Pengguna:Tearfate/Pembunuhan beramai-ramai Srebrenica

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Burial of 505 identified Bosniak civilians (July 11 2006)
Burial of 610 identified Bosniak civilians (July 11 2005

Pembunuhan beramai-ramai Srebrenica atau juga dikenali sebagai Genocid Srebrenica (Bahasa Inggeris: Srebrenica massacre atau Srebrenica Genocide),[1] merupakan pembunuhan beramai-ramai pada bulan Julai 1995 yang telah mengorbankan kira-kira 8,000 lelaki Bosniak, di daerah Srebrenica, Bosnia dan Herzegovina oleh unit-unit Tentera Republika Srpska (VRS) dibawah arahan Jeneral Ratko Mladić dalam Perang Bosnia. Tambahan kepada tentera Republika Srpska, satu unit separa tentera daripada Serbia dikenali sebagai "Scorpion" menyertai dalam pembunuhan beramai-ramai itu.[2][3][4][5][6]

Genocid Srebrenica merupakan pembunuhan beramai-ramai di Eropah yang terbesar sejak Perand Dunia II.[7] Dalam keputusan sebulat suara "Pendakwa v. Krstic", dewan rayuan-rayuan Tribunal jenayah antarabangsa untuk bekas Yugoslavia (ICTY), yang terletak di The Hague, mendakwa bahawa pembunuhan beramai-ramai Srebrenica merupakan suatu tindakan Genocid[8], Hakim Theodor Meron yang mewakili kes tersebut menyatakan:

By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks], the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.[9]

Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa dengan ini mengesahkan bahawa ICTY telah didapati pembunuhan beramai-ramai Srebrenica merupakan suatu tindakan genocid.[10] PBB sebelum ini telah mengistiharkan bahawa Srebrenica sebagai kawasan selamat dibawah jagaan PBB, tetapi mereka tidak menghalang pembunuhan beramai-ramai itu, walaupun terdapat 400 orang pasukan pengaman bersenjata Belanda ketika itu.[11] Pembunuhan itu juga melibatkan pembunuhan kanak-kanak separa-remaja, warga emas, dan wanita.[12] Senarai orang-orang yang hilang atau pun terbunuh di Srebrenica yang sediakan oleh Suruhanjaya Persekutuan untuk Orang-orang Hilang (Federal Commission of Missing Persons) telah menyenarai setakat ini sebanyak 8,373 nama.[13]

Isi kandungan

Latar belakang[sunting | sunting sumber]

Konflik di timur Bosnia[sunting | sunting sumber]

Bosnia memulakan proses kemerdekaan dengan deklarasi secara berdaulat melalui parlimen pada Oktober 15 1991. Republik Bosnia dan Herzegovina telah diiktiraf oleh komuniti Eropah pada April 6 1992, dan Amerika Syarikat pada hari berikutnya. Pengiktirafan antarabangsa tidak menghentikan masalah, walau bagaimanapun, suatu pertelingkahan kuasa yang sengit untuk menguasai wilayah (yang direbut) dalam kalangan tiga kumpulan utama di Bosnia iaitu: Bosniak, Serb dan Croat. Komuniti antarabangsa telah melakukan pelbagai langkah bagi mewujudkan keamanan di rantau berkenanaan, tetapi kejayaan mereka amat terbatas. Di bahagian timur Bosnia, iaitu berdekataan dengan Serbia, konflik sudah tegang diantara etnik Serbs dan Bosniak.

Kempen penghapusan etnik 1992[sunting | sunting sumber]

Orang-orang Serb (Negara Serb) berniat untuk mengekalkan Bosnia dan Herzegovina sebagai sebahagian komponen bekas negeri (mereka). Mereka mempercayai Podrinje (daerah Srebrenica) mempunyai kepentingan strategik utama kepada meraka (serb). Tanpa kawasab tengah Podrinje, yang merupakan kawasan etnik Bosniak, tidak akan ada wilayah intigriti dalam entiti politik baru bagi Republika Srpska. Orang-orang Serb tidak mahu menerima keenklafan Bosniak di dalam wilayah yang dirancang mereka, kerana wilayah tersebut dihuni oleh populasi serb.[14]


Untuk tujuan itu, mereka (puak serb) telah melaksanakan penghapusan etnik Bosniak daripada kawasan etnik Bosniak di kawasan Timur Bosnia dan Tengah Podrinje yang bertujuan untuk menghubungkan wilayah pua Serb. Di Bratunac pula, sebagai contoh, Bosniak adakalanya dibunuh atau dipaksa untuk melarikan diri ke Srebrenica. Mengikut maklumat kerajaan Bosnia, 1,156 Bosniak dari Bratunac telah dibunuh dalam serangan itu (jumlah keseluruhan (terbunuh) semasa perang ialah 3,156 orang).[15] Kira-kira 762 orang Bosniak telah dibunuh di Zvornik pada 1 Jun 1992. Pembunuhan beramai-ramai yang serupa juga berlaku di Cerska pada 9 September 1992, apabila sekumpulan 6,000 orang pelarian dari Konjevic Polje, Cerska dan Kamenica cuba untuk melarikan diri ke Tuzla—VRS telah menyerang hendap dan melepaskan tembakan secara terbuka pada jajaran pelarian, membunuh banyak dan mengambil ratusan sebagai banduan, dan kemudiannya "menghilangkan diri". Lebih kurang 500 orang telah terbunuh berdekatan dengan Snagovo, semasa jajaran pelarian bergerak dalam tembakan daripada pasukan mariam dan pesawat (tentera); jajaran manusia masih lagi kelihatan pada Julai 1995 berlalu pada arah Tuzla.[16]


Kampung-kampung orang Serb telah digunakan sebagai markas (tentera) untuk menyerang Srebrenica secara harian dari hari pertama, seperti yang disimpulkan oleh ICTY.[17]

Perjuangan untuk Srebrenica[sunting | sunting sumber]

Fail:Oric2.JPG
Naser Orić in 1992

In spite of Srebrenica’s predominantly Bosniak population, Bosnian Serb military and paramilitary forces from the area and neighboring parts of eastern Bosnia gained control of the town for several weeks, killing and expelling Bosniaks civilians, early in 1992. In May 1992, however, Bosnian government forces under the leadership of Naser Orić managed to recapture Srebrenica.

Walaupun Srebrenica didominasi oleh populasi Bosniak yang banyak, kuasa tentera Serb Bosnia dan paramilitari telah menguasai kawasan jiran di bandar bahagian-bahagian timur Bosnia untuk beberapa minggu, mereka juga membunuh dan menghalau masyarakat Bosniak pada awal tahun 1992. Pada Mei 1992, kekuasaan (tentera) kerajaan Bosnia dibawah kepimpinan Naser Orić telah berjaya menawan semula Srebrenica.

Over the next several months, Bosniak forces from Srebrenica increased the area under their control. By September 1992, Bosniak forces from Srebrenica had linked up with those in Žepa, a Bosniak-held town to the south of Srebrenica. By January 1993, the enclave had been further expanded to include the Bosniak-held enclave of Cerska located to the west of Srebrenica. At this time the Srebrenica enclave reached its peak size of 900 square kilometres, although it was never linked to the main area of Bosniak-held land in the west and remained a vulnerable island amid Serb-controlled territory.[18]

Setelah beberapa bulan, kekuasaan (tentera) Bosniak dari Srebrenica telah meningkatkan kawalan kawasan tersebut dibawah kuasa mereka. Pada September 1992, tentera-tentera (forces, mungkin juga orang awam) Bosniak dari Srebrenica telah disatukan dengan Žepa, yang juga merupakan bandar (atau pekan) dibawah kuasa Bosniak di selatan Srebrenica. Pada Januari 1993, eklaf telah diluaskan ke eklaf Cerska yang terletak di barat Srebrenica. Pada ketika ini eklaf Srebrenica telah sampai ke tahap tertinggi iaitu 900 kilometer persegi, walaupun (Srebrenica) tidak dihubungkan (atau disatukan) dengan wilayah utama dibawah kuasa Bosniak di barat dan masih lagi mudah dikuasai kerana berada di tengah-tengah kawasan yang dikuasai etnik Serb.[19]


In January 1993, Bosnian forces captured a strategically important Bosnian Serb base in the village of Kravica, killing several dozen Serb soldiers and civilians, and directly threatened Bratunac. Over the next few months, however, the reorganized Serb military launched another large-scale offensive, eventually capturing the villages of Konjević Polje and Cerska, severing the link between Srebrenica and Žepa and reducing the size of the Srebrenica enclave to 150 square kilometres. Bosniak residents of the outlying areas converged on Srebrenica town and its population swelled to between 50,000 and 60,000 people.

Pada January 1993, tentera Bosnia telah menangkap markas tentera Serb Bosnia yang terletak di kampung Kravica, membunuh beberapa dozen askar Serb dan orang awam, dan secara langsung mengugat Bratunac. Setelah beberapa bulan, bagaimanapun, tentera Serb telah menyusun semula organisasi ketenteraan untuk melancarkan serangan besar-besaran yang besar sekali lagi, akhirnya mereka berjaya mengambil semula kampung Konjević Polje dan Cerska, hal ini telah mengugat perhubungan antara Srebrenica dan Žepa dan mengecilkan saiz enklaf bandar Srebrenica kepada 150 kilometer persegi. Penghuni Bosniak bertumpu di kawasan terpincil di bandar Srebrenica dan kira-kira seramai 50,000 dan 60,000 orang populasi.

General Philippe Morillon of France, the Commander of the United Nations (UN) Protection Force (UNPROFOR) visited Srebrenica in March 1993. By then the town was overcrowded and siege conditions prevailed. There was almost no running water as the advancing Bosnian Serb forces had destroyed the town’s water supplies. People relied on makeshift generators for electricity. Food, medicine and other essentials were extremely scarce. Before leaving, General Morillon told the panicked residents of Srebrenica at a public gathering that the town was under the protection of the UN and that he would never abandon them.

Between March and April 1993 several thousand Bosniaks were evacuated from Srebrenica under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The evacuations were opposed by the Bosnian government in Sarajevo as contributing to the ethnic cleansing of predominantly Bosniak territory.

The Bosnian Serb authorities remained intent on capturing the enclave, which, because of its proximity to the Serbian border and because it was entirely surrounded by Serb-controlled territory, was both strategically important and vulnerable to capture. On April 13, 1993, the Bosnian Serbs told the UNHCR representatives that they would attack the town within two days unless the Bosniaks surrendered.[20] Bosniaks refused to surrender.

"Srebrenica safe area"[sunting | sunting sumber]

Areas of control in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 1994; Eastern Bosnian enclaves near the Serbian border

April 1993: the Security Council declares Srebrenica a “safe area”[sunting | sunting sumber]

On April 16, 1993, the United Nations Security Council responded by passing resolution 819, declaring that: all parties and others concerned treat Srebrenica and its surroundings as a safe area which should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.[21]

The Security Council created two other UN protected enclaves at the same time: Žepa and Goražde. On April 18, 1993, the first group of UNPROFOR troops arrived in Srebrenica.

After a visit on April 26. 1993 Security council member Diego Arria voiced concerns about the nature of the enclave[22]. He described it as an "open jail" awaiting a "slow motion Genocide".

Bosnian Serb forces from surrounding Serb villages continued to attack Srebrenica even after Srebrenica became a "Safe Haven", as concluded by ICTY.[17]

While the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica largely demilitarized, as confirmed by UN conclusions, the Serb forces surrounding the enclave were well armed and refused to honor their part of the demilitarization agreement. The Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) was organized on a geographic basis and Srebrenica fell within the domain of the Drina Corps. Between 1,000 and 2,000 soldiers from three Drina Corps Brigades were deployed around the enclave. These Serb forces were equipped with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and mortars. The unit of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) that remained in the enclave – the 28th Mountain Division—was neither well organised nor equipped. A firm command structure and communications system was lacking, some ARBiH soldiers carried old hunting rifles or no weapons at all and few had proper uniforms.

