July 14, 1995 In the areas around Srebrenica, a small town in eastern Bosnia -- in fields, warehouses, and other locations – some 7,800 men and boys were killed.
Why Srebrenica? What happened at Srebrenica? How does the genocide at Srebrenica fit into the context of the war? What sorts of crimes were committed during the war in Bosnia? Who committed these crimes? What was international response? What is the legacy of these crimes – both legal and for the survivors?
Srebrenica, 1992 - 1993 April 1, 1992. The war begins in eastern Bosnia. January 1993. Orics forces expand the size of the territory and attack Kravica on Orthodox Christmas. March 1993. Bosnian Serb Army pushes back, squeezing area Muslims into Srebrenica town. March 12, 1993. General Philippe Morillion arrives. You are under the protection of the United Nations. April, 1993. Bosnian Government forces in Srebrenica falter under Bosnian Serb push. Ready to surrender the town.
Larry Hollingworth, British UNHCR field Officer: …I thought of the many Serbs that I know around this country, and I wondered: do they want the history of the Serb nation to include this chapter, a chapter in which their army drove innocent people from village to village until finally they are cornered in Srebrenica, a place from which there is no escape, and where their fate is to be transported out like cattle, or slaughtered like sheep?
Srebrenica – Safe Area April 16, 1993. UN Security Council passes resolution 819, declaring Srebrenica and a 30 square mile area around the town the first United Nations Safe Area. The town is to be de-militarized and protected by United Nations peacekeeping forces.
Srebrenica -- 1995 Jan., 1995. A Dutch battalion arrives in Srebrenica. May, 1995. 350 peacekeepers are taken hostage by Bosnian Serb forces around Sarajevo in response to NATO air strikes. April – June 1995. Bosnian Serbs tighten stranglehold over Srebrenica, cutting off aid convoys to town.
Srebrenica -- July 1995 July 5. Serbs begin shelling town. July 8. Serb forces take over Muslim defender positions. A Muslim soldier throws a hand grenade at retreating Dutch troops, resulting in one fatality. July 9. Shelling is constant as refugees flee towards UN headquarters, south of Srebrenica at Potocari. 30 Dutch peacekeepers surrender to Serb forces. July 10. Dutch Col. Karremans files third request for air support, which Janvier refuses. Another request filed, which is approved. Serbs halt their attack, Janvier calls off air strikes. July 11. Karremans told his request was on the wrong form. He resubmits it. NATO aircraft, airborne since 6 a.m., in preparation for strikes, must return to base in Italy to refuel. 20,000 refugees flee to Potocari. Janvier approves airstrikes at 12:05, four hours after request submitted. NATO planes drop two bombs and leave. Serbs threaten to kill Dutch hostages. Further strikes abandoned.
July 11, 1995 Srebrenica falls to Serb forces 4:15, Gen. Mladic enters Srebrenica. 8:30 p.m. Mladic delivers ultimatum: Muslims must surrender their forces to guarantee lives. Bosnian defenders, other males, and village leadership decide to flee on foot. They will need to walk 40 miles to government territory. Civilians gather outside the UN compound at Potocari, hoping for protection.
July 12, 1995 Buses arrive. Males 12 to 77 are separated from females. Females leave on buses, men are held for questioning. Video.
July 12 – 16, 1995 Some men executed in Potocari others taken away to what will be mass execution sites. Column fleeing through the woods is shelled. Those who surrender are taken to what will become execution sites. July 13. Dutch peacekeepers expel remaining refugees sheltering in their compound. July 16, first refugees arrive Bosnian government held territory. Dutch leave Srebrenica. First reports of massacres emerge. Killing continues in the hills around Srebrenica.
War Crimes in Bosnia 1992-1995 Camps: Omarska, Trnopolje, Celebici. Seige warfare: Sarajevo, Mostar. Rape: Foca Murder: Srebrenica
Aryeh Neier, former executive director of Human Rights: In the case of the Serbs, the abuses followed a clear pattern and practice and were so widespread that it is clear they were a part of a policy made at the highest level…In the case of the Croats, the abuses reflect, at least, tolerance of atrocities by the principle authorities. …In the case of the Bosnians, the atrocities are an ugly stain on the governments record.
International Response Humanitarian: UNPROFOR, UNHCR. Peace Plans: –Vance Owen, Spring 1993. Ethnic cantons –Owen and Stoltenberg, September 1993. Partition, larger cantons. –Contact Group Plan, July 1994.Partition. –Dayton Peace Agreement, November 21, 1995. Partition.
Silber and Little: The mountains and valleys of this beautiful republic were scarred with charred and battered towns and villages from which at least half the population had either fled, been expelled, or killed.
Legacy International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Srebrenica: ¼ bodies found and identified as of this year. July 11, 2005, 610 more bodies were given funerals at Potocari. Survivors still speak of the missing. Ethnic tensions, refugee return, economic hardships, refugees.
ICTY: Camps Susica: near Vlasenica, persecution of non-Serb population. Celebici: near Konjic, persecution of non- Muslim population. Omarska, Keraterm, Trnopolje: near Prijedor, persecution of non-Serb population. Foca: persecution on non-Serb population.
ICTY: Rape Rape: rape as torture (Celebici, Foca), crime against humanity (Tadic, Foca), and command responsibility for rape (Celebici). For Foca,rape, torture and enslavement, defendents received 28, 20 and 12 years sentences. Human Rights Watch on Foca decisions: These cases marked the first time in history that an international tribunal brought charges solely for crimes of sexual violence against women.
ICTY: Murder//Genocide Slobodan Milosevic: genocide, specifically names Srebrenica. Karadzic and Mladic: Srebrenica. At large. Krajisnik and Plavsic: plea agreement, guilty of crimes against humanity. Krajisnik trial proceeding. Krajina: ethnic cleansing as genocide. Prijedor: ethnic cleansing and camps. Srebrenica (Obrenovic et al): plead guilty, dropped genocide charge. Jelisic: The Serb Hitler, psychotic not genocidal, for killings in makeshift camp in eastern Bosnia. Krstic: guilty of genocide in Srebrenica. 40 years, reduced to 36, arguing he was not a principle in plan of genocide. Keraterm: Court dismissed genocide charge, in part not sufficient, not enough basis on intent.