DID YOU KNOW? ICTY Judgment against Milan Martic shows Slobodan Milosevic’s guilt and Yugoslav People Army’s involvement in the widespread war crimes. It also shows that more than 200,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Serb-held territories in Croatia long before Croatian and Bosnian Army attacked Serbs and regained lost territory in the Operation Storm.
The 1995 Srebrenica genocide claimed lives of at least 8,372 Bosniaks, while another 30,000 Bosnian Muslims were ethnically cleansed from the Enclave under supposed U.N protection.
Bosniaks and Croats quickly devised a large-scale military operation known as Operation Storm (Operacija Oluja). This military action was carried out by Croatian Armed Forces, in conjunction with the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to retake the parts of the country back into Croatia, which had been controlled by separatist ethnic Serbs since early 1991. The operation lasted 84 hours and was conducted from August 4 – August 8, 1995. Approximately 100,000 to 150,000 Serbs were forced to flee.
Some controversial commentators, like Carl Bildt, called this action as “the most efficient ethnic cleansing we’ve seen in the Balkans.” However, one must also remember that 4 years before the Operation Storm, more than 200,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were ethnically cleansed from the same territory held by Croatia’s Serbs.
According to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indictment against Slobodan Milošević, the Croat and non-Serb population from the 1991 census was approximately 223,921. Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats, Bosniaks, and other non-Serbs from it’s territory 4 years before Croatian and Bosnian Army struck back and regained forcibly taken territory.
Milan Martić, the former wartime political leader of Croatian Serbs, was transferred today to Estonia to serve his 35-year sentence for crimes committed against Croats and other non-Serbs in Croatia between 1991 to 1994.
In Prosecutor vs. Milan Martic, the Trial Chamber found that the evidence showed that the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević, openly supported the preservation of Yugoslavia as a federation of which the so called Serbian Krajina in Croatia would form part. However, the evidence established that Slobodan Milošević covertly intended the creation of a Serb state known as the “Greater Serbia.”
This state was to be created through the establishment of paramilitary forces and the provocation of incidents in order to create a situation where the JNA could intervene. Initially, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) would intervene to separate the parties but subsequently the JNA would intervene to secure the territories envisaged to be part of a future Serb state.
On the 26th of August 1991. On this date, the JNA 9th Corps – under the command of late Slobodan Milosevic – participated on the side of the Croatian Serb forces in an attack on the Croat-majority village of Kijevo, near Knin. From that point, the JNA participated in attacks on majority-Croat areas and villages. One witness even described the Army of the so called Serbian Krajina and the Yugoslav Army as one and the same organisation, only located at two separate locations.
Widespread acts of murder and violence, detention and intimidation became pervasive from 1992 to 1995. These acts were committed by local Serbs and by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) who was under the command of Slobodan Milosevic.
The evidence established that the so called Serbian Krajina and its leadership sought and received significant financial, logistical and military support from Serbia. The support came from the MUP (Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs) and the State Security Service of Serbia, from the JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) and from the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Milan Martić stated that he “personally never ceased this cooperation” and that there was “good cooperation with the leadership of Serbia, notably the [MUP].” In fact, the relationship with Serbia was so close that the SAO Krajina police was mainly financed with funds and material from Serbia. The support from Serbia continued throughout the indictment period.
The Trial Chamber therefore found that among others Blagoje Adžić, Milan Babić, Radmilo Bogdanović, Veljko Kadijević, Radovan Karadžić, Slobodan Milošević, Ratko Mladić, Vojislav Šešelj, Franko “Frenki” Simatović, Jovica Stanišić, and Captain Dragan Vasiljković participated in the furtherance of the common purpose of the joint criminal enterprise. The evidence showed that Milan Martić’s contacts with other members of the joint criminal enterprise were close and direct.
