Posts Tagged ‘bosnian genocide’


May 4, 2009 Comments off

PHOTO: Relative of the Omarska concentration camp victims near the Western Bosnian town of Prijedor in Bosnia-Herzegovina holds photos of excavated bodies of her relatives on 06 August, 2006. You can view more concentration camp photos from Bosnian Genocide at this link.


By Tovah Lazaroff, JPost Correspondent in Geneva
Originally published: Apr 26, 2009.
Republished with Permission.

JERUSALEM POST – As an inmate in the Omarska concentration camp in Bosnia, in 1992, Nusreta Sivac began her days by counting the corpses of those who had been killed overnight.

“We would see them on the grass in front of the ‘white house,’ which was a little building where the worst torture was committed,” she told the audience who had gathered on Friday to hear her and other victims of racism, including some from Rwanda. They spoke on the sidelines of the United Nations anti-racism conference that met in Geneva last week.

They sat on a small stage, set off from one of the main corridors in the UN’s European headquarters, at an event titled “Voices: Everyone affected by racism has a story that should be heard.”

Speaking with the help of a translator, Sivac explained how in April 1992 Serbs took over her native city of Prijedor, in the northwest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and went about “ethnically cleansing” the area of Muslims (Bosniaks) and Catholics (Croats).

First, “freedom of movement was strictly limited. Muslims and Croats had to wear white bands around their arms and to have white flags on the windows of their apartments,” she said.

Sivac was 40 and a judge in the municipal court. Within a few days of the takeover, she was banned from her job.

“I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me, and later I realized that was only the introduction to the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being,” she said.

In June, she was asked to come to the police station, where she was forced onto a bus and driven away by members of the Serb military forces.

“I did not know in what direction I was taken. Only when we arrived I understood that I was taken to the Omarska concentration camp,” she said.

It was an unusual move because mostly it was men who were sent there, while women and children were typically driven to the border with the Bosnian-controlled area, where they sought protection, Sivac said.

She was one of 36 women among 3,500 men detained at the camp.

The women were given rooms above a restaurant. During the day they were forced to serve food or clean while the rooms that they slept in were used to torture prisoners.

“We would hear them screaming every day… When we would come up to the rooms to sleep, we first had to clean because blood was everywhere,” she said.

Every day, people were tortured to death and massacred. Drunken guards jumped on the bodies and sang Serb nationalist songs, she said.

Fathers would see their sons tortured and killed and sons would watch their fathers being murdered, she said.

“Even some of the detained women saw their husbands tortured, and no one was ever allowed to help anyone. They would have risked their lives,” she said.

“Once I saw my cousin running on the grass area covered by the massacred bodies and he was desperately looking for his son. Then I saw them killing him.”

Another time, she saw a Serb soldier take a knife and make a cross on a woman’s face.

Male prisoners were only given one meal a day, a small piece of bread, bean soup and coleslaw, she said.

“When detainees would go to eat, they had to pass a line of Serb guards that would beat them,” she said.

If prisoners did not finish the meal within minutes, they risked being beaten, sometimes to death, Sivac said.

Many people stopped going to meals to avoid the beatings.

For the women, nighttime was the worst, she said.

“The guards would come to the rooms and take us somewhere in the camp and rape us. That happened on a regular basis. We were not allowed to say anything to anyone. I was regularly raped and beaten,” said Sivac.

She was the only judge to survive the camp. All the male Muslim and Croat judges were killed. But Sivac survived until her release in August 1992, right before Western journalists and the Red Cross were brought in to see the camp, which was closed later that month.

Today, she has returned to live in Prijedor, which is now part of the Republic of Srpska. The city is now 99 percent ethnic Serb. Most of the Muslims live in the Federation of Bosnia, where there are some 500,000 Muslim refugees.

No one in the Republic of Srpska talks about what happened in 1992.

“I am surrounded by a society that does not recognize what happened, which I find very difficult,” Sivac said.

In Prijedor, “I see some of the perpetrators and some of those who came already out from The Hague,” she said.

Prejudice still runs so deep in Prijedor that she cannot work there. Instead she travels more than an hour to the Federation of Bosnia to work.

