for the buses which would later dump them at the confrontation line. (11)

One woman told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki during a 1995 investigation of the expulsions, “All the Muslims from the city [Prijedor] were expelled. We went to the [local] Red Cross, gave them seventy DM for each family member and got on the buses. . .There were thirteen buses in the convoy leaving from Prijedor for Teslic. Men were taken off my bus. . . My husband was taken off the bus in Blatnica, a Serbian village in the woods.” She had not seen her husband since. (12)

Many draft-age males were separated from their families during round-ups in other Bosnian Serb-controlled areas, and transferred to Prijedor, where they were interned at the “Autoprevoz” facility or other local detention centers. Following the official closing of the camps in 1992, and until the present, rumors have abounded about the reopening of the Omarska, Manjaca and Keraterm camps, but Human Rights Watch/Helsinki has been unable to confirm them. Prisoners released from “Autoprevoz” in an exchange told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki that when the International Committee of the Red Cross tried to visit them, they were moved by bus onto the Kozara mountain and hidden until the visitors had gone away. (13)

Oppression of the now-minority Bosniak and Bosnian Croat populations throughout Republika Srpska continues today through restrictions on freedom of movement; evictions and expulsions; arbitrary arrest and detention; ethnically motivated harassment and direct physical attack; denial of employment, humanitarian assistance, medical care, and social insurance; discrimination in access to education; and restrictions on religious freedom.

* * * * *
(1) According to the 1991 census, Opstina (administrative district) Prijedor had a total population of 112,470 people, of whom 44 percent were Muslims, 42.5 percent Serbs, 5.6 percent Croats, 5.7 percent “Yugoslavs,” and 2.2 percent others (Ukrainians, Russians, and Italians). In April 1992, the total population was approximately 120,000 people, augmented, inter alia, by an influx of people who had fled the destruction of their villages in the west of Opstina Prijedor. United Nations, Final Report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, established pursuant to Security Council resolution 780, (New York: United Nations, 1992), S/1994674/Add.2 (Vol.), December 28, 1994, Annex V, Part 2, Section II, Subsection B.

(2) The U.N. Commission of Experts and many journalists and witnesses have reported extensively on the rape of women by Bosnian Serb forces. The commission, which conducted a special investigation of rape during the war, concluded: “Rape is prevalent in the camps. . .Captors have killed women who resisted being raped, often in front of other prisoners. Rapes were also committed in the presence of other prisoners. Women are frequently selected at random during the night. These rapes are done in a way that instills terror in the women prisoner population. The commission has information indicating that girls as young as seven years old and women as old as sixty-five have been raped while in captivity.. .Mothers of young children are often raped in front of their children and are threatened with the death of their children if they do not submit to being raped. Sometimes young women are separated from older women and taken to separate camps where they are raped several times a day, for many days, often by more than one man. Many of these women disappear, or after they have been raped and brutalized to the point where they are traumatized, they are returned to the camps and are replaced by other young women. There have also been instances of sexual abuse of men as well as castration and mutilation of male sexual organs. Final Report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, Annex V, Part 2, Section IV.

(3) As of June 23, 1993, according to the United Nations Commission of Experts, which conducted an extensive review of war crimes committed in Prijedor municipality, the total number of killed and deported persons was 52,811 (including limited numbers of refugees and people missing). Camps located in or around Prijedor included Omarska, Manjaca, Keraterm, and Trnopolje. See Final Report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, for a detailed description of events around Prijedor in 1992 and throughout the war.

(4) Final Report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, Annex V, Part 2, Section IV.

(5) Ed Vulliamy of The Guardian and Roy Gutman of Newsday were among the first to uncover and gain access to the concentration camps in the Prijedor area in 1992. Vulliamy accompanied non-Serbs as they were being “ethnically cleansed” from the territory, posing as a deaf mute. The two conducted extensive interviews over many months with Bosnian Serb officials, representatives of international organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and with survivors of the camps. Roy Gutman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his work, and Vulliamy has also been honored. Both Gutman’s and Vulliamy’s findings have been utilized in war crimes investigations by the ICTY.

(6) Ed Vulliamy, “Yugoslavia: Horror Hidden Beneath Ice and Lies”, The Guardian, London, February 19, 1996, p. 9.

(7) Final Report of the U.N. Commission of Experts, Annex V, Part 2, Section IX, Subsection D.

(8) Ibid.

(9) The ICRC’s plans to evacuate all non-Serb residents of the town was abandoned after Karadzic refused to grant safe passage for convoys out.

(10) A person who in 1994 left Prijedor told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki that “I hid for two years. People were being killed on the road and I wouldn’t have been caught dead walking outside. I stayed in my house from the day I was released from the Keraterm concentration camp on August 13, 1992 until I came here [to Bosnian government-controlled territory] on Saturday [September 17, 1994]. See Human Rights Watch/Helsinki report, “Bosnia-Hercegovina: “Ethnic Cleansing” Continues in Northern Bosnia,”A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 6, no. 16, November 1994. Numerous similar stories have been related to Human Rights Watch/Helsinki representatives.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Ibid.

