Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Fourteen years on women raped in war continue to be denied their rights

Successive governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed to provide justice for thousands of women and girls who were raped during the 1992-1995 war, a new Amnesty International report reveals today (30 September).

Launching at a press conference in Sarajevo, Amnesty's 82-page report, Whose Justice? The women of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still waiting, details how thousands of rape survivors are still denied justice and reparation, while those responsible walk free, sometimes within the same community. Many survivors still suffer post-traumatic stress disorders and other psychological problems, yet receive little support.

The report is based on extensive research by Amnesty International, whose representatives met with survivors of sexual violence, support organisations, local NGOs, government officials and representatives of the international community.

The report comes ahead of the 14-year anniversary of the end of the war with the signing of the Dayton Agreement in November 1995 and nine years since the UN passed Resolution 1325, the first formal and legal document from the UN Security Council requiring, parties in a conflict to respect women's rights and to support their participation in peace negotiations and in post conflict reconstruction.

Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Europe Programme Director, said:

'During the war, thousands of women and girls were raped, often with extreme brutality. Many were held in prison camps, hotels and private houses where they were sexually exploited. Many women and girls were killed.

'To this day, survivors of these crimes have been denied access to justice. Those responsible for their suffering - members of military forces, the police or paramilitary groups - walk free. Some remain in positions of power or live in the same community as their victims.

'The government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has an obligation to provide these victims with access to justice and the full reparation to which they are entitled.

'For this to happen, the authorities must ensure comprehensive investigations that lead to prosecutions of war crimes of sexual violence in the country. Without meaningful justice and full and effective reparation, victims continue to suffer the effects of these horrific crimes.'

Jasmina, a survivor of sexual violence during the war, told Amnesty International:

'I can't sleep without pills. I still get upset easily when people mention the war. An image, a memory, a TV spot can be a spark. I can't stand it ... I need help.'

The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have failed to provide these women with access to adequate healthcare or psychological support, which is provided only by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with limited resources. A Bosnian NGO told Amnesty International that the vast majority of survivors of war crimes of sexual violence are not receiving any psychological assistance.

Thousands of women survivors also lost family members. Many are not able to find or maintain jobs because of their psychological condition. Many remain without a stable source of income and live in poverty, unable to buy the medicines they need.

As rape continues to be a taboo subject, in most cases the women face stigmatisation rather than the recognition and vital assistance they need to help them rebuild their lives.

Nicola Duckworth said:

'Many women who have survived sexual violence during the war cannot get any compensation due to the complex structures of the judicial and social welfare systems in the country. In comparison to other war victims, they suffer discrimination in access to social benefits.

'The authorities must work with NGOs in developing a comprehensive strategy to ensure that survivors receive reparations, including adequate pensions, assistance with access to work and the highest achievable standard of heath-care. The government should support survivors of war crimes of sexual violence, to give them a voice to demand their rights and combat discrimination and stigmatisation they face in everyday life.'

Rape and other crimes of sexual violence occurred on a massive scale during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established in 1993 to prosecute serious violations of international humanitarian law, including sexual violence. However, the ICTY was only able to prosecute a limited number of cases related to sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina - 18 as of July 2009.

The War Crimes Chamber of the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina was created in 2005, to investigate and prosecute crimes that could not be prosecuted by the ICTY. To date, only 12 men have been convicted for crimes of sexual violence.

Read the report: 'Whose justice? The women of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still waiting' (PDF)


Also see:

Mass Rape in Bosnia - Breaking the Wall of Silence

Mass Rape in Bosnia - Breaking the Wall of Silence

an interview with Seada Vranic

Instead of a blindfold, the Serb soldiers bound Enisa's eyes with their socks. The stench made her throw up, so they hit her until she learned that 'Serb socks don't smell'. Seven 'heroes of the nation' raped her and beat her for days. At first she resisted, so they brought her to her senses by knocking her teeth out with a rifle-butt and breaking her jaw. When she lost consciousness they would 'give her a bath', i.e. douse her in cold water. Terrified that she would be driven mad, she suddenly liked the idea and saw madness as a way out. She began singing Serb songs louder and louder, then dancing with the chetnik who had presumably butchered her husband. The soldiers were dumbfounded. They threatened her, held a knife to her throat, but she only sang louder. Believing she had gone off her head entirely, the soldiers paid less attention to her and she managed to escape, by hiding in a potato sack. When the journalist Seada Vranic spoke with Enisa a few months later, in July 1992, she saw before her a hunched, grey-haired old woman with a contorted face. That was just one month before Enisa's twenty-eighth birthday.

This is just one example of the devastating testimony presented by Seada in Pred zidom sutnje (recently produced by the Zagreb publishing house 'Antibarbarus' and forthcoming in an English version, Breaking the Wall of Silence), a work recording and analysing the experiences of rape victims from Bosnia- Herzegovina. The terrible statements of the half-demented victims so shook the author, that she had the greatest difficulty in maintaining her own psychological stability.

Seada has collected the statements of young children who watched from hiding as chetniks raped their mothers and sisters, or forced men to rape their own family members. Children saw chetniks impale men on stakes after raping them, leaving them alive with the stake in their entrails. Women, impregnated after hundreds of rapes and unable to abort, showed Seada their breasts disfigured by cigarette burns. She recorded all their statements verbatim. She just left out the names, and sometimes shortened the statements when the victims recounted their ghastly experiences in too great detail.

When she began collecting this direct testimony, she believed that rape and the victims of rape were simply part of the madness of war - a chaos without rules or system. After a certain time, however, for all her her caution she came to the unambiguous conclusion that rapes were part of the Greater- Serbian expansionist policy, planned at the top levels of the state. After the first wave of information about this almost unbelievable phenomenon, world public opinion was shocked. But other tragedies in the world soon pushed this terrible dimension of the war into the background, leaving it to sociologists, psychologists and other such experts. Yet the truth was far more terrible than even the greatest pessimists expected. The atrocities were even more numerous and brutal than was initially apparent, given the difficulty of collecting the testimony of rape victims - women, men and also children - many of whom were killed after being raped.

Seada Vranic finds some relief today in devoting herself to her family, who live not far from Geneva on the French side of the border. Her husband, a Croat physicist, works in an institute for research into sub-atomic particles, her two daughters attend primary school. She was born in 1949 to Bosniak parents in Travnik, where she completed her primary and secondary education. She then studied political science at Zagreb University, after which she worked for many years as Zagreb correspondent of the Belgrade daily newspaper Borba. When she first met war victims of rape, she decided to investigate the phenomenon in depth. We spoke over several days. Although today Seada is quite composed, when she speaks of the worst atrocities she has to struggle to maintain a calm appearance.

SV I began to write on this subject almost by chance. My colleagues from Monitor (the independent Montegrin weekly), with whom I had been working for a year already, asked me to write on some Bosnian theme. I told them that my only connection with Bosnia was the refugees. That was at the beginning of the war in Bosnia, in March 1992.

Were your articles censored?


Could you write about Vukovar, for example?

Yes, and very emotionally, since there was no other way to write about Vukovar at the time. The Monitor staff journalists too were writing about the shameful war Montenegrins were then waging round Dubrovnik. I am proud of my collaboration with that paper. I don't know what it's like today, since I can't get hold of it. While writing in Monitor about Bosnian refugees, I wrote up the case of a woman with two children who had fled from Bijeljina. I realized that she had been raped.

How did you realize that?

I asked her what was going on in Bosnia. She replied: 'They're cutting throats, killing, burning...' and then, when she continued '... and raping', the word stuck in her throat. Tears ran down her cheeks. At the time I barely knew what rape meant, what kind of a crime it was, what kind of social phenomenon. I paid no special attention to her testimony. I was speaking with these first refugees at the Islamic centre in the Folnegovic settlement near Zagreb. It was only when I began to write my article that I realized how many women had been raped. I wasn't able to send the article in, since all international links with Montenegro were cut off. While waiting, I started wondering if I couldn't fill out the article with new details. I went on talking to refugees and constantly encountered rape victims. After those first stories, however, my view on the nature of the crimes was different from what it later became.

In what sense different?

At the time I couldn't accept the idea that rapes were part of the Serbian expansionist war strategy. I thought: rape is a bio-psychological act that cannot be carried out to order. Strategy implies subordination, submission to a superior. I had no doubt that Karadzic was a sufficiently monstrous being to be able to devise and initiate such atrocities; nor did I doubt that the hordes who'd arrived from Serbia to slaughter and kill were capable also of rape. It wasn't that I thought any morality would restrain them from it, but I felt sure erection couldn't be achieved to order. However, after four months the 'mosaic' took shape for me. I noticed the congruences in events in wholly different localities and I began to enter them on the map. I had victims from everywhere except eastern Herzegovina.

