The Helsinki Commission Hearing – The Western Balkans: Challenges for U.S. and European Engagement
REP. SMITH: … Having been involved in the issue even before Bosnia was part of the conflict, I remember visiting Vukovar just weeks before it fell, then meeting with Milosevic in Belgrade, who denied that they were even involved in Vukovar, and we saw the MIGs flying over, and working with the chairman and Ben too with – throughout all of those years, raising the issue that we needed a robust European-American response. At first it wasn’t there, as we all know.
But the concern that I have now is that there is a – almost similar to what we see with Holocaust deniers, there is a Srebrenica denial movement. I recently went online and read for hours some of the garbage that is being promoted by some – it’s hard to say who they are – that Srebrenica never occurred. I was with Ray Sirich (ph) two years ago when a re-internment occurred for those who were brutally butchered in Srebrenica, a so-called U.N. safe haven – and was again greatly impressed by his restraint, by his sense of inclusion. You know, the form of Islam that he believes so passionately in embraces others, does not exclude others, and I do happen to believe that he is a model, frankly, that needs to be emulated because he has done such a wonderful job.
In looking through some of the garbage on the Internet dealing with Srebrenica, there was a picture, Mr. Chairman, when President Clinton – so former president at the time in 2003 – was in Srebrenica, and right below the picture it says, this never happened, and there’s Ray Sirich standing with President Clinton, as I did two years later with him at a re-internment ceremony. So I’m very concerned that that myth-maker, which has real consequences in the real world, might negatively impact and lead to – and I was glad to hear you say you don’t think it will go back to fighting, but it could go back to some very nasty things.
And if you would speak to that, your view on Ray Sirich, if you wouldn’t mind giving that, and secondly on constitutional reform. Like, I think, members of this commission, I believe passionately that, you know, we’re looking at a Bosnia that’s in a Dayton limbo. They simply – you know, the legislators have power but it has been so carefully circumscribed by the rules that they can’t write laws, and we need constitutional reform. We need – you know, for that democracy to break out of the blocks and really come into its own, they have to be able to write laws. And small minorities can object and thereby kill any reforms that that wonderful country needs.
And so if you could speak to the constitutional reform issue but also Ray Sirich, the work that he’s done, perhaps, and this whole issue of denial of the horrific events that occurred in Srebrenica.
LORD ASHDOWN: Thank you, Congressman. You raise two very important points. First of all, I mean, it is a regrettable fact that you will always find denialists, but they tend to be a minority. However, I have to say that you are absolutely right in identifying the baleful effect of this on those who suffered. Now, let’s be very clear: All three ethnicities suffered during the war. There were black deeds done by all sides, but none to the extent of Srebrenica, and indeed of the other killings perpetrated on the Muslim community, largely but not exclusively by the Serbs. It’s not to say the Muslims in Bosnia necessarily had cleaner hands. They were done on the other side as well. But I think my old friend Cliff Bond, who I see sitting behind you, used to always tell me that about 80 percent of those crimes were committed by Serbs. Now, that’s not a reason to condemn the whole nation there of Serbs. They’re a very great nation indeed, and in many ways people regard them as being the fulcrum of the Balkans. But it is the past and we need to recognize the past. So I agree with you about your concern about that.
On Srebrenica, Mr. Chairman, I hope you don’t think it an abuse of the question if I were just to pay tribute to the United States government. One of the best things I did, the thing that gave me personally more pride in Bosnia and Herzegovina – it was not part of my duties but I did it because I really believed in it – was to work with Ambassador Cliff Bond, and the United States government was really extraordinarily generous in enabling this memorial graveyard with its 8,000 potential spaces for graves. I personally believe that, A, it’s very beautiful, and B, it will be one of the places people visit when they remind themselves never to allow genocide to occur again. So the Srebrenica issue is indeed, Congressman, a very important one and one I hope that we will continue to pursue.