From the outset, both parties to the conflict violated the “safe area” agreement. The ICTY Trial Chamber heard evidence of a deliberate Serb strategy of preventing access by international aid convoys into the enclave. Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Karremans (the Dutchbat Commander) testified that his personnel were prevented from returning to the enclave by Serb forces and that equipment and ammunition were also prevented from getting in.[23] Essentials, like food, medicine and fuel, became increasingly scarce. Bosniaks in Srebrenica complained of attacks by Serb soldiers. Insofar as the ARBiH is concerned, General Halilović testified that, immediately after signing the “safe area” agreement, he ordered members of the ARBiH in Srebrenica to pull all armed personnel and military equipment out of the newly established demilitarized zone, which they largely did. Although Serbs were attacking and killing Bosniak civilians in and around Srebrenica daily, to the Serbs it appeared that Bosniak forces in Srebrenica were using the “safe area” as a convenient base from which to launch counter-offensives against the VRS and that UNPROFOR was failing to take any action to prevent it.[23] General Halilovic admitted that ARBiH helicopters had flown in violation of the no-fly zone and that he had personally dispatched eight helicopters with ammunition for the 28th Division. In moral terms, he did not see it as a violation of the “safe area” agreement given that the Bosniaks were so poorly armed to begin with. However, in legal and military terms, it was a violation.

Early 1995: the situation in the Srebrenica “safe area” deteriorates[sunting | sunting sumber]

By early 1995, fewer and fewer supply convoys were making it through to the enclave. The Dutchbat soldiers who had arrived in January 1995 watched the situation deteriorate rapidly in the months after their arrival. The already meager resources of the civilian population dwindled further and even the UN forces started running dangerously low on food, medicine, fuel and ammunition. Eventually, the UN peacekeepers had so little fuel that they were forced to start patrolling the enclave on foot; Dutchbat soldiers who went out of the area on leave were not allowed to return[24] and their number dropped from 600 to 400 men. In March and April, the Dutch soldiers noticed a build-up of Serb forces near two of the observation posts, "OP Romeo" and "OP Quebec".

Spring 1995: Prelude to the VRS attack on the Srebrenica “safe area”[sunting | sunting sumber]

In March 1995, Radovan Karadžić, President of Republika Srpska (“RS”), in spite of pressure from the international community to end the war and ongoing efforts to negotiate a peace agreement, issued a directive to the VRS concerning the long-term strategy of the VRS forces in the enclave. The directive, known as “Directive 7”, specified that the VRS was to:

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

[25]

Just as envisaged in this decree, by mid 1995, the humanitarian situation of the Bosniak civilians and military personnel in the enclave was catastrophic. In May, following orders, Naser Orić and his staff left the enclave by helicopter to Tuzla, leaving ranking officers in command of the 28th Division. In late June and early July 1995, the 28th Division issued a series of reports including urgent pleas for the humanitarian corridor to the enclave to be reopened. When this failed, the tragedy of Bosniak civilians dying from starvation began. On Friday, July 7, in one of his last communications, the mayor of Srebrenica reported 8 residents had died of starvation.[26]

6th-11th of July 1995: the take-over of Srebrenica[sunting | sunting sumber]

Bosnian Serb forces entered the UN Safe Area in July 1995. By the evening of July 9, 1995, the VRS Drina Corps entered four kilometres deep into the enclave, halting just one kilometre short of Srebrenica town. Late on 9 July 1995, emboldened by this success and by little resistance from largely demilitarized Bosniaks as well as the absence of any significant reaction from the international community, President Karadžić issued a new order authorising the VRS Drina Corps to capture the town of Srebrenica.[23]

On the morning of July 10, 1995, the situation in Srebrenica town was tense. Residents crowded the streets. The Dutch UNPROFOR troops fired warning shots over the attacking Serbs’ heads and their mortars fired flares but they never fired directly on any Serb units. The UN Secretary General's Report pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 53/35 on the Fall of Srebrenica[27] notes that had they engaged the attacking Serbs directly it is possible that events would have unfolded differently. Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans sent urgent requests for NATO air support to defend the town, but no assistance was forthcoming until around 2:30PM on July 11, 1995, when NATO bombed VRS tanks advancing towards the town. NATO planes also attempted to bomb VRS artillery positions overlooking the town, but had to abort the operation due to poor visibility. NATO plans to continue the air strikes were abandoned following Bosnian Serb Army's threats to kill Dutch troops being held in the custody of the VRS, as well as threats to shell the UN Potočari compound on the outside of the town, and surrounding areas, where 20,000 to 30,000 civilians had fled.[23]

The Dutch soldiers operating under the auspices of the UN have been described as "cowards" for their part in failing to protect the Bosniak refugees, with some soldiers reportedly sharing coffee with Serb troops[perlu rujukan]. Commander Thomas Karremans, who was in charge of Dutch troops in Srebrenica at the time, was filmed drinking a toast with war-crimes suspect and Serb general Ratko Mladić, during the bungled negotiations on the fate of civilian population grouped in Potočari.[28] On the other hand, the UN soldiers felt abandoned by their command in Sarajevo, and they were already taken virtual or even actual hostage by Serb troops. The area of 10 square kilometers was impossible to defend with 400 troops with small arms. One Dutch soldier was killed by a grenade lobbed from a column of retreating Bosniak soldiers urging the Dutch to hold their post; he was the only fatal Dutch casualty in Srebrenica.

The massacre[sunting | sunting sumber]

The two highest ranking Bosnian Serb politicians, Radovan Karadžić and Momčilo Krajišnik, were warned by Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladić, also indicted on genocide charges, that their plans could not be committed without committing genocide.

People are not little stones, or keys in someone's pocket, that can be moved from one place to another just like that... Therefore, we cannot precisely arrange for only Serbs to stay in one part of the country while removing others painlessly. I do not know how Mr Krajišnik and Mr Karadžić will explain that to the world. That is genocide, said Mladić.[29]

The crowd at Potočari[sunting | sunting sumber]

The UN neglected to protect the Bosniak civilians in Srebrenica as mandated in the UN resolution. One hundred lightly armed Dutch peacekeepers were denied repeated requests for reinforcements and consequently sidelined to witness what was to follow. Faced with the reality that Srebrenica had fallen under the control of the Bosnian Serb forces, thousands of Bosniak residents from Srebrenica fled to the nearby hamlet of Potočari seeking protection within the UN compound.

11th-13th of July 1995: the humanitarian crisis in Potočari[sunting | sunting sumber]

By the evening of July 11, 1995, approximately 20,000 to 25,000 Bosniak refugees were gathered in Potočari. Several thousand had pressed inside the UN compound itself, while the rest were spread throughout the neighboring factories and fields. Though the vast majority were women, children, elderly or disabled, 63 witnesses estimated that there were at least 300 men inside the perimeter of the UN compound and between 600 and 900 men in the crowd outside;[30] the Dutch claimed their base was full.

Conditions in Potočari were deplorable. There was very little food or water available and the July heat was stifling. One of the Dutchbat officers described the scene as follows:

They were panicked, they were scared, and they were pressing each other against the soldiers, my soldiers, the UN soldiers that tried to calm them. People that fell were trampled on. It was a chaotic situation.[23]


12th-13th of July: crimes committed in Potočari[sunting | sunting sumber]

On July 12, 1995, as the day wore on, the already miserable physical conditions were compounded by an active Serb campaign of terror, which increased the panic of the residents, making them frantic to leave. The refugees in the compound could see VRS soldiers setting houses and haystacks on fire. Throughout the afternoon, Serb soldiers mingled in the crowd. Summary executions of men and women occurred.[23]

In the late morning of 12 July, a witness saw a pile of 20 to 30 bodies heaped up behind the Transport Building in Potočari, alongside a tractor-like machine. Another testified that, at around 12:00 hours, he saw a soldier slay a child with a knife in the middle of a crowd of expellees. He also said that he saw Serb soldiers execute more than a hundred Bosniak men in the area behind the Zinc Factory and then load their bodies onto a truck, although the number and methodical nature of the murders attested to by this witness stand in contrast to other evidence on the Trial Record that indicates that the killings in Potočari were sporadic in nature.[23]

That night, a Dutchbat medical orderly witnessed a rape:

We 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.

[23]

Throughout the night and early the next morning, stories about the rapes and killings spread through the crowd and the terror in the camp escalated.[23]

The separation of the Bosniak men in Potočari[sunting | sunting sumber]

From the morning of 12 July, Serb forces began gathering men from the refugee population in Potočari and holding them in separate locations. Further, as the Bosniak refugees began boarding the buses, Serb soldiers systematically separated out men of military age who were trying to clamber aboard. Occasionally, younger and older men were stopped as well. These men were taken to a building in Potočari referred to as the “White House”. As the buses carrying the women, children and elderly headed north towards Bosnian-held territory, they were stopped along the way and again screened for men. As early as the evening of 12 July 1995, Major Franken of the Dutchbat heard that no men were arriving with the women and children at their destination in Kladanj.[23]

On 13 July 1995, the Dutchbat troops witnessed definite signs that the Serb soldiers were murdering some of the Bosniak men who had been separated. For example, Corporal Vaasen saw two soldiers take a man behind the "White House". He then heard a shot and the two soldiers reappeared alone. Another Dutchbat officer saw Serb soldiers murder an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the head. He also heard gunshots 20–40 times an hour throughout the afternoon. When the Dutchbat soldiers told Colonel Joseph Kingori, a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) in the Srebrenica area, that men were being taken behind the "White House" and not coming back, Colonel Kingori went to investigate. He heard gunshots as he approached, but was stopped by Serb soldiers before he could find out what was going on.[23]

The deportations[sunting | sunting sumber]

Serbian TV footage shows women and children being separated from the men and put on buses. As a show of reassurance then Serb commander-in-chief General Ratko Mladić told the women everyone would be taken by bus out and safely reunited with the men later.[31]

However, when the cameras were turned off the men were deported and killed at the hands of the Serb army. More than 60 truckloads were taken from Srebrenica to execution sites where they were bound, blindfolded, and shot with automatic rifles.[31] Some of the executions were carried out at night under arc lights. Industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves.[31] Some were buried alive, Jean-Rene Ruez, a French policeman who collected evidence from Bosniaks, told The Hague tribunal in 1996. He gave evidence that Serb forces had killed and tortured refugees at will. Streets were littered with corpses, he said, and rivers were red with blood. Many people committed suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, he said. Among other lurid accounts of mass murder, Ruez cited cases of adults being forced to kill their children or watching as soldiers ended the young lives: "One soldier approached a woman in the middle of a crowd. Her child was crying. The soldier asked why the child was crying and she explained that he was hungry. The soldier made a comment like, 'He won't be hungry anymore.' He slit the child's throat in front of everybody."[31]

As a result of exhaustive UN negotiations with Serb troops, around 25,000 Srebrenica women were forcibly transferred to the Government-controlled territory.

Some buses never reached the safety. For example, according to the witness accounts given by Srebrenica massacre survivor—Kadir Habibović—who hid himself on one of the first buses taking women and children from the Dutch UN base in Potočari to Kladanj, he saw at least one vehicle full of Bosniak women being driven away from Bosnian government-held territory.[32] One of his captors at one point complained that they were not getting a good choice of the Bosniak women from Srebrenica.[32] Habibović said the men were taken to a remote location near Rasica Gai late in the evening. When the first group was taken from the truck and shot, he said he leapt from the truck and tumbled down a nearby slope; gunfire from the soldiers missed him and he escaped. He reached government-held territory on August 20, 1995.