So then you changed your opinion about the nature of the violence?

Talking with the victims had already begun to open my eyes. I became aware that rape in such circumstances is not the same as violent sex. It is aggression carried out by sexual means. I became convinced that in this war rape is closer to Thanatos than to Eros. I realized how I too was misled by certain notions about the 'violent nature of the male', and by the fact that I too live in an environment where males dominate. Even serious people sometimes say: 'he couldn't restrain himself, so he raped'. It's a matter of his instincts, in other words. But this time everything came from the head. Rape cannot be committed in self-defence. No one can say: the woman attacked me, so I raped her. In parallel with my investigations I was reading a wide range of literature on the whole phenomenon.

You were looking for a historical dimension to the events?

I wanted to know everything relevant, to analyse various aspects: for example, how the victims react and how the perpetrators react after rape.

Your book says that victims have the feeling they have been permanently altered; that 'someone else has moved into their skins'.

According to Professor Kulenovic, the effects remain in the victim at a far deeper level and for far longer than the victim herself is able to express. Those around her are often unaware how deep these effects are. The victims are alive, their wounds are mostly unseen, to look at they're not invalids - yet they are. Therapies help, but most rape victims in this war haven't been subjected to any therapy. Most of them will never admit to anyone that they have been raped.

You mention certain ratios between the total number of rape victims and those who speak out about the crime.

Other people have collected these data. One sociologist, writing about rapes in the province of Zenica in the nineteen seventies, was astounded when she realized that in the surrounding villages only every twenty-fourth rape was reported. In the city the ratio was somewhat less, but still horrifying. Some other studies speak of less drastic ratios, but still conclude that, out of every ten rapes, only one is reported to the competent institutions. It is difficult to take in this knowledge about the wall of silence, against which I myself ran up: a mother and daughter, for example, may know about a rape, the father not.

The claims in the book about the overall number of rape victims are truly terrifying.

Nobody has exact statistics for this and the final figure will be only an estimate. There are many 'blanks' in the research. In the USA one rape is reported every six minutes. No one knows how many actually occur. In Bosnia during this war there were tens of thousands of rape victims, that's beyond any doubt, perhaps as many as a hundred thousand. Three estimates are often quoted: the Bosnian government speaks of 50,000, the Investigating Commission of the European Union of 20,000, and the victimologist Dr Zvonimir Separovic of 30,000 rape victims, with the comment that these are not the final figures, which will doubtless be larger. Personally I don't like haggling with these figures. The crime will not be any greater if a few more thousand victims are attached to it. But in my opinion even the number spoken of by the Bosnian government will eventually be surpassed.

Is a systematic effort still being made to establish the definitive number of victims?

In Sarajevo there exists a commission and an institute for collecting data about war crimes.

Do you believe that they approach their work in a serious and objective manner?

The fact that they haven't made any bombastic pronouncements is very significant. From the commission I obtained five statements by rape victims, all of which my experience tells me were authentic. At the end of each of these statements the victim confirms that she is ready to repeat her testimony in front of any court or expert commission. Out of all the rape victims whose experiences those Sarajevo bodies have collected, 1,300 have signed similar declarations. Altogether, a lot of work has gone into this.

Did the victims usually insist on full anonymity?

Yes, normally. When writing my book, I had to take care no real names crept in. I was writing under a heavy load. Just before the book was printed, after reading it through I don't know how many times, I was horrified to discover that I'd written one real forename and surname. I tried to maintain an emotional distance from the book, thinking I'd stand the strain more easily in that way. All that testimony really crushed me, I was on the brink of physical and psychological collapse.

When did you have your most critical moment?

At one point I stopped work on the book.


One victim attacked me. The case involved a family whose war experiences are detailed in my files, and was centred on the testimony of a woman from Rogatica, a village in eastern Bosnia: her two daughters, four granddaughters and four daughters-in-law had been raped, and the rest of the family burnt alive in their house. The old woman agreed to talk to me, but her granddaughter attacked me physically. She broke my spectacles. I didn't blame the girl, of course, but for a long time I couldn't compose myself.

How old was the girl?

She was twelve. As soon as she heard that her granny intended to tell a reporter what had happened to them, she attacked me.

Presumably you wondered then what you were doing, what kind of assignment you had taken on, when even the victims you sympathized with didn't understand you?

While writing this book, I've wondered many times what I was doing. So many victims begged me: 'Please, don't write about that.' But people need to know the truth. If I hadn't realized that a planned crime was involved, I wouldn't have written the book at all; but as things were, I felt I had to do so.

In discussing that criminal conception, is the number of psychiatrists on the Serbian side in this war significant?

We do not have the crucial evidence, in the shape of a document like Nazi Germany's Law on Concentration Camps, which proved that certain crimes were not just incidental, but an essential part of a policy. In the case of the Greater-Serbian aggression, we do not have any such document. It does not exist in written form, but the conception is clear. Look, for example, at what happened with the camps. Even civilians entered the camps, along with entire military units: the males would be given, say, half an hour to 'do the job'. They didn't have to ask what job they had to do, everybody knew. That couldn't happen in the army without the knowledge and approval of the top military and political authorities. When later the conspiracy of silence was broken, when people began talking about rapes, the Serb authorities knew perfectly well what it was all about. They never called anyone to account. They merely denied the accusations. And the pattern was repeated. In Foca, in Bijeljina...

What pattern are you referring to?

The basic pattern was developed in a number of variants, depending on the context. The task was performed in one way in Banja Luka, in another in the villages. But behind it all lay just one idea: to expel the population of other nationalities from a given territory. Rape is a very effective means for that purpose: if three or four raped women arrived in a village, all the villagers would quickly take flight. They couldn't kill everybody, you see: Banja Luka was too large a town for them to be able to kill all the Bosniaks and Croats there. Nor could they send all of them to camps, or to the front. So they dreamed up a monstrous plan: they went into the houses of non- Serbs and raped them. At Banja Luka rapes took place on a particularly massive scale, even though the town was outside the war zone the whole time. One rape victim from Banja Luka for a long while couldn't believe something like this could happen at all. She knew about this kind of mass terror only from films about Nazism. But then, as she says, she 'felt the fear'.

What are the other variants of the basic pattern?

The assault on Foca and its surroundings provides another example. This involved lightning terror: bombardment, burning, killing, raping... The aim was achieved very fast: within a few days, even a few hours in the case of the villages, the territory was 'clean'. They took some people off to the camps, they killed some on the spot, and others they raped.

What happened to non-Serb women married to Serbs?

One experience has stuck in my memory. The woman was divorced from a Serb husband: for years she had consulted doctors, but she had been unable to conceive. They raped her and she conceived. I didn't manage to verify whether Bosniak or Croat women married to Serbs were protected from that kind of terror. I think there was no rule about it. I know there were Serbs who tried to protect victims.

When people today discuss German resistance to Nazism, they usually conclude that it was very minimal, and that almost the entire nation fell victim to the Nazi psychosis. Isn't it the case that a similar conclusion imposes itself with regard to Serbs in the present war, and that only very rare Serbs opposed this kind of terror by their co-nationals?

At the beginning I was astounded, then shocked, by the reactions of Serbs to the aggression of their army. Some didn't react even though no explicit danger of reprisal could threaten them - I have in mind here especially Serbs living abroad. Few of them condemned the crimes, even fewer protested about them. That makes the achievement of those who did find enough civic courage to oppose the terror all the greater - I'm thinking here about Bogdan Bogdanovic, Mirko Kovac and a few others. But this was just a drop in the ocean of silence.

Taken as a whole, there really was a consensus to lie. With present-day communications, satellite programmes, world radio stations, they could not help knowing the truth. Moreover, lots of them followed the troops like vultures and looted. The majority defend themselves by saying they never saw anything with their own eyes, but then neither do they have any desire to know anything about it all. It's like walking past a starving beggar and turning your head away in order to avoid being aware of his hunger.

Perhaps people in Serbia didn't know the details of the terror their co-citizens were inflicting, but in principle they all knew what was happening. Perhaps at the beginning there were some naive souls who believed Vukovar was being destroyed by its own inhabitants, but after a few months everyone knew who was destroying Vukovar. They knew Sarajevo was under siege, with shells raining down on it.

It was only after the great shock of Germany's defeat that the Germans experienced a catharsis. The Serbs haven't...

The Serb nation too will come to its senses. But the success Milosevic is having at acting the role of peacemaker makes it clear this will not happen very soon.

Your book catalogues appalling crimes and appalling sufferings. The case of raped women who then became pregnant must be among the most dreadful traumas of this war.

