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TRIAL CHAMBER VISITS ZAGREB, SARAJEVO AND SREBRENICA IN MOMCILO PERISIC CASE

June 28, 2009 Comments off

PHOTO: View of Sarajevo with newly built Avaz Twist Tower – the Balkan’s tallest residential building – located in Marijin Dvor business district.

The Trial Chamber in the case of Momčilo Perišić (case information sheet), former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army (VJ), on Sunday 21 June 2009 began a seven-day site visit which will take them to Zagreb, Sarajevo and Srebrenica.

The visiting delegation consists of Judges Moloto (presiding), David and Picard from Trial Chamber I, as well as members of the Prosecution and Defence teams in the case and officials from the Tribunal’s Registry.

The Trial Chamber decided to conduct the site visit on its own accord. The Trial Chamber considered that it would be assisted to visit locations relevant to the case “in order to gain a better understanding of the facts at issue”.

Perišić is the most senior officer of the Yugoslav Army to go on trial for crimes committed during the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. He is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, inhumane acts and attacks on civilians committed between 1993 and 1995 in Sarajevo, Srebrenica and Zagreb.

The Indictment alleges that Perišić provided significant personnel, material and logistical assistance to the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Army of Serbian Krajina (SVK) in Croatia. According to the Indictment, the provision and payment of VJ officers serving in the VRS and the SVK was done secretly to hide the involvement of the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia.

Perišić is charged with aiding and abetting the planning, preparation, or execution of a military campaign of shelling and sniping in civilian areas of Sarajevo between August 1993 and November 1995, which resulted in the killing and wounding of thousands of civilians. He is also charged with the shelling of civilian areas in the city of Zagreb in May 1995, resulting in the killing and wounding of a number of civilians.

He is further accused of aiding and abetting the crimes of extermination, murder and persecutions in Srebrenica between July and November 1995, where his subordinates serving in the VRS, including General Ratko Mladić, captured and executed several thousand Bosnian Muslim men and subsequently engaged in a comprehensive effort to conceal the killings by reburying bodies exhumed from the original mass graves.

The Indictment against Perišić was confirmed on 24 February 2005 and made public on 7 March 2005, when the accused was transferred into the Tribunal’s custody. The Prosecution filed the Second Amended Indictment on 5 February 2008. The trial began on 2 October 2008.

US VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN IN SARAJEVO

May 22, 2009 Comments off

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Bosnian parliament during his visit to Sarajevo May 19, 2009. Biden arrived in Bosnia on Tuesday hoping to bolster a country still plagued by instability and ethnic division 14 years after the end of the Srebrenica genocide – Europe’s worst genocide since World War Two.

US Vice President Joseph Biden landed at Sarajevo’s international airport in Bosnia-Herzegovina early on Tuesday morning, officially kicking off his three-day tour of the Balkans. Joe Biden is celebrated among Bosniaks as a staunch supporter of human rights and a committed friend of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In September, Biden met with Rusmin Topalovic (view photo), president of the Association of Survivors of the Srebrenica Genocide in Saint Louis, and offered his wholehearted support to the survivors of the worst European carnage since World War II.

The Bosnian war claimed at least 100,000 lives and forced more than two million people to flee their homes as refugees. The 1995 Srebrenica genocide ended with 30,000 Bosniaks forcibly deported from the enclave in a mass scale ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Bosnian Serbs. In a matter of several days, Serbs summarily executed at least 8,372 Bosniaks, including at least 500 children, and dumped them into mass graves.

Biden has friendly relations with the Congress of North American Bosniaks (view photo), a highly effective organization that lobbies on behalf of Bosnia-Herzegovina and 350,000 Bosniaks living in the United States and Canada. In a photo provided by the Congress of North American Bosniaks, Mr. Biden shakes hands with the vice president Murat Muratovic.

Biden’s strong advocacy for human rights helped bring about U.S. military assistance and intervention against well armed Serb forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Biden consistently argued for lifting the arms embargo and training Bosnian government forces, so they could defend the country from Serbian aggression. He also argued for investigating war crimes and administering NATO air strikes.

Biden’s subsequent “lift and strike” resolution was instrumental in convincing President Bill Clinton to use military force in the face of systemic human rights violations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Biden has called his role in affecting Balkans policy his “proudest moment in public life” that related to foreign policy.

In Sarajevo as the highest-level US official to visit Bosnia since President Bill Clinton in 1999, Biden issued a stern warning to parliamentarians representing the country’s Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

“This parliament has the opportunity to grasp the future of integration,” Biden said, adding the choice was one of “falling back” into the “savagery” and “carnage” of past conflicts or joining Euro-Atlantic institutions.
“Failure to do so will ensure you remain among the poorest countries in Europe. At worst, you’ll descend into ethnic chaos that defined your country for the better part of a decade.”

In a speech to Bosnia’s ethnically mixed parliament, Biden pressed local leaders to agree on constitutional reforms that would bring progress and prosperity through Euro-Atlantic integration.

“The door is open for the countries of this region for the first time in history to be an integral part of a free Europe. The US will help you walk through that door,” Biden told the deputies.

“My country is worried… about the direction your country, your future, the future of your children is taking,” Biden told the Bosnian parliamentarians.

“For three years we have seen a sharp and dangerous rise in nationalist rhetoric… the very language that destroys states.

“The results are deepening distrust among communities and deadlock on reforms… This must stop! This must stop!” he stressed.
“The only real path is to join Europe as Bosnia-Hercegovina. Right now you are off that path. To get back to that path, you must work together across ethnic and party lines so that your country functions like a real country.”

“Vice President Biden’s presence here underscores the commitment of the United States to the people of this country, and highlights the importance U.S. foreign policy-makers place on Bosnian and Herzegovina’s stability, security, and ultimately its integration into NATO and the European Union,” said Beriz Belkic, the speaker of parliament.

After more than three years of war, the United States brokered a peace agreement in 1995 in Dayton, Ohio. The deal preserved the country’s international borders but divided it into two ministates — one for Bosnia’s Christian Orthodox Serbs, the other to be shared by Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats.

“The Obama-Biden administration will sustain and re-energise its commitment to Europe. We are back, we will stay,” Biden told the Bosnian parliament, referring to US policy toward both Western Europe and the Balkans.