On Ray Sarich, my view here is this, that we lack bridges between us and the wider Islamic world. There are not many. But the Bosnian Muslims are European Muslims – not new generation: 400 years old [religiously speaking, although Bosniaks were present in Bosnia since the 7th century – editor]. The great man Alija Izetbegovic used to say I’m a Muslim and I’m a European, and I see no contradiction between the two. And I know that’s Ray Sarich’s view as well.
And I’ve been amazed at the restraint of the Bosnia Muslim population in the face of genocide. And I think they can perform an extremely important role for us as a bridge to the Islamic community, understanding and able to explain to the Islamic community the reality of our Western values – what I would call our European, but of course they’re wider values – and also explain to us about the realities of Islam.
So I think there’s a really important strategic role to play here. You know, and if we did allow Bosnia to become dismembered, what would that say to the wider strategic effort that we have to reach out to the Islamic community and to have a greater degree of understanding, that we allowed Bosnia once again to retreat down to a tiny rump of Muslims, European Muslims surrounded by an enemies. I think that would say very much nor help us in the wider strategic battles so that’s very important.
…. It’s not, Congressman, an accident that when you see al Qaeda propaganda, they will mention along with Jerusalem, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the genocide of Srebrenica. It’s all part of that argument.
MAP: Location of Caparde village, approximately 25 miles away from the town of Srebrenica (or some 10 miles away from the Srebrenica county), where Serbs formed Bordello concentration camp to repeatedly rape Bosniak women and young girls in 1992.
In 1992, Serbs attacked Bosniak Muslim village Caparde, some 20 miles away from Srebrenica (or some 10 miles away from the Srebrenica county – see map), killing trapped Muslim civilians. A nine-month-old Muslim baby Senida Becirovic, was abducted from her mother by Serb soldiers and sent to Serbia to be baptized into “Mila Jankovic.” Times Online reported that “Senida, now called Mila, had been raised as a Serb and a Christian and had no knowledge of her blood relatives or her heritage as a Bosnian Muslim.” As reported by Serbian journalist Nenad Pejic (RFEL), baby’s mother Senada, 2-year old sister Saida and four other close relatives are still missing.
After capturing Caparde in 1992, Serbs formed Bordello concentration camp in the village. Captive Muslim women were repeatedly raped, many of them intentionally impregnated and forced to carry Serb children in their wombs as a ‘punishment.’ Senida’s mother and sister most likely met the fate of other Muslim women and girls in Caparde who were repeatedly raped, tortured, or simply killed and thrown into undisclosed mass graves in the area. After losing his wife and two young children in 1992, Muhamed Becirovic gave up any hope of seeing them alive again, but he continued to search for them so he could provide them with a proper Muslim burrial.
Telegraph reported that in the 1992 Caparde attack, “Muslim men and women were thrown into concentration camps, where many were executed or raped. Muslim houses were demolished.” Their report is corroborated by the United Nations who investigated and confirmed the existence of Caparde Bordello concentration camp where captive women were repeatedly raped by Serbs. The excerpt from the U.N. report (Annex VIII – part 3/10) confirms the worst:
“Caparde «Bordello»: (The existence of this detention facility has been corroborated by multiple sources, including Amnesty International.) It is reported that 40 young Muslim women from the town of Brezovo Polje were held and systematically raped in a makeshift bordello in a furniture warehouse in Caparde following the capture of the town by Serb forces in early summer 1992. On 17 June 1992, about 1,000 women, children and old people were taken away from the village by Serbian forces, arriving in the town of Caparde several days later. At Caparde, the older women were separated from the younger women (15-25). The younger women were then held for several nights in a furniture warehouse and repeatedly raped before rejoining the older women and later being released.”
According to the same report, on one occassion Serbs transfered 12 busses of Bosniak Muslim civilians from an unknown location to the Bordello Caparde concentration camp:
“It is reported that between 17 and 19 June, extremists bussed non-Serbian civilians in 12 buses from Brcko to Bijeljina. These people were allegedly tortured for several days at Majevica, and then some of them returned to Bijeljina, while some were taken to Caparde in Kalesija county, where after two days of torture, they were released and managed to flee to Kladanj and Tuzla.”