Out of all the rape victims I spoke to, only eleven admitted to having become pregnant. Nine of these terminated the pregnancy, but two reached a late stage of pregnancy while still in prison, so that it was too late to terminate by the time of their release. They reached Zagreb and gave birth. This was at the time when a campaign was under way in Croatia to limit abortion rights, which added to the victims' sufferings. The number of eleven raped women who became pregnant doesn't even come close to representing the true state of affairs. Almost 80% of rape victims were between 15 and 35 years old, i.e. at the age of maximum fertility. Many victims were in prisons and camps, where they were subjected to mass rape. Some of these women were raped by soldiers and civilians literally hundreds of times. I spoke, for example, with one victim immediately after she left the Petrova Street hospital in Zagreb. When I asked her if she had become pregnant, she answered: 'No, I certainly didn't!' That kind of attitude was typical.

You have paid special attention to the strange reaction of certain feminists, who have explained the entire phenomenon as a gender conflict rather than as aggression by one nation against another.

Unfortunately many individuals have compromised themselves with such views, including one wing of the feminist movement. I am not a feminist myself, but I consider that the feminist movement has an important place in the civilized world and great merits for improving the position of women in society, so I am intentionally expressing myself with great caution here. Perhaps the feminists I mentioned had no hidden political agenda, but they spoke as though rape victims were always women. So rape becomes a result of male nature and has always existed: even Zeus changed into a bull and raped Europa. And that's how things still are today, in war and in peace. Many women still think this theory is correct.

But the victims are not just women. In the war in Bosnia- Herzegovina and Croatia, men and children were raped too. All those victims have forenames and surnames. If more than 80% of victims were of one nationality, then that is no accident. There were no rapes where perpetrator and victim belonged to the same nation, or if there were any the number was statistically insignificant. Yet certain feminists still spoke in terms of gender war.

In reality, it is quite clear in this case that certain men raped specific

Don't you pay special attention, at one point in the book, to the question of rapists among the HVO forces?

International sources and various commissions have concluded that soldiers of the HVO committed many rapes at the time of the Croat-Bosniak conflict. There were indications that rapes in this conflict too served the purpose of ethnic cleansing. But there was no evidence that what was involved here was a military strategy devised by the HVO's military and political command. I didn't come across a single source pointing to that.

Out of 202 rape victims with whom I spoke, there was just one Serb woman and one Ukrainian. Serb rape victims suffer no less than those of other nations, nor are Bosniak rapists in any sense justified by the fact that their nation has been the victim of Serbian aggression. But no balance exists among the different nations in this case - neither among the victims nor among the perpetrators - however much international politicians may have disseminated the notion of a civil war of all against all. Yet some feminists were against any counting of rape victims. Not to look at the figures, however, would mean ignoring the problem.

But don't you mention in your book how American feminists were responsible for warning about rapes at the time of the aggression against Croatia?

Certain American women spoke out very early on about rapes and the policy of ethnic cleansing in occupied areas of Croatia. Very little was said or written about this in Croatia during the war of independence. Even today I don't know why it was hushed up.

The problem of rape is a universal civilizational problem, about which all the world's citizens should know much more than they do. In Croatia this problem has long been ignored. That's why I'd like as many people to read this book as possible. I didn't write it to provoke intolerance between nations. I tried to be cool, but that wasn't entirely possible. I wasn't a cold observer, I was on the victim's side. I presented the raw facts, irrespective of whom they might upset. If the facts I uncovered had indicted my own nation, I would still have written them down. My book wasn't the result of any search for proof of given theses. And I checked all the statements in it several times over.

The publisher of your book is working with you on a series of events to promote the book in Croatia and throughout the world. It would be very useful for public opinion in Serbia too to be informed about the book. If some courageous organizer were to be found for a promotional meeting in Belgrade, would you accept an invitation?

I would go there. I'm ready to hear uncomfortable accusations. My book tells how several tens of thousands, perhaps even a hundred thousand, rapes have been committed in the name of one nation. This is a terrible accusation for that nation. If someone says such a thing and then presents solid evidence, the reactions cannot but be stormy. Despite the evidence, many people will claim that the book is anti-Serb. It will be hard for me to prove I haven't written a book of hatred, nor will I attempt it.

A crime has been committed that in numerical terms is not the greatest in the history of warfare. But for the first time in the history of warfare rape has become a part of military strategy. For the first time human sexuality has been used for the purpose of what has euphemistically been termed ethnic cleansing, but which is in fact classic genocide.


Monday, August 17, 2009




"There was a body nailed to the block. Its throat had been cut. The head was still attached. They had not quite cut through. He was nailed alive... On the second night the Chetniks got among the people at the UNPROFOR camp... They kicked, stamped, dragged out girls to rape them, killed the men... While one of the Chetniks held them, another would thrust his knife into their necks, from the side. The one who was holding them would then cut across their throat and throw down the body. I screamed when I saw my son among them: ‘My son!’ He saw me. He opened his arms towards me. A Chetnik grabbed him, stuck his knife into his neck, the other cut his throat. The blood spurted out..."

By: Dženana Karup-Druško

In July 1995, after the fall of Srebrenica, I left besieged Sarajevo for Tuzla, where a tent camp had been set up for the surviving people of Srebrenica. I left the city with a tunnel pass signed by the then security officer of the 1st Corps of the Bosnian Army, Sead Čudić, and wearing an army uniform to facilitate travel. After several transfers and a journey that lasted nearly two days, I finally arrived at Dubrava. The airport was under UNPROFOR control and it was they who decided who could come in. Looking ironically at my uniform and the proffered press card, they told me curtly: ‘Local journalists are not allowed in.’

As I waited hoping that the soldiers might change their mind, a group of foreign journalists turned up and were welcomed in by the UNPROFOR men with a smile and no questions asked. I found myself afterwards in many even more delicate situations, but don’t recall ever feeling quite so humiliated. I retreated, my head bowed and with tears in my eyes. Revolted by what they saw, my friends from Tuzla, who had brought me to the airport, told me they would find a way for me to enter the airport. We circled around by car until we saw a hole in the fence. I squeezed through. I will never forget the picture I saw next: though it was daylight, all the searchlights at the airport were lit up. UNPROFOR soldiers and officers were marching up and down the concrete paths in spick-and-span uniforms and shining boots. I was reminded for a moment of SS troops in American movies. Only a few steps away from them, stuck in deep mud, were white tents made out of synthetic fibre, full of mothers, sisters, wives... They told me about their missing relatives, about the killings, about the hell through which they had passed. I watched them with my eyes full of tears as I listened to their talk of the horrible deaths they had witnessed.

Losing three sons

A mother with two small children sat in a flooded tent that I found hard to reach even with my army boots, wading through the deep mud.

"We were in Potočari. On the second day, around ten in the morning, I was sitting with the children, having laid out some food. Five of them turned up. They pointed to my son and asked him to go with them for questioning. I told them he was not yet fifteen. He was still at school. They took him away. I followed them. One of the soldiers looked back and asked me if I would like them to take my son to Kladanj. Of course, I said, I’d give my eye for it. He told me that everything was fine, and I went back. Soon after a woman came up and said that ‘they are butchering people further along, in the wheat field’. Five or six of them rushed off to see if one of their relatives was involved. There was a block laid out among the wheat, a metre or two wide. A dozen heads that had been cut off were laid out on it. Around it were bodies in their last throes. Blood. Blood everywhere. A Chetnik [member of the Army of Republika Srpska, VRS] ordered it to be washed down. The others took cans and began to pour water. The blood spilt across the ripening wheat. There was a body nailed to the block. Its throat had been cut. The head was still attached. They had not quite cut through. He was nailed alive. They had slaughtered my son. I was screaming. They tried to shoo me away. But I could not leave. Nothing mattered to me any longer, they could kill me too."

That evening her second son was taken away. He was twenty.

"I entered the house as they were taking him away. The Chetniks were pushing me away. I wouldn’t leave. There were seven or eight of our people there. They lined them up for the slaughter. While one of the Chetniks held them, another would thrust his knife into their necks, from the side. The one who was holding them would then cut across their throat and throw down the body. I screamed when I saw my son among them: ‘My son!’ He saw me. He opened his arms towards me. A Chetnik grabbed him, stuck his knife into his neck, the other cut his throat. The blood spurted out."

She was crying as she spoke. She was unable to continue. She sighed and talked to herself. At some point I realised she was talking to her dead son. Her eyes were open but she did not see me. She started to sob, which appeared to soothe her a little. She next looked at me and said: "I drank more of his blood than of water at Potočari."