Oric had organised the defence of the eastern enclave of Srebrenica during the 1992-1995 war. He had a warm post-war relationship with both Slobodan Milosevic and his son Marko. Marko supported Naser Oric thoughout his trial. They were in constant telephone communication according to the Serbian state prosecutor Bruno Vukaric. Milosevic’s son Marko even congratulated Oric on his acquittal of all charges in relation to defence of the Srebrenica enclave. (source:Sarajevo X). At the Hague Trial, Oric and Milosevic had a very friendly relationship. Milosevic once jokingly told Oric that he would be grateful if Oric would write him a report about the war time situation in Srebrenica to which Oric responded by saying that he believed that Milosevic already had all that information, prompting Milosevic to say, “Yes but I would like to get your perspective on it.” In his recently published book titled “Target” (Meta), radical Serbian ultra-nationalist Vuk Draskovic wrote that he remembers Naser Oric as one of the most polite security officers in Serbia. Oric arrested Draskovic and his wife Danica in Belgrade on March 9, 1991 during violent Belgrade demonstrations. Draskovic still remembers Oric as a nice guy.
Herman still uses his old selective arguments distorting facts and quoting unreliable sources, such as former paid Serb lobbyist and alleged rapist Gen. Lewis MacKenzie who had never been in Srebrenica. Here are some of the most interesting myths that Herman actively promotes.
MYTH: In his latest article, titled “Serb Demonization as Propaganda Coup” unqualified Edward S. Herman challenges DNA science and claims that the “[Bosniak]post-2000 findings and DNA identifications have been further compromised by their very unscientific handling of the body remains (in the ground five or more years.”
FACT: The forensic remains and DNA of Srebrenica genocide victims have been processed according to the highest international standards and by the world-renowned ICMP (International Commission for Missing Persons). You can read more about forensicshere.
MYTH: Edward S. Herman goes on to criticize the U.N.-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for not including Serb forensic expert Dr. Zoran Stankovicas a witness. Herman claims that “Serb forensic expert Dr. Zoran Stankovic never testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.”
FACT: The fact is that he did. In his own words, Dr. Zoran Stankovic said:
“I testified before this Tribunal on two occasions. Once, I was present during the proceedings of General Krstic, and then in May I was an expert witness for the Defence in the trial of Milutinovic, Sainovic, Ojdanic, Pavkovic,and Lazarevic, and Lukic.”
MYTH: Edward Herman claims that Bosniaks in Srebrenica never demilitarized. Thus far, he suggests they were legitimate military target.
FACT: Apparently, Herman is not aware that Serbs around Srebrenica had never demilitarized, even though they were required to do so as per the demilitarization agreement. The Bosnian Government had entered into demilitarization agreements with the Bosnian Serbs. On 21 April 1993, the UNPROFOR issued press release saying that the process of demilitarization of Bosnian defenders of Srebrenica had been a success. According to the Agreement, the Serbs should withdraw their heavy weapons before the Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs refused to demilitarize. They never honored their part of agreement. Instead, Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages as a base for attacks on (and brutal siege of) Srebrenica.
MORE FACTS: As per other circus allegations promoted by Edward Herman, please keyword-search our blog and you will find answers.
1. Photos of Serb terror around Srebrenica: Serb villages around Srebrenica used as military bases used to launch attacks on Bosniak civilians.
2. Human Rights Watch, ICTY Prosecutors, and U.N.-endorsed Research and Documentation Center – Allegations about 3,000 Serb “victims” around Srebrenica are inacurate.
3. Edward Herman’s allegations about the list of missing at Srebrenica.
4. Srebrenica numbers – Quick Facts.
Updated Version: July 2nd, 2008.
Rebuttal to James Bissett’s Denial of Srebrenica genocide…
PHOTO CAPTION: James Bissett, Canadian conspiracy theorist and discredited Srebrenica genocide denier. He is a former Canadian ambassador to Belgrade, close friend of a late Serbian dictator Slobodan Miloseivc, and a long time pro-Serbian war crimes apologist…
James Bissett doesn’t seem to realize that Srebrenica genocide is a judicial fact recognized by the two highest U.N. World Courts.Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of his opinion or anybody’s opinion. Opinion is cheap, everybody has it. Srebrenica genocide is a fact.
