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srebrenica_man - 72758 - 14.08.2012 : Ratko Obrenovic Detroit, USA - best (1)

Ethnic Conflicts in Civil War in Bosnia - Political manipulation with term of Genocide (1)

Part II (Practical work) Case Study: Srebrenica
  • Role of so called international media's
  • Photo documentations Ignored Massacre of Bosnian Serbs & Alleged Massacre of Muslims 13.The current situation of Srebrenica: Despair of Serbs The town of Srebrenica, which is located at the east of the entity of Bosnian Serbs or Republika Srpska in Bosnia, has the population of approximately 20 thousands now. Eighty percent of the current population is Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) particularly from Sarajevo in Bosnia and refugees mostly from Krajina in Croatia. Although almost three years have passed since the end of the war in Bosnia, no sign to restore Srebrenica can be seen. Water is still limited in supply, and not suitable for drink. Broken windows and doors make people shivering in winter. The school buildings in the elementary school have disgusting stench of damaged toilets. There are almost no economic activities to hire the population to sustain the life although this area is rich in land and minerals such as lead and zinc. Under these circumstances, refugees or IDPs have to endure the lowest level of the living conditions, and most of them are left alone without any means of income. The local report warned that the rate of suicides and sudden death among the refugees and IDPs was high in Srebrenica area possibly because of the combination of despair and malnutrition. The report continued to say that the year of 1996 particularly saw the high rate of mortality of the refugees and IDPs in the area, citing the deaths of more than 150 IPDs in Bratunac, a relatively large town in the area. Aid, which has recently begun to trickle down into Republika Srpska due to its apparent willingness to cooperate with western countries, carefully avoids Srebrenica area not to make it a beneficiary. The reason is the alleged massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. For the countries insisting that the bad guys, Serbs, carried out cruel ethnic cleansing of poor Muslims in Srebrenica area, the emotional conscience is so convincing that they do not want to hurt Muslims by rewarding Serbs, no matter how many refugees and IDPs are living in Srebrenica area. In general, however, emotion is often shaped by temporary hysteria and biased or unconfirmed information. Conscience driven by emotion, thus, tends to be deceived fairness. The case of "alleged Srebrenica massacre" is not an exception. 14. Depressive History of Serbs in Srebrenica: From the majority to the minority Srebrenica has a sad history for Serbs particularly during World War II, and their sorrow is reflected in the number of Serbs population in Srebrenica. Before the World War II, Serbs accounted for 50.6% and Muslims for 49.4% of the total population, or 36,000, in Srebrenica area. However, because of the atrocities of German Nazi's collaborators against Serbs in the area during the war and its resultant low growth of the population afterwards, the ratio of Serbs to the total population, or 80,000, dropped to 35.6%, and the ratio of Muslims increased to 61.9% in 1991, according to the census of the former republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (BH). 15. Nazi's "SS Handzar Division" and Srebrenica Nazi collaborators in BH, which belonged to Independent State of Croatia, or a puppet state of Fascist Germany, were called "SS Handzar Division" of Ustasha. The Division was established in February 1943, by the order of Hitler and with the blessing of Jerusalem Mufti, Hitler's close associate, in order to fight against Tito's partisans. The role of "SS Handzar Division" was to eradicate Serbs, and it consisted of 20,000 soldiers, mainly Muslims . The techniques of terror that it used were appallingly cruel, being inherited from Turks in the period of Ottoman Empire . According to Florentin Manuel , the most usual techniques were raping women, removing eyes and cutting testicles of alive men, and the action of "SS Handzar" was more like an armed band than a military unit . It is said that their cruelty was such that even German SS officers accused actions of those people . Srebrenica area was under the direct assault of this "SS Handzar Division" during World War II. 16. Alija Izetbegovic (President of Bosnian Muslims) and Srebrenica In the history of Srebrenica, Alija