“I have been called to witness in The Hague and I have seen the man [Zeljko Mejakic] that was regularly raping and beating me and other women,” Sivac said.

“He was the worst to the women in the camp. I know that many of the women did not talk about their experiences, because it is extremely difficult to think and to talk about it, even for me today, but I have to be strong and let my voice be heard.”

In 1996, an American documentary, Calling the Ghosts, was made about her story.

Still, she told the audience in Geneva on Friday, very little attention is paid to what happened in Bosnia.

“Unfortunately, the concentration camps in Bosnia is something very rarely spoken about, which is dangerous. We should not close our eyes to what happened. We should condemn it and never allow it to happen again,” she said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, who joined the panel, said, “This is why this conference matters. It is because of your experiences.”

Racism, she said, “is a global human tragedy blighting lives and destroying the future of men, women and children in every corner of the world. We must always insure that the voices of the victims are heard and that they resonate.”

Original article:


March 18, 2009 1 comment
PHOTO: Momcilo Krajisnik, convicted Serb war criminal.
The Appeals Chamber today sentenced Momčilo Krajišnik to 20 years’ imprisonment, upholding earlier guilty findings against the former member of the Bosnian Serb leadership for deportations, forcible transfer and persecution of non-Serb civilians committed during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Trial Chamber’s earlier convictions of murder, extermination and persecution – with exception of deportation and forcible transfer – were quashed by the Appeal Chamber judgement.

On 27 September 2006, the Trial Chamber found Krajišnik guilty of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and forced transfer of non-Serb civilians during the 1992-95 conflict. He was found not guilty of charges of genocide and complicity of genocide. Krajišnik was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment.

The Trial Chamber found that Krajišnik participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose objective was to ethnically recompose the territories under the control of the Bosnian-Serb Republic by drastically reducing the proportion of non-Serbs through the commission of various crimes. “It held that there was a leadership component of the JCE, based in the Bosnian-Serb capital of Pale, which included Krajišnik, Radovan Karadžić and other Bosnian-Serb leaders; the local component of this JCE was based in the municipalities of the Bosnian-Serb Republic and maintained close links with the Pale-based leadership.”

Appeals were filed by the Prosecution, the Accused – including supplementary legal challenges made by Alan and Nathan Dershowitz, Counsel on the matter of joint criminal enterprise and Amicus Curiae.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed the Accused’s and Amicus Curiae’s submissions that the Trial Chamber violated Krajišnik’s right to a fair trial.

However, parts of Amicus Curiae’s third, fourth and seventh grounds of appeal were granted. The Appeals Chamber accepted that the Trial Chamber failed in part to specify which of the local politicians, militaries, police commanders and paramilitary leaders were members of the joint criminal enterprise. Thus, it could not beyond reasonable doubt conclude that a common objective between them and Krajišnik existed.

The Appeals Chamber reaffirmed the Trial Chamber’s finding that “Krajišnik shared the intent to commit the original crimes of deportation, forcible transfer and persecution based on these crimes from the beginning of the JCE”. However, with respect to the expanded crimes of murder, extermination and persecution (other than that based on deportation and forcible transfer) the Appeals Chamber found that the Trial Chamber failed to identify when those acts became part of the common goal of the joint criminal enterprise.

The Trial Chamber had found that such crimes were added to the joint criminal enterprise after leading members of the joint criminal enterprise were informed of them, yet took no effective measures to prevent their recurrence, and persisted in the implementation of the common objective, thereby coming to intend these expanded crimes.

“The Appeals Chamber notes, however, that the Trial Chamber made only scarce findings, if at all, on these requirements,” the judgement reads. “Neither the Appeals Chamber nor an accused can be required to engage in speculation on the meaning of the Trial Chamber’s findings – or lack thereof – in relation to such a central element of Krajišnik’s individual criminal responsibility as the scope of the common objective of the JCE.”

It therefore quashed Krajišnik’s convictions for expanded crimes of murder, extermination and persecution with the exception of the underlying acts of deportation and forcible transfer.

