Archive for November, 2008


November 28, 2008 2 comments

PHOTO: A forensic expert, a member of the International Commission for Missing Persons ICMP, marks body parts of Srebrenica genocide victims before excavation at a mass-grave site in the remote mountain area in the village of Kamenica near the Eastern-Bosnian town of Zvornik and some 30km away from Srebrenica (November 2008).

Federal News Agency (FENA) reported that expert team of the Institute for Missing Persons in Tuzla (ICMP) exhumed 50 complete and 883 partial human remains of Srebrenica genocide victims from mass graves “Kamenica 11” and “Kamenica 12.”

Murat Husic, head of the expert team, confirmed these are remains of Srebrenica Bosniaks killed in July 1995. Mass graves also contained victims’ personal belongings. All remains will undergo DNA identification process. According to the number of revealed victims’ remains, these are the largest mass graves recovered in Podrinje. Exhumation from mass grave “Kamenica 11” shall continue while “Kamenica 12” will be closed.

The 1995 Srebrenica genocide claimed lives of 8,000 – 10,000 Bosniaks – men, children, and elderly. More than 4,000 bodies of Srebrenica genocide victims have so far been exhumed from 12 mass graves along the 7-mile road from Srebrenica to the village of Kamenica. The area is more commonly known as “Death Valley.”

Kamenica is also the place of the largest mass grave found to date. In August 2006, the bodies of more than 1,000 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide had been exhumed from Kamenica. At that time, the team had exhumed 144 complete and 1,009 partial skeletons. The remains were heavily damaged, a typical feature of “secondary” mass graves to which victims’ bodies are moved from an original burial site in an attempt to hide a crime. The excavation team found bullets mixed with body parts, and plastic and cloth bindings around the victims’ arms. Much of the moving was done with bulldozers, which complicates the identification process.

As a result, thousands of bodies still await DNA-identification process run by the International Commission on Missing Persons. According to the director general of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, DNA confirmed at least 8,000 Srebrenica genocide victims (interview).

PHOTO: Forensic worker, a member of International Commission for Missing Persons ICMP, shows a pocket watch found on a body of a Srebrenica genocide victim at a mass-grave site in the remote mountain area in the village of Kamenica near the Eastern-Bosnian town of Zvornik (November 2008).

PHOTO: Forensic experts from the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) search for human remains in a mass grave containing bodies of Bosniaks Muslims from Srebrenica, in the village of Kamenica (November 2008).

PHOTO: Forensic expert Sharna Daley, of London, a member of the International Commission for Missing Persons, (ICMP), inspects body remains of Srebrenica genocide victims at a mass-grave site in a remote mountain area in the village of Kamenica (November 2008).

PHOTO: A team of Bosnian forensic experts, member of International Commission for Missing Persons ICMP, excavate a mass grave site containing remains of Srebrenica genocide victims in the village of Kamenica, near the Eastern-Bosnian town of Zvornik (November 2008).

PHOTO: A forensic expert from the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) searches for human remains of Srebrenica genocide victims in a mass grave containing bodies of Bosniaks (Muslims) from Srebrenica, in the village of Kamenica, in the Serb controlled part of the country (November 2008).

PHOTO: A forensic expert, a member of the International Commission for Missing Persons ICMP, inspects the bones of Srebrenica genocide victims at a mass-grave site in the remote mountain area in the village of Kamenica near Zvornik.

PHOTO: Forensic archaeologist Esma Alicehajic of Manchester, England, of the International Commission for Missing Persons ICMP, inspects human remains of Srebrenica genocide victims at a mass-grave site in remote mountain area in the village of Kamenica (October 2008).

PHOTO: Srebrenica genocide mass grave site in a remote mountain area near the village of Kamenica (September 2008).

PHOTO: Forensic experts of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) search for human remains in a mass grave in remote mountain near the village of Kamenica (August 2008).

We have more coverage about Kamenica mass graves:

4,000 Srebrenica Genocide Victims Unearthed from Kamenica Mass Graves (Oct 7, 2008)
About 5,200 victims of Europe’s worst genocide since World War 2 have been identified through DNA analysis so far. Approximately, 4000 victims were unearthed from 10 Kamenica mass graves.

More Srebrenica Genocide Victims Exhumed from Death Valley (Sep 22, 2008)
The victims were initially buried in a dozen mass graves. But after the release of satellite pictures showing large portions of freshly disturbed ground, Serbs moved them to other locations in order to cover up the crimes…

Photos of Srebrenica Genocide Victims Misused by Serbian Nationalists (Dec 6, 2007)
This kind of propaganda can be only produced by the sickest minds in order to misinform the public; and this is what they have been doing for the last 15 years with their bold faced lies and propaganda…

Kamenica Death Valley Yields 616 More Corpses (Nov 23, 2007)
We found 76 complete and 540 incomplete bodies,” said Ismet Musić, an official of the regional commission for missing persons, standing on the edge of a muddy grave where white-clad forensic pathologists cleaned up bones. This brings the total number of exhumed bodies to over 4,200 just from the “Death Valley” area alone…

More Victims Found as 11th Anniversary of Genocide Looms (Jul 6, 2006)
Forensic experts said on Thursday they had unearthed the remains of 268 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre – the first legally established case of genocide in Europe after the Holocaust – days before its 11th anniversary…

11th Anniversary of the Massacre (Jul 11, 2006)
Meanwhile, new Srebrenica victims were being unearthed at one of the largest mass graves discovered last month in the village of Kamenica, some 30 kilometers from Srebrenica. Among them – body remains of children; the youngest victim was a 10 year old girl…

Kamenica Mass Grave Yields Over 1,000 Body Parts (Aug 11, 2006)
A 10-person team, including forensic experts from Canada and Serbia employed by the Bosnia-based International Commission on Missing Persons, worked in the 18-meter by 4-meter (60 ft by 13 ft) grave…

Srebrenica Genocide: Crime Against All Humanity (Aug 18, 2006)
In Potocari on July 12 a 14-year-old Bosniak girl hung herself with her scarf after she and her 12-year old cousin were raped by Serb soldiers. By this time Serb soldiers had killed at least 99 people, including 20 to 30 women and children…

Genocide Trial Without Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic (Aug 22, 2006)
“Defenceless men and boys [were] executed by firing squads, buried in mass graves and then dug up and buried again in an attempt to conceal the truth from the world.” Chief U.N. Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said many victims had been bound and blindfolded “to make the murder easier for the executioners”…

Srebrenica Genocide Trials and Mass Graves (Sep 18, 2006)
Ahmo Hasic “believed to be one of only 12 men who survived the slaughter of 8,000 Bosniak men and boys” told the judges he stayed alive only by playing dead after Serb soldiers started shooting.The trial chamber heard a similar testimony last week from Mevludin Oric who described how he lay under a pile of dead bodies for several hours…


November 24, 2008 3 comments

INTRO: In July 1995, Serbian journalist Zoran Petrovic filmed the Srebrenica genocide unfolding, and then he attempted to cover up the evidence by cutting out and erasing important scenes. We invite you to read the following article and then watch the full documentary [Bosnia – Lost Images, 29 minutes, originally aired June 30th 2003].

Everyone remembers the harrowing footage of the Srebrenica massacre shot by Zoran Petrovic, the only cameraman to capture the events on film. But this week’s fascinating documentary shows that the very worst of his pictures never reached our TV screens. Key scenes from Petrovic’s rushes were ‘lost’ or blacked over, presumably to prevent reprisals. We unearth the lost images, and the completed jigsaw is even more heinous than the already blood-spattered picture. Amazingly, Petrovic has never been interviewed by the War Crimes Tribunal about what he saw. For the first time, his incriminating material is available for scrutiny.