This unhappy mother lost yet another son, her third. She had no idea where he was. Nor her husband who was kept back at Potočari. They took him away, crowding them into the buses. The youngest son, who was then three years old, was in his father’s arms. He was crying, not wishing to leave his father. A Chetnik seized him and threw him on the asphalt. Another kicked him with his foot. This unhappy woman wouldn’t tell me her name, out of fear, she said, that it might harm the son and husband for whom she was waiting. They never came.

I have no one left

The entry of Serb tanks and soldiers dressed in UN uniforms on 10 July 1995 from the direction of Zeleni Jadro into the Srebrenica hamlet of Petrič broke the agreement of 8 May 1993 according to which the UN had promised the Bosnian government to protect this enclave on the Drina. Within 48 hours all of the Bosniak population was driven out of the area. Around 30,000 people from Srebrenica were driven out of their homes. Some places disappeared, as have the people. Some families were totally destroyed. Around 8,000 people went missing. What happened to them is testified to by the Potočari Memorial Centre and the thousands of graves in a cemetery where the discovered remains of the victims of this horrific crime have kept being buried each year. There were 534 funerals this year alone.

I make my way to Srebrenica for the first time, on 10 July 2009. We enter Potočari. I gaze at the former factories: Cinkara, Akumulatorka, Ekspres Transport. Thousands of people were imprisoned in them in 1995. Most of them were murdered. The sun shines in Potočari, but I feel chilled, remembering what the Srebrenica survivors told me:

"On the second night the Chetniks got among the people at the UNPROFOR camp. Panic ensued. People were fleeing, leaping over each other, children were crying, women screaming for help. As if the devil himself had turned up among us. They kicked, stamped, dragged out girls to rape them, killed the men."

Ratko Mladić came to Srebrenica and said that everything would be fine. Mensura Osmović said she heard him herself. He brought chocolate. As the children extended their hands, he would give it to them. On the following they he brought television, distributed chocolate again. Mensura spent that night under a burnt-out bus watching people being led away. They were driven off in the direction of Bratunac. I heard a young man call out: "Help me, mother! The Chetniks are butchering me."

At around seven o’clock in the evening on 10 July 2009, 543 coffins are brought from the Memorial Centre basement and taken to the cemetery where they will be buried the next day. The coffins passed from one man to the next, for over an hour. A four-year-old girl stands by a coffin saying Al-Fâtiha. When she finishes she asks her mother as she points to the next coffin: "Mother, shall I say it also for this uncle?" Her mother answers her in tears: "Do, my child, they are all our dead." The girl’s mother is called Dževada Mašić. She whispers to me as she sobs: "They murdered the whole of my family. I have no one left." I look at her and cry. I recall my own dead, who were killed a little further along the Drina, in Goražde and Foča, and think about what she tells me in her firm voice: "May they be damned! Let them have no peace in this world or the next." As a small girl, she was holding her father by the hand as the Chetniks wrenched him away. For ever. "They took him away at this very place. They killed my grandfather and his five sons. My father’s bones have not been found, so I can’t bury him. I have buried only one uncle. Tomorrow I will bury my grandfather."

An old man wearing a French beret is sitting by a coffin. I ask him quietly: "Grandpa, whom are you burying?" "My son", he whispers. He was born in 1961. I have no wish to question him further, and sit next to him in silence. The old man, Behadil Čardaković, tells me: ‘"hey found him in Zvornik. His wife has re-married and has gone to America. I haven’t seen either son or grandson since 1993. I have asked my grandson to come back ..."

Five years for shooting one thousand

A woman, her head covered, sits a little further away. They tell me she is burying her third son. She says nothing, only wipes her weeping eyes with a handkerchief. I crouch next to her and squeeze her hand, saying nothing. What can one ask a mother who has lost three sons? She looks at me and says: "My child, there is nothing I can tell you. I know how I feel..."

The women sitting next to her count their dead: one lost her husband and two brothers, another her mother-in-law and brothers-in-law, a third brothers and nephews, a fourth a son and a husband, a fifth uncles, a child... One of them says: "Let Allah punish them for this!"

Dražen Erdemović, soldier of the 10th commando unit of the Bosnian Serb Army was sentenced by the Hague tribunal to five years in prison, after confessing that he had taken part in the murder of 1,200 men and himself killed seventy. This was the first Hague verdict on the crimes committed in Srebrenica. Erdemović pathetically declared in the courthouse: "I feel sorry for all the victims, not only those who were killed on the farm." Because of his confession and his readiness to cooperate, Erdemović’s sentence was scandalously low. Should the victims be happy with this justice? After serving his sentence in Norway, Erdemović was released in 2000.

Erdemović testified at the trial of Momčilo Perišić, chief of staff of the Army of Yugoslavia at the time of the Srebrenica massacre, who was charged with aiding and abetting the crime. Erdemović told the court: "On 16 July, five days after the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) had taken Srebrenica, at the farm of Branjevo near Zvornik we shot the Bosniaks who had been brought in, on the orders of officer Brane Gojković. The unit’s commander was lance-corporal Milorad Pelemiš, who took orders from Petar Salapura, intelligence chief of the main staff of the VRS. Some of the soldiers of the 10th commando platoon had been trained in late 1994 at the [Serbian] Army of Yugoslavia’s barracks in Pančevo. The victims were men between 15 and 60 years of age and were all wearing civilian clothes. They were taken under military police guard in groups of 10 from 15 or 20 buses and shot in the back on a field outside the farm, only one of them offering resistance. My unit was firing from 10.00 until 14.00 or 15.00, when the killing was continued by another unit from Bratunac."

Erdemović testified also at the trial of General Radislav Krstić, former commander of the Drina Corps. The Hague tribunal sentenced Krstić to 35 years in prison. Krstić was the highest ranking officer found guilty for taking part in genocide. The intelligence chief of the VRS, Zdravko Tolimir, was also charged. The tribunal in The Hague has found guilty also four VRS commanders for the crime in Srebrenica: Momir Nikolić, Dragan Obrenović, Vidoje Blagojević and Dragan Jokić who were sentenced respectively to 20, 17, 15 and 9 years in prison. The latest indictment against Radovan Karadžić accuses him of committing the gravest of crimes, including genocide, deportations, killings and other acts against humanicty committed during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 27 municipalities including that of Srebrenica.

Questions that remain unanswered

Ten years after Srebrenica, the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina confirmed its first charge for genocide. The indictment charged Miloš Stupar, Milenko Trifunović, Petar Mitrović, Aleksandar Radovanović, Miladin Stevanović, Brano Džinić, Slobodan Jakovljević, Branislav Medan, Dragoša Živanović, Velibor Maksimović and Milovan Matić with crimes committed in the Peasant Association building in Kravice. They were sentenced to 284 years in prison, but four of them were found not guilty. Last year the Bosnia-Herzegovina Court issued another verdict for the crimes in Srebrenica: Mladen Blagojević was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Zdravko Božić, Željko Zarić and Zoran Živanović were set free. The charge was that as members of the military police of the Bratunac VRS light infantry brigade they took part in deportations, killings, and guarding the premises in which Bosniaks from Srebrenica were kept after 11 July 1995. As for those set free, the court argued that "the Bosnia-Herzegovina prosecution did not prove their presence" at the place where the victims were imprisoned, and the court did not "quite believe" its witnesses.

Last year the Bosnia-Herzegovina Court confirmed the indictment charging Zoran Tomić, a former member of the second battalion of the Š eković special police, with participation in the Srebrenica genocide. It charged Tomić also that on 13 July 1995 he took part in an attack on a column of Bosniaks, forcing them to surrender, and with capturing several thousand of the men from Srebrenica, of whom around one thousand were taken away and shot in the Peasant Association depot at Kravice. The Bosnia-Herzegovina Court filed a charge of genocide committed in Srebrenica against Željko Ivanović, called Arkan, a former member of the second battalion of the Republika Srpska special police, for participating on 13 July 1995 in the arrest and killing of more than one thousand of the men and boys from Srebrenica at the Peasant Association premises in Kravice.

The mothers of Srebrenica have initiated proceedings against the UN troops for the genocide that took place in Srebrenica, stating among other things: ‘Around 10,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically killed in only a few days by the army of the Bosnian Serbs commanded by Slobodan Milošević, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić. At this time the indicted UN representatives and officials refused deliberately and treacherously to take any measure to prevent the genocide in the Srebrenica "safe area".’

Are the people of Srebrenica happy with the verdicts handed down and the current legal initiatives? Naturally they are not, for, as they say: "Thousands of people were killed and this could not be committed by the few dozen who have been imprisoned. What about the others? Will they ever be called to account, or will it all end with the shameless sentencing of the immediate executors? What about their superiors? When will it be finally acknowledged that Serbia was involved in it all?" There is no sign that the victims’ questions will be answered any time soon.