Many of these so called ‘Serb’ villages were pre-war Muslim villages, from which Muslims were ethnically cleansed. Serbs from surrounding villages blocked humanitarian convoys and bombarded Srebrenica civilians. Furthermore, Serbs around Srebrenica never demilitarized. Instead, Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages as a base for attacks on (and brutal siege of) Srebrenica. The genocide justifiers have consistently ignored the strong VRS (Serb) military presence in Bosnian Serb villages around Srebrenica. For example, the village of Fakovici was used as a military outpost through which Bosnian Serb forces launched massive attacks on Srebrenica civilians.
James Bissett Plagiarizing Other Srebrenica Genocide Denial Sources… Here are some facts about Srebrenica Genocide victims that he doesn’t want to know…
James Bissett uses outdated Red Cross data of 7,079 Bosniak victims of genocide. In fact, on June 5, 2005 Federal Commission for Missing Persons issued a list of the names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers of 8,106 Bosniak Muslim individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. Here is a copy of this list in PDF format. Two years later, on June 21 2007, the Research and Documentation Center released the results of the three year study compiling the largest database on Bosnian war victims in existence – the Bosnia’s Book of the Dead (covering period 1992-95). An international team of experts evaluated the findings before they were released. The team worked for three years with thousands of sources, collecting 21 facts about each victim, including names, nationality, time and place of birth and death, circumstances of death and other data. The commission established that 8,460 Bosniaks died in Srebrenica.
James Bissett’s Diatribe About Naser Oric and One of Favorite Serbian Propaganda Quotes
James Bissett claims that Naser Oric“proudly displayed to western journalists videos of his forces decapitating Serb civilians.” First of all, those were not Serb civilians, and second of all, Bill Schiller – the Toronto Star journalist who allegedly met Srebrenica defender in 1994 – hadn’t even referred to them as “civilians” in his ’95 Toronto Star story.
As Schiller claimed in 1995, “There were burning houses, dead bodies, severed heads, and people fleeing.” Nothing unusual for a war zone.So we have dead Serb soldiers and severed heads from grenade shrapnels, but no word that many of those so called ‘Serb villages’ were filled with Muslim mass graves; and many of those so called ‘Serb villages’ where in fact villages from which Muslims were ethnically cleansed earlier in 1992? It seems to us that ‘the West,’ and journalists like Schiller, as well as pro-Serbian propagandists such as James Bisset, hoped that the Bosniaks in Srebrenica would sit silent without responding to deadly Serb attacks. So according to this reasoning, Serbs were okay to bombard Srebrenica enclave and cut off humanitarian aid, but Bosniaks were wrong to defend themselves? Naser Oric had every right to attack and recapture those ‘Serb villages,” which were used as a base for attacks on Srebrenica. Schiller failed to focus on a bigger picture, and write a story or two about the human catastrophe facing starving Bosniak population of Srebrenica. Needles to say, in 1992, Serbs expelled Bosniaks from their villages around Srebrenica, and used those villages to set up military bases from which they launched brutal attacks on Srebrenica enclave. It would be beneficial for James Bissett to focus on Serb war criminals, Gen Ratko Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. They are charged with genocide, and still on the run from justice. But of course, James Bissett doesn’t care about them, because he is one of the most pathetic Srebrenica genocide deniers and pro-Serb oriented war crimes apologists in Canada.
Minor Update: October 18, 2008.
