“I am sorry that, as you put it, Serbs feel unhappy and angry. And since I am a soldier, I know that Serbs… true Serbs who are also soldiers, know well that I fought them fair and square on a battlefield. Therefore, I don’t think they are jelaous because of my acquittal; they knew for a long that I was never a war criminal, and that I was a soldier fighting on a battlefield for survival, and nothing else.” – NASER ORIC
Photo: Former commander of Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica, Naser Oric (aka: Nasir Oric), is pictured at the court house of the UN war crimes tribunal on July 3, 2008 in The Hague. Naser Oric was acquitted of all charges against him by the appeals chamber of the United Nations’ war crimes tribunal.
The Judgment in Naser Oric case makes it clear that the Serb village of Kravica was a military base from which Serbs launched cowardly attacks on neighbouring Bosniak villages and the town of Srebrenica itself. The attacks on Bosnian Muslim settlements resulted in a great number of Bosniak victims. Bosniak counter-attack on Kravica was a legitimate defensive measure that followed on the 7 January 1993 as a result of Serb blockade of humanitarian aid and constant attacks on nearby Bosnian Muslim villages. According to the Oric Judgment it was the Serb forces that attacked first – Naser Oric only responded to their attack:
“The fighting intensified in December 1992 and the beginning of January 1993, when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. In the early morning of the 7 January 1993, Orthodox Christmas day, Bosnian Muslims attacked Kravica, Ježestica and Šiljkovići. Convincing evidence suggests that the village guards were backed by the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army], and following the fighting in the summer of 1992, they received military support, including weapons and training. A considerable amount of weapons and ammunition was kept in Kravica and Šiljkovići. Moreover, there is evidence that besides the village guards, there was Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area. The Trial Chamber is not satisfied that it can be attributed solely to Bosnian Muslims. The evidence is unclear as to the number of houses destroyed by Bosnian Muslims as opposed to those destroyed by Bosnian Serbs. In light of this uncertainty, the Trial Chamber concludes that the destruction of property in Kravica between 7 and 8 December 1992 does not fulfil the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity.”