Where are my children?

On 11 July 2009 Fatima Halilović buried her second brother. Two places were left next to them for the two that have not yet been found. Two of those who were found lay close to the surface in the area of Cerska. On 11 July 1995 Fatima set off with her daughters to seek the protection of UNPROFOR. She stopped one of them: "He was black - I don’t know if he was Dutch. Not knowing English, I told the older girl to ask where we should go. The soldier said: "Where the big chief directs." I don’t know who the big chief was. It might have been Milošević or Mladić. They drove us at this time to Potočari, many people having died on the way to the place. We walked over dead bodies. Shells were exploding, troop carriers were passing. We were next bussed to liberated territory, but the men had been separated and killed."

The Serb forces moved the dead around several times over. The body of one of the dead at the funeral was made up of parts found at eleven different locations. In 1992 Suada Mujić left Srebrenica with two of her children and two of her brothers-in-law. But she was caught in Serbia, after which she was sent to the Palić camp at Subotica, which she left, she says, thanks to Fadil Banjović. She left behind in Srebrenica her husband, three brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law, and her mother-in-law. One of her brothers-in-law, Mevludin Mujić, was killed in 1994, while another, Muharem, fled and ended up in the United States. Her husband and the third, Smajo, disappeared. Her father’s remains were found in Kamenica. "It is one graveyard after another. One searches through the bones and material in the hope of recognising something. I turned everything over last year and found my father. I recognised him from his clothes. His skull had been crushed. In his pocket I found a watch, a metal tobacco box, a lighter and his glasses with one of the lenses missing - we found it later in his pocket. I found my husband in Čančare near Zvornik. That was just a bit of his legs. The rest was found in Kamenica, albeit not the neck and the head. Last Friday, on the 11th, they found in Kamenica also his head. There was no sign of a bullet, but his right teeth had been smashed."

Suada’s mother-in-law died on 29 May of this year. She did not witness the discovery of her son’s remains. Suada says: ‘During the old [World War II] war, her immediate family was killed in Višegrad. She fled as an orphan to Srebrenica, where she was adopted by some people who did not have children of their own. She got married there and lived to see a war during which her whole family perished again. Many members of our family perished in Višegrad too. Mijesira Memišević, my mother-in-law’s cousin, lost both of her children, 17-year-old Meliha and 12-year-old Edin. She testified at the court in The Hague, and faced the criminal who had murdered her children. She told him: ‘I will not proclaim you guilty, but only tell me where my children are so that I can bury them.’ Eleven members of the immediate family of Suada’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law died in Srebrenica.

Why was it necessary for so many people to die on 11 July 1995? Many of the people of Srebrenica are asking this question. One of our interlocutors says that it would have been better if Srebrenica had fallen in 1992 to Arkan’s men. "Two or three thousand of us would perhaps have perished then, but the rest would have survived." Could more have been done from the military point of view? Not wishing to speak about what he did after 1995, some refer to the departure of Naser Orić, the commander who was an unchallenged authority in Srebrenica and who also dared to undertake forays at the head of his soldiers. His departure on the eve of Srebrenica’s fall many consider catastrophic - they are sure that everything would have been different had he been there. The fact is, however, that Srebrenica had many brave fighters.

Our hero

Ejub Golić was a battalion commander in Srebrenica. He led the convoy of soldiers and civilians who moved towards Tuzla after the fall of Srebrenica. The column was over two kilometres long. It marched at night. The people held onto each other’s sleeves in order not to get lost. Shells fell all round them. The dead were left by the road, and the wounded carried on. On the entry to Koljević Polje, someone from the column moved a desiccated old trunk leaning against another. There was much noise: those on whom the trees fell began to scream. A shell fell at this moment in the nearest vicinity. Chaos and panic ensued. The people fled in all directions. This was the first break-down of the column. One of the few who tried to organise and collect the people, say the survivors, was Commander Golić. At Konjević Polje he managed to put the column back together. He said then that no wounded would be left behind. And they weren’t. He would go back for the people. Entreated them to endure, not to surrender. The people trusted him. They followed behind him. He got killed in the last ambush. When his soldiers heard of his death, several of them threw themselves at the tanks. And they succeeded. They broke through the Serb line. The path was open for several thousand people from Srebrenica, but not for Commander Golić. His fighters and compatriots say, however, that they remember him. They insist: "He will always be our hero." And not only theirs.

Those who went with the army through the forest came to the base in Potočari. Hasan Nuhanovićspoke later about the role of the Dutch battalion in the Srebrenica massacre: "The UNPROFOR base was enormous and could receive the whole of the population that sought protection. They let in five or six thousand, while the rest was left to the mercy of the Serb forces which arrived at Potočari. Years later various excuses are being cited for this decision. One of them is that the base could not accommodate 25,000 people. I have filed a charge against Holland because of this decision, for it was possible to save the people. It is complicity in crime, in my view. They drove people out of the base into the murderous arms of the Serbs. They were taken to the stadium in Bratunac, where most of them were killed. As they left they were frisked by Dutch soldiers in full battle dress, who insisted they should leave behind anything that could be considered as potential weapons. The women too surrendered nail scissors, pencils...’ Nuhanović said in conclusion: ‘This is the only genocide in history that occurred under the UN flag."

Not even half of those missing have been buried at Potočari. They are still being sought. [Editorial update: DNA results of the International Commission on Missing Persons support an estimate of 8,100 Srebrenica genocide victims. So far, the identities of 6,186 genocide victims have been revealed by the DNA analysis. For more information and a source link, read here]

On my return from Potočari, I walked through a police line. A Serb police line. Wearing Serb uniforms. Carrying Serb insignia. I recall the words of Zijad Bećirović, one of the participants at the conference "Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina - Consequences of the International Court of Justice Verdict" held in Srebrenica, who in his paper "Are we cohabiting with war criminals?" asked: "How many of those who are policing this meeting took part in the Srebrenica genocide?"

Translated by the Bosnian Institute in the United Kingdom from the independent weekly Dani. (Sarajevo), 17 July 2009 .


Friday, July 31, 2009



1. Carl Bildt to The Hague!



“Mr. Bildt, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told a committee of the European Parliament that the Bosnian people were
‘victims of the inability of their political leaders to agree.’” Financial Times,July 22, 2009

No, to the contrary, the truth of the matter is that Carl Bildt, inter alia, inflicted genocide against the Bosnians at Srebrenica in 1995 in order
to pave the way for the genocidal Dayton Agreement that was imposed upon them by Richard Holbrooke.

Bildt must still be prosecuted for his commission of international crimes at Srebrenica as outlined in our ICTY indictment of him below.

Professor Francis A. Boyle
Attorney for the Mothers of Srebrenica & Podrinja

Law Building
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
217-333-7954 (Voice)
217-244-1478 (Fax)








The Honorable Carla Del Ponte
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Churchillplein l
2517 JW The Hague
P.O. Box 13888
2501 EW The Hague

Dear Madame Del Ponte:

I am the Attorney of Record for the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja Association, which is headquartered at Sakiba Zere 9, in Vogosca, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja Association is a Bosnian human rights, non-governmental organization whose members consist of survivors and next-of-kin of the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina during July of 1995. The genocidal massacre at Srebrenica was the single greatest human rights atrocity perpetrated in Europe since the genocidal horrors inflicted by the Nazis during the Second World War. Approximately 10,000 Bosnian Muslim men, boys, and women were systematically exterminated during just a few days by the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) under the direct command of Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, and others. During this time, the above-named United Nations Officials, their subordinates, and others deliberately and maliciously refused to do anything to stop this genocidal massacre at the U.N.-declared “safe area” of Srebrenica despite having the legal obligation, the legal and political authority, and the military power to do so. Indeed, the above-named United Nations Officials, their subordinates and others deliberately and maliciously interfered with, prevented, and impeded those individuals who wanted to do something to stop the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica and its environs during July of 1995. This was because the fall and genocidal massacre at Srebrenica during July of 1995 were part of a longstanding COMMON CRIMINAL PURPOSE AND PLAN by the United Nations Organization and the above-named United Nations Officials, their subordinates, and others to carve-up and destroy the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Member State of the United Nations Organization.

Pursuant to ICTY Statute article 7(1), we hereby accuse the above-named United Nations Officials, their subordinates, and others of planning, preparing, conspiring, instigating, complicity, and otherwise aiding and abetting, in the planning, preparation, conspiracy, complicity, and execution of crimes referred to in articles 2 to 5 of the ICTY Statute as follows:

Article 2–Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949
against persons and property protected thereunder, including but not limited to:

(a) willful killing;
(b) torture or inhuman treatment,…
(c) wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health;
(d) extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;

(f) wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or a civilian of the rights of fair and regular trial;
(g) unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a civilian;
(h) taking civilians as hostages.