The Appeals Chamber also found that on many occasions the Trial Chamber failed to find the link between the perpetrators of the original crimes of deportation, forcible transfer and persecution based on these crimes, and the members of the joint criminal enterprise.

The Appeals Chamber dismissed most of the submissions of the Counsel for joint criminal enterprise but granted arguments with respect to the identity of the members of the enterprise, Krajišnik’s responsibility for the expanded crimes, and the lack of findings on a link between the physical perpetrators and the members of the enterprise for some of the original crimes.

Submissions by the Prosecution and the remainder of the Accused’s and Amicus Curiae’s submissions were all dismissed, the tenth ground submitted by Amicus Curiae on cumulative convictions by majority, Judge Güney dissenting.

While the Appeals Chamber noted that the majority of convictions of Momčilo Krajišnik were overturned it held that the gravity of the crimes of persecution, deportation and forcible transfer “requires a severe and proportionate sentence”.

Krajišnik was indicted on 25 February 2000. He was arrested and transferred to the Tribunal on 3 April 2000. Credit will be given for the time already spent in detention since Krajišnik’s arrest.

Since its inception 15 years ago the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons for war crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The proceedings against 117 individuals have been completed. With proceedings ongoing against 42 accused only two indictees remain on the run awaiting arrest – Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić.



February 17, 2009 8 comments

The U.N.-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia approved most of an amended indictment against Radovan Karadžić.

Karadžić, former President of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska and head of the Serbian Democratic Party and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), is charged by the Prosecution with genocide and a multitude of crimes against Bosniak, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina committed during the 1992-1995 war.

In the Amended Indictment, Karadžić is charged with two counts of genocide instead of initial one. The first count refers to the crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1992 and the second to the July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica. Two other counts have been dropped from the initial indictment, those being the charges of complicity in genocide and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. With the Amended Indictment, Karadžić is charged with criminal conduct in relation to 27 municipalities instead of the initial 41.

In 2000, Radovan Karadžić was ordered by a U.S. jury to pay $4.5 billion in damages for atrocities committed by his soldiers. The only problem – he was on the run. The U.S. Government placed $5 million bounty on his head. He was arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade, while he was freely practicing alternative medicine under the alias “Dragan David Dabic.”

Radovan Karadžić made his genocidal intentions public long before he executed them. As Florence Hartmann, former spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, pointed out in Dani interview,

“[Karadžić’s] war plan included the destruction of the Bosnian Muslims within a limited geographical area, i.e. within part of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the aim of joining that part to Serbia. Milošević was the initiator and the moving force behind the execution of the plan to secure for the Serbs certain areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was Serbia’s political leader and was considered and admired by them as the leader and protector of all ethnic Serbs living on the former Yugoslav territory. He utilised Karadžić to formulate and articulate their joint intentions. In a conversation between Milošević, Karadžić and Babić conducted in July 1991, Karadžić said that ‘the Muslims should be expelled from the valleys in order to join together all Serb territories in Bosnia-Herzegovina’. Milošević and his collaborators made their intentions clear even before the start of the Yugoslav crisis. It was obvious that the inclusion of territories of other republics, and changes to the established borders, carried with them a high risk or likelihood of violence. They needed to use violence in order to achieve their aim, especially in an ethnically mixed country such as Yugoslavia. In other words, everything was known and predictable, but nothing was done to prevent it.”

On October 12th 1991, Radovan KaradziKaradžić issued a warning: “They [Muslims] will disappear, these people will disappear from the face of the earth”
A mere day later, on 13 October 1991, Karadžić, talking to Momčilo Mandić, said: “Within a few days there will be no Sarajevo, and there will be over 500,000 dead; within a month the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina will be destroyed!”
Again, on 15 October 1991, Karadžić foresees the extermination of the Muslims in the event of war. Talking to Miodrag Davidović and his own brother Luka, Karadžić said: “In the first instance, none of their leaders will remain alive, they will be killed within 3 or 4 hours. They will have no chance of surviving.”