After Bosnia and Herzegovina, Biden will visit Belgrade, Serbia, and then Pristina, Republic of Kosovo. During this trip, Biden is expected to spend a day in each country meeting top local and international officials. He will also address each country’s parliament.

In 1998, Congressional Quarterly named Biden one of “Twelve Who Made a Difference” for playing a lead role in several foreign policy matters, including NATO enlargement and the successful passage of bills to streamline foreign affairs agencies and punish religious persecution overseas.

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden talks with Haris Silajdzic, member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s collective presidency before their meeting in Sarajevo May 19, 2009. Biden arrived in Bosnia on Tuesday hoping to bolster a country still plagued by instability and ethnic division 14 years after the genocide in Srebrenica. The 1995 Srebrenica genocide resulted in the ethnic cleansing of 30,000 Bosniaks, as well as summary executions of 8,372 people – including hundreds of children.

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L), EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana (2nd L) and Valetnin Inzko, the international peace envoy to Bosnia (L) meet members of Bosnia’s collective presidency and other officials in Sarajevo early May 19, 2009. Biden arrived in Bosnia on Tuesday hoping to bolster a country still plagued by instability and ethnic division 14 years after the end of the Srebrenica genocide – Europe’s worst genocide since the Holocaust.

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses the Bosnian parliament during his visit to Sarajevo May 19, 2009. Biden arrived in Bosnia on Tuesday hoping to bolster a country still plagued by instability and ethnic division 14 years after the Srebrenica genocide – Europe’s worst genocide since World War Two.

PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden prepares to board his plane prior to departure from Sarajevo International Airport, Wednesday May 20, 2009.

VIDEO: TRANSLATED TRANSCRIPT OF GENOCIDE PREVENTION CEREMONY IN SARAJEVO

April 17, 2009 1 comment

“Who could ever have imagined 50 years after ‘Never Again’, after Auschwitz, Treblinka, Mautthausen, Oranienburg Sachsenhausen… that we would again see concentration camps (photos), mass expulsions, mass murder… that genocide would happen again? And happen again it did, in the heart of Europe – in Bosnia & Herzegovina.” – Fadila Memišević

We commemorate April as a Genocide Prevention Month to remember all the victims of all genocides, including the Srebrenica genocide – the worst act of genocide in Europe since the World War II. In a matter of days, the Srebrenica genocide resulted in a massive ethnic cleansing of 25,000 – 30,000 people, including summary executions of at least 8,372 men, boys, children, and elderly Bosniaks. On April 6th, survivors and youth from throughout the region of former Yugoslavia met in Sarajevo to commemorate the start of the Siege of Sarajevo and the beginning of the war and genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The following is a translation of a Bosnian-language video report from Sarajevo’s genocide prevention ceremony. The video can be viewed in our earlier post.

TRANSCRIPT / TRANSLATION

Fadila Memišević, Director of Society for Threatened Peoples – BiH:

Today, on the birthday of Sarajevo, as citizens of Sarajevo like to call it, we are organising a worldwide campaign to commemorate and remember the victims of genocide – not just in Bosnia & Herzegovina but all around the world. We are organizing this event together with the US Genocide Prevention Project organization.

Mario Mančić, Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Croatia:

We are gathered here today in order to mark out the Sarajevo Rose – at the place where a crime was committed – as a way of keeping alive the memory of what happened. The most important thing is that it is young people from all across the region who are doing this together. So we have come from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, from Montenegro, to mark out this spot together as part of our programme of joint activities with partner organizations.

Sarah Harović, Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Montenegro:

I am Sarah Harović and I have come from Podgorica ahead of Youth Initiative Montenegro and – I am here also with the Youth Initiative Bosnia &Herzegovina – we are here together with the rest of the team from across the region. There are representatives from Croatia – from Zagreb, Youth Initiative Zagreb, there are people from Serbia – Youth Initiative Serbia.

I consider it a great honour that we, as young people and as people from across the region, are able to take part today in a really great activity like painting the Sarajevo roses which is important to all of you and also to us young people, firstly of course because we were unable to do anything ourselves in the past but also I think we can help build better relations and create a better future for ourselves – a better future for all of us in the region.

Fadila Memišević, Director of Society for Threatened Peoples – BiH:

We came here to send a message out to the world – and to the United Nations in particular – that preventive action must be taken to ensure that genocides will happen never again. Who could ever have imagined 50 years after “Never Again”, after Auschwitz, Treblinka, Mautthausen, Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen… that we would again see concentration camps (see photos), mass expulsions, mass murder… that genocide would happen again? And happen again it did, in the heart of Europe – in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The mothers of Srebrenica are still searching for the remains of their dearest ones, buried in mass graves scattered all over the Drina valley. That is why we are demanding that the UN must act more effectively and that is also why we are calling for the judgment of the International Court of Justice to be enforced. It is intolerable that two years after the legal action brought by Bosnia & Herzegovina against Serbia and Montenegro was decided, nothing has been done to enforce the Court’s decision. What does that involve? It means pressing the Government in Belgrade to distance itself from the criminal politics of Slobodan Milosevic, and to arrest Ratko Mladic, the person chiefly responsible for the massacre and the Srebrenica genocide, and hand him over to the [International Criminal] Tribunal. That is our message.

***

From Genocide Prevention Project’s press release:

“I lost my whole family during the crimes committed in Srebrenica. Today, all I hope for is to find the remains of my sons and my husband and to bury them properly,” said Hatidza Mehmedovic, a Srebrenica survivor and President of the Mothers of Srebrenica.

“Together, as survivors of genocide, we come together to raise our collective voice to call on the international community to stop and prevent mass atrocities and genocide all over the world. The world failed to stop these crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we call for action today in Darfur.”

“Today, we send a strong message to all the governments of the former Yugoslavia that those responsible for genocide, such as Ratko Mladic, must be held accountable and sent to the ICTY for prosecution and punishment,” said Fadila Memisevic, Director of the Society for Threatened Peoples – Bosnia & Herzegovina.

“In addition, we stand in solidarity with all other survivors of genocide around the world to demand that those responsible for the horrendous crimes committed in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur are held accountable.”

Related:
The International Association of Genocide Scholars held its 7th biennial meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9-13 July 2007. Also in 2005, Dr. Kathleen Young took students with her to the Genocide Conference and memorial service to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Please watch her video:

GENOCIDE PREVENTION MONTH

April 15, 2009 Comments off
Commemoration comes during Genocide Prevention Month, as survivors around the globe mark the major anniversaries of six genocides in April 2009


For translated transcript of this video, click here.