Izetbegovic, the current President of Bosnia and Hercegovina, is the person who connects the present and the World War II. During the World War II, he was a main actor for "SS Handzar Division". He joined the organization "Young Muslims" in Sarajevo on March 5, 1943, and was engaged as a member of the organization in recruiting young Muslims for "SS Handzar Division" in collaboration with Hitler's intelligence service (ABWER and GESTAPO). In 1946, however, he was sentenced by former Yugoslav Supreme Military Court to three years of imprisonment and two years of deprivation of civil rights, because of his fascist activities . This criminal record of Izetbegovic was published by Russian gazette "Izvestija" dated 17 November of 1992. "Islamic Declaration" was another criminal record of Izetbegovic. Having shown his fundamentalism or intolerance of other religions ", he was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment by Supreme Court of Bosnia on March 14, 1983. However, in spite of the prohibition of its publication, "Islamic Declaration" was reprinted in 1990. Two years later, it seemed that he began to resume the activities of "SS Handzar" based on his Islamic fundamentalism particularly in Srebrenica area, intentionally or unintentionally. 17. Srebrenica area: Strategic Importance for Muslims Creation of Cordon (Geographical Center of Islam) According to Muslim National Council established on the eve of Bajram (the end of February) in 1992, the goal of all radical Muslims led by Izetbegovic was to create the Islamic State within the borders of BH . The largest concern to achieve this goal was the geographical and ethnical closeness between eastern Bosnia and Serbia in Yugoslavia. Taking into the consideration the fact that south eastern Bosnia already had demographic and Islamic connection to Sandzak and Kosovo in Serbia, the serious problem lay in 'north eastern Bosnia', where Srebrenica area stretched over. Therefore, there was an urgent necessity to draw a cordon between Serbs in eastern Bosnia and Serbs in Serbia . Under these circumstances, a huge number of invitations to the gathering in Bratunac in Srebrenica area were distributed among Muslims throughout Bosnia at the beginning of 1992, and the large gathering was held in Bratunac on the first day of Bajram, the celebration to end Ramadan, in the presence of Izetbegovic. There, Bratunac was proclaimed 'Geographic center of Muslim for the whole (former) Yugoslavia,' and to arm Muslims was openly declared. 18. Mutual Fear In the middle of the radical Islamic and militant activities, however, the general Muslim citizens in Srebrenica area were afraid of this abrupt militant move in their area in the same way that Serbs were frightened. As Besim Ibisevic (Muslim), former President of Township Assembly in Srebrenica, told a local magazine in Sarajevo, the general Muslim citizens had shouted 'peace at any cost' in the big crowded hall of culture club in Srebrenica in April 1992 . People in Srebrenica, therefore, did not allow Muslim extremists, such as Naser Oric and Zulfo Tursunovic, to enter the Srebrenica area at the beginning. According to the confession of Naser himself, he had to hide in forests together with his fellows, and get food secretly . Behind the scene, however, rifles and uniforms had been already sent to every township assembly and SDA (or Muslims') party . In addition, Vox, radical Muslim magazine in Sarajevo, published the name of Serbs to be killed in Srebrenica to threaten Serbs under the excuse of 'War Criminals' who fought as Tito's partisans against "SS Handzar". Only a little provocative push was necessary to drive people to conflicts. At the end of 1991, when Muslim National Council was on the last stage to prepare insurgence against the Former Yugoslavia, Izetbegovic and his followers decided to depend on criminals' power. For Srebrenica, they found Naser Oric and Zulfo Tursunovic as the persons whom they could depend on. Naser, born in Srebrenica area, was a policeman in Beograd in Serbia, and worked as one of the bodyguards of Milosevic, the current President of Yugoslavia. However, when Oric was fired for theft in the end of 1991, Izetbegovic's group picked him up, and appointed him as the Commander of Territorial Defense for Srebrenica. Meanwhile, Zulfo Tursunovic was in the jail in Zenica in 1991 because he had killed three Muslims in 1986. Although he did not finish the service of 15 year-imprisonment, Izetobegovic ordered the release of Zulfo, and appointed him as Deputy Dommander of BH Army in Srebrenica at the end of 1991. In the beginning of 1992, Naser and Zulfo got together in order to sneak into Srebrenica. They hid in the woods, and succeeded to sneak into Srebrenica in spring 1992. 