Learn more about Bosnian Genocide:
1. Remembering Concentration Camps in Bosnia (PHOTOS)

2. Nikola Jorgic: The First Bosnian Genocide Judgment
3. Bosnian Genocide Judgment Upheld

Miroslav Deronjić (quick bio), a former Bosnian Serb politician who has pleaded guilty to war crimes, said he met Radovan Karadzić in early July 1995, shortly before Serbs attacked the United Nations-declared ”safe area” of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia. ”At one moment, he said the following sentence to me, “Miroslav, all of them need to be killed — whatever you can lay your hands on,” Mr.Deronjić told a pre-appeal hearing for a former Bosnian Serb general, Radislav Krstić – who was found guilty of Srebrenica Genocide.
At the end of the war, Karadzić realized that his attempts to make “Muslims of Bosnia” disappear failed, so he focused on Srebrenica – lightly protected United Nations’ enclave in eastern Bosnia. In March 1995, Radovan Karadzić, then President of Republika Srpska, issued a directive to the Bosnian Serb Army – known as “Directive 7” – which specified that the Bosnian Serb Army was to:

Complete the physical separation of Srebrenica from Žepa as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals in the two enclaves. By planned and well-thought out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica.

The end result (Srebrenica): In a matter of days, at least 8,372 victims Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men, children, and elderly were summarily executed, dumped into mass graves, then dug out and moved to secondary mass graves to hide the crime. Other bodies were thrown into the Drina river and they will likely never be recovered. Meanwhile, approximately 25,000 Bosniaks were forcibly expelled from Srebrenica in a U.N.-assisted ethnic cleansing.

Learn more about Srebrenica Genocide:
Events preceding Srebrenica genocide:
—- 1. Serbs around Srebrenica attack and burn Muslim women, children, and elderly alive
—- 2. Serbs around Srebrenica slaughter 62 Bosniak children, injure 152
—- 3. This Muslim child was blinded by a grenade fired from militarized Serb-held villages around Srebrenica
—- 4. Under Siege: Bosnian Muslims lived under constant terrorist threat from Serbs around Srebrenica
—- 5. Research more here, or use custom search box (located on top left-hand side) to search for specific information…

Results of Srebrenica genocide:
—- 1. 8,372 Victims of Srebrenica Genocide
—- 2. DNA Analysis: 8,000 Victims, not Less
—- 3. Requested: Gassing of Refugees by Chemical Weapons
—- 4. Ethnic Cleansing of Srebrenica women disguised as ‘humanitarian act’
—- 5. Preliminary List of Child Victims of Srebrenica Genocide
—- 6. Srebrenica Children Shot in Head
—- 7. Research more here, or use custom search box (located on top left-hand side) to search for specific information…


September 29, 2008 2 comments

On September 23, 2008 Haris Silajdzic reminded U.N. that during 1990s 200,000 people died in the Bosnian Genocide (see photos)

PHOTO: Haris Silajdzic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, addresses the general debate of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly in New York, September 23rd 2008.

Quick Points: In a vehement denunciation of widespread genocide denial, the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr Haris Silajdzic, warned the United Nations to be more pro-active in preventing genocides and correcting past mistakes. Dr Silajdzic, who disagrees with RDC figures which account for 100,000 dead in Bosnia, warned the UN that according to the International Red Cross Committee data “200,000 people were killed during the Bosnian war, 12,000 of them children, while 50,000 women were raped, with 2.2 million people forced to leave their homes.” He reminded the World that was a true genocide and blasted the UN for bearing partial responsibility for Srebrenica genocide.

Dr Haris Silajdzic, the presiding member of the presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, visited New York last week and started his seven-day summit to remind the World to be more pro-active in preventing genocides and correcting past mistakes.

At the initiative of American-Jewish Committee, Dr Silajdzic met with the Jewish delegation, led by Mr Andrew Bauer and Mr Herbert Bloc, and thanked them for the help their Committee was giving Bosnia so far. Dr Silajdzic attended the opening ceremony of the 4th Annual Meeting of Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a meeting about developing needs of the world, organized by Bill Clinton, former President of the USA. He also attended the reception organized by US President George Bush for presidents who have peace troops stationed in Iraq, and the one organized by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for heads of state attending the UN General Assembly.