Over 8,000 and up to 10,000 lives perished in Srebrenica Genocide, mostly men and elderly. At least 500 children were summarily executed by the Serb Army. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest U.N. court, ruled Serbia failed to prevent genocide in Srebrenica, but cleared Serbia of direct responsibility. Instead, the blame was shifted to the Bosnian Serb Government (RS) which was de facto under Slobodan Milosevic control. He even signed the Dayton Peace Agreement for them…
“Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993.” (UN id # A/46/171 and S/25635) [also see:Dissecting Milosevic Propaganda]
Srebrenica genocide denial web sites have been circulating above document as “official U.N. conclusions” about alleged “Moslem terror” against Serb civilians around Srebrenica. The problem is that these Serb allegations are NOT official U.N. conclusions – as deniers tirelesly portray them. In fact, the document “A/46/171 and S/25635”, does NOT contain any official U.N. conclusions. This document had been carefully drafted by Slobodan Milosevic’s “Yugoslav State Commission for War Crimes and Genocide” and submitted to the U.N. on June 2 1993 by a right-wing Serbian ambassador Dragomir Djokic. The Serb allegations contained in the above document have been discredited bythe United Nations War Crimes Court, Serbia’s Human Rights Watch, as well as internationally backed Research and Documentation Center in Sarajevo. When Djokic submitted these allegations about “Moslem terror” against “Serb civilians” to the U.N. in 1993, he conveniently avoided mentioning that Bosnian Serb forces, with full logistical support of his Government, killed about 15,000 Bosniaks in various parts of Eastern Bosnia and ethnically cleansed over 90% of predominantly Bosniak territory of Podrinje. He conveniently left that part out, because Djokic was nothing more than disposable hand of Slobodan Milosevic’s propaganda machine of the 90’s.
Serbian Propaganda About Srebrenica Demilitarization
Serbian nationalists justify Serb attacks on Srebrenica by claiming that Bosniaks never demilitarized in Srebrenica and that Bosniaks attacked surrounding Serb-held villages, so somehow “heroic” Serbs had to committ genocide against Bosniaks (read more). What they avoid mentioning is that the Serb Army is the one that never demilitarized around Srebrenica and that Serb villages were used as military bases from which Serb Army launched brutal attacks on the Srebrenica enclave (read more). In 1990’s, Serbs had no business in even being present on a predominantly Bosniak territory of Eastern Bosnia, let alone committing genocide against innocent people.
Serbian Propaganda About Markale Market Massacres
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”.
Five mortar rounds landed in a crowded area of downtown Sarajevo on 28 August 1995 (Markale Massacre 2). Four of the rounds caused only minimal material damage; one round, however, landed in the Markale marketplace, the scene of a similar attack on 5 February 1994 (Markale Massacre 1). Thirty-seven people, most of them civilians, were killed in and around the marketplace, and approximately 90 were injured. A confidential report to the UNPROFOR Commander concluded that the five rounds had been fired from the Serb-held area of Lukavica, to the west of Sarajevo. The secrecy surrounding the UNPROFOR investigation into this incident gave rise to speculation, fueled by the Serbs, that there was doubt as to which side had fired the mortar rounds. A review of United Nations documentation, however, confirms that UNPROFOR considered the evidence clear: all five rounds had been fired by the Bosnian Serbs. To learn more about Markale Massacres, read the following articles:UN Conclussions: Markale Massacres, UN Court: Serbs Responsible, Serb Gen. Stanislav Galic Convicted on Terrorism Charges, David Harland Testimony, and another Serb General Dragoljub Milosevic Convicted for Sarajevo Terrorism.
“Another lie meant to feed the hatred of the enemy that was bandied about in the Serbian media concerned the allegation that the besieged Muslims of Sarajevo were feeding Serb children to the municipal zoo’s starving animals.”
Acording to the prosecution at the ICTY trial of Milosevic, Serbian television and radio’s repetitive use of pejorative descriptions, such as “Ustashe hordes”, “Vatican fascists”, “Mujahedin fighters”, “fundamentalist warriors of Jihad”, and “Albanian terrorists”, became part of common usage. Two members of the Federal Security Service (KOG) testified for the Prosecution in Milosevic’s trial about their involvement in Milosevic’s propaganda campaign. Slobodan Lazarevic revealed alleged KOG clandestine activities designed to undermine the peace process, including mining a soccer field, a water tower and the reopened railway between Zagreb and Belgrade. These actions were blamed on Croats. The other KOG operative, Mustafa Candic, described the use of technology to fabricate conversations, making it sound as if Croat authorities were telling Croats in Serbia to leave for an ethnically pure Croatia. The conversation was broadcast following a Serb attack on Croatians living in Serbia, forcing them to flee. He testified that the propaganda war was code named “Operation Opera.” He also testified to another instance of disinformation involving a television broadcast of corpses, described as Serb civilians killed by Croats. Candic testified that he believed they were in fact the bodies of Croats killed by Serbs, though this statement has not been verified. (see:Feeding the Vampire, and we also recommend EXPERT REPORT OF RENAUD DE LA BROSSE “Political Propaganda and the Plan to Create ‘A State For All Serbs:’ Consequences of using media for ultra-nationalist ends” in five parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5),
Want to learn more? Then continue your research by visitingQuestions and Answers about Srebrenica Genocide, as well as our library of over 200 articles. Wish you could drop your feedback? Go ahead, you don’t have to be registered to comment at Srebrenica Genocide Blog!