Hague officials say that the tribunal's progress in dealing with rape has come from three factors—the courage of the victims and witnesses who testified, the tenacity of the prosecuting lawyers, and the years of tireless lobbying by pressure groups. The breakthrough came when prosecutors established that these rapes were entirely foreseeable.[33] Judges agreed that the generals in charge should have reasonably predicted that, under these conditions, the sexual assaults were likely. It was concluded that any rapes that took place in Srebrenica were therefore the fault of the commanders.[33]

The column of Bosniak men[sunting | sunting sumber]

Map of military operations during the Srebrenica massacre; green arrow marks route of the Bosnian column

As the situation in Potočari escalated towards crisis on the evening of 11 July 1995, word spread through the Bosniak community that the able-bodied men should take to the woods, form a column together with members of the 28th Division of the Army of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and attempt a breakthrough towards Bosnian-held territory in the north.

At around 2200 hours on the evening of 11 July 1995, the division command, together with the Bosniak municipal authorities of Srebrenica, made the decision to form the column. The young men were afraid they would be killed if they fell into Serb hands in Potočari and believed that they stood a better chance of surviving by trying to escape through the woods to Tuzla. The column gathered near the villages of Jaglici and Šušnjari and began to trek north. Witnesses estimated that there were between 10,000 and 15,000 men in the retreating column. Around 5,000 of the men in the column were active military personnel from the 28th Division, although not all of the soldiers were armed. Others included able-bodied men of military age, the political leaders of the enclave, the medical staff of the local hospital and family members of those who had played some prominent part in life within the enclave.

The other groups[sunting | sunting sumber]

A second and somewhat smaller group of refugees attempted to escape into Serbia via Mount Kvarac via Bratunac, or across the River Drina and via Bajina Bašta. According to the Humanitarian Law Centre in Belgrade, this group numbered some 700, although the organization Women of Srebrenica estimated that approximately 800 men had crossed the Drina on the way to Serbia. It is not known how many were intercepted, arrested and killed on the way.

A third group headed for Žepa, possibly having first tried to reach Tuzla. The size of this group is not known. Furthermore, not all the names of those who actually reached Žepa were recorded. The estimates of the numbers involved therefore vary widely, from 300 to around 850. The only firm figures in existence are provided by a report stating that 25 civilians arrived in Žepa on 16 July along with 82 soldiers of the 28th Division.

Apparently, small pockets of resistance had also remained behind in the former enclave. On 13 July ARBiH source learned this from communications made by a VRS officer in the enclave and intercepted by the ARBiH. There was still some shooting going on there, but the ARBiH within the enclave had no lines of defense left; they had been chased into one small area comprising two or three mountain tops. The VRS then instructed these remaining resistance fighters to reveal themselves and surrender. It is not known how many prisoners the Bratunac Brigade was able to take after the 'sweep' operation ordered by General Krstić on 13 July.

The Tuzla column departs[sunting | sunting sumber]

By far the largest group was that which followed the notorious route towards Tuzla through the forests and mountains. The journey to Tuzla — a distance of 55 kilometres as the crow flies - entailed crossing extremely hilly terrain in the height of the summer heat.

Conditions

In general, each individual had started out with enough rations for only two days, everyone having just a little bread and sugar; shortages began to become apparent on the third day, whereupon the people had to turn to leaves, grass and snails for sustenance. Alongside undernourishment, the high summer temperatures caused dehydration; finding sources of drinking water or moisture became a major problem. The enormous difficulties caused by hunger and thirst were further compounded by lack of sleep and the sheer effort required. Soon after setting out, the men faced a choice between acceding to the VRS call to give themselves up or carrying on. The latter option would inevitably entail ongoing armed conflict with the VRS which would in turn bring much death and destruction. As a result of genocidal actions by Serb army, some people began to show symptoms of severe mental distress. Some of them turned on others, killing them outright; others committed suicide.

There was little cohesion or sense of common purpose in the column. This would have been difficult to achieve given that the string of people stretched back several kilometres. Depending on the situation at any given moment, the column could be anything between five and ten kilometres in length. This made it a particularly easy target for the VRS and contributed much to a gnawing sense of uncertainty regarding the fate of friends and family elsewhere in the column. Many people in the column had been exhausted even before setting out on the march, following the siege of Srebrenica, the fighting with the VRS, the lack of food and the arduous conditions in general. The vast majority of the people from Srebrenica later reported as missing were among the 10,000 to 15,000 people who undertook this perilous journey.

Organization

An advance reconnaissance party went on ahead of the column proper; this group comprised four guides who set out one hour before the column and maintained a lead of approximately five kilometres throughout the journey. Next, there was a group comprising 50 to 100 of the best soldiers from each brigade, each carrying the best available equipment. Next in line was the 281st Brigade; all these men were originally from Cerska, Konjević Polje and Kamenica, they knew the terrain. The rest of the column followed at some distance. In order, there was the reconnaissance unit of the 28th Division, the 280th Brigade from Gornji Potočari, the division command, the wounded, the medical staff, the 281st Brigade, the 283rd Brigade, the Glogova independent battalion, and at the rear was the weakest and least heavily armed Brigade, the 282nd. Each brigade took a group of refugees under its wing. Notably, the best troops were all at the front of the column; here too were the elite of the enclave, including the mother and sister of Naser Orić and other prominent persons. Many civilians joined the military units spontaneously and acquaintances went along with the troops, and there were many shifts and changes of allegiance as the journey got under way.

Early events

The men's breakout from the enclave and their attempts to reach Tuzla came as a surprise to the VRS and caused considerable confusion, as the VRS had expected the men to go to Potočari. Serb general and indicted war-criminal Milan Gvero in a briefing described the column as "hardened and violent criminals who will stop at nothing to prevent being taken prisoner and to enable their escape into Bosnian territory." The Drina Corps and the various brigades were ordered to devote all available manpower to the task of finding, stopping, disarming and taking prisoner the men of the column.

At around midnight on 11 July 1995, the main column started moving along the axis between Konjević Polje and Bratunac. On 12 July 1995, Serb forces launched an artillery fire on the column that was crossing an asphalt road between the area of Konjević Polje and Nova Kasaba on route to Tuzla. Only about one third of the men successfully made it across the asphalt road and the column was split in two parts. Heavy shooting and shelling continued against the remainder of the column throughout the day and during the night. Men from the rear of the column who survived this ordeal described it as a "man hunt". Witnesses have since stated that the shooting began as one group of refugees entered a minefield.

Ambush at Kamenica Hill[sunting | sunting sumber]

Around 8 p.m., when most of the marchers had finally reached the hilly area around Kamenica and the front of the column had already begun to move on, those still at Kamenica Hill were ambushed by Serb forces, who started shelling and firing from all directions. As many of the marchers had been shelled en route to Kamenica Hill and as a result were very nervous, the ambush caused great panic and chaos. Those who were armed returned fire, apparently at random. All scattered.

Survivors recalled that a group of at least a thousand Bosniaks were engaged at close range by small arms. Hundreds appear to have been killed as they fled the clearing, and the skeletalized remains of some of those killed in this ambush remained clearly visible to ICTY investigators and United Nations staff members passing through in 1996. Survivors recalled how many wounded were left behind, some of whom shot themselves or detonated grenades in order to escape capture. Some of the wounded were carried on with the survivors, later surrendering. As the foremost group of the column continued on its way, the rear lost contact and panic broke out once more.

Cut off

Many people remained in the Kamenica Hill area for a number of days, unable to move on, the column having been cut in two where it crossed an asphalt road, with the remaining part’s escape route blocked by Serb forces. Thousands of Bosniaks were captured by or surrendered to Serb forces. In many instances, assurances of safety were provided to the refugees by Serb military personnel wearing stolen UN uniforms and by Bosniaks who had been captured and ordered to summon their friends and family members from the woods.

There are also reports that Serb forces used megaphones to call on the marchers to surrender, telling them that they would be exchanged for Serb soldiers held captive by Bosniak forces. Furthermore, there were rumours that VRS personnel in civilian dress had infiltrated the column at Kamenica. Human Rights Watch reported that the use of mind-altering chemical weapons like BZ "cannot be ruled out" (HRW, 1998). On the other hand, the Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (NIOD) concluded that "[t]here are no indications that the Serbs had combat gasses" (NIOD, 2002, App. III.3).

Sandići massacre[sunting | sunting sumber]

Close to Sandići, on the main road from Bratunac to Konjević Polje, one witness recalls seeing the scene with which the rest of the world was later to become familiar from Zoran Petrović's video footage: the Serbs were forcing a Bosniak man to call others down from the mountains. Some 200 to 300 men followed his instructions and descended to meet the waiting VRS. The brother of the witness was among those who gave themselves up expecting that some exchange of prisoners would take place. The witness himself was more cautious and hid behind a tree to see what would happen next. He watched as the two to three hundred men below were lined up in seven ranks, each some forty metres in length, with their hands behind their heads; then, they were mown down by machine gun fire. His own brother was among the victims, shot while he looked on.

During the search, the Bratunac Brigade discovered four children aged between 8 and 14 among the prisoners; they were taken to the barracks in Bratunac. When one of them had described seeing a large number of ABiH soldiers committing suicide and shooting at each other, Brigade Commander Blagojević suggested that the Drina Corps' press unit should record this testimony on video. It is possible that children's testimonies were forced for the purpose of spreading propaganda in the Serbian media. The fate of the boys remains uncertain.

The VRS also sent one of the civilians who wished to surrender back towards the column: one of his eyes had been gouged out, his ears had been cut off and a cross carved into his forehead. A small number of women and children, and a few elderly people who had been part of the column and who fell into Serb hands were allowed to join the buses which evacuated the women and children out of Potočari. Among them was Alma Delimustafić, a woman soldier of the 28th Brigade; at this time, Delimustafić was in civilian clothes and was released. [perlu rujukan]

The central section of the column managed to escape the shooting and reached Kamenica at about 11.00 hours and waited there for the wounded. Captain Ejub Golić and the Independent Battalion turned back towards Hajdučko Groblje to help the casualties. A number of survivors from the rear, who managed to escape crossed the asphalt roads to the north or the west of the area, had joined those in the central section of the column.

The long trek to safety[sunting | sunting sumber]

The front of the column had already left Kamenica Hill by the time the ambush occurred. On July 12, its leaders sent out reconnaissance groups to scout out the route toward Burnice and then began to move. Heading for Mount Udrc, the marchers crossed the main asphalt road and subsequently forded the river Jadar. They reached the base of the mountain early on the morning of Thursday, July 13. Only an estimated about 5,000 people of the original group that had left Srebrenica arrived in Udrc. Here, the column regrouped. At first, it was decided to send 300 ABiH soldiers back in an attempt to break through the blockades. When reports came in that the central section of the column had nevertheless succeeded in crossing the road at Konjevic Polje, this plan was abandoned. Approximately 1,000 additional men managed to reach Udrc that night.

Snagovo fighting

From Udrc the marchers moved toward the River Drinjaka and on to Mount Velja Glava, continuing as darkness fell and through the night. Finding a Serb presence at Mount Velja Glava, where they arrived on Friday, July 14, the column was forced to skirt the mountain and wait on its slopes before it was able to move on toward Liplje and Marcici. Arriving at Marcici in the evening of July 14, the marchers were again ambushed near Snagovo by Serb forces equipped with anti-aircraft guns, artillery, and tanks. According to Lieutenant Džemail Bećirović, the column managed to break through the ambush and, in so doing, capture a VRS officer, Major Zoran Janković—providing the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a significant bargaining counter. This prompted an attempt at negotiating a cessation in the fighting, but negotiations with local Serb forces failed. Nevertheless, the act of repulsing the ambush had a positive effect on morale of the marchers, who also captured an amount of weapons and supplies.