In his address to the UN General Assembly last week, Dr Haris Silajdzic has called on the UN to correct the mistakes made during the Bosnian Genocide. He has also demanded that the UN send the message that genocide cannot be rewarded.

“Some in the international community insisted on maintaining the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council in 1991, thus adding to the obviously overwhelming military advantage of Milosevic’s regime that was bent on destroying Bosnia and its people. They justified this course by claiming that the lifting of the embargow ould add oil to the fire. The result, inevitably, was quelling that fire the blood of the innocent,” – Dr Silajdzic said.

The president of Bosnia-Herzegovina quoted the International Red Cross Committee data which says that 200,000 people were killed during the Bosnian war, 12,000 of them children, while 50,000 women were raped, with 2.2 million people forced to leave their homes. “That was true genocide,” he said. “This was a veritable genocide and sociocide. The intent of the perpetrators of this genocide was to forever destroy the unique multi-ethnic fabric of Bosnia and Herzegovina through mass slaughter, rapes, torture, abuse, expulsion and plunder.” He added that “despite of this, defenders of our country conducted themselves honorably, as demonstrated by the ICTY acquittals of most of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s military leadership.”

Dr Silajdzic reminded the World about Srebrenica genocide referring to the International Court of Justice’s verdict, which stated that “those were the acts of genocide committed by the members of the Republic of Srpska (RS) army in and around the town of Srebrenica from July 13, 1995, until the end of the war.”

The United Nations must take action to reverse the de facto “ethnic apartheid” that has taken root in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as part of efforts to redress the failure surrounding the Srebrenica genocide, Silajdzic warned. The UN has acknowledged that, by its own acts and omissions, it is partially responsible for the July 1995 Srebrenica killings in which more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys lost their lives, casting a shadow over the world body forever, said Dr Silajdzic.

“We do not want the United Nations to be haunted,” he told world leaders gathered at UN Headquarters in New York. “This Organization’s credibility is too important to the world to carry the burden of this failure.” Rather, the world body must ensure that mistakes are not repeated and that past errors are corrected, Mr. Silajdzic stressed.

“Without righting this wrong, can we genuinely celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this December. Moreover, can we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention if the first and only judgment of the international Court of Justice on the crime of genocide remains in the archives of that Court?” – asked Dr Silajdzic. “Certainly, there are those in Bosnia-Herzegovina who would not agree with this, but they are surely not the victims of genocide,” – he added.

“We cannot bring back the dead, but we can give dignity and justice to the survivors,” he said. “What we say today is not aimed at the past, but at the future, and not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Despite the positive results delivered by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, many key issues remain, including the blocking of ‘minority’ returns by the authorities of the Republika Srpska, an entity within the country, by either directly taking part in violence or by not protecting people from attacks due to their ethnic background, Dr Silajdzic said.

One day ahead of Silajdzic’s speech in New York, the Serb representative in the Bosnian presidency Nebojsa Radmanovic sent a letter to the UN General Assembly stating that the address would be Dr Silajdzic’s personal opinion and not an official position of Bosnia-Herzegovina, adding that a three-member presidency did not reach a consensus on his appearance before the assembly.

Dr Silajdzic responded back with a letter to the UN Secretary- General, and the UN General Assembly President, in relation to Mr. Mr Radmanovic’s letter, sent to those officials. Chairman Silajdzic underlined in his letter that Mr Radmanovic’s claims in fact represent his personal view, and contain a series of factual oversights. First and foremost, Dr Silajdzic emphasized that the BiH Presidency, on May 28, at the 38th regular session, adopted a decision authorizing Dr Silajdzic, as BiH Presidency Chairman, to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, including the need for a general debate on that assembly. This decision was made unanimously, including the vote of Mr Radmanovic.

Bosnian Croat member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Presidency, Mr Zeljko Komsic, issued a press release stating that “it must be clearly underlined and emphasized that, at least, Dayton Peace Agreement was not obligatory to sign, as well as April package of constitutional changes” for which Dr Silajdzic was responsible. “B-H Presidency Chairman Silajdzic should be reminded that unfortunately for most of B-H citizens, genocide was rewarded by the mere act of signing of Dayton Peace Agreement.”