Under the watch of Dutchbat soldiers, queues of Muslim men and women are separated by one of General Mladic’s men. They are familiar images, broadcast by TV stations around the world in the wake of the Srebrenica massacre. The War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague used Zoran Petrovic’s tape to secure several prosecutions for the massacres in the early 1990s and to investigate the involvement of Dutch peacekeepers Dutchbat.

But the footage shot by Petrovic appears to be incomplete. There is only one 60 minute tape for two days of filming, and throughout the rushes there are black gaps, cutting right through scenes and camera movements. Petrovic insists he was told to black over those sections by officious checkpoint guards on the roadside: “Everyone wants to be a smart guy. I was told – ‘Don’t film these guys. You erase this’”.

But Jean René Ruez, the man charged with analysing film evidence for the War Crimes Tribunal is adamant Petrovic is lying: “The cuts were done later. Sure”. Journalist John Block agrees. He was granted access to the rushes when they were first aired on Belgrade’s Studio 3 that same day – July 14th 1995. He insists he saw two tapes. He remembers clearly seeing unadulterated shots of piles of bodies – the material now missing from Petrovic’s sole remaining tape. When the BBC called Studio 3 the next day, the incriminating tape was gone, and the other tape was blacked.

A copy of a copy of a copy of the original Studio 3 documentary proves they are right. Although the quality of the footage is poor, there are no gaps. “This is of exceptional importance to the prosecutor” smiles Ruez. “They let you see what the witnesses are talking about. The recordings will help to furnish proof at a future trial of Mladic.”

Among other things – such as the use of German shepherd dogs to hunt Bosnian Muslims and the indiscriminate shelling of refugees – the previously missing pictures show the physical evidence of the Srebrenica massacre. Dead bodies are piled up at the Gravica warehouse. Shooting is clearly audible in the background.

The massacre has long been known about, but until now there has been little hard evidence. Only two survivors from over 1000 refugees seeking shelter in the warehouse survived to give testimony – the only witnesses to talk of a massacre. Both were Bosnian Muslims. “The witnesses are from warring factions” explains Ruez, “so you have to be careful what they say. This confirms the testimonies”.

Chief prosecutor at the War Crimes Tribunal Mark Harmon agrees: “It’s very important footage. Pictures do not lie. This is a very graphic image confirming the massacres took place. It’s important to enlighten the public in Srpska if there is going to be any kind of reconciliation”.

So far, the Yugoslavia Tribunal has never spoken to cameraman Zoran Petrovic. He still denies he was part of any cover-up operation and even offers our journalist a “last warning” when pressed. But these shocking new images had certainly been covered up by someone and their disappearance has hampered moves towards justice and reconciliation. Their discovery is a key step in helping bring Yugoslavia closer to closure.

Director: Gert Corba


Optional: If you wish to buy DVD quality of this documentary, you can do it from Journeyman Pictures here. It’s €24.50 including shipping and handling.


November 23, 2008 1 comment

PHOTO: You’re looking at a cold-blooded killer. This coward is ‘brave’ enough to brag about his killings, but he is not a man enough to show his face.

‘For every dead Bosniak in Srebrenica we got five marks… we were paid better for massacres in Zaire, Kosovo and Macedonia…’ I don’t know the exact number. [Drazen] Erdemovic says [he killed] 1,200 people, but do you know how much work that means? That would take at least two days. If they managed to kill that many in four hours, congratulations!

Here is a rare interview given to Slobodna Bosna by a former member of the Bosnian Serb Army’s 10th commando detachment, a professional Serb death squads, that participated in genocide at Srebrenica assisting in cold-blooded killings of 8,000 to 10,000 Bosniaks Muslims, including ethnic cleansing and forceful deportation of at least 20,000 people from the former UN ‘protected’ enclave. The cold-blooded killer prides himself as a participant in Bosnian Serb terrorist raids and attacks on the enclave from surrounding militarized Serb-held villages around Srebrenica. A monster without emotions. The following article first appeared in Slobodna Bosna (Sarajevo), 1 September 2005 Edition under the title “Mladic’s monster finally talks.”

By: Suzana Šašic

He was a member of the notorious 10th commando detachment of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), a saboteur, an expert in laying explosive charges, and one of those in whom the war criminal Ratko Mladic placed limitless trust. He saw combat as a volunteer in Kosovo and Macedonia, killed as a mercenary in Zaire, and was sought after for the world’s most dangerous hotspots. In a pause between two wars, he lives a tranquil family life in Bijeljina. He was unwilling to talk to journalists, still less to be photographed, but eventually agreed to tell his life story without revealing his identity – for it is the story of all who accompanied him down that terrible, blood-stained road. He detailed his criminal acts in a confession to Slobodna Bosna with every appearance of calm, cold-bloodedly, only the occasional nervous gesture disclosing that the man seated before us was a beast, pursued not by his conscience but by others of his ilk.

When did you join the 10th commando detachment?

When it was established, on 1 October 1994.

Who established the unit and for what purpose?

The VRS security service established it, and we were under the direct command of the general staff, i.e. of General Ratko Mladic. It was a commando unit whose task was to penetrate deep into enemy territory (100 or 200 kilometres) and lay explosive charges under tanks or other military materiel.

What commando operations did you carry out during the war?

At the outset our work consisted of actions in what is now the Federation [of Bosnia-Herzegovina] and in Croatia. In Croatia, for instance, we went into the area round Korenica, Jasenovac and Novska, where we blew up railway lines, and once a train carrying soldier and arms. In the Federation it was mainly artillery targets and bridges, the destruction of anything that an army could use. We blew up bridges on the Krivaja and an aqueduct at Stupari near Tuzla, and we destroyed multiple-rocket launchers and mortars in the Tuzla region…

Did you take part in actual fighting, and were you paid more than the members of other units?

We never took part in actual fighting, only in commando raids. Every raid had its price, depending on the difficulty of the task. I always chose the most difficult, because I wanted to earn as much money as possible. For example, for blowing up a multiple-rocket launcher we would get 4,800 marks. The raids usually involved from two to four individuals, and nobody apart from them and their superior knew what their task was. We were well paid. If we were in action it worked out at 4,000 marks a month, otherwise half as much.

Who paid you?

The unit’s sponsors, private individuals who paid up like this in order to avoid having to go to war themselves. We used to get the money for the raids along with our pay at our base in the Stjepa Stjepanovic barracks at Bijeljina.

Is it true that there was a large number of non-Serbs in the unit?

First, on 12 November 1993, the anti-terrorist unit for special assignments was formed, in which there were only Croats and Bosniaks – there wasn’t a single Serb. Then on 1 October 1994 this became the 10th commando detachment. At that time just the commander was a Serb, it was only in 1995 that other Serbs began to join the unit, which eventually numbered 33 men. Of that number, only 8 were commandos first class, who had the highest pay, while the rest were auxiliaries – ordinary soldiers and drivers.

Who was the commander of the unit?

The first commander, I don’t want to give his name, was a high-ranking JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army] officer, a naval commando, who trained us, but after three months he left because we thought he wasn’t supporting us. We had carried out a raid to destroy a bridge on the Buk, you see, that was 40 km from Vozuca towards Zenica, and we were supposed to get 20,000 dollars for the raid. The money arrived in Doboj, in the hands of the military security officer Mirko Slavuljica. But of that money we got only 100 dollars apiece, the rest was probably shared out by Slavuljica and the other top brass. We made a big fuss and the commander had to go. Then Milorad Pelemis arrived as commander, and later on he brought Serbs into the unit. A competition was organized in all VRS units, and the best came to us on trial. Out of a hundred, perhaps one got through and that only because he knew how to work with explosives and timers.

‘Erdemovic betrayed us’

Drazen Erdemovic, also a member of the 10th commando detachment who was convicted by the Hague court, testified that Pelems was a harsh commander who forced you to commit crimes. What was Pelemis like?