Youth from throughout the former Yugoslavia repaint “Sarajevo Rose” to urge world leaders to remember the lives lost and to seek accountability for crimes committed.

Survivors and youth from throughout the region came together today to commemorate the start of the Siege of Sarajevo and the beginning of the war and genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The event, which is part of Genocide Prevention Month, was organized by the Society for Threatened Peoples – Bosnia & Herzegovina together with the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (sections in all the countries of the former Yugoslavia), Education Builds Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Children – Pillars of the World.

More than 250 events will take place around the globe during April to commemorate past genocides and to call for an end to ongoing and future mass atrocities. “It is remarkable – tragically so – that six civilian slaughters have anniversaries in April. This new network of genocide survivors is calling on world leaders to end the violence in Darfur and to outline how genocide prevention will be an international priority,” said Jill Savitt, Director of Genocide Prevention Month.

The commemoration ceremony in Sarajevo began in front of the memorial plaque to the victims of the Ferhadija Street Massacre on 27 May 1992, when 26 people were killed and 108 wounded as they stood in line queuing for bread.

At the site of a “Sarajevo Rose” – a crater left in the ground from shells that were filled-in using red paint – youth from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, and Macedonia together repainted the Sarajevo Rose in red in a symbolic commemoration of the lives lost.

“I lost my whole family during the crimes committed in Srebrenica. Today, all I hope for is to find the remains of my sons and my husband and to bury them properly,” said Hatidza Mehmedovic, a Srebrenica survivor and President of the Mothers of Srebrenica. “Together, as survivors of genocide, we come together to raise our collective voice to call on the international community to stop and prevent mass atrocities and genocide all over the world. The world failed to stop these crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we call for action today in Darfur.”

Participants then marched through the centre of Sarajevo, accompanied by representatives of the survivors of the genocide – the Mothers of Srebrenica, surviving camp detainees, women victims of rape and relatives of victims and refugees from all across Bosnia & Herzegovina.

“Today, we send a strong message to all the governments of the former Yugoslavia that those responsible for genocide, such as Ratko Mladic, must be held accountable and sent to the ICTY for prosecution and punishment,” said Fadila Memisevic, Director of the Society for Threatened Peoples – Bosnia & Herzegovina. “In addition, we stand in solidarity with all other survivors of genocide around the world to demand that those responsible for the horrendous crimes committed in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur are held accountable.”

Visit: http://www.GenocidePreventionMonth.org

LIFE IMPRISONMENT: STANISLAV GALIC TRANSFERED TO GERMANY TO SERVE HIS SENTENCE

January 17, 2009 Comments off
At least 12,000 civilians including 1,500 children were killed during the 44-month siege of Sarajevo – the longest siege in the history of modern warfare – one of the worst atrocities in Europe since the Second World War.

PHOTO: Bosnian Serb terrorist, Gen. Stanislav Galic, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 30 November 2006. He was found guilty of terrorizing Sarajevo, including Serb army’s responsibility for 1994 Markale massacre. His trial was the first time the court dealt with the charge of terror, as defined in the 1949 Geneva Convention. His colleague, Dragoljub Milosevic, was also found guilty by the ICTY on terrorism charges, including the second Markale market massacre of 28 August 1995.

On January 15 2009, Stanislav Galić, a former senior Bosnian Serb Army commander, was transferred to Germany to serve his life sentence for crimes committed in and around the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo from 1992 to 1994.

On 5 December 2003, the Trial Chamber sentenced Galić to 20 years’ imprisonment for murder, inhumane acts and acts of violence the primary purpose of which was to spread terror amongst the civilian population of Sarajevo. In its judgement, the Trial Chamber found that the civilian population of Sarajevo was subject to deliberate and unprovoked attacks by sniper and mortar fire by the Sarajevo Romanija Corps. As commander of this Corps, Galić was responsible for the crimes carried out by his subordinates – not only was he informed of these crimes, the Trial Chamber also found that he controlled the pace and scale them.

Both the prosecution and defence appealed the Judgement. On 30 November 2006, the Appeals Chamber rendered its decision, dismissing all 19 grounds of appeal by Galić and allowing the prosecution appeal on length of sentence. It found that the sentence rendered by the Trial Chamber had underestimated the severity of Galić’s criminal conduct and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

An information sheet concerning the case can be found on the Tribunal’s website at this pdf link.

The Tribunal indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Proceedings against 116 persons have been concluded.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

December 25, 2007 2 comments
Srebrenica Genocide Blog wishes all our readers HAPPY HOLIDAYS! You have made this blog super-successful, and the readership is growing every day. Thank you from the bottom of our heart!

Video Title: Christmas Eve in Sarajevo 2007 with 54000+ lights synchronized to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s song titled Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24. The song is often misnamed “Carol of the Bells” (due to its use of the melody) on file-sharing networks. Click Play button to watch!

Srebrenica Genocide deniers will continue to twist and distort facts even in the coming years as they continue to dismiss international courts as “kangaroo courts,” but contradict themselves in quoting court excerpts that support their pre-conceived conclusions. To learn facts about Srebrenica Genocide, we invite you – yet another time – to read our most comprehensive Questions and Answers, including Srebrenica Numbers.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

JUSTICE FOR 1,500 KILLED CHILDREN; 12,000 CIVILIANS IN SARAJEVO

December 15, 2007 4 comments

SERB GEN. DRAGOLJUB MILOSEVIC GETS 33 YEARS FOR TERROR CAMPAIGN AGAINST SARAJEVO CITIZENS

At least 12,000 civilians including 1,500 children were killed during the 44-month siege of Sarajevo – the longest siege in the history of modern warfare – one of the worst atrocities in Europe since the Second World War.

On December 12th 2007, Serb General Dragomir Milosevic was sentenced to 33 years in prison for the shelling and terrorism campaign (all 5 counts of terror) against Sarajevo and its citizens from August 1994 to late 1995.

PHOTO: Former Bosnian Serb Gen. Dragomir Milosevic enters the courtroom of the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday Dec. 12, 2007. Milosevic was convicted of orchestrating months of deadly shelling and sniping to spread terror during the siege of Sarajevo in 1994 and 1995 and sentenced to 33 years.