Article 3–Violations of the laws or customs of war, including but not limited to:

(a) employment of poisonous weapons or other weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;
(b) wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
(c) attack, or bombardment, by whatever means, of undefended towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings;

(e) plunder of public or private property.

Article 4–Genocide, defined as “(2)…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) killing members of the group;
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

The Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica was a national, and an ethnical, and a religious group, that was deliberately targeted for destruction “as such.” In addition to violating ICTY Statute article 4(2)(a), (b), and (c), the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica also involved the following punishable acts under article 4(3):

(a) genocide;
(b) conspiracy to commit genocide;

(d) attempt to commit genocide;
(e) complicity in genocide.

Article 5–Crimes against humanity, committed in armed conflict and directed against the Bosnian Muslim civilian population of Srebrenica:

(a) murder;
(b) extermination;

(d) deportation;
(e) imprisonment;

(f) torture;
(g) rape;
(h) persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds;
(i) other inhumane acts.

These criminal practices perpetrated against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica were both widespread and systematic throughout the Srebrenica enclave and its environs during July of 1995.

The continuation of the complaint can be found in the following link

Thursday, July 9, 2009


ONLINE NEWSLETTER - In English and Bosnian

No. 620

July 08, 2009

CONTENT (Sadrzaj)





This issue of the Newsletter is distributed to 37,000 addresses on both our mailing lists; one for Bosnian and one for English laguage.

If you do not want to receive this Online Newsletter just reply with "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Then your e-mail address will be promptly deleted.


Ovim Glasnikom smo na Engleskom upoznali poslanike Evropskog parlamenta i mnoge prijatelje BiH u svijetu, sa najnovijom situacijom u vezi Tihicevog zahtjeva da ministar Sadovic podnese ostavku. Prilozi 2,3 i 4 su sacinjavali nase internacionalno izdanja Glasnika (Newsletter No. 620).

U prilog pod tackom 2 je na Engleskom kazano ono o cemu smo pisali i u Glasniku br. 619 o napadu Tihica na ministra Sadovica.

Ima mnogo nasih mladjih ljudi koji lakse citaju Engleski nego Bosanski, pa i njih na ovaj nacin upoznajemo sa najnovijim vijestima.

Osjetili smo potrebu da se licno obratimo gosp. Sadovicu i da mu kao covjeku damo moralnu podrsku da izdrzi do kraja. To je sadrzano u pismu pod tackom br. 1.



Veoma postovani gosp. Sadovicu,

znamo da ste ovih dana izlozeni strahovitim pritiscima Tihicevih i Dodikovih posilnih i placenika. Jedino sto vam mozemo poruciti je da ne klonete, da im se ne predate.

NE SAMO ZBOG NASE DOMOVINE BOSNE I HERCEGOVINE, NEGO NE SMIJETE POKLEKNUTI NI ZBOG VAS SAMIH. Znajte da vam je jedini izlaz iz ove situacije da pobijedite, da im ne date ostavku.

Ako im se pokorite, ako se savijete pred ljudskim sljamom kakav su Tihic i Kebo osjecacete se gorim od njih. Vi znate koliko Bosnjaci preziru Tihica. Mozete zamisliti koliki ce to udarac biti vasem ugledu ako se poklonite tom sljamu.

Nije nikakav problem ako vas smjene. Onoga trenutka kada vas udruzeni cetnici i njihovi jataci iz SDA smjene, Bosna i Hercegoivina ce dobiti novog heroja.

A znajte da ce vasi neprijatelji sve uciniti da vas dokrajce, jer vi ste opasno ugrozili cetnicki projekat spasavajuci nas iz klopke koju je Srbija namjestila svim Bosnjacima. Jer ne bi se to zavrsilo na Dobrovoljackoj. Ako Srbija zadrzi mogucnost da po svom nahodjenju izdaje potjernice Interpola za Bosnjacima uvjek ce se lako nalaziti sve novi i novi razlozi za nove potjernice. Niko od Bosnjaka ne bi bio siguran vise.

Vasom ostavkom Vi bi opasno ugrozili to dostignuce za BiH koje ste postigli, sto je vjerovatno vase zivotno djelo, ono zbog cega cete uci u istoriju. Osim toga, vasom ostavkom Vi bi samo priznali da ste nesto pogrijesili cime bi ste olaksali posao vasim neprijateljima da se obracunaju sa vama do kraja. Vise ne bi ste imali nikakve odbrane, jer bi ste vasom ostavkom sami priznali neku krivicu. Procitajte knjige zrtava Staljinovog rezima. U svima njima je poruka jasna - ne smijete priznati ono za sto niste krivi. Dakle, ne smijete dati ostavku.

Najgore od svega je da cete onog trenutka kada im se poklonite i slazete na sebe, dajuci ostavku za izmisljenu krivicu, poceti mrziti samog sebe i to ce trajati do kraja zivota. A od sebe ne mozete pobjeci.

Na kraju, znajte da je narod uz vas i molimo vas da izdrzite.

Dr. Muhamed Borogovac

Nacionalni kongres Republike BiH



By Tarik Borogovac

A few days ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Minister of Security Tarik Sadovic secured an important victory in protecting BiH citizens and interests from an unscrupulous offensive by Serbia in the international arena. The very next day, his party boss Sulejman Tihic of the SDA party asked him to resign, without citing any concrete reason. To us it is clear that Mr. Tihic is taking issue with Minister Sadovic precisely for doing his job.

The central issue is that Serbia has been using the Belgrade office of Interpol to issue warrants against war-time BiH government and army officials, alleging war crimes against soldiers of the Yugoslav National Army fighting in Bosnia, and against Serb civilians. All the accusations represent “the Serb version of events”, i.e. they are based on interpretations of the war in Bosnia that only Serbia and Bosnian Serb officials propagate. Serbia had initially presented its allegations and its “evidence” to the UN tribunal for war crimes in former Yugoslavia at the Hague, and the tribunal had declined to issue warrants because the evidence was insufficient and not credible.

(NOTE: Other cases that were brought against the Bosnian officials, and which were thought to be more credible, did result in tribunal indictments. All indicted persons from the Bosnian side turned themselves in promptly, and in the majority of the cases completed so far, the suspects were either cleared of all charges by the tribunal, or judged guilty of offenses much less serious than the allegations brought forth by Serbia and the prosecution.)

Based on the allegations that were already rejected by the Hague tribunal, Serbia decided to issue indictments in its own courts, and in the courts of its puppet entity in Bosnia called “The Republic of the Serbs” (RS). For the RBiH government officials and higher ups in the Army Serbia issued Interpol warrants. For others, Serbia and the RS created “secret” lists. This had three major intentions:

1. For a domestic audience, Serbia preserves some credibility for previous propaganda. Slobodan Milosevic is dead, but his whitewashed regime is still in power as evidenced by the fact that his wartime propaganda still dominates. Serbs are still the victims of genocide and aggression perpetrated by militant Muslims, and fascist Croats (tacitly backed by a combination of imperialist western nations, and fundamentalist Arab regimes). That myth would fall apart if Serbia did not act accordingly by pretending to fight to bring justice for all the Serb victims, and to uncover the enormous evidence that must surely exist for such a grand conspiracy. Simply, Serbia had to either “put up or shut up”.

2. For an international audience, Serbia shows that it is not the only one that is hiding its indicted war criminals like Ratko Mladic, as evidenced by the Interpol warrants issued for many Bosnians (and Kosovars, see the case of Agim Ceku). Of course, Serbia, as a member of Interpol created those warrants.

3. Serbia also uses the secret warrants for further ethnic cleansing of the RS by prevention of return of non-Serb refugees. The secret lists have been cited during the arrests of many non-Serb returnees to the RS. For example, several days ago, the RS police arrested Midhat Salihovic, a refugee from Srebrenica residing in Sweden, when he came back to Bosnia to bury the identified remains of his father and brother, who were executed in Srebrenica by the RS police. As a result, the refugees believe that any of them can be put on these lists, and most of them are afraid to return.

In addition, the threat of such warrants can be used to keep those Bosnian officials, who were involved in Bosnia’s defense during the war, from resisting Serbia’s political meddling in Bosnia.