Today we examine one of Slobodan Milosevic’s carefully authored propaganda materials titled:
Srebrenica genocide denial web sites have been circulating above document as “official U.N. conclusions” about alleged “Moslem terror” against Serb civilians around Srebrenica. The problem is that these allegations are NOT official U.N. conclusions – as deniers tirelesly portray them. The allegations contained in the above document have been discredited by the United Nations War Crimes Court, Serbia’s Human Rights Watch, as well as internationally backed Research and Documentation Center (tip: if you click on the actual links, you can get more information).
Slobodan Milosevic was in no way naive or stupid; he knew what he was doing. In a bizarre way, he was a clever mass murderer; but his attempts to shift blame on the victims failed miserably. However, war-time Milosevic Government’s propaganda is well and alive even today.
Here is the latest comment coming from an individual who runs two extremist blogs (which do not deserve to be ‘featured’ at Srebrenica Genocide Blog), quote:
“You’re leaving out the fact that Bosnian Muslims massacred Serbs between April 1992 and April 1993 in the communities of Bratunac, Skelani, and Srebrenica, as though there have been no crimes committed by Muslims… If you wish, I can post on this blog the UN id number of the documents relating to the post above. Genocide is difficult to hide, even for the UN Caliphate.”
OUR RESPONSE: No, you don’t need to post any UN id numbers – we will do it for you; we already know which document you are refering to. Be careful what you call “facts”; first get your story straight. The document you are refering to is: UN id # A/46/171 and S/25635, titled: “Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993.”
The copy of this document can be found on most Srebrenica Genocide denial websites, one of them being “Emperor’s Clothes” (web site run by Jared Israel, long-time Milosevic’s apologist and disgraced Srebrenica Genocide denier). This individual has reduced his existence to Srebrenica genocide denial claims and celebration of a mass killer – Slobodan Milosevic.
In fact, the document “A/46/171 and S/25635”, does NOT contain any official U.N. conclusions (aka: facts). This document had been carefully drafted by Slobodan Milosevic‘s “Yugoslav State Commission for War Crimes and Genocide” and submitted to the U.N. on June 2 1993 by a right-wing Serbian ambassador Dragomir Djokic.
Milosevic’s ambassador, Dragomir Djokic, kept close ties with then Bosnian Serb “Iron Lady” Biljana Plavsic, discredited professor of biology whose ‘scientific research’ included such genetic discoveries as her theory that “Muslims are genetically deformed”. This supposedly respected biologist, with her enviable reputation as a university professor and expert, has been tireless in propagating these ‘scientific discoveries’ of hers. It was her conception of the biological supremacy of the Serb race and nation which led Biljana Plavsic (and people associated to her) to encourage ethnic cleansing and on that basis commit mass crimes in Bosnia. From the very beginning of the war Plavsic was already invoking Dragoljub-Draza Mihailovic, leader during World War II of the Serbian nationalists better known as Chetniks and a proven collaborator of the German occupiers: “He fought for the unification of all Serbs within a single Serb state… Uncle Draza intended to cleanse the future united Serb lands of all enemies of Serbdom and Orthodoxy, as well as of anti-national elements.” [sources] This is the kind of person Dragomir Djokic closely worked with.