Both Markale Massacres Committed by the Serb Army

Despite overhelming evidence against the Serb side, their propaganda has for a long time claimed that Sarajevo citizens bombed themselves to gain world sympathy and get the Bosnian-Serb army ‘in trouble’; Serbs even claimed that the markale market massacre in Sarajevo was “staged”.

The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague highlighted the Markale Market massacre of 28 August 1995, which killed 34 civilians and wounded 78 civilians, as one of the most horrendous Serb terror campaigns against Sarajevo citizens. The Trial Chamber found that the markale market was shelled by the Bosnian Serb army. It rejected the defence’s argument that the shelling of the markale market was a staged event by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH).

The shell landed near Mesuda Klaric and her husband, Ismet. As she regained consciousness, her husband told her: “I lost my arm,” according to the judgment. Rescuers pushed her into a car next to a girl whose foot had been blown off and put her husband — who also had lost a foot — in the trunk. He was rushed into surgery but did not survive, Klaric told judges during the trial.

“One of the police officers who investigated the incident described what he saw as ‘the last, deepest circle of Dante’s Hell,'” judges wrote.

Back in 2005, another Serb General – Stanislav Galic – was also found guilty of terrorizing Sarajevo including the responsibility for an earlier massacre that happened at the same place, 1994 Markale Market massacre in Sarajevo. The judge said that prosecutors proved beyond reasonable doubt 18 of the 26 sniping incidents they charged and all five of the shellings. That included the 1994 Sarajevo marketplace shelling in which 68 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

Also back in 1999, the the United Nations Report also concluded that Serb Army was responsible for the markale market massacre in Sarajevo (copy of U.N. Report).

Guilty as Charged; Used Modified Air Bombs

Dragomir Milosevic was found guilty of crimes against humanity and of a violation of the laws or customs of war. He was convicted on all five counts of terror, murder and inhumane acts conducted during a campaign of sniping and shelling which resulted in the injury and death of at least 12,000 Sarajevo citizens including 1,500 children in the besieged Bosnian capital.

In its summary of the judgement, the Trial Chamber found that it was under Milosevic’s command of the Bosnian Serb Army that illegal modified air bombs were deployed, noting that these were “….inaccurate and served no military purpose.”

The Trial Chamber found that Milosevic “….abused his position and that he, through his orders, planned and ordered gross and systematic violations of international humanitarian law. Moreover, the Accused made regular use of a highly inaccurate weapon with great explosive power: the modified air bomb.”

The Trial Chamber considered the repeated use of this weapon to be an aggravating factor in reaching its judgement stating that by using modified air bombs, Milosevic was playing with the lives of the civilians of Sarajevo.

“The evidence discloses a horrific tale of the encirclement and entrapment of a city,” said Judge Patrick Robinson.

Alma Cutuna was one victim highlighted in the verdict. Shrapnel grazed her head and a sniper’s bullet severed an artery in her leg as she stood on a crowded tram in Sarajevo. The high-powered rifles of Bosnian Serb sharpshooters were supposed to be stilled by a cease-fire on that day, Oct. 8, 1994. But at noon, as the tram slowed to negotiate an S-shaped curve near the Holiday Inn on the street known as Sniper Alley, shots rang out. One person was killed and 11 were wounded, including children shot while running near the tram. Emergency surgery saved Cutuna’s life.

Reactions from Survivors of Serb Terrorism

Sarajevo resident Dzemail Cilas, 63, said Milosevic deserved an even harsher sentence. “It’s not enough,” he said.

“All those people killed, the children … and he ordered it. He should have received a life sentence, just to drag his soul through life till the end.”

Dragomir “Milosevic was found guilty. Justice has been served, and victims can be satisfied,” said Senida Carovic, the head of an association of civilian victims of the siege.

“However, no sentence is appropriate for what he has done. It cannot bring back our dead or our limbs,” she said.

In spite of her relief, Carovic said that judges should have handed Milosevic the same life sentence as was given to his predecessor, former general Stanislav Galic.

“Milosevic only continued what Galic had started and therefore he should serve the same sentence,” she said.

Witnesses described feeling like “sitting ducks” or “clay pigeons” as they travelled by tram along a major road of Sarajevo nicknamed “sniper alley”.

Related documents:
– Serb Generals sentenced for terrorizing Sarajevo, ICTY Judgments:
1. Trial Chamber Judgement, MILOSEVIC, Dragomir (IT-98-29/1) “Sarajevo”
2. Trial Chamber Judgment, GALIC, Stanislav (IT-98-29) “Sarajevo”
3. Appeals Chamber Judgment, GALIC, Stanislav (IT-98-29) “Sarajevo”
4. Excerpts from “The Fall of Srebrenica”, 54th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (15 November 1999)

UPCOMING GENOCIDE CONFERENCE IN SARAJEVO

July 3, 2007 1 comment

The International Association of Genocide Scholars will hold its 7th biennial meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9-13 July 2007, hosted by the University of Sarajevo’s Institute for Research into Crimes against Humanity and International Law.

“…The timing of the conference has been moved from our traditional June dates to July in order to enable us also to devote one day to participating in the annual memorial ceremonies at Srebrenica, the site of an awesome genocidal massacre of Moslem people in a locale that was supposed to be under the protection of the United Nations.” – Prof Israel W. Charny.

Our conference theme, Responding to Genocide Before It’s Too Late: Genocide Studies and Prevention, is always appropriate, of course, but also has an immediate resonance as we convene in a site of one of the shameful genocides of the last century. The timing of the conference has been moved from our traditional June dates to July in order to enable us also to devote one day to participating in the annual memorial ceremonies at Srebrenica, the site of an awesome genocidal massacre of Moslem people in a locale that was supposed to be under the protection of the United Nations.” – said Prof Israel W. Charny, Ph.D., President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS).

“We are also proud to announce that we are taking advantage of being on European soil to convene a pre-conference Auschwitz Seminar which will take place in conjunction with the Auschwitz Jewish Center and with the participation of senior professional staff of the Auschwitz Museum, and also with the cooperation of Jagellonian University Medical School, on 6-8 July in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau.” – said Prof Charny in a signed statement on IAGS web site.

A pre-conference Auschwitz Seminar will take place on 6-8 July in Krakow and Auschwitz; seminar participants will fly from Krakow to Sarajevo in the evening of 8 July.