PHOTO: Senida Becirovic (aka: Mila Jankovic) returns to Caparde 16 years later. Caparde is the Bosnian village she was born in and abducted from by Serb soldiers in 1992.
After 16 years of active searching for his missing daughter, Muhamed Becirovic reunited with his missing daughter in January. Red Cross used DNA analysis to trace missing child, now 17 year old girl, to her location in Serbia. She was living with elderly Serbian foster parents.
“All this seems to me like some dream where different people I know nothing about suddenly turn up. There are no words to describe this feeling. I am so happy and I am not happy at the same time, I am glad and I am not glad. They are my flesh and blood and I am happy to have found my family… Of course I am very happy to have found my family and my roots. But at the moment it is all too much for me. My father is still a stranger to me and cannot replace my foster parents… No one tries to understand what is going on in my head. Right now I just want to go on with my old life. Everyone will still call me Mila,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.
Senida told Times Online that she does not want to go to Germany and live with her father. “I don’t want to go to Germany or any other foreign country. I am definitely not ready for all this.” Instead, she went to Caparde to meet with her mother’s sister, Mejra Hasic, who still lives in the area.
PHOTO: Senida Becirovic, aka Mila Jankovic, reunites with her aunt Mejra Hasic in Caparde, 16 years later.
Senida Becirovic seems to be slowly coming back to her old Bosniak Muslim roots – where she belongs. There is an old Bosniak saying: “Blood is not Water,” and “Mila Jankovic” has already requested a Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Citizenship/Passport under a proper Muslim name that was given to her by her missing mother who was likely tortured and killed by the same Serb captors who abducted and baptized Senida in 1992.
1. Times Online – Dilemma for daughter found 16 years after war abduction
2. Telegraph – Bosnian war ‘orphan’ snatched as a baby finds father after 16 years
3. Bosnian Institute – A missing Bosnian baby, now a Serbian teenager, searches for identity (also see original reporting by Radio Free Europe, contains photos of Senida Becirovic, aka Mila Jankovic).
4. Photo Gallery: Serbs around Srebrenica burned unarmed Bosniak women, babies, and elderly alive (viewer discretion advised).
A Serbian extremist behind Srebrenica genocide denial hate-group has also been actively advocating eradication of Jewish people, just because they happen to be Jews. The group called for a repeat of Srebrenica genocide and claimed it was “for everyone who thinks that Muslims are best served roasted, and swimming in sulfuric acid.”
Over 1,000 supporters joined this extremist group, which claimed it was only “for all those that are against foreign Islam, for all those who are against Muslim fundamentalists and Mujahideen, for everyone who respects the work of General Mladic, and for everyone who thinks that Muslims are best served roasted, and swimming in sulfuric acid.”
Facebook’s Srebrenica genocide denial group was administered by Filip Filipi (aka: Filip Visnjic), who is a part-time rapper known asSizzerb and a self-admitted founder of Anti-semitic web site “Serbian Anti-Defamation League” which happens to be identical to Boris Pribich’s “Serbian Defense League.” Both web sites advocate erradication of Jewish people just because they happen to be Jews. Filip Filipi (aka: Filip Visnjic) also runs another Facebook group with nearly 4,000 members in support of a violent Serbian fugitive Miladin Kovacevic. The group accuses Jews of the so called “one-sided, Zionistic reporting.” Earlier this year, Kovacevic beat down Jewish student, Bryan Steinhauer, into a coma, and then fled to Serbia.
Two Bosniaks from Serbia, Azrudin Pecanin and Enes Hamzagic, demanded Facebook to shut down the Serbian extremist hate group andresponded by creating their own anti- Srebrenica genocide denial group known as “Close Group Noz Zica Srebrenica.” The group is supported by approximately 19,000 members opposing Bosniakophobia and Srebrenica genocide denial.