Erdemovic is a liar! Pelemis behaved properly. We didn’t know much about him. His family comes from Sekovici, he’d been commander of an assault detachment, but he hadn’t been a commando and he knew nothing about laying explosive charges. He’d been a VJ [Yugoslav Army] officer in Belgrade, a member of the elite Cobra special unit, from whom he’d got an apartment in Belgrade in which he still lives.

I arrested Erdemovic in Uzica, where he’d taken refuge with his wife and child eight days after the fall of Srebrenica. But Misa Pelemis ordered us to release him. Four days later Erdemovic met with journalists and told them all about Srebrenica, after which the Serbian security police arrested him and handed him over to The Hague. I should have killed him at the time. Nobody could have ordered Erdemovic to kill, he killed just like everyone else. But it turned out that he wasn’t psychologically up to it.

Erdemovic says that Pelemis wanted to throw him out of his apartment. But that was only to be expected, we lived in Muslim houses in Bijeljina and anyone who didn’t want to go into action could be thrown out so that someone else could take his place. And in a raid Erdemovic had arrested some neighbour of his and let him go, which he shouldn’t have done, so they soon twigged what kind of person he was.

On whose authority did you go into action, who gave you the orders?

The orders came from the VRS general staff, we received our orders directly from Mladic via his adjutant Major Dragan Pecanac. [Major Pecanac is currently hiding in Russia, and his friends claim that he is engaged on ‘military business’ there too. – Slobodna Bosna] Moreover, when he wanted to give us some task, Mladic used to summon us to see him at Crna Rijeka, but he couldn’t stand us for long because we used to behave in a rowdy manner, while he always used to insist on iron discipline, as if you were in the JNA. Sometimes we’d be given jobs via the head of counter-intelligence Colonel Petar Salapura or the number one in the 410th intelligence centre Ceda Knezevic. This centre was initially housed with us at Bijeljina, but later on they moved them to the Vrbas barracks at Banja Luka. They provided us with information, and we agreed on actions with them and on how much money we’d get.

Were you really not scared of Mladic? He waged war mercilessly against Bosniaks and Croats, how could he trust you Croats and Bosniaks in the unit?

We knew that he respected what we did. He valued us more than the Serbs in the unit.

You say that you never engaged in fighting operations. Yet you were involved on the occasion of the capture of Srebrenica.

That was the only time they involved us, and it was on 16 July when the shootings at Pilica were over. I wasn’t at Srebrenica that day, because our detachment had been deployed in two directions. I went with one group to Modrica, it was our job to mine the dam on the lake, and Erdemovic with seven other commandos went to Srebrenica. We didn’t carry out our task, because it was impossible to get to the dam, we’d have had to lower ourselves 70 metres below the dam to carry it out, so we gave it up. And if we’d succeeded, the water would have destroyed Gradacac and the surrounding places. When we came back to Bijeljina and met the other group, they told me what they’d done at Srebrenica. They came with money and gold that they’d collected from the people they’d shot, it was worth about 4,000 marks, mainly rings and chains. We went for a drink together.

Erdemovic testified that the leader of his group Brano Gojkovic ordered the execution of the prisoners. Who gave the order to Gojkovic?

The commander of the detachment Pelemis wasn’t at Srebrenica at the time and he named Gojkovic, a crude fellow from Vlasenica, to lead the unit. Pelemis’ dispatch rider and favourite Mladen Filipovic, a Croat, had been wounded at Srebrenica and Miso hurried off with him to the hospital at Milici. He drove fast and they had a road accident and both ended up in the hospital. The remainder of the unit went off to work, to take the people away and shoot them. The order for something like that must have come from the high command. So far as I know and from what I’ve been told, Major Pecanac told them that for every prisoner killed they’d get 4 marks, and for a ‘dunk shot’ [to the nape of the neck] 5 marks, and half a kilo of gold when the job was finished. They took people away, shot them, and Stanko Savanovic ‘checked’ each one. But they were cheated, Pecanac never paid them the money or the gold. Not one of those people who were at Srebrenica has a house today, they all live in rented accommodation and are dirt poor.

Clash with Naser Oric
When they arrived back, did they talk about how many people they’d killed and how they’d felt about it?

I don’t know the exact number. Erdemovic says 1,200 people, but do you know how much work that means? That would take at least two days. If they managed to kill that many in four hours, congratulations! Not just our lads were there, but ones from other Drina Corps units. Apart from Erdemovic, another person who felt bad about Srebrenica was Franc Kos, he can’t get over it even today, but the others weren’t affected.

Did your unit have other ‘jobs’ at Srebrenica?

Not then, they returned to Bijeljina after four hours, as soon as the job was done. I’d been at Srebrenica five months before it fell. We got in through the Sase mine and came out in Srebrenica near the Dutch base. We had only 5 minutes in which to fire our rocket-propelled grenades and make our way back through the mine. Our task was to cause a rift between Naser Oric and his deputy, to make it seem as if they’d been fighting one another, because they were already in conflict. We fired at office buildings, houses and the UNPROFOR. In the end people concluded that special forces from Serbia had done it.

Did the Serbian special forces do anything together with you?

We never worked with any other unit, we always acted alone, in little groups. We had expensive, powerful equipment, such as crossbows with night lasers costing about 30 thousand dollars. We got the explosives from the VRS general staff, and the timers from a factory in Banja Luka.

But you did attack civilian targets, you hit office buildings and houses throughout Srebrenica?

They were military targets, that was where Naser had installed his HQ.

His HQ can’t have been in every apartment that you hit!

If the odd bullet goes astray, what can you do? You can’t guide a bullet.

Even Milosevic’s minister Goran Matic spoke about the crimes committed by your unit when the terrorist espionage group Pauk [Spider] was arrested in Serbia.

Of the five arrested, only Pelemis was a member of the 10th commando detachment. He’d never been a spy, but Jugoslav Petrusic known as Colonel Dominik had worked and still works for the French secret service. He came from the Foreign Legion and I got to know him in Bijeljina in 1998. He was friendly with Pelemis and we went off with the two of them to various war zones, first Zaire, then Kosovo and Macedonia. The Pauk group was arrested the day after our return from Kosovo, and that was because all our weapons for silent liquidation – which we had brought in illegally across the Drina – had been left at Misa Pelemis’ place. When these arms were found, they were said to have been intended for an assassination attempt against Milosevic, which was absurd.

So through Petrusic you went off in 1998 to fight in Zaire? How many of you went, and how did you go?

Everything was organized by Jugo [Petrusic] and a Russian called Sergej, an officer from a commando regiment. I spent three months in Zaire and earned about 16,000 dollars. Jugo was the commander, and Miso Pelemis was his deputy. There were 80 of us, half were members of the 63rd parachute or 72nd special brigade from Serbia, while we from Republika Srpska made up the other half, including several of us from the 10th commando detachment, mainly from Bijeljina and Vlasenica.

For whom did you fight in Zaire, and in what kind of operations?

We fought for President Mobutu. We were fools. If we’d fought for the rebels, we’d have stayed longer and earned more. Our job was to prevent rebel actions. We carried out some big operations, such as mining an airport that the rebels were about to take. We placed 5,000 kilograms of explosives on that airport. After the explosion four buildings could have fitted into the crater.

How many rebels died?

I don’t know. They were everywhere, it was impossible to collect them. Within a 10-kilometre circle they were all dead. It was an explosion to level mountains. Jugo Petrusic was the leader in all our operations. He speaks several languages, even some African one, because he has a son with a black woman from some country near Somalia.

Petrusic, Pauk’s manager
Where is Petrusic now?

In France, he’s a colonel there and works as an intelligence officer. Actually, they stripped him of his rank because he killed some officer. He took Petrovic with him too, who was arrested with him in the Pauk business and he’s now in the Foreign Legion. He invited me too, but I didn’t feel like going, I’ve got small kids.

What did you do in Kosovo in 1999?