Prof Deborah Lipstadt will also attend the Conference in Sarajevo where she expects the case of Srebrenica genocide to be one of the many topics discussed.

“I am, among other things, getting ready to leave for a meeting of the International Association of Scholars of Genocide in Sarajevo. I am sure this topic will be one of the many discussed.” – commented Prof Deborah Lipstadt on her blog.

This is a great opportunity for all of us to get first hand experience about this important event taking place as Prof Lipstadt will blog directly from Sarajevo:

“I am excited about being there and shall blog from the meeting [International Association of Scholars of Genocide].” – commented Prof Lipstadt.

In 2005, Dr. Kathleen Young took students with her to the Genocide Conference and memorial service to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica. Students who attended the Genocide Conference in Sarajevo also accompanied Dr. Young to Den Hague to the International Criminal Tribunal and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. Here is Dr Young’s exciting video feedback from the past conference, which also includes a text transcript:

Video Caption: Kathleen Young, Ph.D., Department on Anthropology

Question: Why did you take your students with you to the International Genocide Conference in Sarajevo?

Kathleen Young, Ph.D.:
I was invited to present a paper at the genocide conference and memorial and to commemorate the massacre at Srebrenica. In 1995, in Srebrenica, in the United Nations safe haven, 8000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred by Serb soldiers. It was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. And the 10 year anniversary of the mass deaths was also going to be the time in which Sarajevo would host a conference on genocide. And I was invited to give a paper based upon my work at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and I happened to be teaching the war and human rights class at the time. And I mentioned to the class and said that I was going… I was absolutely going, and if they wanted to come too, they were invited. It was up to them. And a group of them decided they would go with me, and one student said she left the classroom and she went and got passport that day, so she could go… her first passport. They were an exceptional group of students, but it was also an overwhelming opportunity to be there, to participate, to remember in person and to be changed by experience.

There were 50,000 people at this memorial and it was intense, of course. The students participated in the excavation of the mass grave, they were witnesses. We went to the re-burial of 600 bodies of Bosnian Muslim men that have been excavated from mass graves around the area. A collection of Muslim imams, of teachers, people who were burying the dead from the area, people who came to bear witness to bury the dead, and world leaders – we were all in attendance.

It was a Muslim funeral. There were people praying. One of the students said to me “What is that sound?”, and I said it sounds like rolling thunder, but it is the sound of people praying. It was phenomenal to be there. There is nothing like being in attendance, to witness, to be there in person.

And from there we went to the Genocide Conference and the students listened the papers on genocide for a week. The Bosnian hosts in Sarajevo were so kind, and so generous, and it was an experience to be in Sarajevo which is a living cemetery, in part, but it’s also a testimony to human resilience and not looking away and not trying to repress what had occurred, but to bear witness and to go on living, to go on tending and mending.

And from there we went to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia where the students were in attendance of the Milosevic trial, so they got to see that today there is no impunity for these crimes on such a mass scale that are crimes against humanity. It was, in that way, I think encouraging, and also somewhat… it gives a kind of energy to know that there are good people all over the world to stop this, and it makes a difference.

We went to the International Criminal Court and were able to interview and to meet with one of the judges of the International Criminal Court. This is the first time that there is a permanent solution to crimes against humanity that are ongoing, to make sure that leaders know that in the future they will be held accountable. That was inspiring to students as well.

— — —
The International Association of Genocide Scholars is a global, interdisciplinary, non-partisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide. The association, founded in 1994, meets biennially to consider comparative research, important new works, case studies, the links between genocide and gross human rights violations, and prevention and punishment of genocide. The aim of the Association is to focus more intensively on questions of genocide than is possible in the existing two-hour format of most conferences and to draw colleagues from different disciplines into an interdisciplinary conversation. Membership is open to scholars, graduate students, and other interested persons worldwide. The Association is an autonomous affiliate of The Institute for the Study of Genocide.

NUMBERS OF KILLED IN BOSNIA

June 22, 2007 1 comment
IT’S TIME TO LOOK FORWARD; ONE STEP CLOSER TO TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

A three-year investigation by the Sarajevo-based non-governmental Research and Documentation Center revealed that the figure of dead was 97,000 and could rise by a maximum of another 10,000 due to ongoing research. (full article starts after Quick Facts)

Quick Facts: Estimates of the number of people killed during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war were severely inflated and in some cases grossly manipulated. Serbian politicians have often used grossly inflated numbers of Serb casualties around Srebrenica to justify genocide against Bosniaks. For example, Belgrade researcher and Serbian nationalist, Milivoje Ivanisevic, published several books containing grossly inflated numbers of Serb casualties which were discredited by this research, human rights organizations, and even the International Crimes Tribunal. Milivoje Ivanisevic also published a book denying Srebrenica genocide – so much about his credibility. Research and Documentation Center (RDC) found that “the allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac [just outside of Srebrenica], between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts and that the overall number of victims is three to nine times smaller than indicated by Serbia and Montenegro.” Also, during the war, local authorities in Sarajevo publicly mentioned, on several occasions, that about 200,000 people had been killed in B&H – the number which had also been inflated. With respect to Srebrenica massacre, another interesting point to make is under-reporting of civilian deaths and grossly inflated number of military deaths in Srebrenica where 8,000 Bosniaks died as a result of Genocide. During and after the war, many families of Srebrenica massacre victims asked that their family members be buried as soldiers – the most common reason being access to social support for surviving families. When registering such cases, RDC was governed by the official data that was available. Of the 97,000 documented casualties in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 83 percent of civilian victims were Bosniaks, 10 percent of civilian victims were Serbs and more than 5 percent of civilian victims were Croats. The percentage of Bosniak victims would be higher had survivors of Srebrenica not reported their loved-ones as ‘soldiers’ to access social services and other government benefits. More than 240,000 pieces of data have been collected, processed, checked, compared and evaluated by international team of experts in order to get the final number of more than 97,000 of names of victims, belonging to all nationalities. Full article starts below…

Photo: Mirsad Tokaca, head of the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center, showing a DVD that contains the results of the research on human losses during the Bosnian war during a presentation in Sarajevo, Thursday, June 21, 2007. Contrary to the widely used rough figure of 200,000, the team documented over 97,000 deaths caused by military activity during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. This is so far the most detailed scientific research regarding this issue and has been evaluated by foreign experts for several months.