“Administrator, we ask you to close the group ‘Noz, Zica, Srebrenica‘, which glorifies the acts of genocide that took place in Srebrenica, where 8,000 men and boys were murdered,” read the Bosnian group header on Facebook. “Furthermore, this group propagates hatred to all Muslims according to its description” it said. Bosniaks, who are of Muslim faith, account for nearly half of the population of Bosnia, which they share with Roman Catholic Bosnian Croats and Orthodox Christian Bosnian Serbs.
Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic, the author of several ‘books’ celebrating indicted war criminals and denying genocide in Srebrenica, is a Serbian extremist writer and a ‘source’ without any credibility.
PHOTO: You’re looking at a face of Ljiljana Bulatovic, Serbian extremist writer and Srebrenica genocide denier. In May 2005, Ljiljana Bulatovic participated in Milivoje Ivanisevic’s Srebrenica genocide denial “panel discussion” titled “Truth about Srebrenica” at the law school at the University of Belgrade. She said that “there was no genocide in Srebrenica” and that “Karadzic and Mladic are truly heroes of Serbian nation.” She called for graves of Srebrenica genocide victims to be removed from ‘Serbian’ Srebrenica to the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity, because the graves “occupy a very productive part of land which should be used in agricultural production.”
FACT #5: The Serbs never demilitarized around Srebrenica. Instead, Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary troops continued using surrounding Serb villages to launch attacks on Srebrenica and kill trapped civilians. In 1993, for example, 62 Bosniak children were massacred and 152 wounded as a result of a single attack coming from surrounding Serb-held villages. (see: U.N. Report: The Fall of Srebrenica)
Buyer Beware: Here is a short review of “Krici i Opomena,” the latest book written by a radical Serbian ultra-nationalist writer Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic:
There is a new Srebrenica genocide denial / Srebrenica genocide justification book written by discredited Srebrenica genocide denier Ljiljana Bulatovic (aka: Ljiljana Bulatovic-Medic). The book ‘Screams and the Omen’ (Krici i Opomena) contains depressingly familiar rhetoric of manufactured lies and distortions fabricated by the ultra-nationalist Srebrenica genocide denial factories in Serbia. As respected British historian, Dr Marko Attila Hoare, once noted: “The average MPhil student here at Cambridge would be embarrassed to produce the sort of rubbish churned out by Michael Parenti, Diane Johnstone, Kate Hudson and other ill-informed genocide deniers…“ We agree.
In Ljiljana Bulatovic’s twisted mind, Ratko Mladic is a ‘hero’ and the symbol of everything ‘good’ Serb people have to offer. On the other hand, crimes like Markale market massacres in Sarajevo (see Q/A #12) and Srebrenica genocide are just another examples of ‘western conspiracy’ against ‘courageous’ Serb people. In fact, this is not the first extremist book she published. Ljiljana Bulatovic wrote a number of radical ultra-nationalist books celebrating genocide and Bosnian Serb war criminals.
In 2002, Ljiljana Bulatovic published another book titled “Radovan” (2nd edition). The book follows usual war-crimes apologist agenda and radical ultra-nationalist rhetoric praising the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic as being the best among Serbs. Karadzic is currently in prison facing two separate counts of genocide, and other crimes against humanity.
INTRO: In July 1995, Serbian journalist Zoran Petrovic filmed the Srebrenica genocide unfolding, and then he attempted to cover up the evidence by cutting out and erasing important scenes. We invite you to read the following article and then watch the full documentary [Bosnia – Lost Images, 29 minutes, originally aired June 30th 2003].
Under the watch of Dutchbat soldiers, queues of Muslim men and women are separated by one of General Mladic’s men. They are familiar images, broadcast by TV stations around the world in the wake of the Srebrenica massacre. The War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague used Zoran Petrovic’s tape to secure several prosecutions for the massacres in the early 1990s and to investigate the involvement of Dutch peacekeepers Dutchbat.