In order to justify wide scale ethnnic cleansing and mass killings of Bosniaks, Serbian ambassadors submitted various (later discredited) statements and propaganda allegations to the U.N. including the one we are discussing right now: “Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (communes of Bratunac, Skelani and Srebrenica) committed against the Serbian population from April 1992 to April 1993.“
In his submission, Milosevic’s ambassador Djokic asked the U.N. to circulate document as “Official U.N. Document”, so he could ensure that Serbia’s propaganda claims are strenghtened within diplomatic circles (pay attention to his words), quote:
“I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its annex circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 115 (c) of the preliminary list and of the Security Council.”
When Djokic submitted these allegations about “Moslem terror” against “Serb civilians” to the U.N. in 1993, he conveniently avoided mentioning that Bosnian Serb forces, with full logistical support of his Government, killed about 15,000 Bosniaks in various parts of Eastern Bosnia and ethnically cleansed over 90% of predominantly Bosniak territory of Podrinje. He conveniently left that part out, because Djokic was nothing more than disposable hand of Slobodan Milosevic’s propaganda machine of the 90’s.
Any ambassador can submit any document to the U.N.; it’s part of a fairness process. But to claim that this document reflects ‘official U.N. conclusions’ is nothing more, but a bold faced propaganda. The document is nothing more than an official submittion of Yugoslav Ambassador to the General Council, but the allegations contained in this document are NOT official U.N. conclusions. This is just a submittion (allegation) by Yugoslav side, NOT an Official U.N. conclusion as Srebrenica Genocide deniers and pro-Milosevic apologists want you to believe. And it is absolutely crucial to keep this distinction in mind, not only for the purpose of fairness – but also for the purpose of the truth.
During Srebrenica Genocide trials, the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague, as well as Human Rights Watch, and the Research and Documentation Center have completely discredited allegations contained in this document – as we reported on numerous occassions, especially in the following article: Falsification of Serb Victims Around Srebrenica: What does the International Criminal Tribunal says?
As an alternative to Serbia’s long-time discredited allegations, one should read official U.N. conclusions. So where do you find them?
FRANCE, GREAT BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES ARE HIDING EVIDENCE ON MILOSEVIC’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE
An interview with Florence Hartmann, former official spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the Hague
(Note: Bosnian language version of this interview can be located by visiting Start Magazine web site and selecting Issue #225)
INTRO: Florence Hartmann’s book Paix et Châtiment (Peace and Punishment) has caused strong reactions in international diplomatic circles. Her charges, supported by evidence, that France, Great Britain and the United States have in effect protected Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and are refusing to make available documents showing Milosevic’s involvement in the genocide at Srebrenica, have been denied, but without convincing counter-evidence. Florence Hartmann talks to Sarajevo weekly Start about the involvement of the great powers, the reactions in the region, and Carla Ponte’s own position.
Hartmann: The subtitle of the book, which will be published in the Bosnian language this autumn, is Secret Wars of International Politics and Justice. The book deals with the permanent struggle waged by the Hague tribunal to be allowed to do its work. The court faced not just the obstruction of local governments in the region, but also that of supposed allies, especially France, Great Britain and the United States. The book deals with various instances when the great powers did little to align their political interests with the interests of international justice, which they defended verbally but not always genuinely.
Such obstruction on the part of the great powers has prevented The Hague tribunal from doing its work, i.e. fulfilling part of its mandate. I address this in detail, and with a precise description of events which took place far from public scrutiny, mainly behind closed doors. One such example was the non-arrest of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. However, this takes up only one chapter, i.e. some 70 pages out of a total of 230.Start: But this is what most interests people in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region.