Establishing contact

The evening of 15 July saw the first radio contact between the 2nd Corps and the 28th Division, established using a Motorola walkie-talkie captured from the VRS. After initial distrust on the part of the 28th Division, the brothers Šabić were able to identify each other as they stood on either side of the VRS lines. Early on the morning, the column crossed the asphalt road linking Zvornik with Caparde and headed in the direction of Planinci, leaving a unit of some 100 to 200 armed marchers behind to wait for stragglers. It reached Krizevici later that day, and remained there while an attempt was made to negotiate with local Serb forces for safe passage through the Serb lines into Bosnian government controlled territory. The members of the column were advised to stay where they were, and to allow the Serb forces time to arrange for safe passage. It soon became apparent, though, that the small Serb force deployed in the area was only trying to gain time to organize a further attack on the marchers. In the area of Marcici-Crni the RS armed forces deployed 500 soldiers and policemen in order to stop the split part of column (about 2,500 people), which was moving from Glodi towards Marcici.

At this point, the column’s leaders decided to form several small groups of between 100 and 200 persons and send these to reconnoiter the way ahead. Early in the afternoon, the 2nd Corps and the 28th Division of the ABiH met each other in the village of Potocani. The presidium of Srebrenica were the first to reach Bosnian terrain.

The breakthrough at Baljkovica[sunting | sunting sumber]

The hillside at Baljkovica formed the last VRS line separating the column from Bosnian-held territory. The VRS cordon actually consisted of two lines, the first of which presented a front on the Tuzla side against the 2nd Corps and the other a front against the approaching 28th Division. At approximately 05.00 hours on 16 July, the 2nd Corps made its first attempt to break through the VRS cordon from the Bosnian side. The objective was to force a breakthrough close to the hamlets of Parlog and Resnik. They were joined by Naser Orić and a number of his men.

On the evening of July 15, a heavy hailstorm caused the Serb forces to take cover. The column’s advance group took advantage of this to attack the Serb rear lines at Baljkovica. During the fighting, the main body of what remained of the column began to move from Krizevici. It reached the area of fighting at about 3 a.m. on Sunday, July 16, just as the forward groups managed to breach the line of the Zvornik Brigade's 4th Infantry Battalion. Unable to move several captured heavy arms including two Praga self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, they used them to fire into the Serb front line. Thus the column finally succeeded in breaking through to Bosnian government controlled territory and linked up with BiH units which had assaulted the 4th Battalion's front in order to meet the column at between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on July 16.

Arrival at Tuzla[sunting | sunting sumber]

Only a few journalists were present to witness the arrival of the column in Bosnian-held territory after its eventful march across country, as most attention was being devoted to the reception of the women and children at the airbase in Tuzla. The few items that appeared in the press and on television described the arrival of 'an army of ghosts': men clad in rags, totally exhausted and emaciated by hunger. Some had no more than underwear, some were walking on bleeding feet wrapped in rags or plastic, and some were being carried on makeshift stretchers. There were men walking hand in hand with children; many were still visibly frightened. Some were delirious and hallucinating as a result of the immense stress and privations they had endured. One soldier began to fire on his own unit as they arrived in Baljkovica; he had to be killed to prevent further bloodshed. The medical station set up by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Međeđa handed out large quantities of tranquillizers.

The men who had managed to reach safety spoke of little else besides the atrocities they had seen, the fighting they had endured and the fact that many of their comrades had been killed. As one survivor said, anyone who had not been on the march could not possibly begin to imagine what it had been like. The survivors felt a certain bitterness towards the UN because it had not been able to protect the "Safe Area." That bitterness and resentment was also directed towards the 2nd Corps of the ABiH.

The column's arrival on territory contolled by ARBiH was marked by a number of incidents. In one, a member of the 28th Division opened fire at the Corps Commander, Sead Delić, who had resisted all calls from his officers for a military push to link up with fleeing soldiers and civilians; a Military Police bodyguard was killed, while another returned fire and killed the sniper. The tensions were so great following the crossing of the line of engagement that staff officers of 2nd Corps removed their insignia so that they could not be recognized as staff officers at all. According to the Deputy Corps Commander, the division had "turned against the 2nd Corps." In fact, the lack of confidence in the 2nd Corps was nothing new, as the 28th Division had felt abandoned already in Srebrenica.

On August 4 1995, a parade was held in Banovici, involving the 3,651 remaining soldiers of the 28th Division (of the original 6,500). The division was then disbanded. [perlu rujukan]

Closure of the corridor[sunting | sunting sumber]

Only some 3,000 to 4,000 of the marchers who had left Srebrenica four days earlier arrived safely in Tuzla on July 16. Approximately one-third of the column, mostly composed of military personnel, crossed the Bratunac-Milići road near Nova Kasaba and reached safety in Tuzla. The remaining Bosniaks were trapped behind the Serb lines.

As the march progressed, many people fell behind, lost the way or decided to turn back into more familiar territory in the Srebrenica region and to attempt to reach Žepa from there. Others tried to push onwards in the wake of the vanguard of the column, following the signs that people had passed here, which included corpses—as the fighting between the VRS and ABiH, ambushes, fighting among factions within the column, suicide, exhaustion and the rigours of the journey would have claimed an unknown number of lives and the bodies of these people remained unburied in the woods. The groups who managed to complete the journey to Tuzla took widely varying times to do so; in a few extreme cases, people reached Bosnian territory only after several months.

Once the armed portion of the column had passed through, Serb forces closed the corridor and recommenced hunting down parts of the column which were still in areas under their control. On 16 July 1995, there were around 2,000 refugees hiding in the woods in the area of Pobudje, with many more scattered elsewhere.

A plan to execute the men of Srebrenica[sunting | sunting sumber]

Fail:Srebfootage.PNG
Screenshot showing the four minors and the two men in their early twenties lined up on the ground before being executed near Bosnian village Trnovo, 1995.

Although Bosnian Serb forces have long been blamed for the massacre, it was not until June 2004 — following the Srebrenica commission's preliminary report — that Serb officials acknowledged that their security forces planned and carried out the slaughter. A Serb commission's final report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre acknowledged that the mass murder of the men and boys was planned. The commission found that more than 7,800 were killed after it compiled thirty-four lists of victims.

The question of why the executions took place at all is not easy to answer. During the Radislav Krstić's trial before the ICTY, the prosecution's military advisor, Richard Butler, pointed out in taking this course of action, the Bosnian Serb Army deprived themselves of an extremely valuable bargaining counter. Butler suggested that they would have had far more to gain had they taken the men in Potočari as prisoners of war, under the supervision of the International Red Cross (IRC) and the UN troops still in the area. It might then have been possible to enter into some sort of exchange deal or they might have been able to force political concessions. Based on this reasoning, the ensuing mass murder defied rational explanation.

Although a number of women and children were murdered, together with a relatively large number of older men, the main focus of the VRS was on able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60. The buses which transported the women and children were systematically searched for men. Although very few, some exceptions were made; they included the casualties in Bratunac hospital who had previously been treated in the Dutchbat compound at Potočari. Thus, a concerted effort was made to capture and kill almost all Bosniak men of military age. All of them were targeted regardless of whether they chose to flee to Potočari or to join the Bosniak column.

The mass executions[sunting | sunting sumber]

The vast amount of planning and high-level coordination invested in killing thousands of men in a few days is apparent from the scale and the methodical nature in which the executions were carried out.

The VRS took the largest number of prisoners on 13 July, along the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road. It remains impossible to cite a precise figure, but witness statements describe the assembly points such as the field at Sandići, the agricultural warehouses in Kravica, the school in Konjevic Polje, the football field in Nova Kasaba, the village of Lolici and the village school of Luke. Several thousands of people were herded together in the field near Sandići and on the Nova Kasaba football pitch, where they were searched and put into smaller groups. In a video tape made by journalist Zoran Petrović, a VRS soldier states that at least 3,000 to 4,000 men had given themselves up on the road. By the late afternoon of 13 July, the total had risen to some 6,000, according to the intercepted radio communication; the following day, Major Franken of Dutchbat was given the same figure by Colonel Radislav Jankovic of the VRS. Many of the prisoners had been seen in the locations described by passing convoys taking the women and children to Kladanj by bus, while various aerial photographs have since provided evidence to confirm this version of events.

One hour after the evacuation of the women from Potočari was completed, the Drina Corps staff diverted the buses to the areas in which the men were being held. Colonel Krsmanovic, who on 12 July had arranged the buses for the evacuation, ordered the 700 men in Sandići to be collected, and the soldiers guarding them made them throw their possessions on a large heap and hand over anything of value. During the afternoon, the group in Sandići was visited by Mladić who told them that they would come to no harm, that they would be treated as prisoners of war, that they would be exchanged for other prisoners and that their families had been escorted to Tuzla in safety. Some of these men were placed on the transport to Bratunac and other locations, while some were marched on foot to the warehouses in Kravica. The men gathered on the football ground at Nova Kasaba were forced to hand over their personal belongings. They too received a personal visit from Mladić during the afternoon of 13 July; on this occasion, he announced that the Bosnian authorities in Tuzla did not want the men and that they were therefore to be taken to other locations. The men in Nova Kasaba were loaded onto buses and trucks and were taken to Bratunac or the other locations.

The Bosniak men who had been separated from the women, children and elderly in Potočari numbering approximately 1,000, were transported to Bratunac and subsequently joined by Bosniak men captured from the column. Almost to a man, the thousands of Bosniak prisoners captured, following the take-over of Srebrenica, were executed. Some were killed individually or in small groups by the soldiers who captured them and some were killed in the places where they were temporarily detained. Most, however, were slaughtered in carefully orchestrated mass executions, commencing on 13 July 1995, in the region just north of Srebrenica.

The mass executions followed a well-established pattern. The men were first taken to empty schools or warehouses. After being detained there for some hours, they were loaded onto buses or trucks and taken to another site for execution. Usually, the execution fields were in isolated locations. The prisoners were unarmed and, in many cases, steps had been taken to minimize resistance, such as blindfolding them, binding their wrists behind their backs with ligatures or removing their shoes. Once at the killing fields, the men were taken off the trucks in small groups, lined up and shot. Those who survived the initial round of gunfire were individually shot with an extra round, though sometimes only after they had been left to suffer for a time.

The process of finding victim bodies in the Srebrenica region, often in mass graves, exhuming them and finally identifying them was relatively slow. By 2002, 5,000 bodies were exhumed but only 200 were identified. However, since then the exhumed body count has risen to 6,000 and the identification has been completed for over 2,000, as of 2005.

The morning of 13th of July 1995: Jadar River[sunting | sunting sumber]

A small-scale execution took place prior to midday at the Jadar River on 13 July 1995. Seventeen men were transported by bus a short distance to a spot on the banks of the Jadar River. The men were then lined up and shot. One man, after being hit in the hip by a bullet, jumped into the river and managed to escape.

The afternoon of 13th of July 1995: Cerska Valley[sunting | sunting sumber]

The first large-scale mass executions began on the afternoon of 13 July 1995 in the valley of the River Cerska, to the west of Konjevic Polje. One witness, hidden among trees, saw two or three trucks, followed by an armoured vehicle and an earthmoving machine proceeding towards Cerska. After that, he heard gunshots for half an hour and then saw the armoured vehicle going in the opposite direction, but not the earthmoving machine. Other witnesses report seeing a pool of blood alongside the road to Cerska that day. Muhamed Durakovic, a UN translator, probably passed this execution site later that day. He reports seeing bodies tossed into a ditch alongside the road, with some men still alive.