Misa Pelemis collected us together in a Belgrade hotel and we were immediately attached to the Nis army region. We went to Decani, as part of the military police. General Nebojsa Pavlovic at first didn’t want to allow us into Kosovo, but when ‘Papa’ Mladic called him he fell into line straight away. We crossed over into Albanian territory and carried out commando actions, mining roads and so on. We were supposed to get pay from the Nis army region, each of us was promised 48,000 dinars, but we got only 1,200 dinars and 500 marks from France.

From whom in France did you get money to fight in Kosovo?

Some friend of Petrusic’s came to see us from France, perhaps from the Foreign Legion, and brought 24,000 marks for the twenty-four of us, but we got only 500 marks each. Whether Miso took the rest or somebody else I don’t know.

What did you do in Macedonia?

Once again we went through Jugo and Miso, and were attached to the Macedonian army which paid us. I earned about 4,000 marks. We were in Tetovo, we went behind the Albanian lines, laid explosive charges and carried out other commando actions.

Have you been guarding ‘Papa’ Mladic in the past few years?

We were with him right up to 1998, and some of our lot were guarding him even later at Topcider [Belgrade], but they couldn’t stand the discipline that’s maintained round him, and the pay was only 300 marks.

What are your plans now? It seems to me you don’t feel exactly secure in Republika Srpska?

We’re getting ready for some new jobs that once again Jugo Petrusic is finding for us. Last year we were supposed to go to Africa, but pulled out off after the terrorist attacks in Russia. We were supposed to go to Johannesburg to guard diamond and gold mines in which prisoners work. Up to now Englishmen have been doing it for 11,000 dollars a month, but now the government is paying only 7,000 dollars and the English have pulled out. We have agreed to that price and are getting ready to go off there. We’re going to sign a three-year contract with their government, though some African country where there’s a war against rebels, where there’s actual fighting, would have suited us better, because the mines will be boring for us. We had an offer for Iraq, the allies offered us 15,000 dollars a month, but that’s not work for us, they’re fighting in the town centres and they’re taking casualties. We refused.

It’s true that I don’t feel really serene here. I’m not scared of being arrested, but that I’ll be got rid of by these locals, who find me a nuisance.

Mladic’s death squads – both Milosevic and Seselj have condemned the criminals from Pauk
Last week’s appearance of the Serbian Radical Party leader, Hague prisoner Vojislav Seselj, as a defence witness for former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic on trial at the Hague tribunal, introduced some new more ‘lively’ elements into this marathon legal process. However, with his statements Seselj did not merely make the large audience following the trial laugh, he also seriously worried certain political, police and military circles in Serbia and Republika Srpska. For on the third day of his testimony, with the intention of defending Milosevic, Seselj alleged that the Srebrenica massacre was committed by ‘foreign mercenaries close to the French secret service’. He explained how a group of these mercenaries was arrested in 1999, charged with planning to assassinate Milosevic and with having taken part in the shootings at Srebrenica; the group, codenamed Pauk [Spider], was released according to Seselj after the ‘pro-Western parties’ headed by Zoran Djindjic came to power in Serbia. Seselj, of course, as a special kind of manipulator, was using the Pauk affair with the aim of showing how the Serbian authorities were attempting to bring the criminals from Srebrenica to justice, repeating claims that Milosevic had already made to the court on the occasion of his cross-examination of prosecution witness Drazen Erdemovic.

Erdemovic’s testimony
Erdemovic, who had been sentenced by the Tribunal in 1998 to a five-year prison term since he had admitted taking part as a member of the VRS 10th commando detachment in executions of Srebrenica Bosniaks, testified about his blood-stained role at the Milosevic’s trial too. According to Erdemovic’s account, five days after the capture of Srebrenica he took part along with another seven members of the 10th commando detachment in the execution of about one thousand Bosniak prisoners on a farm at Pilica near Zvornik. Milosevic then maintained – as Seselj has now repeated – that the 10th commando detachment was not controlled by the VRS general staff, but by the French secret service. This was denied by Erdemovic, who asserted that on the contrary the unit was subordinated to General Mladic’s general staff and had been equipped at the VJ [Yugoslav Army] barracks in Pancevo, and also provided with arms by FRY [Federal Republic of Yugoslavia]. He explained that the unit, which contained both Croats and Bosniaks, had been commanded by the officer Milorad Pelemis, and that they had taken part in the assault on Srebrenica and the executions of civilian prisoners.

Although right back in 1996 when he was arrested Erdemovic had offered the Prosecutor’s Office information about the executioners from the 10th commando detachment, they lived in Republika Srpska, mainly in the Bijeljina and Vlasenica areas, without fear of indictment or arrest. Thus Seselj’s statement last week caused real uproar, both among the members of the former 10th commando detachment – the killers from Srebrenica – who were living ‘peaceful family lives’, and also among their protectors in the police and military command of Republika Srpska and of Serbia, who are scared Milosevic will use them as scapegoats.

In any case, the commander of the unit Milorad Pelemis already had this experience in 1999, when he was arrested as a member of the Pauk group – though not as Milosevic and Seselj maintain for crimes at Srebrenica, but for espionage, attempting to assassinate Milosevic, and the murder of two Albanians in Kosovo. Also arrested with Pelemis were Jugoslav Petrusic, Branko Vlaco, Rade Petrovic and Slobodan Orasanin.

France’s man Jugoslav Petrusic
This affair was given its charge of espionage and terrorism by the arrested Jugoslav Petrusic, known as Dominik, who was officially confirmed to have worked for the French secret service DST. His biography resembled an exciting spy thriller. He was born in a village near Leskovac [Serbia], graduated from military school, fought in the Foreign Legion, possesses dual nationality (French and Serbian), four passports, three wives, numerous lovers, real estate in Paris, millions in foreign bank accounts… According to his own claims, he was a personal bodyguard to the French president François Mitterand, and fought in Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Zaire… He has claimed that in DST he was involved in combat against “Muslim extremists.” He arrived in Bosnia in 1992 as a member of the French contingent in UNPROFOR, but at that time he did not make contact with members of the 10th commando detachment. It was only in 1996, after the end of the war in Bosnia, that he recruited mercenaries from its ranks for Zaire, where they fought on the side of President Mobutu Sese Seko, whom the French were supporting.

Petrusic’s closest associate in these actions would be the wartime commander of the 10th commando detachment Milorad Pelemis, and the members of this unit – the killers from Srebrenica – followed them as devoted mercenaries through the bloodiest war zones.

The statements by Milosevic and Seselj about how the 10th commando detachment was controlled not by the VRS but by the French secret service are tendentious fabrications. Proof of this has been provided to our publication by a former member of the unit, who has explained that the members of the unit carried out all orders and assignments by command of Ratko Mladic and the VRS general staff. Milorad Pelemis tells his friends in Belgrade the same thing, explaining that he has a strong connection in Brussels who is protecting him against Milosevic’s charges. So far as the direct perpetrators from Srebrenica are concerned, whose names are being published here for the first time, they have until now felt secure, thanks among others to the Republika Srpska police chief Dragan Andan, who has never dreamed of arresting them even though he knew all about them. For Andan himself was one of the closest associates of Ratko Mladic at the time of the Srebrenica operation, in his role as deputy commander of Mladic’s guard regiment.

The killers of the VRS 10th commando detachment
Slobodna Bosna reveals who the members are of the 10th commando detachment who took part in the executions of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, where they live and what they are doing today. Apart from Drazen Erdemovic, they were:

Brano Gojkovic, Serb from Vlasenica. Unemployed, married, the father of two children. He gets paid by the day for casual labouring jobs. As a member of Jugoslav Petrusic’s group, he spent time as a mercenary in Zaire, and then also in Kosovo.

Vlastimir Golijan, likewise a Serb from Vlasenica, unemployed, working occasionally as a labourer.

Stanko Savanovic, Serb from Bijeljina, now in the Central prison in Belgrade, awaiting trial for placing explosive charges on Serbian territory. Already sentenced to 20 years for the murder and torture of several prostitutes at Batajnica.