Photo: During his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Clint Williamson, left,and Mirsad Tokaca, President of RDC , visits the Library of the Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo,on Thursday, June 14, 2007. Ambassador Williamson said in Sarajevo that the prosecution of war crimes suspects from the former Yugoslavia remains one of the priorities of the US administration.

A three-year investigation by the Sarajevo-based non-governmental Research and Documentation Center revealed that the figure of dead was 97,000 – said Mirsad Tokaca, head of the research project – the only scientific research conducted into the issue so far. The figure could rise by a maximum of another 10,000 due to ongoing research, he added. Tokaca said the group began their research in 2004 in an effort to prevent death toll numbers from being used for political purposes. The research was concluded in June 2006, but it took several months for an international team of experts to evaluate the data. The Bosnian Book of the Dead was finally released in Sarajevo today by the Research and Documentation Centre (RDC) after almost four years of work.

According to the group’s research 97,207 people were killed during the Bosnian war. Of those, about 60 percent were soldiers and 40 percent civilians. Some 65 percent of those killed were Bosniaks, followed by 25 percent Serbs and more than 8 percent Croats. Of the civilians, 83 percent were Bosniaks, 10 percent were Serbs and more than 5 percent were Croats, followed by a small number of others such as Jews or Roma. Almost half of the victims died in the first months of the war, when Serb forces helped by the Yugoslav army gained control of two-thirds of Bosnia by expelling and killing many in their notorious “ethnic cleansing” campaign. The total number also includes names of 3,372 children who died during the war. According to this data, 89 per cent of victims were men and ten per cent were women.

“To avoid manipulation with numbers not based on facts, which then appear as an additional element for incitement [of hate] …, we launched this project to establish the truth,” said Tokaca.

Casualty figures from other conflicts in the region, especially during World War II, were often manipulated by Serbian politicians, and statistics and death tolls were used to justify attacks against other ethnic or religious groups, which culminated in horrendous genocide in Srebrenica of at least 8,000 Bosniaks.

Serbian politicians have often used grossly inflated numbers of Serbs victims around Srebrenica to justify genocide against Bosniaks. Radical nationalist Belgrade researcher, Milivoje Ivanisevic, was responsible for circulating most of this unreliable and incomplete data about Serb casualties. It is important to note that Ivanisevic recently published a book denying Srebrenica genocide – so much about his credibility. In a “Myth of Bratunac: Blatant Numbers Game” the RDC examined Ivanisevic’s claims and concluded the following:

QUOTE: The allegations that Serb casualties in Bratunac, between April 1992 and December 1995 amount to over three thousand is an evident falsification of facts. The RDC research of the actual number of Serb victims in Bratunac [just outside of Srebrenica] has been the most extensive carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and proves that the overall number of victims is three to nine times smaller than indicated by Serbia and Montenegro. Perhaps the clearest illustration of gross exaggeration is that of Kravica, a Serb village near Bratunac attacked by the Bosnian Army on the morning of Orthodox Christmas, January 7, 1993 . The allegations that the attack resulted in hundreds of civilian victims have been shown to be false. Insight into the original documentation of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) clearly shows that in fact military victims highly outnumber the civilian ones. The document entitled “Warpath of the Bratunac brigade”, puts the military victims at 35 killed and 36 wounded; the number of civilian victims of the attack is eleven…. [Full Report] END QUOTE

Human Rights Watch’s conclussions were in line with the RDC research, quote:

QUOTE: “The ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area. The campaign was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime, and many in Serbia were willing to accept that version of history. But as the Oric judgment makes clear, the facts do not support the equivalence thesis. Take the events in the village of Kravica, on the Serb Orthodox Christmas on January 7, 1993, for example. The alleged killing of scores of Serbs and destruction of their houses in the village is frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim forces around Srebrenica. In fact, the Oric judgment confirms that there were Bosnian Serb military forces present in the village at the time of attack. In 1998, the wartime New York Times correspondent Chuck Sudetic wrote in his book on Srebrenica that, of forty-five Serbs who died in the Kravica attack, thirty-five were soldiers. Original Bosnian Serb army documents, according to the ICTY prosecutor and the Sarajevo-based Center for Research and Documentation of War Crimes, also indicate that thirty-five soldiers died. The critics also invoke unreliable statistics. A spokesman for the ruling Democratic Party of Serbia in the wake of the Oric judgment, for example, claimed that “we have documents showing that 3,260 people were found dead around Srebrenica from 1992-1995.” However, the book Hronike nasih grobalja (Chronicles of Our Graveyards) by the Serb historian Milivoje Ivanisevic (the president of the Belgrade Centre for Investigating Crimes Committed against the Serbian People), uses the significantly lower figure, of “more than 1,000 persons [who] died,” and contains the list, mostly made of men of military age. Among those killed, there were evidently a significant number of Bosnian Serb soldiers who died in the fighting, like in Kravica.” [Full Report] END QUOTE

Office of the Chief United Nations War Crimes Prosecutor also made a statement confirming lack of reliability with respect to Serb sources grossly inflating number of Serb victims around Srebrenica. Asked to comment on the different number of Serb victims in the Srebrenica region published in Belgrade, Florence Hartmann, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor, made the following statement:

QUOTE: First of all, the OTP is always very careful in the use of the word “victim”. Military or Police casualties from combat should not be considered victims in a criminal investigation context, in the same way people are victims from war crimes, such as summary executions. Before speaking about the whole area of Podrinja, including at least the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, I would comment on the various figures circulating around the Kravica attack of January 1993. The figures circulating of hundreds of victims or claiming that all 353 inhabitants were “virtually completely destroyed” do not reflect the reality…. For the whole region, i.e the municipalities of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica and Skelani, the Serb authorities claimed previously that about 1400 people were killed due to attacks committed by the B&H Army forces for the period of May 1992 to March 1995, when Srebrenica was under the control of Naser Oric. Now the figure has become 3,500 Serbs killed. This figure may have been inflated. Taking the term “victims” as defined previously, these figures just does not reflect the reality. [Full Report] END QUOTE

On the other note – during the war, local authorities in Sarajevo publicly mentioned, on several occasions, that about 200,000 people had been killed. Up to now, this estimate is the one mentioned most frequently by the domestic and international public, although it has been denied by various parties on several occasions. However, it is not the only estimate we have. Thus, estimations varied from 25,000 to 250,000. According to Tokaca, this “playing with numbers” was the main reason why the RDC decided to collect details and names of victims.