Aerial photos and excavations later confirmed the presence of a mass grave near this location. Ammunition cartridges found at the scene reveal that the victims were lined up on one side of the road, whereupon their executioners opened fire from the other. The bodies—150 in number—were covered with earth where they lay. It could later be established that they had been killed by rifle fire. All were males, between the ages of 14 and 50. All but three of the 150 were wearing civilian clothes. Many had their hands tied behind their backs. Nine could later be identified and were indeed on the list of missing persons from Srebrenica.

The late afternoon of 13th of July: Kravica[sunting | sunting sumber]

Later that same afternoon, 13 July 1995, executions were also conducted in the largest of four warehouses (farm sheds) owned by the Agricultural Cooperative in Kravica. Between 1,000 and 1,500 men had been captured in fields near Sandići and detained in Sandići Meadow. They were brought to Kravica, either by bus or on foot, the distance being approximately one kilometre. A witness recalls seeing around 200 men, stripped to the waist and with their hands in the air, being forced to run in the direction of Kravica. An aerial photograph taken at 14.00 hours that afternoon shows two buses standing in front of the sheds.

At around 18.00 hours, when the men were all being held in the warehouse, VRS soldiers threw in hand grenades and opened fire with various weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades. In the local area it is said that the mass murder in Kravica was unplanned and started quite spontaneously when one of the warehouse doors suddenly swung open.

Supposedly, there was more killing in and around Kravica and Sandići. Even before the murders in the warehouse, some 200 or 300 men were formed up in ranks near Sandići and then mown down with machine guns. At Kravica, it seems that the local population had a hand in the killings. Some victims were mutilated and killed with knives. The bodies were taken to Bratunac or simply dumped in the river that runs alongside the road. One witness states that this all took place on the 14 July. There were three survivors of the slaughter in the farm sheds at Kravica.

Armed guards shot at the men who tried to climb out the windows to escape the massacre. When the shooting stopped, the shed was full of bodies. Another survivor, who was only slightly wounded, reports:

I was not even able to touch the floor, the concrete floor of the building (…) After the shooting, I felt a strange kind of heat, warmth, which was actually coming from the blood that covered the concrete floor, and I was stepping on the dead people who were lying around. But there were even people who were still alive, who were only wounded, and as soon as I would step on one, I would hear him cry, moan, because I was trying to move as fast as I could. I could tell that people had been completely disembodied, and I could feel bones of the people that had been hit by those bursts of gunfire or shells, I could feel their ribs crushing. And then I would get up again and continue.

[23]

When this witness climbed out of a window, he was seen by a guard who shot at him. He then pretended to be dead and managed to escape the following morning. The other witness quoted above spent the night under a heap of bodies; the next morning, he watched as the soldiers examined the corpses for signs of life. The few survivors were forced to sing Serbian songs, and were then shot. Once the final victim had been killed, an excavator was driven in to shunt the bodies out of the shed; the asphalt outside was then hosed down with water. In September 1996, however, it was still possible to find the evidence.

Analyses of hair, blood and explosives residue collected at the Kravica Warehouse provide strong evidence of the killings. Experts determined the presence of bullet strikes, explosives residue, bullets and shell cases, as well as human blood, bones and tissue adhering to the walls and floors of the building. Forensic evidence presented by the ICTY Prosecutor established a link between the executions in Kravica and the 'primary' mass grave known as Glogova 2, in which the remains of 139 people were found. In the 'secondary' grave known as Zeleni Jadar 5 there were 145 bodies, a number of which were charred. Pieces of brick and window frame which were found in the Glogova 1 grave that was opened later also established a link with Kravica. Here, the remains of 191 victims were found.

13th-14th of July 1995: Tišca[sunting | sunting sumber]

As the buses crowded with Bosniak women, children and elderly made their way from Potočari to Kladanj, they were stopped at Tišca, searched, and the Bosniak men and boys found on board were removed from the bus. The evidence reveals a well-organised operation in Tišca.

From the checkpoint, an officer directed the soldier escorting the witness towards a nearby school where many other prisoners were being held. At the school, a soldier on a field telephone appeared to be transmitting and receiving orders. Sometime around midnight, the witness was loaded onto a truck with 22 other men with their hands tied behind their backs. At one point the truck stopped and a soldier on the scene said: "Not here. Take them up there, where they took people before." The truck reached another stopping point where the soldiers came around to the back of the truck and started shooting the prisoners. The survivor escaped by running away from the truck and hiding in a forest.

14th of July 1995: Grbavci and Orahovac[sunting | sunting sumber]

A large group of the prisoners who had been held overnight in Bratunac were bussed in a convoy of 30 vehicles to the Grbavci school in Orahovac early in the morning of 14 July 1995. When they got there, the school gym was already half-filled with prisoners who had been arriving since the early morning hours and, within a few hours, the building was completely full. Survivors estimated that there were 2,000 to 2,500 men there, some of them very young and some quite elderly, although the ICTY Prosecution suggested this may have been an over-estimation and that the number of prisoners at this site was probably closer to 1,000. Some prisoners were taken outside and killed. At some point, a witness recalled, General Mladić arrived and told the men: "Well, your government does not want you, and I have to take care of you."

After being held in the gym for several hours, the men were led out in small groups to the execution fields that afternoon. Each prisoner was blindfolded and given a drink of water as he left the gym. The prisoners were then taken in trucks to the execution fields less than one kilometre away. The men were lined up and shot in the back; those who survived the initial gunfire were killed with an extra shot. Two adjacent meadows were used; once one was full of bodies, the executioners moved to the other. While the executions were in progress, the survivors said, earth-moving equipment was digging the graves. A witness who survived the shootings by pretending to be dead, reported that General Mladić drove up in a red car and watched some of the executions.

The forensic evidence supports crucial aspects of the survivors’ testimony. Both, aerial and satellite photos show that the ground in Orahovac was disturbed between 5 July and 27 July 1995 and again between 7 September and 27 September 1995. Two primary mass graves were uncovered in the area, and were named Lazete 1 and Lazete 2 by investigators.

The Lazete 1 gravesite was exhumed by the ICTY Prosecution between 13 July and 3 August 2000. All of the 130 individuals uncovered, for whom sex could be determined, were male; 138 blindfolds were uncovered in the grave. Identification material for 23 persons, listed as missing following the fall of Srebrenica, was located during the exhumations at this site. The gravesite Lazete 2 was partly exhumed by a joint team from the Office of the Prosecutor and Physicians for Human Rights between August and September 1996 and completed in 2000. All of the 243 victims associated with Lazete 2 were male and the experts determined that the vast majority died of gunshot injuries. In addition, 147 blindfolds were located.

Forensic analysis of soil/pollen samples, blindfolds, ligatures, shell cases and aerial images of creation/disturbance dates, further revealed that bodies from the Lazete 1 and 2 graves were removed and reburied at secondary graves named Hodžići Road 3, 4 and 5. Aerial images show that these secondary gravesites were created between 7 September and 2 October 1995, and all of them were exhumed in 1998.

14th-15th of July 1995: Petkovići[sunting | sunting sumber]

On the 14 July and 15 July 1995, another large group of prisoners numbering some 1,500 to 2,000 were taken from Bratunac to the school in Petkovići. The conditions under which these men were held at the Petkovići school were even worse than those in Grabavci. It was hot, overcrowded and there was no food or water. In the absence of anything else, some prisoners chose to drink their own urine. Every now and then, soldiers would enter the room and physically abuse prisoners, or would call them outside. A few of the prisoners contemplated an escape attempt, but others said it would be better to stay since the International Red Cross would be sure to monitor the situation and they could not all be killed.

The men were called outside in small groups. They were ordered to strip to the waist and to remove their shoes, whereupon their hands were tied behind their backs. During the night of 14th of July, the men were taken by truck to the dam at Petkovići. Those who arrived later could see immediately what was going on there. A large number of bodies were strewn on the ground, their hands tied behind their backs. Small groups of five to ten men were taken out of the trucks, lined up and shot. Some begged for water but their pleas were ignored. A survivor described his feelings of fear combined with thirst thus:

I was really sorry that I would die of thirst, and I was trying to hide among the people for as long as I could, like everybody else. I just wanted to live for another second or two. And when it was my turn, I jumped out with what I believe were four other people. I could feel the gravel beneath my feet. It hurt. (…) I was walking with my head bent down and I wasn't feeling anything. (…) And then I thought that I would die very fast, that I would not suffer. And I just thought that my mother would never know where I had ended up. This is what I was thinking as I was getting out of the truck. (…) I was still very thirsty. But it was sort of between life and death. I didn't know whether I wanted to live or to die anymore. I decided not to call out for them to shoot and kill me, but I was sort of praying to God that they'd come and kill me.

[23]

After the soldiers had left, two survivors helped each other to untie their hands, and then crawled over the heap of bodies towards the woods, where they intended to hide. As dawn arrived, they could see the execution site where bulldozers were collecting the bodies. On the way to the execution site, one of the survivors had peeked out from under his blindfold and had seen that Mladić was also on his way to the scene.

Aerial photos confirmed that the earth near the Petkovići dam had been disturbed, and that it was disturbed yet again some time between 7 September and 27 September 1995. When the grave here was opened in April 1998, many bodies appeared to have disappeared. Their removal had been accomplished with mechanical apparatus, causing considerable disturbance to the grave and its contents. At this time, the grave contained the remains of no more than 43 persons. Other bodies had been removed to a secondary grave, Liplje 2, prior to 2 October 1995. Here, the remains of at least 191 individuals were discovered.

14th-16th of July 1995: Branjevo[sunting | sunting sumber]

On 14 July 1995, more prisoners from Bratunac were bussed northward to a school in the village of Pilica, north of Zvornik. As at other detention facilities, there was no food or water and several men died in the school gym from heat and dehydration. The men were held at the Pilica school for two nights. On 16 July 1995, following a now familiar pattern, the men were called out of the school and loaded onto buses with their hands tied behind their backs. They were then driven to the Branjevo Military Farm, where groups of 10 were lined up and shot.

Dražen Erdemović—who confessed killing at least 70 Bosniaks—was a member of the VRS 10th Sabotage Detachment (a Main Staff subordinate unit) and participated in the mass execution. Erdemović appeared as a prosecution witness and testified: "The men in front of us were ordered to turn their backs. When those men turned their backs to us, we shot at them. We were given orders to shoot."

On this point, one of the survivors recalls:

When they opened fire, I threw myself on the ground. (…) And one man fell on my head. I think that he was killed on the spot. And I could feel the hot blood pouring over me. (…) I could hear one man crying for help. He was begging them to kill him. And they simply said "Let him suffer. We'll kill him later."

[23]

Erdemović said that all but one of the victims wore civilian clothes and that, except for one person who tried to escape, they offered no resistance before being shot. Sometimes the executioners were particularly cruel. When some of the soldiers recognised acquaintances from Srebrenica, they beat and humiliated them before killing them. Erdemovic had to persuade his fellow soldiers to stop using a machine gun for the killings; while it mortally wounded the prisoners it did not cause death immediately and prolonged their suffering.

Between 1,000 and 1,200 men were killed in the course of that day at this execution site.

Aerial photographs, taken on 17 July 1995, of an area around the Branjevo Military Farm, show a large number of bodies lying in the field near the farm, as well as traces of the excavator that collected the bodies from the field.

Erdemović testified that, at around 15:00 hours on 16 July 1995, after he and his fellow soldiers from the 10th Sabotage Detachment had finished executing the prisoners at the Branjevo Military Farm, they were told that there was a group of 500 Bosniak prisoners from Srebrenica trying to break out of a nearby Dom Kultura club. Erdemović and the other members of his unit refused to carry out any more killings. They were then told to attend a meeting with a Lieutenant Colonel at a café in Pilica. Erdemović and his fellow-soldiers travelled to the café as requested and, as they waited, they could hear shots and grenades being detonated. The sounds lasted for approximately 15–20 minutes after which a soldier from Bratunac entered the café to inform those present that "everything was over".