In his address the UN General Assembly in New York, Dr Silajdzic said that the Dayton peace deal, apart from bringing peace, was intended to “annul the results of genocide and ethnic cleansing” and “was never meant to “maintain ethnic apartheid in Bosnia-Herzegovina”. He said that “rewarding genocide could send a dangerous message to the world that would most certainly jeopardize the chances for permanent peace and stability in Bosnia and in the rest of the region.”

Before his departure from Sarajevo to the U.N. General Assembly, Bosnian media reported that Dr Dilajdzic said that the Serb Republic was using a U.S. lobbying group to promote its interests among U.S. officials on issues such as foreign trade, diplomatic relations, and constitutional and other reforms. He accused the Serb Republic of trying to “position itself as a separate and independent international entity.”

The Serb Republic hired Quinn Gillespie & Associates LCC in 2007 for about $1.5 million per year to lobby for what it said were its cultural, economic and sports interests.

Dr Silajdzic is also widely quoted in the Bosnian media as saying that he will take the Serb Republic to the constitutional court over its decision to pull out from the state electricity network it formed along with the federation to enable Bosnia to join the southeast Europe’s energy community. The international community involved in the implementation of Bosnia’s peace process said the Serb Republic’s move was illegal and asked the government to revoke it.


September 26, 2008 1 comment

Quick Summary: Radovan Karadzic will face two genocide charges – one count for Srebrenica Genocide, and the second count for broader charge of Bosnian Genocide affecting at least 10 other municipalities…

PHOTO: You’re looking face of a Srebrenica Genocide architect, Radovan Karadzic (aka: Dragan David Dabic). The photo was taken during his initial courtroom appearance at the ICTY. Karadzic looked gaunt and tired, and he even shed few tears. In this photo, he is genuinely sorry for being brought to stand trial and face justice after 13 years on the run. Click here to see photos of his victims.

United Nations’ prosecutors have filed a second genocide charge against Radovan Karadzic this week. In order to speed up the trial, the proposed indictment contains four amendments:

“First, the Prosecution has updated, clarified, and further particularized its legal and factual allegations relating to the Accused’s individual responsibility. Second, the Prosecution has significantly narrowed the scope of criminal conduct underlying the charges. The Accused is no longer charged with any criminal conduct in relation to 14 municipalities; the indictment has been reduced from 41 to 27 municipalities. Third, the Prosecution has restructured the counts in the indictment and legally re-characterized certain underlying criminal conduct which was already charged in the Operative Indictment. Fourth, the Prosecution has provided more precise notice of the charges against the Accused, both in the factual pleadings contained in the body of the Proposed Indictment, and by way of seven schedules attached to the Proposed Indictment.”

Previously, in the first amended indictment, Karadzic was charged with genocide (count 1) and complicity in genocide (count 2). Now, the complicity in genocide charge has been removed and the single count of genocide has been split into two counts of genocide, each of which relates to one of the two distinct periods and locations. Two separate counts of Genocide relate to 10 municipalities and Srebrenica. The single count of genocide originally related to two distinct time periods and geographic locations, namely between July 1st 1991 and December 1992 in various municipalities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and between early March 1995 and November 1995 in Srebrenica area. The motion to amend the first amended indictment still waits for an approval by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

The prosecutors and judges are trying to avoid a lengthy trial like Slobodan Milosevic’s, which lasted for four years and included nearly 300 witnesses without reaching a verdict on more than 60 charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, because Milosevic died of a heart attack.

Victims (Editor’s Pick):
Take a look at faces of Radovan Karadzic’s victims
Focus on
Concentration Camps in Bosnia

Motion to Amend the First Amended Indictment
The Prosecutor vs. Radovan Karadzic


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.