19. Start of Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs Mutual distrust and fear between Serbs and Muslims were mounting high in Srebrenica. Armed Muslim gangs among which the Patriot League was formed in Vlasenica near Srebrenica area started raising mutual fear among people from April 1992 . Serbs already began to be fired from governments, police, schools, health institutions, and business. A group of Muslim locals in the disguise of Arkan soldiers, a Serbian para-military group, came to Srebrenica area and raised the fear in Muslim civilians ". Then, on May 8 1992, Judge Goran Zekic, President of SDS (Bosnian Serbs' political party) in Srebrenica area and Bosnian Serb representative of Srebrenica to BH Parliament was ambushed and killed. A mass exodus of Serbs from Srebrenica town to Bratunac started immediately . Ethnic Cleansing of Serbs Reliance on Serbs' Supply and Cleansing of Serbs According to Sefer Halilovic, former Chief of Staff of BH Army, Muslim's military strategy for Srebrenica area was the total dependence on the Serbs' supplies and properties . He continued to say "The only source of our supply was chetnik's (Serbs') stores and their production." In other words, it was nothing more than the robbery of bandit groups. Muslims started their assault against the smallest Serbian hamlets and then against the villages where Serbs are minority. Afterwards, they targeted Serbs villages surrounded by Muslim villages. Finally, large Serbs villages were targeted. On May 6, 1992, just two days before Zekic was killed, small hamlets, Bljeceva and Gniona, had been already robbed and burnt as a sign indicating what would happen from now on. On May 7, seven Serbs who tried to escape from Srebrenica were ambushed and killed. On May 15, the villages of Viogor, Orahovica, Karno, Civevci, and Radossevi were attacked. In this way, from May 1992 to Jan 1994, as many as 192 villages were robbed and burnt . During the period, 8,000 Serbian houses had been assaulted, and 5,400 houses were completely demolished into rubbles . The number of the killed were more than 1,000, including women, children, and the elderly, and 90% of those were killed particularly during the first six months from May 1992 in spite of the fact that most of them were civilians . 20. Cruelty of violent ethnic cleansing The wild cruelty of Muslim soldiers in Srebrenica area was very similar to the techniques of "SS Handzar" in the period of World War II. Rather than using bullets, Muslim soldiers used dull objects as weapons and gradually killed Serbs, mostly civilians, by mutilating, taking off an eye, castrating, crucifying, or burning. The traces of the torture were so visible on corpses that most of the autopsy process was videotaped and photographed by Serb doctors who conducted autopsy . Meanwhile, the top Muslim commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric, who orchestrated the attacks together with Zulfo Tursunovic, also videotaped the scene as trophies of war. Washington Post dated February 16, 1994 said: "Burnt Serb houses, headless Serb men, their bodies crumpled in a pathetic heap" was on a videocassette tape. In the article, Naser said, "We had to use cold weapons that night," and explained as scenes of dead men sliced by knives roll over his 21-inch Sony. As Muslim soldiers did not carry this kind of tapes with them in fleeing, Commission of Legal Experts of Republika Srpska kept most of them as evidences. Documents which Muslim soldiers did not have time to take with them in fleeing Srebrenica revealed hideous crimes committed under the order of Naser Oric. One of the Muslim forces" report of No. 06-08/95 explained about the death of a Serb, Milko Markovic, who remained in the town of Srebrenica even after the death of Judge Zekic, as follows; "Milko Markovic was arrested, and delivered to Mis. Mis maltreated him, stung him by knife, and cut his throat. However, because Milko was still alive, Mis brought Milko to a small stream, and tortured him again. As Milko lost consciousness, Mis awoke Milko by pouring water on him. Then Mis burned him alive." It is said that Mis is living in Tuzla now without any troubles. There were some Serbs who received an illogical notice on the death of their families from Muslim authorities. For instance, the daughter of