(13) The information on the expulsion of non-Serbs from Prijedor comes in part from a report of a human rights fact-finding mission which included staff from UNPF-HQ, United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), and the U.N. Center for Human Rights. The report is titled “Human Rights Abuses in Northwestern Bosnia: Report on Forced Expulsions from 5-12 October 1995.” For a detailed description of how the forced expulsions were conducted, see Human Rights Watch/Helsinki’s report titled “Northwestern Bosnia: Human Rights Abuses during a Cease-Fire and Peace Negotiations,” Vol. 8, No. 1 (D), February 1996.

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ELIE WIESEL REMEMBERS RADOVAN KARADZIC: “THE PIGHEADED KARADZIC DENIED IT ALL”

August 6, 2008 12 comments

“How can you ever adequately punish a man who is guilty of ordering the assassination of 8,000 human beings [in Srebrenica]?” – asked Elie Wiesel.

INTRO: Mr. Elie Wiesel is a Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps. Mr. Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity soon after he was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Foundation’s mission, rooted in the memory of the Holocaust, is to combat indifference, intolerance and injustice through international dialogue and youth-focused programs that promote acceptance, understanding and equality.

Copyright: The following OP/ED was republished from the Daily News for educational and non-commercial purposes. It is used for “fair use” only as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ELIE WIESEL REMEMBERS SREBRENICA GENOCIDE ARCHITECT RADOVAN KARADZIC

BY ELIE WIESEL

It’s unimaginable.

For 13 long years, we thought he was hiding out in the mountains, surrounded by bodyguards. We looked for him in underground hideouts, tracked him down in the region’s most obscure corners.

All in vain – Radovan Karadzic, the former Yugoslavia’s most infamous, most notorious fugitive, was actually a public figure. People ran into him on the street, in restaurants or at the movies; some people watched him on TV, talking about alternative health options, and no one discovered his real identity.

In fact, examining pictures of him published by the press, with his fluffy white beard and glasses, I wouldn’t have been able to unmask him myself.

And yet I had met him. If I ran into him on the street, I’d remember his face, I thought.

It was in late 1992. I had come to do research on the situation in Bosnia and Serbia. Disturbing, even revolting reports were trickling back to us. Newspapers, radio and TV stations were broadcasting horrendous images: cities bombarded, corpses lying in mass graves, massacred children, mutilated men, raped women.

Reports of odious deeds were circulating: Tuzla, Srebrenica entered the annals of crimes against humanity. The words “Auschwitz in Bosnia” were solemnly pronounced.

Faced with various governments’ nearly official indifference, I responded to Yugoslavian President Dobrica Cosic’s invitation and, with members of Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” team, headed to Belgrade, Sarajevo and Banja Luka. We met with all the leaders in the region except the leader of Croatia. Its president, Franco Tudjman, was a Holocaust denier, and I refused to shake his hand.

But I did talk with Slobodan Milosevic. And with Karadzic, in whose palace – a real fortress – the meeting took place. His gaze was icy, haunted, unearthly. He was the all-powerful master. Why so many executions, so many murders? Was it because of some violent mysticism, a cult of death? No. For him, it was something else: a fascination with holding absolute power over his enemies as well as his allies.

I asked him why he had had the famous Sarajevo National Library burned down. Given that he himself wanted to be known as a psychiatrist and a poet, was he afraid of books and their human and humanist truth?

Red-faced with anger, pounding the table, he claimed it was the Muslims themselves who had burned down the building from the inside.

I objected. I had seen the library in ruins: the damaged walls, the artillery scars. The building had been attacked from the outside.

No point in arguing – the pigheaded Karadzic denied it all.

The idea of creating an international tribunal was mine. One day, when I was in the office of Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, we talked about the tragic situation in Bosnia. What were the options? Political, humanitarian, military?

That was when I suggested creating an international tribunal. My argument was that only indicting the killers for war crimes and crimes against humanity would frighten them. There would be no statute of limitations, and they would have to be extradited. Eagleburger thought it was a good idea and proposed it in his negotiations with the allies in the U.S. and Europe.

And yes, I think major criminals should be brought to trial before international courts in order to have a historical and also a pedagogical impact on future generations.

People might ask: How can you ever adequately punish a man who is guilty of ordering the assassination of 8,000 human beings? Good question. It seems that, by its sheer scope, the crime outweighs the punishment. And yet, these trials help our collective memory. For that reason alone, they are justified.

The shocking fact remains: Karadzic succeeded in walking free. For 13 long years. He lived without bodyguards, in Bosnian cities and villages, while local and international police and NATO agents were trying to track him down.

Whose fault was it? Who was responsible? Who were the accomplices?

Was his disguise that good, that successful? Perhaps, may God help us, beneath the killer’s mask, there was a failed actor?

Wiesel, Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Boston University, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. A Holocaust survivor, he was one of the leading voices to call the world’s attention to atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. This article, written exclusively for the Daily News, was translated from the French by Sharon Bowman.