Tokaca’s team worked for three years with thousands of sources, collecting 21 different facts about each victim, including names, nationality, time and place of birth and death, circumstances of death and other data. In any case, a brisk discussion is expected in Bosnia in Herzegovina about the possible ways of using the data for the determination of truth and for reconciliation.

Mirsad Tokaca, RDC president, has said that the aim of the project was to identify each single victim and prevent any type of manipulation of numbers, which he considers has been the case for years.

“This is not a story about numbers, but about citizens who died during the past period,” Tokaca told Justice Report.

In a case of Srebrenica massacre, during and after the war, many families asked that their family members be buried as soldiers, for various reasons, although they died as civilians or as soldiers away from front lines. The most common reason for these requests was access to social support for families of killed soldiers. Mr Tokaca drew attention to this problem back in 1995, but the state authorities did nothing. When recently asked to clarify his classification method, Mr. Tokaca replied:

QUOTE: This is a problem for the state to solve. Back in 1995, immediately after Srebrenica, I drew the attention of certain officials to this problem. For many families, the fact that one of its members was filed as a soldier in the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina was a matter of sheer survival. When these people were confronted with the choice between existence and a lie regarding the status of the victim, they opted for the lie. The arrival of a family from Srebrenica in Sarajevo immediately after the war precisely represented such survival. The only ones who could count on some kind of state support were members of the armed forces, or rather their families. The authorities themselves, however, have failed to confront the problem of civilian casualties. This is my answer to your question. This is nothing new, after all. Throughout the past sixty years, in this country you could claim the status of a soldier on the basis of just two people’s testimony. I chose not to become involved with this problem. [Source: BH Dani (Sarajevo), December 23rd, 2005 – Genocide is not a matter of numbers.] END QUOTE

In other words and with respect to Srebrenica genocide; a POW, a surrendered soldier without a weapon would all be listed as ‘soldiers’ on the RDC list; even though they were clearly non-combatants at the time of the deaths. When registering such cases, RDC was governed by the official data that was available. The evaluation indicates that such practices lead to over-reporting of soldiers and under-reporting of civilians.

“It is important to emphasise that ‘status in war’ does not provide correct insights in relation to victims of combat versus non-combat situations, neither does it inform about legitimate victims of violations of the International Humanitarian Law, IHL,” the evaluators say.

“Status in war is a simple measure of whether or not a person was a member of a military/police formation at the time of death, or generally was a defender, or a civilian. As such it offers a good basis for a further more specific investigation into this issue. We therefore advise that this part be improved,” it is said.

Three international experts – Patrick Ball, Ewa Tabeau and Philip Verwimp – all with rich experience in similar projects, have reviewed the database and have assessed it favourably.

“This database represents an extraordinary achievement of all those who were involved in its preparation,” the experts have said, adding that some improvements are still possible.

The trio considers that the data collected by RDC gives a “good overview of war happenings related to victims and the way the individuals died”.

Verwimp, a researcher in the field of political economy in developing and post-war countries, human rights and genocide, warns that the RDC database does not mean that work on determining the number of war victims in BiH is over.

“Many consider the number of 96,895 as the overall total of victims of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, which is not correct. For several reasons, this number should be seen as an approximation of a minimum and not as a complete total,” he told Justice Report.

Tabeau believes that the information from the database can be an efficient tool for fighting myths about the war.

“These results might be an extremely efficient tool in fighting myths, but only if there is a will in the society to deal with the past in terms of facts, not myths,” said Tabeau, who worked as a project manager in the demographic unit of the Hague tribunal’s prosecution office. In this role, she studied the demographic consequences of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, with a main focus on the number of victims during the wars in this region.

However, even though more than 90,000 names have been included in the database, the RDC does not consider that its work on the project has been concluded.

“The database remains open and whoever contacts us and offers new data we are willing to consider it and add new names,” said the IDC’s Tokaca.

Patrick Ball, a member of the evaluation team who took part in the work of nine truth commission across the world, said Tokaca’s database “is better than any I worked with so far. The project continues but I do not expect his number to rise for more than 10,000 cases.”

The figures include both the missing and those who died due to military activities or torture. The project does not include people who died during the war in accidents, through reckless handling of weapons, due to starvation or lack of medication.

“What comes to mind are 12 babies that died in Banja Luka because the hospital had no oxygen or six civilians in Gorazde who died because an airdropped American humanitarian aid package fell right on them,” Tokaca said. “Such cases were not counted as they are regarded indirect deaths.”

The organisation also plans a breakdown of the total into those who died from the “indirect” effects of the war, like the lack of medical treatment or conflict-related accidents.

Tokaca’s team of 20 people conducted thousands of interviews, visited 303 graveyards and went through records of all three armed forces involved in the war as well as other sources.

“This study was done to change the perception of the past and to allow us to overcome the hot heads and switch to calm dialogue,” Tokaca said.

The project, called “The Bosnian Book of Dead,” was funded primarily by the Norwegian government.

“Truth and knowledge are crucial prerequisites for reconciliation,” said Norwegian Ambassador to Bosnia, Jan Braathu. “The long-term consequences of not facing the past on a basis of established truth are alarming.”

Ewa Tabeau, head of the Demographic Unit research team of the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, said the project’s figures were the minimum number of war deaths. Although not complete, “it is the largest existing database on Bosnian war victims,” she said.

Other funders were the Swedish Helsinki Committee, the U.S. government, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Dutch government, the United Nations Development Program and the non-governmental Heinrich Boell Foundation, the group said.

Similar databases exist in several post-war countries. In 1999, research was undertaken to determine the exact number of victims in Rwanda, Kibuye province, and the project was called Victims of Genocide in Kibuye.

Similar efforts have been undertaken in Northern Ireland in 2000, in South Africa within a Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in El Salvador in 1997 and in Guatemala by the Commission for Historical Clarification in 1998.

Justice Report has found out that similar databases might soon be available in Serbia, Croatia and Kosovo, where work is already being done along the same lines as those applied in BiH.

It is significant that local authorities have not done much to help the research, although they did not try to prevent it. Instead, the Book of the Dead has been compiled with support from foreign governments, mainly those in Norway and Switzerland.