Radovan Marinkovic received the death notice of her father through ICRC (International Committee of Red Cross) on September 24, 1992. The notice with the signature of Zulfo Tursunovic said that her father was killed as a Serb soldier in front of his house. However, her father was too old in fact to be a soldier, and it is weird for any soldier to caryy out military actions in front of his house. It is a mystery why the international media and society hardly paid attention to this savage behavior although a series of attacks were so evident that even a local Muslim citizen explained to the author without any hesitation. More strangely, Prof. Cherif Bassiouni, Chairman of the Commission of Experts, avoided to mention the Muslims' attacks on Srebrenica in Final Report , and submitted it to Security Council through Secretary-General on May 27, 1994. It should be noted that Dragomir Djokic, then Yugoslav Charge d'affaires to UN, had submitted the criminal report and relevant evidences on the Muslims' attacks on Srebrenica to General Assembly of Security Council in June 93, and that the Dr. Stankovic, a world-famous doctor of forensic medicine who had implemented most of the autopsies for the Serbs victims in Srebrenica in 1993, had directly handed over the same report and evidences to Bassiouni. As the report became a basis for the indictments of war criminals in the territory of former Yugoslavia later, those criminals evaded accusations, and they are still free to do anything. The responsibility of Prof. Bassiouni is enormous if they repeat crimes of this kind particularly because he intentionally avoided accusing those criminals. 21. Absence of Bosnian Serb Forces From 1992 to Janary 1993, Bosnian Serb citizens in Srebrenica area were at the mercy of Muslim forces. What Bosnian Serb citizens did was to defend themselves individually by the old weapons that they could find in the house, and wait for the Former Yugoslav Army to help them. However, it never came. In 1992, the Former Yugoslav Army (FYA) was in confusion to see former Yugoslav republics receive the recognition of independence from international society. Although FYA had been in Bosnia since the birth of the Former Yugoslavia, FYA was suddenly left alone in the territory of the enemy after the independence of Bosnia April 1992. One after another Muslim and Croat soldiers deserted the Army. At the decision of the withdrawal from Bosnia in May 4, 1992, FYA started to withdraw and completely withdrew from Bosnia by May 15, 1992, leaving Bosnian Serbs behind. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb citizens, accounting more than 30% of the Bosnian population, completely relied on the arrival of FYA. Their trust in FYA was so firm that they couldn't believe the withdrawal of FYA. In other words, they didn't understand the seriousness of the situation, particularly in countryside. Thus, they failed to organize self-defense in the absence of leadership. In Srebrenica area, even after the killing of Judge Zekic, Bosnian Serb citizens just waited for the arrival of FYA without taking any all-out defense measures. In order to fill the absence of FYA, Repulika Srpska Army was set up in May 12, 1992. Serb FYA soldiers of Bosnian origin joined Republika Srpska Army after quitting the job in FYA. Being concerned about Bosnian Serb citizens, FYA left the weapons for Republika Srpska Army. However, as the formation of Republika Srpska Army was not well-planned and make-shift in nature due to the sudden withdrawal of FYA, Republika Srpska Army was not able to take effective action in an organized way until the autumn of 1992. Even after the autumn, Republika Srpska Army, being inferior in number to Muslim Army, had to narrow down the area in which they could be totally engaged. As Bosnian Serb civilians in western Bosnia were severely assaulted by Croat Army, Republika Srpska Army focused on west, and it could not defend Bosnian Serb civilians in east Bosnia. It was Janyary 7 of 1993 when Bosnian Serb citizens finally realized that they had to organize themseves to defend. 