July 20, 2007 1 comment

– July 12th, 2007 –

There was a “plan” to get rid of Bosniaks, but it failed. Vladimir Srebrov, co-founder of the Serb Democratic Party was imprisoned during the war after leaking sensitive information about the Serbian Democratic Party’s plan to exterminate Bosniaks. According to Mr Srebrov, the extermination plan coded “Ram Plan”, had been drawn up by the General Staff of the Yugoslav National Army in 1990. The plan served as Serbian Democratic Party’s carbon copy for the “Final Solution” for “Muslims of Bosnia.” According to Mr Srebrov:

“The Muslims were to be subjected to a final solution: more than 50% of them were to be killed, a smaller part was to be converted to Orthodoxy, while an even smaller part – those with money, of course – was to be allowed to leave for Turkey, by way of a so-called ‘Turkish corridor’.” (Source: Interview with Vladimir Srebrov, a founding member of the Serb Democratic Party”, Vreme Magazine, 30 October 1995.)

On 26 September 1997 Germany handed down first Bosnian Genocide conviction. Nikola Jorgic was found guilty by the Düsseldorf, Germany, Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) on 11 counts of genocide. His appeal was rejected by the German Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Supreme Court) on 30 April 1999. He was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment for his involvement in the Bosnian Genocide.

Nicola Jorgic, a German resident of Bosnian Serb origin, was arrested upon his return to Germany in 1995 and convicted of acting with the intent to commit genocide on 11 counts and other serious crimes against Bosniaks during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

[Family photo of Nikola Jorgic – the first person to be convicted of Bosnia Genocide – in 1997. Photo is a courtesy of Izvor, published in Lost War Criminals. ]

” Whoever hoped … something like the genocide of the Nazis against the Jews could never be repeated sees himself cruelly disappointed after the events in the former Yugoslavia. “ – German Judge Guenter Krentz said in a 1997 judgement.

Jorgic showed no emotion and no remorse as the court declared him guilty of 11 counts of genocide, 30 counts of murder and numerous lesser charges for crimes committed during the Bosnian war. Judge Guenter Krentz called Jorgic’s crimes especially onerous and sentenced him to life in prison, as prosecutors had asked. The judge said Jorgic was actively involved in Bosnian Serbs’ efforts to exterminate and expel Bosnian Muslims from their homes in 1992, as war was breaking out in the former Yugoslav republic.

Jorgic was not the only one to be convicted of Bosnia Genocide. On 29 November 1999, the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Dusseldorf condemned Maksim Sokolovic to 9 years in prison for aiding and abetting the crime of genocide and for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

Jorgic challenged the verdict at the European Court of Human Rights, arguing the German court did not have jurisdiction over the case.

On July 12th 2007 – responding to Jorgic’s appeal – European Court of Human Rights upheld Bosnia Genocide judgment and a life term for a Nicola Jorgic for committing acts of genocide in Bosnia during the ethnic cleansing in 1992.
Here are some excerpts from the European Court of Human Rights Judgment in a case of Jorgic v. Germany about some of his crimes:

” In its judgment of 26 September 1997 the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal convicted the applicant on eleven counts of genocide (Article 220a nos. 1 and 3 of the Criminal Code – see paragraph 34 below)… It sentenced the applicant to life imprisonment and stated that his guilt was of a particular gravity.

The court found that the applicant had set up a paramilitary group, with whom he had participated in the ethnic cleansing ordered by the Bosnian Serb political leaders and the Serb military in the Doboj region. He had in particular participated in the arrest, detention, assault and ill-treatment of male Muslims of three villages in Bosnia in the beginning of May and June 1992. He had killed several inhabitants of these villages. He had in particular shot twenty-two inhabitants of the village of Grabska – women and disabled and old people – in June 1992. Subsequently, the applicant, together with the paramilitary group he had led, had chased some forty men from their home village and had ordered them to be ill-treated and six of them to be shot. A seventh injured person had died from being burnt with the corpses of the six people shot. In September 1992 the applicant had killed a prisoner, who was being ill-treated by soldiers in the Doboj prison, with a wooden truncheon in order to demonstrate a new method of ill-treatment and killing.

Furthermore, the court found that the applicant had acted with intent to commit genocide within the meaning of Article 220a of the Criminal Code…It concluded that the applicant had therefore acted with intent to destroy the group of Muslims in the North of Bosnia, or at least in the Doboj region. “

The European Court threw out Jorgic’s complaint, saying that the German court was not prohibited under international law from trying the case and that the Germans had “reasonable grounds for establishing their jurisdiction to try the applicant on charges of genocide.”