Marko Boskic, Bosnian Croat from Bijeljina, moved last year to the USA, but was arrested there in April this year and handed over to The Hague. Arrested by chance, because of a false driving licence, after which he provoked a number of traffic accidents. (Update: ARRESTED)

Franc Kos, Slovenian, he lives in Bijeljina and works as a plumber. (Update: UNDER INVESTIGATION)

Zoran Goronja, from Bosanski Novi. Recently left for Germany.

Aleksandar Cvetkovic, lives in Milici and drives a truck for a freight company.

From Srebrenica Genocide Blog:

Here is a list of Srebrenica genocide perpetrators who are still in position of power, read here. Some criminals were arrested in the United States, and some were deported to Bosnia-Herzegovina., research it here.


November 15, 2008 7 comments

Newly updated @ November 17, 2008.

BREAKING THE SILENCE: According to the Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, “Although the authorities of Serbia, Montenegro and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were trying to prove that there hasn’t been any violations of human rights and freedom of Bosniaks [in Sanjak]… the facts were telling the opposite story.”

Disclaimer: The following material contains photos of Bosniaks Muslims tortured by the Serbian Police. Some people may find this material disturbing. All photos are courtesy of the Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Sanjak (Bosnian: Sandžak) is a region, divided between Serbia and Montenegro, mainly populated by Bosniaks Muslims. During 1990s, it was a place of brutal killings, torture and ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population perpetrated by the oppressive Serbian regime. Hundreds of Bosniak Muslim villages in Sanjak were ethnically cleansed, looted and burned to the ground. Many people were killed and many went missing. Serbian regime kept the area under tight military control and intense media blockade.

For example, until 1992 Bosniaks had lived in Sjeverin, Kukurovici, Milanovici, Zaostro, Socica, Zivinac, Voskovina, Jelovik, Batkovici, Medjurecje, Radnje, Dragovici and then, they disappeared.

In the spring and summer of 2006, a team of human rights activists from the Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms visited ethnically cleansed Bosniak Muslim villages in Priboj municipality: Kukorovići, Valovlje, Lisičine, Voskovina, and Sjeverin. By that time, only few residents returned to their pre-war homes. These villages were completely destroyed and burned to the ground, while Bosniak population was forced to flee from their homes – with many residents killed or missing.

The Sanjak Committee for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms published a book “Svedocenja iz Sandzaka” (Testimonies from Sandzak), documenting numerous victims’ testimonies and human rights abuses in the area. The book is currently available in Bosnian language here (unfortunately, English version is still not available). However, here are some excerpts from two reports published in English language by the human rights committee.

Report I: Excerpts from “an Outline of the Status of Human Rights and Freedoms in Sandzak 1991-2006,” published by the Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms follows:

In the spring and summer of 1992, towns and suburbs in Sandzak were in a frightening, complete tanks-cannon surrounding by different units of the Army of Yugoslavia. Some parties, like radicals, were threatening and calling on clearing from Bosniaks bordering parts of Serbia and Montenegro towards Bosnia.

Threatening behaviour by the Army, demonstration of force, everyday low flights of military aviation over the towns and villages, unrestrained paramilitary formations going to Bosnia through Sandzak, many incidents, legal insecurity and an ultimate uncertainties produced great fear and anxiety of repeating «Bosnian scenario», what influenced mass emigrations of Bosniaks towards West European countries. In the spring and summer of 1992, the authorities were literally catching refugees for Bosnia handing them over Serbian authority’s mercy in Bosnia. The same situation was going on in Serbia after fall of Srebrenica (during the Srebrenica genocide) in the summer of 1995.

Bosniak population in Sandzak, apart from all the troubles and problems that was exposed to, warmly accepted refugees staying for longer or shorter time in Sandzak towns. Mass fires and continual bomb attacks particularly on Bosniaks` houses and shops in Pljevlja, as well as attacking Bosniaks in the villages of Bukovica, in the time of tyrannical regime of chetnic duke and federal representative Milika Ceka Dacevic, will start new wave of emigrations.

Within an overall frightening of Bosniaks in Sandzak there were abductions of Bosniaks (Mioca near Sjeverin -22th October 1992- 17 people; Bukovica – 16th February – 11 people; 27th February 1993 Strpci – 19 people), marathon court-political processes in Sandzak during 1994 (Trials in Novi Pazar and Bijelo Polje) against a part of leaders and members of SDA Sandzak, after mass arrests in the summer of 1993 and winter 1994. with an accusation that they intended to create «the state Sandzak» by force, had aim, besides a non sense indictment they wanted to imperil SFRY, was followed by great media campaign to eliminate and marginalize this main Bosniak political party and frighten and disorientate Bosniaks.

Arrested Bosniaks experienced big tortures in order to admit nonexistent crimes. Along with these political processes during 1994, there were continued mass police actions of arresting and beating Bosniaks looking for weapons, although it had been known the reality and weakness of the state organs to provide them security made Bosniaks to arm themselves for protection of lives and human dignity. Tens of thousands of people passed through police «treatment», especially in Sjenica, Tutin and Novi Pazar, Prijepolje, Rozaje… There were also many cases of mistreating and hurting Bosniaks performing military service in the units of Yugoslav Army. Attacks involved even mosques, Islamic monuments and cemeteries.

From media propaganda arsenal, particularly during 1992, old pejoratives «national nicknames» were brought back into the use. Bosniaks were characterized again odious «Turkish» enemies. Calling Bosniaks «Turks» with the majority is not a consequence of lack of information, but a rooted prejudice and a totally concrete attitude. Sandzak and Bosniaks in it, during the time of total uncertainties and closeness and echo of Bosnian battlefields, had been exposed to various troubles and temptations… One could get an impression the authorities tried to provoke an armed protest by Bosniaks in order to get demanded justification to stop it with all available means and in that way the number of Bosniaks in this region, by various forms of scare tactics and torture, reduce to the least possible quantity. Media reports from Sandzak mainly included news aimed at creating and/or confirming an an already popular stereotypes of Bosniaks, picturing them as extremists and fanatics.

There is a persistent change of terms Sandzak with the term Raska oblast (Raska field). Novi Pazar is called « Turkicized Raska». A synchronical media satanization of this region aimed at showing that Bosniaks in this region are «fundamentalists», «Islamic extremists», they support so called «green transfersal» (“Zelena Transferzala = Green Bridgehead), they are preparing for the war, they have 15.000 armed people, divided into brigades and battalions. The leading media were: Vecernje novosti», «Politika ekspres», «Politika» and «Pobjeda». Paralel with breaking out the war in Bosnia, an aggressive campaign against Bosniaks was continued, especially after permanently repeated news that in «former Bosnia and Herzegovina», «Alija’s jamahiria» the main warriors are just Sandzak people, that Bosnia wants to join Sandzak, that «Sword of Islam is threatening Raska», that there is a systematic work on planned uniting of Muslims, which variant is so called half-moon, i.e. the road Sarajevo-Novi PazarPristina-Skopje-Sofija-Ankara.

Mass illusion of armed «fanatics» and «fundamentalists» from Sandzak became an obsession not only of media but politicians, as well. By intruding one-sided information, by theories on a supposed sucidal nature of Bosniaks and by permanent, racial announcements that it is impossible to live together with Bosniaks in Bosnia any longer, media attacks were becoming more and more unscrupulous, with an aim to represent Bosniaks in Sandzak as collective conspirators and the world danger.

….While the Hague [ICTY] brought indictments for crimes being committed in Croatia, Bosnia, in Kosovo and Vojvodina, Sandzak was completely marginalized. Carla del Ponte in an interview for Podgorica «Monitor» stressed that all the crimes can`t be treated in Hague, that national courts must deal with the problem of war crimes, and that «case Strpci» must also be resolved at the courts of Serbia and Montenegro. Many crimes have simply been forgotten, although they must be the subject of interest of the state and courts.