'Drina Corps' was created in Srebrenica area under the direction of Mladzic. Having looked at fire on their houses, Several Serbs of Bosnian origin joined 'Drina Corps' after quitting FYA's 'Drina Corps,' which was stationed in Serbia. However, FYA's 'Drina Corps' never moved to Srebrenica area, and never directed their weapons at Srebrenica area across Drina River from Serbia. Serbs paramilitary forces were not in Srebrenica from the beginning of the war to the end of the war although there are some reports on Serbs paramilitary forces in Srebrenica. According to the report of UN , for example, "Drina Wolves, Seselj Militia, Specialna Policia, White Eagles, Arkan Tigers and Krajina Serbs" were said to be seen in the area. However, "Seselj Militia" was a regular unit of Republika Srpska Army as Karadzic prohibited paramilitary groups and ordered them at the end of 1992 to join the regular Republika Srpska Army in order to put them under control. "Drina Wolves" was the name of a regular unit of Republika Srpska from the beginning. There were no "Specialna Policia" except Military Police of Republika Srpska. "White Eagles", comprising of only about 50 members, never approached to eastern Bosnia. Neither did "Arkan Tigers." "Krajina Serbs" did not have any energy to defend places other than Krajina in Croatia. 22. Large Territorial Gain and Limitation By pursuing the savage policy of fighting, Muslim forces acquired as much as 95% of Srebrenica area by the end of December 1992. Sefer Halilovic boasted of the expansion of the territory in his book, saying that Srebrenica and Zepa had become an unrealized dream for alive and dead chetniks (Serbs) in spring 1993 . However, serious problems began to change the course of the war from the spring of 1993. The most important problem was lack of food. Having faced the vast territory stretching 70 miles (approx.113km), from the village of Zepa in the south to Kamenica in the north by the end of January 1993, Muslims did not have any more Serbs villages to attack in order to obtain food. A huge amount of food that Muslim forces had taken from Serbs was consumed up by the end of the spring in 1993, and the shortage of food became evident. The second problem was the encirclement of Srebrenica. Geographically, Srebrenica town had been surrounded by villages that had the relatively large Serbs population. Since the Muslims' drive to mop up Serbs was initiated from the inside of Srebrenica town, Serbs were simply pushed outwards and Muslims were drown closer into the center in exchange. Therefore, although the encircled territory of Muslims grew and expanded outwards, the position of Muslims remained unchanged, being encircled by Serbs. The last problem was the start of the offensives of Bosnian Serb forces. As Drina corps of Republika Srpska Army was eventually created in January 1993 , more effective and systematic strategy began to be implemented. Muslim forces were required to take some urgent measures. 23. Safe Area - Srebrenica as a temporary base of Muslim attack Under the plan of Muslim leaders, Muslims' territories in Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde were supposed to grow endlessly until the three areas would merge into a huge chunk connecting central and north eastern Bosnia and create a huge cordon between Muslim state and Serbia in Yugoslavia. When Muslims' territory in Srebrenica area hit the ceiling of expansion, however, this plan collapsed, and the role of Srebrenica changed. Now, they were just like isolated islands in the enemy's sea, waiting for the control of the enemy. However, they could be temporary bases for Muslim forces to attack Serbs until the enclaves would come into the hands of Bosnian Serb forces. Particularly, the location of Srebrenica was best suited to break the Bosnian Serbs' vital supply route (Sarajevo-Vlasenica-Milici-Konjevic Polje -Zvornik) for Sarajevo. Therefore, while knowing that no enclave can last long, Muslim leaders wanted to keep Srebrenica as the base as long as possible. Later, on September 22, 1994, Izetbegovic admitted to a senior UN official that Srebrenica was 'indefensible.' 24. Involvement of UN What Muslim leaders came up with a device to prolong the life of Srebrenica was to use their own civilians and UN to their advantage. Having known that international organizations would bring relief supplies to the civilians, Muslim leaders have decided to keep civilians in the enclave in order that Muslim forces could obtain food and other supplies. In fact, at the end of November in 1992, UNHCR already dispatched the convoy of relief supplies to Muslims in Srebrenica area partly because Srebrenica area became an enclave encircled by Serbs who had been actually pushed outwards by Muslim forces of Srebrenica, and partly because the shortage of food became a serious problem. Being helped by this relief supplies, Muslim forces of Srebrenica launched large-scale attacks on Serbs villages along the Drina River, such as