Forensic anthropologists Ewa Klonowski (right) and Piotr Drukier examine the partially preserved hands of a teenage Bosniak boy found in a Srebrenica mass grave. In July 1995, Serb forces overran the UN-protected ‘safe haven’ of Srebrenica and summarily executed 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. Photo Credits: Sara Terry.
A 11 July 1995 file photo shows an elderly Bosniak woman and her husband getting treatment for injuries inflicted on them by Serb military forces as they fled Srebrenica after it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces. The man on the right died shortly after the picture was taken. During the Srebrenica genocide, Serb forces rounded up and killed 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, and expelled thousands of women after abusing and raping many of them. Source: (Getty Images)
BACKGROUND (SIEGE OF SREBRENICA): More than three years before the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, Bosnian Serb nationalists – with the logistical, moral and financial support of Serbia and the Yugoslav People’s Army – destroyed 296 predominantly Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) villages in the region around Srebrenica [in Eastern Bosnia], forcibly uprooting some 70,000 Bosniaks from their homes and systematically massacring at least 3,166 Bosniaks (documented deaths) including many women, children and the elderly. It was these massacres that should have alerted the international community to the prospect of genocide when the United Nations-protected enclave eventually fell to Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic three years later, in July 1995. (Excerpt from ‘Prelude to Srebrenica’ by Daniel Toljaga, Bosnian Institute, UK.)
According to the trial judgment of Naser Orić, during the Siege of Srebrenica,
“Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts.
Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes.
During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties.”
FACTS ABOUT SREBRENICA
The International Criminal Tribunal
There is a multitude of evidence publicly available that proves that Bosnian Serb and other forces executed 7,000 to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim prisoners from Srebrenica in one week in July 1995. Despite this, there are still many people in Serbia and Montenegro who try to deny the full enormity of the crime that Bosnian Serb military, police and other forces (including, allegedly, forces from Serbia) committed. They argue that the actual number of dead is exaggerated, that ‘only’ around 2,000 died. They also argue that most of these 2,000 dead were casualties of war—Bosnian Muslim soldiers killed in battle. Some who are even bolder, claim that it was a ‘crime of passion’—revenge for all those Serbs killed in the villages around Srebrenica. Still others claim that what happened at Srebrenica was not genocide. The Tribunal has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that each of these claims is wrong. Continue reading