It is noteworthy that two of the three survivors of the executions at the Branjevo Military Farm were arrested by local Bosnian Serb police on 25 July and sent to the prisoner of war compound at Batkovici. One had been a member of the group separated from the women in Potočari on 13 July. The prisoners who were taken to Batkovici survived the ordeal and were later able to testify before the Tribunal.

There were no survivors to explain exactly what had happened in the Dom Kultura. However, it is remarkable that this was no execution at some remote spot, but one in the centre of town on the main road from Zvornik to Bijeljina. Over a year later, it was still possible to find physical evidence of this atrocity. As in Kravica, many traces of blood, hair and body tissue were found in the building, with cartridges and shells littered throughout the two storeys. It could also be established that explosives and machine guns had been used. Human remains and personal possessions were found under the stage, where blood had dripped down through the floorboards.

14th-17th of July 1995: Kozluk[sunting | sunting sumber]

The exact date of the executions at Kozluk is not known, although it can be narrowed down to the period of 14 July to 17 July 1995. The most probable dates are the 15 July and 16 July, not least due to the geographic location of Kozluk, between Petkovići Dam and the Branjevo Military Farm. It therefore falls within the pattern of ever more northerly execution sites: Orahovac on 14 July, Petkovići Dam on 15 July, the Branjevo Military Farm and the Pilica Dom Kultura on 16 July. Another indication is that a Zvornik Brigade excavator spent eight hours in Kozluk on 16 July, and a truck belonging to same brigade made two journeys between Orahovac and Kozluk that day. A bulldozer is known to have been active in Kozluk on 18 July and 19 July.

Among Bosnian refugees in Germany, there were rumours of executions in Kozluk, during which the five hundred or so prisoners were forced to sing Serbian songs as they were being transported to the executions site. Although no survivors have since come forward, investigations in 1999 led to the discovery of a mass grave near Kozluk. This proved to be the actual location of an execution as well, and lay alongside the Drina accessible only by driving through the barracks occupied by the Drina Wolves, a regular police unit of Republika Srpska. The grave was not dug specifically for the purpose: it had previously been a quarry and a landfill site. Investigators found many shards of green glass which the nearby 'Vitinka' bottling plant had dumped there. This facilitated the process of establishing links with the secondary graves along Čančari Road.

The grave at Kozluk had been partly cleared some time prior to 27 September 1995, but no fewer than 340 bodies were found there nonetheless. In 292 cases, it was clear that they had died as the result of rifle fire: 83 by a single shot to the head, 76 by one shot through the torso region, 72 by multiple gunfire wounds, five by wounds to the legs and one person by gunfire wounds to the arm. The ages of the victims were estimated as between 8 and 85 years old. Some had been physically disabled, occasionally as the result of amputation. Many had clearly been tied and bound using strips of clothing or nylon thread.

Along the Čančari Road are twelve known mass graves, of which only two—Čančari Road 3 and 12—have been investigated in detail by 2001. Čančari Road 3 is known to have been a secondary grave linked to Kozluk, as shown by the glass fragments and labels from the Vitinka factory. The remains of 158 victims were found here, of which 35 bodies were still more or less intact and indicated that most had been killed by gunfire. Čančari Road 12 was the site of the re-interment of at least 174 bodies, moved here from the mass grave at the Branjevo Military Farm. Only 43 were complete sets of remains, most of which established that death had taken place as there result of rifle fire. Of the 313 various body parts found, 145 displayed gunshot wounds of a severity likely to prove fatal.

13th-18th of July 1995: Brutanac-Konjevic Polje road[sunting | sunting sumber]

On 13 July 1995, in the vicinity of Konjevic Polje, Bosnian Serb soldiers summarily executed hundreds of Bosniaks, including women and children.

The men who were found attempting to escape by the Bratunac-Konjevic Polje road were told that the Geneva Convention would be observed if they gave themselves up. In Bratunac, men were told that there were Serbian personnel standing by to escort them to Zagreb for an exchange of prisoners. The visible presence of UN uniforms and UN vehicles, stolen from Dutchbat, were intended to contribute to the feeling of reassurance. On 17 July 1995 to 18 July 1995, Serb soldiers captured about 150-200 Bosniaks and summarily executed about one-half of them.

18th-19th of July 1995: Nezuk-Baljkovica frontline[sunting | sunting sumber]

After the closure to the corridor at Baljkovica, several groups of stragglers nevertheless attempted to escape into Bosnian territory. Most were captured by VRS troops in the Nezuk—Baljkovica area and killed on the spot. In the vicinity of Nezuk, about 20 small groups surrendered to Bosnian Serb military forces. After the men surrendered, Bosnian Serb soldiers ordered them to line up and summarily executed them.

On 19 July, for example, a group of approximately 11 men were killed at Nezuk itself by units of the 16th Krajina Brigade, then operating under the direct command of the Zvornik Brigade. Reports reveal that a further 13 men, all ABiH soldiers, were killed at Nezuk on 19 July. The report of the march to Tuzla includes the account of an ABiH soldier who witnessed several executions carried out by police that day. He survived because 30 ABiH soldiers were needed for an exchange of prisoners following the ABiH's capture of an VRS officer at Baljkovica. The soldier was himself exchanged late 1995; at that time, there were still 229 men from Srebrenica in the Batkovici prisoner of war camp, including two men who had been taken prisoner in 1994.

At the same time, there were around 200 ABiH soldiers armed with automatic and hunting rifles hiding close to the old road near Snagovo. On morning, about 50 Bosniaks attacked the Zvornik Brigade line in the area of Pandurica in order to break through to the Bosnian-government territory. The Zvornik Public Security Centre issued orders to surround and destroy on the following day both mentioned groups with all available forces.

20th-22nd of July 1995: Meces area[sunting | sunting sumber]

On 20 July to 21 July 1995, near the village of Meces, Bosnian Serb military personnel, using megaphones, urged Bosniak men who had fled Srebrenica to surrender and assured them that they would be safe. Approximately 350 men responded to these entreaties and surrendered. Serb soldiers then took approximately 150 of them, instructed them to dig their own graves and then summarily executed them.

On 22 July 1995 an excavator dug a large pit and Bosnian Serb soldiers ordered approximately 260 Bosniak men who had been captured to stand around the hole. The men were then surrounded by armed Bosnian Serb soldiers and ordered not to move or they would be shot. Some of the men moved and were shot. The remaining men were pushed into the hole and buried alive.

After the massacre[sunting | sunting sumber]

On 22 July, the commanding officer of the Zvornik Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Vinko Pandurevic, requested the Drina Corps to set up a committee to oversee the exchange of prisoners. He also asked for instructions with regard to the prisoners of war his unit had already taken: where they should be handed over and to whom. A number of wounded captives (approximately 50) were taken to the Bratunac hospital. Another group of prisoners was taken the Batkovici camp (near Bijeljina), and these were mostly exchanged later. On 25 July, the Zvornik Brigade took a further 25 ABiH soldiers captive; they were taken directly to the camp at Batkovici. The same fate befell another 34 ABiH men the following day. The Zvornik Brigade reports until 31 July continue to describe the search for refugees and the capture of small groups of Bosniaks.

A number of Bosniaks managed to get across to Serbia in Ljubovija and Bajina Basta. From where 38 of them were returned to RS. Some of them were taken to the Batkovici camp, where they were exchanged. The fate of the majority of those returned has not been established to date.

By 17 July 1995, 201 Bosniak soldiers came to Žepa; they are very exhausted and many of them with light wounds. Another 500 people arrived to Žepa from Srebrenica by 28 July, 1995.

After 19 July 1995, small Bosniak groups were hiding in the woods for days and months, trying to reach Tuzla. Numerous refugees found themselves cut off for some time in the area around Mount Udrc. They did not know what to do next or where to go; they managed to stay alive by eating snails, leaves and mushrooms. The atmosphere was one of tension, hunger and desperation. On or about 23 July, the Bosnian Serbs swept through this area too, and according to one survivor they killed many people as they did so.

Meanwhile, the VRS had commenced the process of clearing the bodies from around Srebrenica, Žepa, Kamenica and Snagovo. Work parties and municipal services were deployed to help. In Srebrenica, the refuse that had littered the streets since the departure of the people was collected and burnt, the town disinfected and deloused.

The wanderers[sunting | sunting sumber]

Many people in the part of the column which had not succeeded in passing Kamenica did not wish to give themselves up and decided to turn back towards Žepa. Others remained where they were, splitting up into smaller groups of no more than ten. Some wandered around for months, either alone or groups of two, four or six men. Few knew the way and attempted to navigate by following overhead power cables. They often found corpses, by now in a state of decomposition. Sometimes one group met another group from Srebrenica who knew of a deserted Bosniak village in the region; they would then proceed there together.

To feed themselves, the men took potatoes and other vegetables from the fields around the Serbian villages at night. The local Bosnian Serb population therefore began to mount patrols around their villages. The Bosniaks would generally sleep by day and wait for the cover of darkness before moving on. This continued for a long time. For example, the people of Milici, a village on the route to Tuzla, discovered the disappearance of livestock in November 1995 and an armed group of some of them went in search of stragglers from the column.

Some of the Bosniak men decided to retrace their steps towards the Srebrenica region, since this was familiar territory and they knew where to find food. From here, they would once again set out towards Žepa or attempt to reach Tuzla. Some arrived in Tuzla after many months, having been wandering around the area between Srebrenica and Udrc with absolutely no sense of direction. A few hundred managed to reach Žepa just before the VRS occupied the enclave on 25 July. Once Žepa had succumbed to the Bosnian Serb pressure, they had to move on once more, either trying to reach Tuzla or crossing the River Drina into Serbia.

Survivors' stories

There are many stories recalling the experiences of those who lost contact with the column, their wanderings and the horrors they saw. These include the account of a 54-year-old engineer who lost touch with his group near to Kravica and who was attacked by a Bosnian Serb civilian wielding a metal pipe. The engineer was beaten unconscious and left for dead; when he came round, he went into hiding for a day before meeting a group of 6 other men from Srebrenica. Together, they lay low for another two days, living on mushrooms and the few rations they had remaining. During the next few days, this group grew to include approximately 50 men. They were surrounded by VRS troops who demanded that they should give themselves up; most did so immediately, but the engineer and seven others managed to remain hidden. This group split up, later met yet another VRS patrol and once again managed to escape capture. Hunger forced them to turn back to Srebrenica in the hope of finding something to eat in one of the abandoned villages. Eventually, the engineer reached Žepa where he managed to find a place on the last bus to transport the evacuees out of the town. General Mladić was there to bid a personal farewell to the passengers and assuring them that no harm would come to them on the way, while posing for a CNN camera team.

A particularly memorable story is that of three young men aged 17, 18 and 19. On several occasions they attempted to cross the main Konjevic Polje to Nova Kasaba road but were unsuccessful in doing so each time. They eventually managed to reach Žepa only after the enclave had fallen. They had set up camp in a couple of deserted Bosniak villages where they managed to hide out for several months without attracting attention. Sometimes the teenagers would escort groups of other refugees as far as the next obstacle before eventually returning to their base. Finally, on 26 April 1996, a full six months after the signing of the Dayton Accord, they crossed the Drina into Serbia.

Zvronik 7

Another group of seven men wandered about in occupied territory for the entire winter. On 10 May 1996, after nine months on the run, they were discovered in a quarry by American IFOR soldiers; the men immediately turned over to the Americans. They were searched and their weapons—two pistols and three hand grenades—were confiscated. The men said that they had been in hiding in the immediate vicinity of Srebrenica since the fall of the enclave; they did not look like soldiers and the Americans decided that this was a matter for the police.[54] The operations officer of this American unit ordered that a VRS patrol should be escorted into the quarry whereupon the men would be handed over.