Hartmann: True, this part of the book is important for public opinion in Bosnia-Herzegovina. But it is not the only part that it will interest it when the book gets published this autumn. For example, one chapter deals with the background of Milosevic’s trial, which is actually a good and illustrative example of the various forms of obstruction coming mainly, of course, from Belgrade, but also from France, Great Britain and the United States. They did not allow access to information in their possession, even though this included evidence of Milosevic’s involvement in the Srebrenica events. They knew that the tribunal had sufficient evidence to win the case against Milosevic, but they did not want to help with additional evidence, for example that which came from intelligence sources. They feared that the public might conclude that the great powers had known what might happen, yet did nothing that could have protected the Safe Area of Srebrenica and its inhabitants. But this adds up to only two out of five chapters. Start: RS (Bosnian Serb entity) spokesmen have used the findings in your book to shift the responsibility for the non-arrest of RS politicians indicted for war crimes onto the international community. What would be your response to them?
Hartmann:Clearly, you have not read my book! The RS authorities refused to arrest individuals indicted for war crimes, so NATO took upon itself to do it, and delivered thirty of those indicted, who up to that the time had lived unhindered in that entity. Tolimir was the only one arrested by RS – in circumstances, however, which are well known. Start: Who bears the greater responsibility for the non-arrest of Karadzic and Mladic, the international community or RS?
Hartmann: So far as Karadzic and Mladic are concerned, they are both responsible: RS and indeed Serbia, on the one hand, and the great powers on the other. The prosecution constantly pressurised the great powers to deliver Karadzic and Mladic. The fact is that the great powers would never do so on their own. But this does not change the fact that the politicians from RS and also Serbia are in default of their international obligations, not only towards The Hague but also towards the convention on genocide which they have signed. Start: What in your view are the reasons why the great powers protected Karadzic and Mladic? Do you believe in the notorious alleged deal between Karadzic and Holbrooke?
Hartmann: There is no firm evidence that there was an agreement between Holbrooke and Karadzic, or between Chirac and Mladic. The great powers deny it, while the supporters of Karadzic and Mladic have not come up with convincing evidence. If there is firm evidence, it would be logical that this would not be made public, because it is Karadzic’s and Mladic’s life insurance. I am not convinced, however, even if such agreements were reached, that they remain valid. Something else, something far more important than promises given to the two people responsible for the most horrific crimes in Bosnia, must have made the great powers unwilling to arrest Karadzic and Mladic during the past twelve years. In my book I give a number of well-founded instances during the past twelve years which show that France, Great Britain and the United States, which played the main role in this, simply did not wish Karadzic and Mladic to be brought to trial in The Hague.
Start: What is your evidence?
Hartmann: I quote a number of instances which, taken together, show that they obstructed their arrest, while simultaneously pursuing the arrests of other indictees. The denials which I hear these days do not help the public, which has not read my book since it is written in French and which has no insight into the evidence. Only a change in the policy of denial practised up to now would refute the assertion that such a policy is being pursued to this day. After all, we shall soon see whether the EU will do the same as NATO did last November – i.e. give up on Mladic’s arrest, and allow Serbia to sign a Stability and Association Agreement.Start: But what are the deeper reasons why the two were not arrested?
Hartmann: I will briefly state what I have explained in my book at greater length: the reasons for the non-arrest of Karadzic and Mladic are to be found in the decisions of 1995. At that time, the great powers decided to sacrifice Srebrenica and Zepa for the sake of peace, and in so doing they created the conditions which led to a massacre that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice have both termed genocide. It is clear to everyone, here and in the world at large, that it is terrible and unacceptable that the great powers should be doing all they can to hide this.