….The fact is that changes in Serbia, since 2000 are happening, but very slowly. They could be seen in bigger areas more than in the towns like Novi Pazar, Tutin or Sjenica. We shouldn`t even talk about remote villages of Sandzak. The reasons for that are deep, pressured by the past, but also by the present. Experience we had with Serbia’s passing of Laws on National Minorities, made on the federal level, being followed by media pomp, showed indications that those laws were passed mostly under the International pressure, and less with a sincere wish of the state authorities to improve human rights and provide protection and affirmation of the minority communites.

Report II:General situation in Sanjak” (sections: “The attitude of the authorities towards violation of human rights and freedoms” and “Protection of the victims’ rights), published by the the Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms follows:

Sandzak Committee is worried for the permanent unreadiness of the state organs to sanction the crimes being done between 1992 and 2000. at the territory of Serbia and upon its residents (case Sjeverin, Strpci, Kukurovici, 1, burning, robberies, murders, proscriptions of Bosni
ak population from Priboj commune, various forms of institutional discrimination, court-political processes, brutal police actions, etc.

Numerous criminal charges by the victims, according to the evidence of Sandzak Committee, for Court disorganization, prolonging, synchronical obstructions have already expired. Many people, even 13 years later can’t achieve their rights. In that context, we will remind, just for an illustration, of a marathon court process of trial to the group of 24 Bosniaks in Novi Pazar being started in 1993., as well as of the case „Djerlek“, being known to domestic NGOs for human rights and International organizations, that haven’t been closed even 10 years later and have been expired. Also, in the court procedures from cases where criminal charges have been brought by Sandzak Committee (May-June 2001. and February 2002.) against the Serbian policemen, second instance sentences haven’t still been brought.

Criminal charge before the District Court in Novi Pazar, started in May 2003 against 24 Bosniaks hasn’t still been resolved. More than 13 years the rights of the accused are partially reduced. They are under heavy accusation, without visible signs of possible end. The Committee believes this issue has conditions to be shifted to the competence of International Court, since the domestic courts are not capable of solving the problem. However, for the lack of budget to pay the layers of the accused, the activity of the Committee is focused on monitoring this process before the domestic courts.

Families from Priboj commune which houses were burnt 1992.-1997 in their address to the Sandzak Committee stress chronic impossibility of return to their properties, since some houses were destroyed some weren’t, for the lack of budget and absence of care of the state, and reconstructing them. They are persistant in the demand form Sandzak Committee to start the criminal charge against the state in the aim of compensation for the damages being done to them. For the financial problems Sandzak Committee wasn’t able to engage attorneys in this case, but it applied with other NGOs in Belgrade with which it has a fruitful, long cooperation, which are ready to help legally to these people in those requests.

….By the end of May the representatives of Sandzak Committee visited Priboj villages being damaged during the nineties, when Bosniaks were being expelling from their own homes, killed and frightened. What is worrying is that even 13 years after this crime, the state hadn’t done anything to help the families of the killed, as well as to the displaced to return to their homes.

Until 1992. Bosniaks have lived in Sjeverin, Kukurovici, Milanovici, Zaostro, Socica, Zivinac, Voskovina, jelovik, Batkovici, Medjurecje, Radnje, Dragovici and then, they disapeared. The ethnic cleansing started in the villages with mainly Bosniak population. Priboj is still being forgotten, first of all, by the state organs and institutions. During the last 13 years the state hasn’t done anything to help the damaged. As Hamed Pecikoza said they contacted the Government and many other organs of the local power four times. No answer. Many NGOs addressed the competent representatives of authorities, but there was no progress. The relation of the local administration to what was happening with Bosniaks in Priboj is still a special story. As Pecikoza said addressing local authorites was waste of time, since thehave always sent them somewhere else.

The mentioned Priboj villages where Bosniaks used to live seem forget 13 years later. Devastation much worse than at the first days after deportion. There was enough time for all the furniture to be stolen from homes. Many houses and annexes that hadn`t been destroyed by the war remained even without windows, doors, roofs…Even wall wooden covers were taken away, floors.

….Everything was, in the full sense of the word, devastated. During the nineties the Army of FRY was staying in the houses and traces are pretty visible. There is no house that hasn’t been almost destroyed and without traces of soldiers. That way the houses were even more damaged. There were written different names on the walls, the names of the cities, oaths and many outrageous messages based on insults on national basis. There is no correct information how many families left their homes. The exile was particularly massive in the villages on the border with Bosnia. All the homes of exiled Bosniaks were robbed and destroyed. People were leaving with only one bag in their hands. The sticks depended on the mercy of the neighbours. Hamid Pecikoza gave a good example when we visited him. Hilmo Alivodic`s house was saved thanks to the neighbour Dobrisav Radovic. “Different gangs were coming to rob the house but Radovic offered resistance. You can see what means to have a nice neighbour. But this case is the only one. If only there had been more such people, said Pecikoza.

The representatives of Sandzak Committee visted: Sjeverin, Strmac, Milanoviće, Voskovina, Batkovići and some others. We found an older couple who returned. There is no return since there is no money for reconstructing the houses. The necessary budget exceeds capacities of the Municipality of Priboj. Only in Kukurovici, as Pecikoza said, some houses had been renewed thanks to donations. The exiled Bosnjaks have been able to see their properties since 2000. But there are no conditions for living there, and fear hasn’t been uprooted yet. Nobody was interogated for burning the houses, for murders and ethnic cleansing there.

…In villages Krajcinovici and Zabrnjice (Priboj commune) a decision to close schools, caused 18 returnee students to walk 10 kilometers to the nearest school, and forced returnee Bosniak families to leave these villages altogether.

James Lion from the International Crisis Group, presenting the report about „Serbian Sandzak“, in Priboj on 7th July 2005. said:

“We described the situation in the 6 towns of Sandzak belonging to Serbia and called the report ‘Serbian Sandzak’ so that International Community could realise waht is going on here and what kinds of problems are here. Our wish and aim is that region not to be seen as an area of potential interethnic conflicts. The problem here is economy, since there is an economic and social disaster here. In the near future I cannot see any hope for this area, by the Government from Belgrade or by the International Community. Another problem is recent past. WE must know the truth about Sandzak.

I have been in Sandzak for almost five years. Crimes had been done here. In our report we wrote that in the municipality of Priboj about 20 villages were ‘ethnically cleansed’ of Bosniaks. During that action 185 houses were burnt or destroyed and 23 Bosnjaks were killed. We especially processed the cases of murders of three Bosniaks during attacks on the village Kukurovici, abduction of 17 Bosniaks from Sjeverin, who were killed in Visegrad, abduction of 20 Bosniaks in Strpce, actions of ethnic cleansing in the region of Bukovica in the commune of Pljevlja, massive dismissals of Bosniaks from work, especially in Priboj. Simply, we must face these crimes.“


View photo evidence compiled by the Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms: GALLERY 1, GALLERY 2, GALLERY 3, GALLERY 4, and GALLERY 5.


November 10, 2008 4 comments

The support is pouring for Florence Hartmann, the autor of the book “PAIX ET CHATIMENT” (Peace and Punishment) and former spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), who has been indicted by the Court on two counts of contempt because she allegedly revealed confidential information to the public concerning Serbia’s manipulation of evidence.

The following statement – by numerous human-rights organizations from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosova, Montenegro and Serbia – calls for Hartmann’s proceedings to be open to the public and demands from Serbia to supply the uncensored minutes of the Supreme Defence Council (VSO).

As our readers may recall, Serbia’s darkest pages were hidden from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). As a result, the ICJ cleared Serbia from direct responsibility for the Srebrenica genocide. At the same time, the Court found Serbia guilty of violating its obligation under the Genocide Convention to prevent Srebrenica genocide, and guilty of violating its obligations under the Convention by having failed fully to co-operate with the ICTY.