Minister Sadovic recently sent a complaint to Interpol because of the misuse of the Interpol warrants by Serbia for political and propaganda purposes. He asked them to review a particular set of “red” war crimes warrants issued from its Belgrade office. The warrants in question were issued based on a battle on the streets of Sarajevo in 1992, in which, as Serbia alleges, the Army of RBiH committed war crimes against an armored column of the Yugoslav National Army, which carried the BiH President Alija Izetbegovic and his daughter as hostages. Interpol reviewed that nonsense, rescinded the warrants, and changed the rules on issuing warrants for war crimes to prevent further abuse. Now, countries cannot issue war crimes arrest warrants for citizens of other countries, if their home countries do not consent. Or, as Mr. Sadovic put it: “Serbia cannot issue red warrants against Bosnian citizens, if Bosnia doesn’t agree.”

Obviously, this is a major blow to the Serbian government. Interpol’s decision gives some protection to Bosnian officials when traveling abroad to other countries. Unfortunately, it will not help others that Serbia and RS arrest themselves. More than that, it is a blow because Serbia was exposed as a regime that is willing to engage in such criminal abuse of international mechanisms of justice for simple political and propaganda objectives.

Finally, Mr. Tihic’s swift revenge against Mr. Sadovic may be a surprise to uninformed observers, given the great service Mr. Sadovic just did for his country. However, those familiar with communist Yugoslavia recognize men like Mr. Tihic as agents of Serbia. Namely, in Yugoslavia, Serb nationalists controlled the secret police (the notorious Internal State Security Agency UDBA) and the Yugoslav National Army, employing a network of agents and informants to spy and control the citizens of Yugoslavia. There were similar agencies throughout the communist east Europe, for example, the East German Stasi. The specificity of the Yugoslavian spy network was its Serb nationalist, rather than communist ideology. Of special value to UDBA as agents were those non-Serbs who managed to prove their loyalty to Serb national ideals.

The infiltrators were successful Bosnia, and they were given the opportunity to organize politically in the name of Bosniaks, with the aim of controlling Bosniak politics. The most successful of these was President Alija Izetbegovic, who, among other things, put himself in danger to protect the above mentioned YNA column, stopped the American lifting of the arms embargo for the RBiH Army, and signed that the already defeated Serb nationalist forces should control half of BiH in Dayton. One of the last things he did was to install Mr. Tihic to lead the powerful SDA party.

Tihic (together with allies Haris Silajdzic and Zlatko Lagumdzija) have done much damage to our country in order satisfy the Serbian apetite for Bosnia, and have brought the country to the brink of definite disintegration, and to a de facto realization of Milosevic’s genocidal project of an ethnically clean “Republic of the Serbs” on Bosnian territory. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially Bosniaks, never recognized the genocidal RS, and the signatures of a few Serbian agents that established it are illegitimate and cannot stand in the long run.

Minister Sadovic’s complaint to Interpol represents one of the rare Bosnian victories, and it is precisely the reason why Tihic wants to force him out so quickly.



Autor: BIRN

07. Jul 2009. 15:07:27

On Wednesday, July 8 more than 2,500 Peace March participants will leave Nezuk, near Zvornik, and walk 110 km before arriving in Potocari, near Srebrenica, on July 11.

This will be the fourth successive year that the Peace March has been organized to honour those Srebrenica residents who fled through the woods in July 1995 in an attempt to reach territory controlled by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The march will last for three days. The march participants will arrive at the Potocari Memorial Center on July 11, where they will attend the burial of more than 500 murdered Srebrenica residents.

Some participants will start the march in Zepa, located in the vicinity of Srebrenica.

March participants who begin their journey in Nezuk will walk around 35 kilometers per day, while those starting in Zepa will walk for 25 km per day for two days.

Peace March organizers say that their goal is to pay respect to the genocide victims and remind everyone of "the massive and frightening crime committed against Bosniaks from Srebrenica by the Army and police of Republika Srpska".

Another goal is to motivate all "relevant actors to arrest and try all those who are charged with this crime, as soon as possible, with the aim of serving justice and creating preconditions for building permanent peace and tolerance among the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina".

Apart from participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, people from the Netherlands, Croatia, France, Switzerland, Serbia, Italy, the USA, Australia and other countries take part in the Peace March every year.

In a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on April 16, 1993, Srebrenica was declared a protected zone, which was supposed to be demilitarized. Members of the UN Protection Force were deployed in the town on April 18, 1993.

Forces under the command of Republika Srpska General Ratko Mladic entered the town on July 11, 1995. At that moment about 35,000 people from Srebrenica and the surrounding villages, who had sought shelter in the town, were in Srebrenica.

Following the arrival of the Serb forces, women, children and the elderly, as well as some men, converged on Potocari seeking protection from the Dutch UNPROFOR Battalion which was based there. A short time later they were surrounded by Serb forces. The men were separated and taken prisoner. Many of them, including boys, were later killed.

The women and children were deported, on buses and trucks, to territory controlled by the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Shortly after the arrival of the Serb forces, some Srebrenica residents headed through the woods and over the mountains in an attempt to reach territory contrlled by the Bosnian army. A small number survived the difficult journey after spending days moving quickly and following indirect routes.

In 2007 the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that the crime committed at Srebrenica constituted genocide.

Individuals accused of commmiting genocide in Srebrenica are currently on trial in four separate cases being heard before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

The trial of eight senior police and military officials of Republika Srpska is underway at the Hague Tribunal. Ratko Mladic, who is on the run, and Radovan Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska, who is awaiting trial at the Hague, are charged, among other things, with the genocide committed in Srebrenica.




Friday, June 19, 2009




PHOTO: Local Serb vandals killed a dog and place him next to the planned burial site of a 9-month old Amela Ahmetspahic. (Source: Federal TV Footage)

On Tuesday, June 11th, Bosnian Muslims held a funeral for a nine-month old baby and her family - victims of Visegrad massacre of 1992. Visegrad is a municipality bordering with Srebrenica.

Faced with frequent death threats, survivors of the massacre asked the Serb authorities to send at least one Police officer to secure the funeral from possible attacks. Local Serb authorities in Visegrad refused to offer any assistance.

When saddened relatives arrived at the Stražište cemetery in Visegrad they were shocked to find desecrated baby's grave. The Careva Mosque was stoned and windows broken. The vandals also killed a dog and placed him next to murdered baby's grave.

Bodies of Ibrisim and Smaila Memisevic, their daughter Mediha Ahmetspahic, and nine-month old baby granddaughter Amela, were killed by Serbs in 1992. They were dumped into Veljem Lug mass grave. Six years ago, their remains were excavated from the mass grave and recently DNA identified. Amela's father, Suljo, survived the massacre.

Boban Šimšić, who worked for the RS Police in Visegrad, was found guilty for murders of 3 our of 4 above named victims and sentenced to 14 years in jail.

PHOTO: Coffin of a murdered Bosniak Baby, Amela Ahmetspahic. She was 9 months old when Serbs killed her and her family. Like thousands of other Bosnian Muslims, they were dumped into one many mass graves in Podrinje (region around Srebrenica).

PHOTO: Cemetery Mosque attacked by Serb vandals before a funeral of a murdered Bosnian Muslim baby, Amela Ahmetspahic, and her family in Visegrad.

PHOTO: The Careva mosque was stoned by Serb vandals the night before funeral.


Monday, June 1, 2009



1. Washington Office for Bosnia Welcomes the Conference “UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE BALKANS”

2. Announcement of the Conference “UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE BALKANS”

3. The Latest Development in Bosnia: People Have Rejected Once Again the Dayton Constitution


1. Washington Office for Bosnia Welcomes the Conference “UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE BALKANS”

Thanks for this announcement, Peter,

I extracted a quote from your Bosnia/Kosova announcement so amazing that I am responding to a Bosnian e-mail for the first time in years and even dug up some emails of our old “Bosnian and Kosovar hands.”

The announcement reports that “Almost daily calls are coming from various think-tanks and Congressional committees in Washington for de facto liquidation of the Republika Srpska (“Dayton II”) and for an even greater pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosova’s unilateral declaration of independence.”

I am not yet sure it is true, but I certainly hope so. (Why that might make sense for a new Obama/Hillary is described later in this e-mail)

We at the BSC and Washington Office for Bosnia were almost alone in fighting for the goal of abolishing Republika Srpska in the nineties after the fights over the embargo were over. It was our own Colleen London, who, while working in Prime Minister Ganic’s office, succinctly summed up the Dayton Accords in one sentence, “they had the abuser move in with the rape victim, so the property transfer would appear legal after she dies of her wounds.”

So these new “daily calls” for the abolition of Republika Srpska (a $10 billion property reward to the genocidal perpetrators) may possibly save the victim after all.

Even the Bosnians (except for the Bosnian Congress, an e-mail network of thousands of Bosnian diasporans) have thrown in the towel for a decade, except for a recent “abolish Srpska” announcement from Siladjic. (There seems to be some rhetoric for independent Kosova, but the US-backed diplomatic machinery of betrayal, with the acquiescence of American-Albanians, still grinds forward). So the alleged widespread calls, if they are in fact occurring, may constitute a victory for our multi-year effort for Bosnia, signaling a possible change in policy, and deserve our support.