The prisoners said they were initially tortured after the transfer, but later were treated well. In April 1997 Bosnian Serb court convicted the group—known as the Zvornik 7—for illegal possession of firearms and three of them for the murder of four Serbian woodsmen. The trial was widely condemned by the international community as "a flagrant miscarriage of justice."[55] When announcing the verdict the presenter of the Bosnian Serb TV described them as "the group of Muslim terrorists from Srebrenica who last year massacred Serb civilians."[56]

This conviction was later quashed for 'procedural reasons' following pressure from the international community. In 1999 the three remaining defendants in the Zvornik 7 case had been swapped for three Serbs serving 15 years each in the Bosnian prison.

The reburials[sunting | sunting sumber]

From approximately August 1st 1995 to November 1st 1995, there was an organized effort to remove the bodies from primary mass gravesites and transport them to secondary and tertiary gravesites.[34] In the ICTY court case "Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic", the trial chamber found that this reburial effort was an attempt to conceal evidence of the mass murders.[35]The trial chamber found that the cover up operation was ordered by the VRS Main Staff and subsequently carried out by members of the Bratunac and Zvornik Brigades.[36] The cover up operation has had a direct impact on the recovery and identification of the remains. The removal and reburial of the bodies have caused them to become dismembered and co-mingled, making it difficult for forensic investigators to positively identify the remains.[37] For example, in one specific case, the remains of one person were found in two different locations, 30 km apart.[38] In addition to the ligatures and blindfolds found at the mass graves, the effort to hide the bodies has been seen as evidence of the organized nature of the massacres and the non-combatant status of the victims, since had the victims died in normal combat operations, there would be no need to hide their remains.[39] [40]

Non-Serb participants in the killings[sunting | sunting sumber]

According to the report by Agence France Presse (AFP), a dozen Greek volunteers took part in the massacre of Srebrenica.[41] These persons belonged to the Greek Volunteer Guard (ΕΕΦ), an integral part of the Drina Corps and were either members of the Golden Dawn, a Greek neo-Nazi group, or mercenaries. According to a book by Takis Michas, a Greek flag was raised in Srebrenica following the fall of the city[42] while Radovan Karadžić had honored the volunteers.[43] The pretense of involvement of Greek citizens in the massacre was to support their "Orthodox brothers" in battle.[44]

The whole issue was forgotten for years until the Greek deputy Andreas Andrianopoulos broached the subject in 2005 and the Minister of Justice Anastasios Papaligouras committed an investigation, which is still underway.[45]


Post-war developments[sunting | sunting sumber]

Dutch government report

The Srebrenica massacre led to a long-running discussions in the Netherlands. In 1996, the Dutch government asked the Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (NIOD, translation: Dutch Institute for War Documentation) to conduct research into the events before, during and after the fall of Srebrenica. The resulting report was published in 2002.[46] It concluded that the Dutchbat mission was not well considered and nigh impossible. The NIOD report is cited often, but it has not escaped criticism, leading the Institute for War and Peace Reporting to label the report controversial.[47]

As a result the Dutch government accepted partial responsibility and the second cabinet of Wim Kok resigned.[48][49]

Srebrenica genocide memorial and the terrorist plot

On September 30, 2003, former US President Bill Clinton officially opened Srebrenica Genocide Memorial. Total cost of the project was around $6 million, of which the United States government provided $1 million. We remember this terrible crime because we dare not forget, because we must pay tribute to the innocent lives, many of them children who were snuffed out in what must be called genocidal madness, Clinton said.[50]

On July 6, 2005, Bosnian Serb police have found two powerful bombs at the memorial site, just days ahead of a ceremony to mark the massacre's 10th anniversary, when 580 identified victims were to be buried during the ceremony, and more than 50,000 people, including international politicians and diplomats, were expected to attend. The bombs would have caused widespread loss of life and injury had they exploded, and were probably aimed at plunging the region into further bloodshed.

Republika Srpska's report and official apology

In 2004, the international community's High Representative Paddy Ashdown had the Government of Republika Srpska form a committee to investigate the events. The committee released a report in October 2004 with 8,731 confirmed names of missing and dead persons from Srebrenica: 7,793 between 10 July and 19 July 1995 and further 938 people afterwards.

Findings of the committee remain generally disputed by the Serb nationalists, as they claim it was heavily pressured by the High Representative. Nevertheless, Dragan Čavić, the president of Republika Srpska, acknowledged in a televised address that Serb forces killed several thousand civilians in violation of the international law, and asserted that Srebrenica was a dark chapter in Serb history.[51]

On November 10, 2004, the government of Republika Srpska issued an official apology. The statement came after government review of the Srebrenica committee's report. "The report makes it clear that enormous crimes were committed in the area of Srebrenica in July 1995. The Bosnian Serb Government shares the pain of the families of the Srebrenica victims, is truly sorry and apologizes for the tragedy." the Bosnian Serb government said.[52]

Release of a massacre video

Fail:Srebrenica6.jpg
Screenshot from recently released video footage showing a Serb Orthodox priest blessing the members of the Serb paramilitary formation Scorpions on June 25, 1995 just a few days before the soldiers participated in the Srebrenica massacre

On June 2, 2005 video evidence emerged. It was introduced at the Milošević trial to testify the involvement of members of police units from Serbia in Srebrenica massacre. [57]

The video footage starts about 2hr 35 min. into the proceedings. The footage shows an orthodox priest blessing several soldiers. Later these soldiers are shown with tied up captives, dressed in civilian clothing and visibly physically abused; they were later identified as four minors as young as 16 and two men in their early twenties. The footage then shows the execution of four of the civilians and shows them lying dead in the field. At this point the cameraman expresses disappointment that the camera's battery is almost out. The soldiers then ordered the two remaining captives to take the four dead bodies into a nearby barn, where they were also killed upon completing this task.

The video has caused a public outrage in Serbia. In the days following its showing, the Serbian government quickly arrested some of the former soldiers identified on the video. The event has most extensively been covered by the newspaper Danas and radio and television station B92. As was reported by Bosnian media, at least one mother of a filmed captive saw the execution of her son on television. She claimed she was already aware of her son's death, and said she had been told that his body was burned following the execution; his remains were among those buried in Potočari in 2003.

U.S. Congress resolution

On June 27, 2005, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution (H. Res. 199 sponsored by Congressman Christopher Smith and Congressman Benjamin Cardin) commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The resolution was passed with overwhelming majority of 370—YES votes, 1—NO vote, and 62— ABSENT .[53] The resolution states that:

...the policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing as implemented by Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 and 1995 with the direct support of Serbian regime of Slobodan Milošević and its followers ultimately led to the displacement of more than 2,000,000 people, an estimated 200,000 killed, tens of thousands raped or otherwise tortured and abused, and the innocent civilians of Sarajevo and other urban centers repeatedly subjected to shelling and sniper attacks; meet the terms defining the crime of genocide in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, created in Paris on December 9, 1948, and entered into force on January 12, 1951.


Perpetuators named

On October 4, 2005, the Special Bosnian Serb Government Working Group said that 25,083 people were involved in the massacre including 19,473 members of various Bosnian Serb armed forces that actively gave orders or directly took part in the massacre. They have identified 17,074 by name.[54] It has also been reported that some 892 of those suspects still hold positions at or are employed by the government of Republika Srpska. The names are still held secret.[55]

Discoveries of a further mass graves

By 2006, 42 mass graves have been uncovered around Srebrenica and the specialists believe there are 22 more mass graves. The victims identified number 2,070 while body parts in more than 7,000 bags still await identification.[56] On August 11, 2006 over 1,000 body parts were exhumed from one of Srebrenica mass graves located in Kamenica.[57]

Secret Serb report

On August 24 2006, The Oslobodjenje Daily started releasing secret list of over 800 Bosnian Serbs who participated in the Srebrenica massacre and are still believed to be in a position of power. The list was compiled by the Bosnian Serb government.[58]

Srebrenica medal controversy

In December 2006 the Dutch government awarded the Dutch UN peacekeepers that served in Srebrenica an insignia because they believe they "deserved recognition for their behaviour in difficult circumstances", also noting the limited mandate and the ill-equipped nature of the mission. However, survivors and relatives of the victims condemned the move calling it a "humiliating decision" and responded with protest rallies in The Hague, Assen (where the ceremony took place) and Bosnia's capital Sarajevo.[59]

Legal proceedings[sunting | sunting sumber]

On September 26 1997, Germany handed down first Genocide conviction to Serb soldier Nikola Jorgic for crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ratko Mladić and other Serb officers in the Army of Republika Srpska have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes committed during the Srebrenica genocide.

Two Serb officers have been convicted for their involvement in the Srebrenica genocide, Radislav Krstić and Vidoje Blagojević. General Radislav Krstić, who led the assault on Srebrenica alongside Ratko Mladić, was convicted by the tribunal of aiding and abetting genocide and received a sentence of 35 years imprisonment. Colonel Vidoje Blagojević received a sentence of 18 years imprisonment for crimes against humanity. Krstić was the first European to be convicted on a charge of genocide and only the third person ever to have been convicted under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The ICTY's final ruling was that the Srebrenica massacre was indeed an act of genocide.[60]
At the ICTY, the trial of seven senior Serb military and police officers facing charges ranging from genocide to murder and deportation for the crimes committed in Srebrenica began July 14, 2006. Their names are: Vujadin Popovic, Ljubisa Beara, Drago Nikolic, Ljubomir Borovcanin, Vinko Pandurevic, Radivoje Miletic and Milan Gvero; Zdravko Tolimir is still at large.[61] Eleven more individuals are on trial in Bosnia and Herzegovina for their involvement in the Srebrenica massacre, and they are: Milos Stupar, Milenko Trifunovic, Petar Mitrovic, Aleksandar Radovanovic, Miladin Stevanovic, Brano Dzinic, Slobodan Jakovljevic, Branislav Medan, Dragisa Zivanovica, Velibor Maksimovic, and Milovan Matic.[62]

In addition, the Srebrenica massacre is the core issue of the landmark court case Bosnian genocide case at the International Court of Justice through which Bosnia and Herzegovina has accused Serbia and Montenegro of genocide and aggression. On February 26, 2007 the ICJ ruled that the Serbia could not be held responsible for the mass killing committed by Bosnian Serb forces, or complicity in the act.[63] However, the court also ruled that Serbia failed to prevent the Srebrenica genocide and violated its international obligations by not handing over individuals accused of the crime. The Court also re-affirmed that the Srebrenica massacre was a genocide. Serbia obtained court permission to keep parts of the military archives out of the public eye, citing national security, which may have decisively affected ICJ's judgement in the lawsuit brought against Serbia by Bosnia-Herzegovina. [64]

The ICTY has already ruled, at least five times, that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was an international conflict between Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia.

On April 10th 2007, a Serbian war crimes court sentenced four members of a paramilitary group known as the Scorpions to a total of 58 years in prison for the execution of six Bosniaks during the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995. [65]

Analyses[sunting | sunting sumber]

Role of Bosniak forces on the ground[sunting | sunting sumber]

A report requested by the 53rd session of the United Nations General Assembly and delivered to the 54th session addresses the conduct of Bosniak forces in Srebrenica.

