Top Serbs Charged in Srebrenica Genocide
Testimony leads tribunal to issue genocide charges
Pacific Stars and Striples
18 Nov 1995, page 2.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Some Bosniaks played dead under piles of slaughtered bodies to avoid discovery by Bosnian Serb soldiers. Others saw their children’s throats slit by Serbs before their eyes. One grandfather was forced at gunpoint to eat the liver of his own grandson. Some Serb soldiers ambushed Bosniak refugees as they fled the bloodshed. The horror stories witnesses described after the fall of Srebrenica, a Bosniak enclave in eastern Bosnia, prompted the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal to issue genocide charges Thursday against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic.
In a review of the evidence, tribunal judge Fouad Riad of Egypt described “scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history.”
“The evidence … describes scenes of unimaginable savagery: Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson,” Riad wrote.
Bosnian Serb forces under the command of Karadzic and Mladic seized Srebrenica on July 11. Refugees, huddling for safety near a Dutch U.N. peacekeeping compound in the nearby town of Potocari were brutally murdered.
“Children had their throats slit before their mothers’ eyes. The witnesses’ statements describe a frenzy of terror that led many to take their own lives,” Riad wrote. “There is evidence that women were raped and killed.”
Witnesses also reported seeing soldiers from the Yugoslav army during the takeover, although they are not alleged by the tribunal to have been directly involved in the atrocities.
Riad wrote that a column of Bosniaks fleeing Srebrenica on the night of July 11 was ambushed by Bosnian Serb troops on the road between Bratunac and Milici, and hundreds were killed.
“Eyewitness accounts describe how tens of people were so horrified that they committed suicide to avoid capture,” his report said.
Riad wrote that “one eyewitness describes how more than 100 captive Bosniak men, women and children were slowly slaughtered by a group of Serbian soldiers using knives.”
Bosnian Serb soldiers, some wearing stolen U.N. uniforms, also rounded up Bosniaks and herded them to a school near Karakaj.
“According to the testimony of the few witnesses who survived, the men were … taken out in small groups, told to find a spot and then shot where they stood,” Riad wrote in his report. “Men were shot in their thousands, until the fields were full of bodies.”