I have recently been immersed in helping the Sudanese resistance fight oppression and genocide so I might have missed this good stuff. If anyone has any verification of these calls, I would appreciate hearing about it.

A note on the speakers - they seem to be one-sided, at least the half I’m familiar with: two Serb ultranationalists, two other persistent and effective pro-Serb ultranationalist Americans (Schindler and Jatras), and one Pat Buchanan type anti-interventionist think-tanker (Bandow). So eating a free lunch at their expense would be satisfying.

The Capitol Hill Club is a Republican venue and Jatras, the most notoriously pro-ultranationalist congressional staffer in Congress during the genocide, is also a life-long Republican.

Hillary could become Bosnia’s friend. As you may recall, during the campaign, she became famous for ducking Serb ultranationalist sniper fire while deplaning in Sarajevo :-).

On a more serious point, as Bill Clinton’s spouse, she may have learned enough about the issue to fix it, and possibly understand its usefulness as part of an administration strategy to repair America’s relationships with Muslims that goes beyond rhetoric. (Did our documents exposing the evils of the Dayton Accords - once posted on dozens of websites, many of them Islamic ones - get to Hillary?) . .

Andrew Eiva

Washington Office for Bosnia

PS: BTW, I will speak on the clash of bureaucratic obstacles versus grassroots ideals on Thursday, May 28 at 121 Caldwell Hall (80 yards northeast of the Basilica) at Catholic University (parking entrance near corner of Michigan Ave. and Harewood) to a Poli-Sci graduate studies class Thursday. It will be preceded by a showing of Charlie Wilson’s War, which touches on these issues, as I was a minor character in the book the movie was based on.

The following is the announcement of the conference:

2. Announcement of the Conference “UNFINISHED BUSINESS IN THE BALKANS”

Please pass this information on to all potentially interested parties!

The Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies and The American Council for Kosovo

invite you to a conference


Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 12 NOON – 5 PM
300 First Street SE, Washington D.C. 20003

(The Club is directly opposite Capitol South Metro Station)

A major security issue facing Europe is the stated intention of the Obama Administration to play a more active role in the former Yugoslavia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is committed to wrapping up what she calls “the unfinished business in the Balkans.” Almost daily calls are coming from various think-tanks and Congressional committees in Washington for de facto liquidation of the Republika Srpska (“Dayton II”) and for an even greater pressure on Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence. To discuss the motives, implications, likely course, and possible results of such U.S. policy, we have assembled a panel of foreign policy experts, several of whom have just come back from Serbia and the Republika Srpska.

No cost to attendees, lunch provided.

You are also cordially invited to the reception to mark the Conference:
Tuesday, May 26, 6–8 p.m.
Open Bar

For all information please contact Terri Alder (202) 626-6625


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Eisenhower Room, Capitol Hill Club, Washington D.C.

11:30 Registration

12:00 Welcoming remarks
Ambassador James Bissett, Chairman, The Lord Byron Foundation

12:15 Keynote address: Bosnia, America’s Unlearnt Lesson
Doug Bandow

12:45 Lunch

1:30 PANEL I: DEFINING THE PROBLEM, chaired by James George Jatras

Imperial Democracy in the Balkans
Gregory Davis

The European Union’s Imperfect Role
Ronald Hatchett

Do We Need “Dayton II”?
Steven Meyer

The Balkans and Global Jihad
William Lind

3:00 Coffee break

3:15 PANEL II: PREVENTING ANOTHER DISASTER, chaired by Ronald Hatchett

The Administration’s Balkan Gambit: Dangers, Strengths, Weaknesses
James George Jatras

A Canadian Solution to Bosnia’s Impasse?
James Bissett

Republika Srpska: Essential Part of Any Solution
Srdja Trifkovic

The Balkans and the War on Terrorism: Defending the American Interest
John Schindler


5:00 Conference Closing


Ambassador James Bissett is Chairman of The Lord Byron Foundation, former head of Canada’s Immigration Service, and former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia

Dr. Doug Bandow is world affairs commentator, author (most recently) of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire and former special assistant to President Reagan

Dr. Gregory M. Davis is the author of Religion of Peace? (2006) and co-director/producer of the documentary Islam: What the West Needs to Know

Dr. Ronald L. Hatchett, Col. USAF (Ret.), a senior DoD official under Reagan, is Director of the Center for Global Studies and professor of international relations at Schreiner University

James George Jatras is Director of The American Council for Kosovo and Deputy Director, American Institute in Ukraine. He is former Foreign Service officer and former senior analyst with the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee

William S. Lind is the leading authority on Fourth Generation Warfare, a prolific author, and Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation

Dr. Steven Meyer is Professor of Political Science at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University

Dr. John Schindler is Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and the author of Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qaeda and the Rise of Global Jihad

Dr. Srdja Trifkovic is Executive Director of The Lord Byron Foundation, the author (most recently) of Defeating Jihad, and former foreign-affairs editor of Chronicles

(NB: The opinions expressed by Professors Meyer and Schindler are their own, and do not reflect the views of the U.S. government or the Department of Defense. )



By Muhamed Borogovac, Ph.D., ASA, MAAA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Filing the law suit for genocide in 1993 at the International Court of Justice by Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia and Montenegro precedes all subsequent constitutional and legal arrangements for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The final judgment of the International Court of Justice supersedes all constitutional arrangements that are today imposed on the victims of aggression and genocide, including Annex 4 to the Dayton Peace Agreement (the so-called Dayton Constitution) and the Brcko Amendment.

Bosnia-Herzegovina was a victim of aggression from Serbia, as established by the UN Security Council’s Resolutions 752 and 757 in 1992, for which Serbia was punished as the aggressor by the economic sanctions and blockade..

On February 26, 2007, The International Court of Justice in its legally binding judgment in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro “Finds that Serbia has violated the obligation to prevent genocide, under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in respect of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica in July 1995.” The Court ruled that genocide in Srebrenica against the people of Srebrenica and the entire East Region of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was committed by the government and institutions of “Republika Srpska” and specifically the Army (VRS) and Police (MUP) of “Republika Srpska” and that Serbia had an obligation to prevent the genocide.

As a reminder, the war ended in the fall of 1995 when Dayton Peace Agreement has been signed. Even though it is an international treaty signed by presidents of three countries Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia (Izetbegovic, Tudjman, and Milosevic, respectively), it contained the new constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the infamous Annex 4 to the Dayton Peace Agreement. This agreement was in direct violation of the international law, which prevents countries to impose constitutional changes onto its neighbor, and especially if one of them (referring to Serbia) committed aggression and violated the court imposed obligation to prevent the genocide of that neighbor.

In addition, the so-called Dayton Constitution was imposed on B&H even though the final version signed in Paris was never ratified in the Parliament of the Republic of B&H. Even worse, the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic B&H (Article 268) and procedures for the change of the constitution were totally ignored, as proven by constitutional scholars [e.g. Sienho Yee in the article “The New Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina” published in European Journal of International Law article ( Yee Eur J Int Law.1996; 7: 176-192)]: )

These days we witnessed an attempt by enemies and traitors of people of B&H to provide some legality to the illegitimate Dayton Constitution by amending it using provisions of the Constitution of the Republic B&H (the Article 268) that requires public debate. The so-called Brcko Amendment did not have any other objective but to legalize the illegitimate Dayton Agreement, as was well summarized by Professor Boyle in his interview to BosTel:

In expectation that people of B&H will be in favor of the amendment to the illegitimate Dayton Constitution, traitors and enemies of people of B&H initiated public debate as part of the procedure required for the adaptation of the amendments. However, during the Public debate, which took place in series of town hall meetings in 5 major Bosnian cities and on the internet, people of Bosnia-Herzegovina overwhelmingly rejected the constitutional change. Raffi Gregorian, an Acting High Representative (AHR) and Brcko Supervisor, was quoted expressing his regrets because of the strong opposition of the people of B&H to the amendment. Transcripts of town hall meetings are available on the website of the Parliament, which clearly show that the people of B&H rejected the amendment.

At the end of the public debate, surprisingly, the constitutional committee decided to disregard the opinion of the people of B&H and to go with the amendment to the so-called Dayton Constitution, not even mentioning the results of the public debate.

People of Bosnia-Herzegovina reject any amendments to the illegitimate Dayton Constitution, as well as the Dayton Constitution itself. Now it should be clear to the world community and all freedom loving people that people of Bosnia-Herzegovina reject the illegitimately imposed Dayton Constitution as the law of the country.