But the footage shot by Petrovic appears to be incomplete. There is only one 60 minute tape for two days of filming, and throughout the rushes there are black gaps, cutting right through scenes and camera movements. Petrovic insists he was told to black over those sections by officious checkpoint guards on the roadside: “Everyone wants to be a smart guy. I was told – ‘Don’t film these guys. You erase this’”.
But Jean René Ruez, the man charged with analysing film evidence for the War Crimes Tribunal is adamant Petrovic is lying: “The cuts were done later. Sure”. Journalist John Block agrees. He was granted access to the rushes when they were first aired on Belgrade’s Studio 3 that same day – July 14th 1995. He insists he saw two tapes. He remembers clearly seeing unadulterated shots of piles of bodies – the material now missing from Petrovic’s sole remaining tape. When the BBC called Studio 3 the next day, the incriminating tape was gone, and the other tape was blacked.
A copy of a copy of a copy of the original Studio 3 documentary proves they are right. Although the quality of the footage is poor, there are no gaps. “This is of exceptional importance to the prosecutor” smiles Ruez. “They let you see what the witnesses are talking about. The recordings will help to furnish proof at a future trial of Mladic.”
Among other things – such as the use of German shepherd dogs to hunt Bosnian Muslims and the indiscriminate shelling of refugees – the previously missing pictures show the physical evidence of the Srebrenica massacre. Dead bodies are piled up at the Gravica warehouse. Shooting is clearly audible in the background.
The massacre has long been known about, but until now there has been little hard evidence. Only two survivors from over 1000 refugees seeking shelter in the warehouse survived to give testimony – the only witnesses to talk of a massacre. Both were Bosnian Muslims. “The witnesses are from warring factions” explains Ruez, “so you have to be careful what they say. This confirms the testimonies”.
Chief prosecutor at the War Crimes Tribunal Mark Harmon agrees: “It’s very important footage. Pictures do not lie. This is a very graphic image confirming the massacres took place. It’s important to enlighten the public in Srpska if there is going to be any kind of reconciliation”.
So far, the Yugoslavia Tribunal has never spoken to cameraman Zoran Petrovic. He still denies he was part of any cover-up operation and even offers our journalist a “last warning” when pressed. But these shocking new images had certainly been covered up by someone and their disappearance has hampered moves towards justice and reconciliation. Their discovery is a key step in helping bring Yugoslavia closer to closure.
Director: Gert Corba
Optional: If you wish to buy DVD quality of this documentary, you can do it from Journeyman Pictures here. It’s €24.50 including shipping and handling.
Updated: October 17, 2008.
PHOTO: Srebrenica genocide mass grave at Pilica farm, twenty feet deep and a hundred feet long, was excavated by forensic pathologists in 1996. Photo by Gilles Peress (from The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar [Scalo Books, 1998]). At least 8,372 men, children and elderly were summarily executed and dumped into mass graves during 1995 genocide in Srebrenica. In a U.N. assisted ethnic cleansing, at least 20,000 women were forcibly expelled from the enclave. As the ICTY Judges found, the decision not to kill all women and children may be explained by the Bosnian Serbs’ sensitivity to public opinion.
(Estimated reading time: 15 minutes)
1. Seeking help to deny genocide in Srebrenica
2. Response to Stefan Karganovic, denier of genocide in Srebrenica
3. Generating media attention to deny genocide in Srebrenica
4. Editors’ Pick: Grossly inflated (and UN-discredited) numbers of Serb victims used to deny genocide in Srebrenica
1. Seeking help to deny genocide in Srebrenica
Karganovic is a man of many ‘talents,’ but he is not a lawyer. He is currently in the Netherlands, working as an “interpreter” for the defence of a convicted Serbian war criminal Momcilo Krajisnik at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Previously, he worked as an interpreter for the Salvation Army in Seattle, WA.