Full Statement
Concerning the trial of journalist Florence Hartmann conducted before the Hague Tribunal for the alleged publication of confidential Appeals Chamber decisions in the Slobodan Milosevic case, human rights organizations from the successor states to the former Yugoslavia would like draw attention to the fact that the content of these decisions was the subject of many press reports and public debates after the International Court of Justice delivered it judgment in February 2007 in the case of BiH versus Serbia on charges of genocide and it is not clear why Ms. Florence Hartmann has been singled out by the Hague judges.

In that period, human rights organizations in the entire region of the former Yugoslavia were openly discussing why the Hague Tribunal had not given the minutes of the Supreme Council of Defence of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the International Court of Justice and why the International Court of Justice had not demanded these documents from Serbia in the process of adjudicating the case of BiH versus Serbia. Human rights organizations extensively criticized the decision made by the Hague Tribunal to accept the request submitted by Serbia to conceal parts of the Supreme Council of Defence’s minutes as well as the decision of the International Court of Justice not to demand the aforementioned minutes from Serbia, explaining that they possessed enough documents to make a decision. Human rights organizations from Serbia demanded that the Government of Serbia reveal the minutes of the Supreme Council of Defence and remove existing doubts that it had concealed evidence concerning the state’s responsibility for the genocide committed in BiH. There is a serious suspicion that the Hague Tribunal, by its decision on protective measures applied to the minutes of the Supreme Council of Defence, as well as the International Court of Justice, by its indifference concerning the gathering of important evidence, protected Serbia from possible responsibility for participating in the genocide committed in Srebrenica.

Human rights organizations from the region of the former Yugoslavia call on Serbia to waive these protective measures and remove any doubt that the concealed parts of the Supreme Council of Defence’s minutes hide facts about the responsibility of Serbia in the commission of the genocide in Srebrenica. Human rights organizations also call on the Hague Tribunal to clarify its decision to accept the request of Serbia [to conceal the text] and remove doubts that such decisions of the Hague Tribunal are confidential solely to hide from the public the fact that it protected Serbia from responsibility for genocide committed in Srebrenica. In relation to this, the trial of Florence Hartmann should be public and accessible for monitoring by human rights organizations.

Signed by:

+ Action for Human Rights, Podgorica, Montenegro

+ Aleksandar Zeković, independent researcher on human-rights violations in Montenegro

+ Anima, Kotor, Montenegro

+ Association of Lawyers of Montenegro, Montenegro

+ Association for Women’s Human Rights – KODI, Pecs, Kosovo

+ Association for Peace and Reconciliation, Đakovica, Kosovo

+ Association of Women for Women, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

+ B.a.B.e. – Group for Women’s Rights, Zagreb, Croatia

+ Bureau for Human Rights, Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina

+ Centre for Peace, Non-Violence and Human Rights, Osijek, Croatia

+ Centre for Education on Representation and Resources, Prishtina, Kosovo

+ Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, Prishtina, Kosovo

+ Censorship – League for the Advancement of Media Freedoms, Split, Croatia

+ Citizens’ Action, Pančevo, Serbia

+ Citizens’ Committee for Human Rights, Zagreb, Croatia

+ Committee for Human Rights, Leskovac, Serbia

+ Documenta, Zagreb, Croatia

+ Eye of Vision, Pecs, Kosovo

+ Foundation for Humanitarian Law, Belgrade, Serbia

+ Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in RS, Bijeljina, Bosnia-Herzegovina

+ Helsinki Committe for Human Rights in Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

+ Helsinki Citizens’ Committee, Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina

+ Integra, Prishtina, Kosovo

+ Kosova Partners. Prishtina, Kosovo

+ Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Belgrade, Serbia

+ Montenegrin Women’s Lobby, Podgorica, Montenegro

+ Sandžak Committee for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, Novi Pazar, Serbia

+ Secure Women’s House, Podgorica, Montenegro

+ Women in Black, Belgrade, Serbia

+ Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Serbia

+ Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Montenegro

+ Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Kosovo

+ Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Bosnia-Herzegovina

More from Srebrenica Genocide Blog:

Serbia’s Darkest Pages Hidden from Genocide Court, read here.

Florence Hartmann Acted in the Interest of Justice and History, read here.

ICJ Finds Serbia Guilty of Not Preventing Srebrenica Genocide, read here.

ICJ Ruling Shows Governments Can Avoid Liability For Genocide, read here.

Prof. Martin Shaw Calls ICJ Ruling Perverse Judgment, read here.

Milosevic’s Death Saved Serbia from Genocide Responsibility, read here.

Politics and Justice Don’t Mix, ICJ’s Ruling in Bosnia vs Serbia Case, read here.

UN Chief Prosecutor Slams ICJ’s Srebrenica Genocide Ruling Response, read here.

Bosnian Serbs Were Under Control of Belgrade (Serbia, Yugoslavia), read here.

Open Letter by 54 Academics and Intellectuals Re ICJ Ruling, read here.

Serbia’s Censorship of Evidence and Serb Veto to Arrest Criminals, read here.


November 7, 2008 Comments off

In 2006, Bosnian Serb soldier Mladen Blagojevic was arrested in the United States and deported to Bosnia to face war crimes charges dating back to the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. On November 6th, 2008 he was found guilty for Crimes Against Humanity over his involvement in the Srebrenica genocide. Srebrenica genocide claimed lives of 8,000 to 10,000 Bosniaks (Muslims), many of them children under the age of 18. Women were forcibly deported from the enclave in a UN-assisted ethnic cleansing.

Photo of Mladen Blagojevic: GUILTY!

On 6 November 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered the first instance Verdict in the case of Zdravko Bozic and Others. The Court found Mladen Blagojevic, former Bosnian Serb soldier who participated in the Srebrenica genocide, guilty of Crimes against Humanity. Co-accused Zdravko Bozic, Zoran Zivanovic and Zeljko Zaric have been acquitted on all counts of the Indictment. Zdravko Bozic and Mladen Blagojevic were deported to Bosnia in June and November of 2006 for lying to U.S. immigration authorities about their service in the Bosnian Serb military during the 1992-95 war.

According to the judgment, Mladen Blagojevic is guilty of taking a part in the widespread and systematic attack by the Serb Army and Police of the Republika Srpska (RS) directed against the Bosniak civilian population of the UN safe area Srebrenica, between 11 and 18 July 1995. Blagojevic was a member of Military Police Platoon of the Bratunac Light Infantry Brigade. The Court found that he willingly took part in persecuting civilian Bosniak population in Srebrenica on political, national, ethnic, cultural and religious grounds, with a view to inflicting serious bodily injuries.

Mladen Blagojevic is found guilty… of willingly taking part in persecution of the civilian Bosniak [Bosnian Muslim] population with a goal to commit inhuman acts,” presiding judge Stanisa Gluhajic, who is of Serb ethnic background, told the Court. Accordingly, Blagojevic thereby committed the criminal offence of Crimes against Humanity and the Court sentenced him to 7 years imprisonment. The time Blagojevic spent in custody under the decisions of this Court from 17 November 2006 onwards will be credited against the prison sentence.

The judge Gluhajic said that Blagojevic guarded a school “Vuk Karadzic” in the town of Bratunac, where Bosniak civilians were being held against their will. Blagojevic beat and tortured these detainees and took part in the execution of at least five civilians during the night of 13 to 14 July 1995. Witnesses also saw Blagojevic firing a machine gun at a Bosniak civilian standing near the window of “Vuk Karadzic” school in the eastern town of Bratunac, but could not tell if the man died. Blagojevic was shooting at civilians from a military vehicle, parked in front of the school. He also participated in the forcible separation of Bosniak men from women and children in Srebrenica knowing they would be deported from the enclave.