Loznica, Bijelovac, and Sikiric, two weeks later. A number of evidences that belong to Commission of Legal Experts to Republika Srpska easily prove that Muslim forces considered civilians as a magnet to attract relief food from international organizations. One of the proofs is 'demonstration of citizens.' A large group of civilians complained about too small rations of wheat flour, and protested against the Muslim authorities of Srebrenica on May 21, 1993 although UNHCR had sent wheat flour more than the required amount. A Muslim woman that spent years in the enclave of Srebrenica also complained in the author's interview that a half of the vehicles carrying humanitarian aid had been usually empty. Meanwhile, Ibran Mustafic, a founder of SDA (Muslim's political party) of Srebrenica and representative to Muslim BH Parliament, explained about the abundance of supplies as follows; "It was always possible to buy at the market anything one might have wanted. Hardly anything was lacking. Still the only source of goods was humanitarian aid since not a single commercial convoy had ever reached Srebrenica." In order to solve the problem, International aid agencies suggested that the refugees should elect their own representative for the distribution of food. However, the man elected was killed the day after his election. As Dutch battalion said in "Srebrenica: Record of a war crime", Naser Oric , top commander in Srebrenica, and his fellows such as Zulfo Tursunovic and Hakija Meholjic, were nothing more than gangsters who took most of relief supplies from refugee population for his personal profit . Human shield was the other way of using civilians. When UN decided to evacuate 15,000 people at the end of March and at the beginning of April in 1993, the Muslim commanders were furious about the idea, by insisting that UN operation was tantamount to 'ethnic cleansing' and decided that the convoy should not be allowed to come in Tuzla, Muslim territory. Later, however, the Muslim commanders privately confided to a reporter of Independent the real reason: Serbs could not launch an all-out attacks as long as civilians and refugees were there . Muslim forces' attitude towards their own civilians or refugees was merciless particularly when Srebrenica was about to fall under Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. During the night of July 10 and 11, 1995, people started leaving Srebrenica town and headed for Potocari because of the combat. UNPROFOR decided to help transfer those people to Potocari. However, Muslim soldiers and Mayor of Srebrenica turned those people back , thinking that civilians would become shields from Bosnian Serb forces and hoping for the direct involvement of UN who was supposed to protect civilians. When Muslim leaders were looking for a more effective device to prolong the life of Srebrenica, the international society gave the most ideal scheme for Muslim leaders partly out of the egoistic national interests and partly out of the emotional outrage against Bosnian Serbs offensive called "aggression" and "ethnic cleansing". The scheme which international society offered was the half-hearted setup of "Safe Area", a product of each country's compromise. The most terrible compromise was Paragraph 5 of UN Security Council Resolution 836, which allowed Bosnian forces to stay in "Safe Area" together with civilians . Moreover, although "Safe Area" was supposed to be demilitarized, UNPROFOR were asked not to pursue the demilitarization so actively . Immediately after signing the agreement of cease-fire and demilitarization of Srebrenica and Zepa with Mladic (Supreme military commander of Republika Srpska), Halilovic (Supreme military commander of Muslim Bosnian Army), sent the order to both enclaves that weapons should not be delivered . He explained to Naser Oric that Muslim forces should hand over only unusable arms . In this way, UN, which was supposed to be an impartial institution, allowed Muslim forces to stay with civilians, attack Serbs from the enclave and secure food under the protection of UNPROFOR,. It was the best environments for Muslim forces that wanted to break the Bosnian Serbs' vital supply line rather than to expand the enclave and it was the worst environment for Muslim citizens who did not want to be trapped in the combats. Ibran Mustafic criticized this strategy of Muslim government later, saying that the person who had issued the order should bring his family to Srebrenica before the implementation.

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