Holbrooke himself said on Bosnian television in November 2005 that ten years before he had been instructed by his government to sacrifice Srebrenice and the other eastern enclaves for peace. He subsequently denied his own statement, even though it exists on tape. It is also a fact that the earlier peace plan, which the French and German foreign ministers Alain Juppé and Klaus Kinkel had proposed at the end of 1994, had envisaged Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde being retained as part of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. But Milosevic would not have this. And in the spring of 1995, while negotiating the terms of the new plan that would be unveiled in Dayton, he planned to attack Srebrenica and Zepa with his army and its subsidiary in Bosnia , under the command of the Army of Yugoslavia and General Mladic. The great powers did not prevent this, claiming that Mladic’s men – in fact the united Serbian and Bosnian Serb police and military forces – had no intention of taking the enclaves. After the fall of Srebrenica, the great powers took no adequate measures to protect the population of Srebrenica, although everyone knew that these people were in grave danger. At that time Mladic was being investigated by The Hague for crimes committed during the previous three years. He stated on several occasions that he would revenge himself on the enclave, because he had failed to take it in 1993. In other words, the crimes were foreseen. After all, General Phillipe Morillon and other international witnesses confirmed this in their testimonies given to the court in The Hague. The same is true of General Wesley Clark, who stated that Milosevic knew in advance that there would be a massacre. Soon after the event, the great powers took measures to prevent a similar massacre in Zepa. In November 1995, when everyone knew of the terrible fate that had befallen the men of Srebrenica, Srebrenica and Zepa were handed over to Milosevic, although the great powers knew of his involvement in the killings. This is why France, Great Britain and the United States were unwilling to have the tribunal establish a link between Milosevic and the massacre in Srebrenica.
Start: But why don’t the great powers wish to have Karadzic and Mladic arrested?
Hartmann: Unlike Milosevic, who denied any involvement in Srebrenica in line with the great powers’ official story, Karadzic and Mladic cannot seriously mount such a defence. This is why it is believed that, faced with the court of justice, they would put all the blame on the Western states. They would try to show that – whether directly or ‘passively’ – they had a green light to occupy Srebrenica and Zepa. This green light did not, of course, assume a massacre or any other crime. But the forces of Mladic and Milosevic used the opportunity to unleash a genocide. The West did not or could not prevent that. They did not even punish them, because at Dayton they did not force Milosevic to give up Stebrenica and Zepa, just as they have not to this day brought Karadzic and Mladic to The Hague.
Start: You accuse some of the most powerful states of protecting Karadzic and Mladic. Is there any relevant or powerful state in the world that would wish to see them arrested, or that at least would not obstruct their arrest?
Hartmann: The relations are such that France, Great Britain and the United States decide. This will continue as long as these three powerful states do not change their current policy. They must understand that it is more important for the future of the region, and indeed for themselves, to bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice than to hide their past errors, however terrible these may be. Until that happens, Karadzic and Mladic will not appear in The Hague.
Start: The representatives of the international community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as some other international politicians, deny your findings. Do you have evidence to support your arguments?
Hartmann: The evidence is largely to be found in the book, which is why they have not come forward to deny them in France, Belgium or Switzerland, where the book has been read.
Start: Why have you waited so long to publish your findings?
Hartmann: Following my departure from The Hague, I found that I had enough data to be able to analyse the attitude of the Western powers towards justice during the first fifteen years of the existence of the Tribunal, the first international criminal court since Nuremberg and Tokyo, in a manner that would be comprehensible to a wider public, and not just to Balkan specialists. It seemed important to me that the international public opinion that cares for international justice should learn what works and what does not – what are the problems faced by the tribunal. I hope that this will encourage others to help find solutions. I should say that I started to write my book after my return to France, in fact once I realised that I had sufficient evidence to deal with the most contentious aspects of the subject, so that the expected denials would not be credible.Start: What has been Carla del Ponte’s reaction to your book? What have been the responses to it thus far?
Hartmann: She has not rejected it. But so long as she serves as chief prosecutor, she would not be in a position to state her view. As for the responses, those that have reached me have all been highly positive, because the book is properly founded, helps people to understand, and does not discourage those who believe in justice, even though I have shown how hard things have been up to now. The common reaction is that it is a courageous book. There are bound to be negative reactions too, but I expect these to come largely from those who have been obstructing the work of the Tribunal and who do not wish that to be known.
Biography: Florence Hartmann worked for eleven years for the French daily Le Monde, during the 1990s as its correspondent in the former Yugoslavia. In 1999 she published her first book, Milosevic, la diagonale du fou, reissued by Gallimard in 2002. From October 2000 until October 2006 she was official spokesperson and Balkan adviser to Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague. Her Paix et châtiment. Les guerres secrètes de la politique et de la justice internationales was published by Flammarion. Paris, in September 2007. This interview is translated from Start (Sarajevo), 18 September 2007