The judge said three other suspects were acquitted because prosecutors failed to present enough evidence, something that associations of Srebrenica survivors and relatives of Srebrenica genocide victims find hard to believe. Prosecutors said they would appeal.


November 7, 2008 Comments off
IN CUSTODY: Momir Peles (59) and Slavko Peric (61). They are suspected of taking part in the execution of 1,700 Bosniak civilians and dumping them into Pilica Farm mass grave, see photo below:

PHOTO: Srebrenica genocide mass grave at Pilica farm, twenty feet deep and a hundred feet long, was excavated by forensic pathologists in 1996. Photo by Gilles Peress (from The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar [Scalo Books, 1998]). At least 8,372 men, children and elderly were summarily executed and dumped into mass graves during 1995 genocide in Srebrenica. In a U.N. assisted ethnic cleansing, at least 20,000 women were forcibly expelled from the enclave. As the ICTY Judges found (more here), the decision not to kill all women and children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion.

On November 5th, Bosnian police arrested two Bosnian Serb wartime commanders suspected of taking part in genocide against Bosniaks in Srebrenica in July 1995, a police statement said. The State Protection and Investigative Agency arrested Momir Peles, 59, and Slavko Peric, 61, in the eastern town of Zvornik, where they had served as the Zvornik brigade 1st battalion’s deputy commander and an assistant commander.

The Zvornik brigade was one of 13 brigades of the Bosnian Serb army that comprised the Drina corps, commanded by General Radislav Krstic, who was jailed for 35 years by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague over the Srebrenica genocide. Peles and Peric were suspected of taking part in the execution of 1,700 Muslims in the village of Pilica, where one of the largest mass graves was found, and at the military cooperative at Branjevo, the prosecutor’s office said.

“The suspects will be brought to the Prosecutor’s office due to the grounded suspicion that they committed the criminal offence of genocide … by participating in the apprehension and execution of 1,700 Bosniak men from the Srebrenica enclave,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by General Ratko Mladic, slaughtered between 8,000 and 10,000 Bosniak men, children and elderly – after the town, which was under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers, fell into their hands in 1995. Most were killed while trying to escape through the woods, either shot down immediately or arrested and brought to warehouses or schools from where they were taken to places of execution, killed and dumped into mass graves.

RESOLUTION 819 (2008 and 1993)

November 3, 2008 9 comments
Updated: November 20th, 2008.
Editorial Note: This movie contains at least one controversial scene. Please see our comment section for more details.

PHOTO: You’re looking at Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari – a burial ground commemorating the mass slaughter of 10,000 Bosniak Muslim men, children, and elderly in the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War.

Resolution 819 (2008) Film Wins Rome International Film Festival

French-Polish-Italian movie about the notorious 1995 Srebrenica genocide has won the top prize at the third annual Rome International Film Festival. “Resolution 819” film, directed by Giacomo Battiato, reportedly focuses on the Srebrenica genocide that claimed lives of at least 8,000 Bosniaks (Muslims) – men, children, and elderly – who were summarily executed by the Bosnian Serb forces and dumped into mass graves, while at least 20,000 women were forcibly deported in a U.N.-assisted ethnic cleansing. We haven’t seen this film yet and therefore we cannot endorse it. However, we can show you text of the original UN Resolution 819.

Actual U.N. Security Council Resolution 819 (1993)

The U.N. Security Council Resolution 819 demanded Serbia and Montenegro (Yugoslavia) to take measures to prevent Srebrenica genocide and cease the supply of military arms, equipment and services to the Bosnian Serbs. The resolution also demanded Bosnian Serbs cease attacks on Srebrenica, stop ethnic cleansing, and immediately withdraw from areas around the enclave. Serbia and her proxies in Bosnia had repeatedly violated this resolution. Bosnian Serbs from militarized Serb-held villages around Srebrenica continued attacking and terrorizing Bosniak (Muslim) population in the besieged town of Srebrenica. Serbia continued supplying arms and logistic support to the Bosnian Serb terrorists around Srebrenica. As a result, the International Court of Justice ruled in 2007 that Serbia had violated its obligation under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide in Srebrenica and that it has also violated its obligations under the Convention by having failed fully to co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal.

FULL TEXT of Resolution 819 (April 16 1993) [must read!]

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its resolutions 713 (1991) of 25 September 1991 and all of its subsequent relevant resolutions,

Taking note that the International Court of Justice in its Order of 8 April 1993 in the case concerning application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)) unanimously indicated as a provisional measure that the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) should immediately, in pursuance of its undertaking in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of the crime of genocide,

Reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Reaffirming its call on the parties and others concerned to observe immediately the cease-fire throughout the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Reaffirming its condemnation of all violations of international humanitarian law, including, in particular, the practice of “ethnic cleansing”,

Concerned by the pattern of hostilities by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units against towns and villages in eastern Bosnia and in this regard reaffirming that any taking or acquisition of territory by the threat or use of force, including through the practice of “ethnic cleansing”, is unlawful and unacceptable,

Deeply alarmed at the information provided by the Secretary-General to the Security Council on 16 April 1993 on the rapid deterioration of the situation in Srebrenica and its surrounding areas, as a result of the continued deliberate armed attacks and shelling of the innocent civilian population by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units,

Strongly condemning the deliberate interdiction by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units of humanitarian assistance convoys,

Also strongly condemning the actions taken by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units against UNPROFOR, in particular, their refusal to guarantee the safety and freedom of movement of UNPROFOR personnel,

Aware that a tragic humanitarian emergency has already developed in Srebrenica and its surrounding areas as a direct consequence of the brutal actions of Bosnian Serb paramilitary units, forcing the large-scale displacement of civilians, in particular women, children and the elderly,

Recalling the provisions of resolution 815 (1993) on the mandate of UNPROFOR and in that context acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Demands that all parties and others concerned treat Srebrenica and its surroundings as a safe area which should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act;

2. Demands also to that effect the immediate cessation of armed attacks by Bosnian Serb paramilitary units against Srebrenica and their immediate withdrawal from the areas surrounding Srebrenica;

3. Demands that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) immediately cease the supply of military arms, equipment and services to the Bosnian Serb paramilitary units in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

4. Requests the Secretary-General, with a view to monitoring the humanitarian situation in the safe area, to take immediate steps to increase the presence of UNPROFOR in Srebrenica and its surroundings; demands that all parties and others concerned cooperate fully and promptly with UNPROFOR towards that end; and requests the Secretary-General to report urgently thereon to the Security Council;

5. Reaffirms that any taking or acquisition of territory by threat or use of force, including through the practice of “ethnic cleansing”, is unlawful and unacceptable;

6. Condemns and rejects the deliberate actions of the Bosnian Serb party to force the evacuation of the civilian population from Srebrenica and its surrounding areas as well as from other parts of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of its overall abhorrent campaign of “ethnic cleansing”;

7. Reaffirms its condemnation of all violations of international humanitarian law, in particular the practice of “ethnic cleansing” and reaffirms that those who commit or order the commission of such acts shall be held individually responsible in respect of such acts;

8. Demands the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in particular to the civilian population of Srebrenica and its surrounding areas and recalls that such impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law;

9. Urges the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to use all the resources at their disposal within the scope of the relevant resolutions of the Council to reinforce the existing humanitarian operations in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular Srebrenica and its surroundings;

10. Further demands that all parties guarantee the safety and full freedom of movement of UNPROFOR and of all other United Nations personnel as well as members of humanitarian organizations;

11. Further requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with UNHCR and UNPROFOR, to arrange for the safe transfer of the wounded and ill civilians from Srebrenica and its surrounding areas and to urgently report thereon to the Council;

12. Decides to send, as soon as possible, a mission of members of the Security Council to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ascertain the situation and report thereon to the Security Council;

13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter and to consider further steps to achieve a solution in conformity with relevant resolutions of the Council.

Related documents:
United Nations Srebrenica Report (1999) – Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35: The Fall of Srebrenica