Titled "Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35 - The Fall of Srebrenica" [66], delivered on November 15, 1999, it states:

"Concerning the accusation that the Bosniacs did not do enough to defend Srebrenica, military experts consulted in connection with this report were largely in agreement that the Bosniacs could not have defended Srebrenica for long in the face of a concerted attack supported by armour and artillery." [67]

"Many have accused the Bosniac forces of withdrawing from the enclave as the Serb forces advanced on the day of its fall. However, it must be remembered that on the eve of the final Serb assault the Dutchbat Commander urged the Bosniacs to withdraw from defensive positions south of Srebrenica town — the direction from which the Serbs were advancing. He did so because he believed that NATO aircraft would soon be launching widespread air strikes against the advancing Serbs." [68]

"A third accusation levelled at the Bosniac defenders of Srebrenica is that they provoked the Serb offensive by attacking out of that safe area. Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it. Dutchbat personnel on the ground at the time assessed that the few "raids" the Bosniacs mounted out of Srebrenica were of little or no military significance. These raids were often organized in order to gather food, as the Serbs had refused access for humanitarian convoys into the enclave. Even Serb sources approached in the context of this report acknowledged that the Bosniac forces in Srebrenica posed no significant military threat to them. The biggest attack the Bosniacs launched out of Srebrenica during the more than two years during which it was designated a safe area appears to have been the raid on the village of Višnjica, on 26 June 1995, in which several houses were burned, up to four Serbs were killed and approximately 100 sheep were stolen. In contrast, the Serbs overran the enclave two weeks later, driving tens of thousands from their homes, and summarily executing thousands of men and boys. The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create a geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of "moral equivalency" through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long."[69]


Dispute regarding Serb casualties around Srebrenica[sunting | sunting sumber]

It is agreed by all sides that Serbs suffered a number of casualties during military forays led by Naser Orić. The controversy over the nature and number of the casualties came to a head in 2005, the 10th anniversary of the massacre.[70] According to Human Rights Watch, the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party "launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area" which "was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime."[70] A press briefing by the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor dated 6 July 2005 noted that the number of Serb deaths in the region alleged by the Serbian authorities had increased from 1400 to 3500, a figure the ICTY stated "just does not reflect the reality."[71] The briefing cited previous accounts:

- The Republika Srpska's Commission for War Crimes gave the number of Serb victims in the municipalities of Bratunac, Srebrenica and Skelani as 995, 520 in Bratunac and 475 in Srebrenica.

- The book "The Chronicle of Our Graves" by Milivoje Ivanisevic (president of the Belgrade Centre for Investigating Crimes Committed against the Serbs) estimates the number of people killed at around 1200.

- "For the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom", a book published by the RS Ministry of Interior, referred to 641 Serb victims in the Bratunac-Srebrenica-Skelani region.

The accuracy of these numbers is challenged: the ICTY noted that although Ivanisevic's book estimated that around 1200 Serbs were killed, personal details were only available for 624 victims.[71] The validity of labeling some of the casualties as "victims" is also contested[71]: studies have found a significant majority of military casualties compared to civilian casualties.[72] This is in line with the nature of the conflict - Serb casualties died in raids by Bosniak forces on outlying villages used as military outposts for attacks on Srebrenica[73] (many of which had been ethnically cleansed of their Bosniak majority population in 1992).[74] For example the village of Kravica was attacked by Bosniak forces on Orthodox Christmas Day, 7 January 1993. Some Serb sources such as Ivanisevic allege that the village's 353 inhabitants were "virtually completely destroyed".[71] In fact, the VRS' own internal records state that 46 Serbs died in the Kravica attack: 35 soldiers and 11 civilians.[75] while the ICTY Prosecutor's Office's investigation of casualties on 7 and 8 January in Kravica and the surrounding villages found that 43 people were killed, of whom 13 were obviously civilians.[76] Nevertheless the event continues to be cited by Serb sources as the key example of heinous crimes committed by Bosniak forces around Srebrenica.[70]

The most up-to-date analysis of Serb casualties in the region comes from the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center, a non-partisan institution with a multiethnic staff.[72] The RDC's extensive review of casualty data found that Serb casualties in the Bratunac municipality amounted to 119 civilians and 424 soldiers.[69] It also established that although the 383 Serb victims buried in the Bratunac military cemetery are presented as casualties of ARBiH units from Srebrenica, 139 (more than one third of the total) had fought and died elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[72]

Serb sources maintain that casualties and losses during the period prior to the creation of the safe area gave rise to Serb demands for revenge against the Bosniaks based in Srebrenica. The ARBiH raids are presented as a key motivating factor for the July 1995 genocide.[77] This view is echoed by international sources including the 2002 report commissioned by the Dutch government on events leading to the fall of Srebrenica (the NIOD report).[78] However these sources also cite misleading figures for the number of Serb casualties in the region. The NIOD report, for instance, repeats the erroneous claim that the raid on Kravica resulted in the total annihilation of its population. Many consider these efforts to explain the motivation behind the Srebrenica massacre are merely revisionist attempts to justify the genocide. To quote the report to the UN Secretary-General on the Fall of Srebrenica[79]:

"Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it… The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create a geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of 'moral equivalency' through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long."

"Alternative Views"[sunting | sunting sumber]

A range of alternative views of the Srebrenica massacre exist, from those who believe that the massacre did not take place at all to those who believe that far fewer than 8,000 were killed or that most of those killed were the result of combat, not executions.

The Bosnian Serb side has, under the pressure of the authority of High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Paddy Ashdown, officially admitted the number of killed Bosniaks and expressed regrets for the massacre in 2004 (Comm. Inv. Ev. Srebrenica, 2004). Although the International Crimes Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was an act of Genocide, the number of casualties is still disputed by some Serbs. The government of the Republika Srpska has officially condemned the atrocity.

Some in Serbia have had doubts about the number of people killed for some time. Among Western observers, the radicals on both sides of the political spectrum have disputed the original accounts of the massacre for different reasons. For example, the scale of the massacre has been questioned by some on the Marxist left, including the British magazine Living Marxism and American journalist Diana Johnstone.[80]

Still, many Serb groups espouse denial of massacre, claiming that the intentional figure of nearly 8,000 deaths is grossly exaggerated and that Republika Srpska government had no extermination policy. Some others, who do not deny mass killings by the Republika Srpska, have engaged in pointing out "immoral equivalencies" (e.g. the killing and ethnic cleansing of Serbs by Croatian forces) and/or justifications for the executions (e.g. retaliation or punishment for sabotage, terrorism, or subversion). Others have claimed that the fact that only men were killed means that the massacre was not an act of genocide although the veracity of this assumption has been shown to be inaccurate. It should also be noted that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the crime as "Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part").

Many Serbs distrusted the western explanation of the events due to the long delays in proving that there were mass graves in the area, and that people in them were indeed Bosniaks (it took almost a decade for a notable percentage of bodies to be identified). In their eyes, further doubt was cast on the mainstream story when the UN High Representative Paddy Ashdown relieved and replaced the examining commission of Republika Srpska which supported the republic's initial self-exoneration. This only exacerbated the concern that there was bias among the westerners resulting in focusing on the wartime acts of Serbs and neglecting those of Bosniaks and Croats.

Some apparently take pride in the massacre, expressed through the rallying cry: "Nož, žica, Srebrenica" ("Knife, Wire, Srebrenica"). "Nož, žica, Srebrenica" has appeared in banners and in chants at soccer games [81] and as graffiti in Serbia. [82]

Further reading[sunting | sunting sumber]

See also[sunting | sunting sumber]

External links[sunting | sunting sumber]

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Links espousing controversial views[sunting | sunting sumber]

References[sunting | sunting sumber]

  1. one of 22,200 examples from Feb. 10, 2006 google search; Washington Post, "Srebrenica Genocide Trial to Restart"; [1]
  2. "Serbia: Mladic “Recruited” Infamous Scorpions". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. [2]
  3. Srebrenica Video Vindicates Long Pursuit by Serb Activist; [3]
  4. National Public Radio programme "All Things Considered, June 3, 2005" - Dejan Anastasijevic of Vreme Magazine tells Melissa Block "... This specific paramilitary unit is not a Bosnian Serb unit, it is a unit which comes from Serbia and the people from the Unit were actually members of the Serbian police force, so this is the first hard evidence that Serbian troops from Serbia were involved in the Srebrenica massacre. So far Serbian authorities were always claiming that troops from Serbia were not involved in the Bosnian War, just Bosnian Serb units. ..."; [4]
  5. Scorpions'Trail by Dejan Anastasjevic, Vreme, Belgrade, 9 June 2006
  6. ICJ judgement paragraphs 385 through 415 [5]
  7. Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Tribunal Update: Briefly Noted (TU No 398, 18-Mar-05) [6]
  8. ICTY "Prosecutor v. Krstic" [7]
  9. ICTY; "Address by ICTY President Theodor Meron, at Potocari Memorial Cemetery" The Hague, 23 June 2004 [8]
  10. Court Declares Bosnia Killings Were Genocide The New York Times, February 26, 2007. A copy of the ICJ judgement can be found here
  11. ICTY Trial Chamber Judgement "Prosecutor vs Krstic", Findings of Fact, paragraphs 18 and 26 [9]
  12. ICTY, Prosecutor vs Krstic, Trial Chamber Judgement, Case No. IT-98-33-T, paras 43–46. [10]
  13. Federal Commission for Missing Persons; "Preliminary List of Missing and Killed in Srebrenica"; 2005 [11]PDF (522 KiB). The list is discussed here and the identification process here
  14. ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Krstic, Trial Chamber Judgement, para. 12
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  18. ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Radislav Krstic Judgement; United Nations; para. #13 [14]
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  28. Daruvalla, Abi. (21 April 2002). "Anatomy of a Massacre" (dalam bahasa English). TIME Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/article/0,13005,901020429-232505,00.html. 
  29. Bosnia's Accidental Genocide, Bosnian Institute in UK. September 30, 2006.
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  35. ICTY: Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic Trial Chamber Judgment Case No. IT-02-60 paragraph 382 Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic
  36. ICTY: Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic Trial Chamber Judgment Case No. IT-02-60 paragraph 383[http://www.un.org/icty/blagojevic/trialc/judgement/index.htm Prosecutor v. Blagojevic and Jokic
  37. Durnford, Laura[http://www.radionetherlands.nl/features/science/050711rf "Bridges of Bone and Blood"
  38. The Scotsman "Finding the Bodies To Fill Bosnia's Graves" commentary by Adam Boys (ICMP) comment # 16.Adam Boys Commentary
  39. Durnford, Laura[http://www.radionetherlands.nl/features/science/050711rf "Bridges of Bone and Blood"
  40. Wood, Peter"Pollen Helps War Crimes Forensics
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  45. Smith, Helena; "Helena Smith@Athens"; Guardian Unlimited; 1 August 2005
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  47. Karen Meirik (6 February 2004), Controversial Srebrenica Report Back on Table, Tribunal Update 342, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, accessed 17 February 2007.
  48. Parlementair Documentatie Centrum [Parliamentary Documentation Centre] of Leiden University, Parlementaire enquête Srebrenica (2002-2003) (in Dutch), accessed 17 February 2007.
  49. BBC News (16 April 2002), Dutch Government quits over Srebrenica, accessed 17 February 2007.
  50. United States Embassy in Sarajevo Press Release, Sept 20, 2003
  51. Tanja Topić (2004-07-01). "Otvaranje najmračnije stranice" (dalam bahasa Serbian). Vreme. http://www.vreme.com/cms/view.php?id=384060. 
  52. "Bosnian Serbs issue apology for massacre", AP, 11 November 2004 [30]
  53. Washington Post. "Votes Database: Bill: H RES 199" 27 June 2005 [31]
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  59. "Anger over Dutch Srebrenica medal", BBC, 2006-12-04. Dicapai pada 2007-01-08. 
  60. ICTY. "Prosecutor vs Krstic, Appeals Chamber Judgement". United Nations. 19 April 2004. para. #37. [36]PDF (700 KiB)[37]
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  80. ITN vs Living Marxism
  81. http://www.cyberbulevar.com/sport/index.php?k=1&p=7&t=1514
  82. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/serbia1005/6.htm

ms:Penyembelihan Srebrenica