Recently, he tried to pass himself as a person with credibility. He told B92 journalists that the Bosniak victims cannot be denied, but that he wants to talk about “the story of the Serb victims during the war in the Srebrenica area between 1992 and 1995.” He added that “the NGO’s goal is to uncover the truth of what happened during the war in the various municipalities of the Srebrenica region.” He even announced legal action against the UN and the Netherlands.
And then we received an E-mail from krajisnikcase@*****.com, signed by Stefan Karganovic himself, asking for assistance to “investigate the allegations of genocide against Moslem prisoners and correct the record on that score.” Note that he used the term “allegations” when he referred to the Srebrenica genocide. According to Google, his e-mail seems to be associated with Darko Trifunovic, another Srebrenica genocide denier who is also involved with the Krajisnik case. Here is a full copy of Stefan Karganovic’s e-mail sent to us:
I am the head of an NGO based in Den Haag, the Netherlands. Our mission is to collect information about the events surrounding Srebrenica in July 1995, as well as the background of those events, but with a focus on crimes committed against Serb civilians by Moslem forces from the enclave. Our parallel task is to investigate the allegations of genocide against Moslem prisoners and correct the record on that score. In that connection, I am very interested in locating Mr. Carlos Martins Branco, a Portuguese UN official who was in Bosnia at the time, and who has written about these events. I believe that he has valuable first hand information to offer and I would like to interview him. I see that you have published a letter by him on your website. Would you be so kind as to give me his contact information if you have it, or ask him to contact me by giving him my email?
Thank you very much.
President Srebrenica Historical Project
Den Haag, The Netherlands
Telephone: + 31 64 878 **** (Four digits edited for privacy reasons)
2. Response to Stefan Karganovic, denier of genocide in Srebrenica:
We’ve never published any letters from discredited Srebrenica genocide denier Carlos Martins Branco nor we are interested in his opinions. First of all, opinions are cheap, everybody has them. Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody’s opinion; it’s a fact first recognized by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.
Srebrenica genocide is an undeniable truth and a historical fact that claimed lives of at least 8,372 men, children, and elderly Bosniaks.
Second of all, you should check your facts straight before you knock on the wrong door and solicit people to assist you in denying Srebrenica genocide. Next time you decide to send solicitation E-mails to unknown addresses, just pause for a moment and look yourself in the mirror. What you will see is an individual who has reduced himself to a Srebrenica genocide denier.
Goodbye and do not contact us again,
3. Seeking media attention to Deny Genocide in Srebrenica
Recently, Stefan Karganovic organized revisionist Srebrenica genocide ‘symphosium’ in Banja Luka. He conveniently dubbed it as the so called “International Symposium About Suffering of the Serbs in Srebrenica.” At this ‘symphosium,’ Karganovic said that he would file a lawsuit against the Netherlands, because Dutchbat (Dutch batallion) troops failed to protect Serbs in Srebrenica. What Karganovic does not understand is the fact that Bosnian Serbs were not even located in Srebrenica, but in the surrounding villages which they conveniently used as military bases to stage attacks against the besieged Bosniak population of the enclave. Nonethless to say that many of these “Serb-held villages” around Srebrenica were ethnically cleansed Bosniak Muslim villages. Dutchbat troops were under the U.N. command and in charge of defending Srebrenica from the Bosnian Serb attacks. Unfortunately, Srebrenica was never safe, because the Serb Army never demilitarized around the enclave even they were required to do so.
One might wonder, what’s the point of Karganovic’s lawsuit against the Dutch state? For example, he knows that Bosniak survivors of genocide recently lost their lawsuit against the Netherlands due to diplomatic immunity enjoyed by the United Nations. Serbs don’t even have any case to begin with, since they had not suffered genocide at Srebrenica, but their Army sure did commit genocide against the Bosniak population of the U.N.-designated “safe area.” But, Karganovic speculates he has nothing to lose. At least, the lawsuit will give him something that he badly needs, namely a better exposure to the mainstream media so he could gain some ‘legitimacy’ promoting innacurate and grossly inflated numbers of Serb casualties around Srebrenica, the same numbers doctored and published by his associate Srebrenica genocide denier – Milivoje Ivanisevic (aka: Milivoj Ivanisevic). Continue reading below….