The research itself started in 2004. More than 240,000 pieces of data have been collected, processed, checked and compared in order to get the final number of more than 96,000 of names of victims, belonging to all nationalities.

“We are not publishing the number but rather the names of BiH citizens who died in the period from 1991 to 1995. Our intention is to stop talking about numbers and start talking about people,” Tokaca has said and added that the RDC, while researching the population loss, registered all BiH citizens who were killed or disappeared due to direct military actions or were murdered in detention centres.

“This group comprises of soldiers and civilians. What is important to us is that the total number has its structure, a range of details and explanations. For almost every case, we explained the time and geographic dimension of death, distance from place of residence to place of death, formation in which soldiers were,” the president of IDC Sarajevo explains.

The research was done in several ways. Most pieces of information were collected through direct contact with witnesses, families of victims, through newspaper articles, various registers and also by visiting of cemeteries. Tokaca says that his researchers have visited more than 400 cemeteries in order to collect names of victims.

It is interesting that the database also contains 512 names of BiH citizens who died in Slovenia and Croatia during 1991. Tokaca says that most of them were members of the Yugoslav People’s Army. In addition, the names of 16 persons – who were wounded during the war and died in 1996 from their wounds – have also been registered.

“According to available data, the highest number of victims – more than 30 per cent of the total number (28,666) – died in Podrinje, and the second highest number (14,656) perished in Sarajevo,” Tokaca explained.

In addition to the names of victims, many other indicators about the war in BiH can be derived from the database. It is therefore obvious that most civilian victims – 45,110 – died in the period May to August 1992. “Srebrenica was just a finishing act,” says the president of the RDC.

In any case, the evaluation has come to an important conclusion – that the research has been done with no ethnic partiality.

Probably the biggest problem in the database is how to define the status of victims. For IDC researchers, the only possible way was to rely on existing official registers, mostly military.

According to available data, 40 per cent of war victims in BiH were civilians and 60 per cent were soldiers or members of police forces.

Tokaca explains that he is aware of this shortfall. However, he says that the existing registers are unreliable.

For many, the true value of this database is that all who want to can search for the names of family members and friends who were lost in the war. This way, they can find the date and place of death, and the circumstances in which the person died.

Experts consider that the database can be a valuable source of information for people who study the war in BiH, but it can also be used as a relevant source in court processes, both before domestic and international courts. However, Tabeau notes that it cannot be used at every stage of the legal process.

“The Bosnian Book of the Dead can be used at certain stages of investigations. It is premature to speak of many other purposes of the database, such as using it for purposes of evidence where detailed information records about victims and perpetrators are required, and without supporting it with additional sources of data,” Tabeau told Justice Report.

She thinks that the database is important for fighting myths and demystification of various wrong statements about the war.

“The education of the entire society regarding the past is improved,” she said. “One more advantage is that young researchers can learn from this project and apply this knowledge in the future.”

Bosnia-Herzegovina’s pre-war population of 4.4 million was 43 percent Bosniak, 31 percent Bosnian Serb and 17 percent Bosnian Croat, according to a 1991 census.

RUPERT SMITH: NO EVIDENCE MUSLIMS SHELLED THEMSELVES

March 11, 2007 Comments off

SERBIAN PROPAGANDA WHO CLAIMED “MUSLIMS SHELLED THEMSELVES” DURING SARAJEVO MARKALE MASSACRES COLLAPSES, YET ANOTHER TIME

A CASE AGAINST SERBIAN PROPAGANDA ABOUT SARAJEVO MARKALE MASSACRE

(1.) David Harland, former head of UN Civil Affairs in BH and prosecution witness at the trial of General Dragomir Milosevic – took the stand and stated in his cross-examination that on 28 August 1995 he advised General Rupert Smith to state that “it is unclear who fired the shells” on the Town Market in Sarajevo in order “not to alarm the Bosnian Serbs”, possibly alerting them to the impending NATO air strikes.

(2.) “NO EVIDENCE MUSLIMS SHELLED THEMSELVES” – testifies General Rupert Smith

(3.)
UN Report also found Serbs to be responsible for the massacre,
read here.

(4.)
The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia already convicted Bosnian Serb General, Stanislav Galic, for terrorizing Sarajevo and for responsibility for Markale Massacre,
read here.


Today, former UNPROFOR commander Rupert Smith testified at the Hague trial of General Dragomir Milošević.

The former British general took the stand yesterday at the trial of the former Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Sarajevo-Romanija Corps commander charged with the shelling of Sarajevo and sniper campaign against its civilians from August 1994 to November 1995.

In a brief examination-in-chief the prosecution went through the most relevant paragraphs in General Smith’s comprehensive written statement. It was admitted into evidence together with other documents whose authenticity was confirmed by the witness.

Yesterday Smith confirmed the prosecution’s description of the Bosnian Serb strategy, the nature of command and control in the VRS and the peculiar manner in which General Mladić exercised command. General Smith described it as “centralized”.

The former UNPROFOR commander said that the use of the artillery – to shell Sarajevo – was controlled at the level of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, and consequently of the accused General Milošević who commanded the Corps.

The witness thought the sniper activities were coordinated at the battalion level, but they could have been “controlled from higher levels”. Smith said that the Corps command could have issued orders to limit the sniper activity or to steer them to certain targets.

General Rupert Smith confirmed that he had concluded “beyond reasonable doubt” the mortar shell that caused the Markale 2 massacre had come “from the Serb positions around Sarajevo.”

He told the court he reached the conclusion by putting together the results of two investigations, undertaken by the UN military observers and the UNPROFOR Sarajevo Sector experts.

At the end of the examination-in chief, prosecutor Alex Whiting asked Smith whether he had any knowledge of the Bosnian Army “shelling and sniping at its own civilians”. The former UNPROFOR commander said that he had “heard of such allegations”, but that he was never shown “a single piece of evidence to corroborate them”.

General Milošević’s defense counsel took those claims as the starting point for the cross-examination. One of the defense lawyers referred to the book written by General Michael Rose, Smith’s predecessor at the post of UNPROFOR commander, and the testimony of General Nikolai, General Smith’s former chief of staff.

Smith said that he “had not read General Rose’s book.” He went on to testify that General Rose himself “never told him anything about the Bosnian Army shooting at its own people”. As for Nikolai’s statement, Smith said that the Dutch general “merely presented unsubstantiated claims”.