4. Grossly inflated (and UN-discredited) numbers of Serb victims used to deny genocide in Srebrenica
In order to justify Srebrenica genocide, Serbian right-wing nationalist and a prominent Srebrenice genocide denier – Milivoje Ivanisevic – claimed that more than 3,000 Serb civilians were murdered around Srebrenica. What are the facts?
Florence Hartmann, Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague, made the following statement. Asked to comment on the different number of Serb victims in the Srebrenica region published in Belgrade, Hartmann replied that:
“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.” (source: ICTY Press Release)
In a “Myth of Bratunac: Blatant Numbers Game” the internationally evaluated findings by the Research and Documentation Center examined Ivanisevic’s claims and concluded the following:
“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…” [source: Research and Documentation Center]
Serbian Human Rights Watch’s made similar conclussions , 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.” [source: HRW in Serbia]
He wasn’t even present during the terrible events of July 1995 but still feels qualified to pronounce about them and is anxious to testify before the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in defence of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader who publicly vowed to commit genocide by destroying Bosnian Muslims from the face of Earth.
Did Dutchbat troops witness crimes against Bosniaks at Srebrenica?
Recently Marco Van Hees met with Srebrenica genocide denier Milivoje Ivanisevic in Belgrade and informed him that no Dutch soldier had witnessed any crimes committed against the Bosniak (Muslim) population of Srebrenica – a claim easily dismissed by evidence previously offered by Dutch soldiers.
“One of the Dutchbat soldiers, during his brief stay in Zagreb upon return from Serb-held territory, was quoted as telling a member of the press that “hunting season [is] in full swing… it is not only men supposedly belonging to the Bosnian Government who are targeted…women, including pregnant ones, children and old people aren’t spared. Some are shot and wounded, others have had their ears cut off and some women have been raped.”
In another incident recorded in the ICTY’s 260 page-ruling in the case of Prosecutor vs. Krstic, “a Dutch Bat medical orderly came across two Serb soldiers raping a young woman:
“[W]e saw two Serb soldiers, one of them was standing guard and the other one was lying on the girl, with his pants off. And we saw a girl lying on the ground, on some kind of mattress. There was blood on the mattress, even she was covered with blood. She had bruises on her legs. There was even blood coming down her legs. She was in total shock. She went totally crazy.”
Hans Thijsen, now President of Reünieverband Dutchbat 3, the association of Dutchbat 3 veterans who served in Srebrenica in 1995, has angrily condemned former Dutchbat member Marco Van Hees for denying genocide at Srebrenica and also for misrepresenting the Dutchbat III web site in Vecernje Novosti. This is Thijsen’s press release translated into English:
We Got You – Fraud Unveiled!
Dutchbat troops,This week in the Serbian media an interview was conducted with the so-called Dutchbat 3 member who has claimed that he represents 15 Dutchbat troops wanting to testify on Karadzic’s behalf and deny genocide at Srebrenica. He also passes himself off as someone associated with our web site. His name is Marco Van Hees (who served in Dutchbat2 from June 1994 to January 1995). The board of the Reunion Connection for Dutchbat 3 members wish to make it clear that this Marco DOES NOT and MUST NOT speak for us. On behalf of all our members we distance ourselves from this individual and his claims about us, and we will take the necessary steps to prevent any repetition.
Voorzitter reünieverband Dutchbat 3
We would like to thank Hans Thijsen for his heartfelt support. Hans Thijsen appeared in a documentary “Monument to Unresolved Grief” commemorating the tragic events and his emotional visit to Srebrenica 10 years after the genocide. For more information, click here.