Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
World

24th anniversary: Srebrenica genocide remembered

Abdus Sattar Ghazali 12 Jul 2019

July 11 marks the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the worst atrocity on European soil since the World War Two. In July, 1995, Serb forces systematically killed more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys in the UN-protected enclave in Srebrenica, Bosnia.




Al Jazeera provides a graphic account of the Srebrenica genocide.

On July 11, 1995 at 16:15 General Ratko Mladic (now a convicted war criminal) entered Srebrenica with Serb forces, including paramilitary units from Serbia, claiming the town for Serbs. Strolling through the streets with the TV cameras rolling, Mladic announced that there will be “revenge against the Turks”.

Panicked residents in the enclave fled to the UN Dutch Battalion base only to find that the 400 lightly-armed peacekeepers were unable to defend them. Serb forces had inherited much larger resources of the former Yugoslav army, the fourth largest in the world at the time.

On that day, thousands of Bosniak men start to make their escape through the woods, forming a column and hiking some 100km in an attempt to reach free territory controlled by the Bosnian army.

The journey was known as the death march, as they were ambushed, shot at and attacked by Serb forces. Less than a quarter of them survived.

Over the course of six days, more than 8,000 Bosniaks were killed. Women and small children were deported.

In an attempt to conceal the killings, Serb forces transported the dead bodies with bulldozers and trucks and buried them in numerous locations, leaving the victims’ remains fragmented and crushed.

Human bones can be found as far as 20km apart, making it difficult for families to give their loved ones a proper burial.

What led to the massacre?
Genocide is not committed by a small group of individuals, rather a large number of people and the state all contribute to genocide.

The idea of a Greater  Serbia (including the territories of Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro and other neighboring countries) dates back to the 19th century, and was revived following the death of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980.

With the decline of the Communist bloc, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Serbian nationalists saw a chance to mobilise the masses in support of establishing a homogenous Serbian state.

In Milosevic’s famous address to a crowd in Belgrade in 1989, he presented himself as the savior of Serbdom and Europe. It enforced the notion of “us [Serbs] vs them”.

Bosniaks were typically called Turks, Balije (a slur for a Bosnian Muslim) and branded as terrorists and Islamic “extremists”.

A plan to destroy Bosnia and “completely exterminate its Muslim people” was drawn up as early as the 1980s by the General Staff of the Yugoslav People’s Army, according to Vladimir Srebrov, a politician who cofounded the SDS party with convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.

One document, written by the army’s special services including experts in psychological warfare, stated that the most effective way to create terror and panic among the Bosniak population would be by raping women, minors, and even children.

How genocide was organized?
Organized from Belgrade, Serbia, weapons were distributed to the Serb population by the truckload throughout 1990 and 1991 in Bosnia, according to Al Jazeera.

“Weapons and military equipment were even flown in by military helicopters to Serbian military officers. It is said that by the end, almost no Serbian house was without an automatic gun,” according to a UN report from 1994.

“The pretext for the arms deliveries and the rearmament was that this was necessary for the defence against ‘the enemies of the people’ – the Muslim extremists.”

As Serb troops arrived in each town, they killed non-Serbs, often after torturing them. Bosniak properties were confiscated.

As many as 50,000 Bosniak and Croat women, girls and young children were raped in Bosnia from 1992- 1995.

In Prijedor, a city in western Bosnia, Bosniaks were forced to wear white armbands to be clearly identified and tie white flags to their doors.

Across the country 200,000 people were deported to concentration  camps where they were tortured, starved and killed.

Others living under siege, such as in Sarajevo and Mostar, starved while being targeted by snipers and heavy shelling.

Srebrenica, which was known as the world’s biggest detention camp, was under siege for three years, before it fell to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.

Serb troops separated boys and men aged between 12 and 77 from the rest of the population and took them to fields, schools and warehouses to be executed.

International Court of Justice
The systematic murder of over 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Srebrenica by Serb forces in July 1995 was ruled as an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice.

Theodor Meron, the presiding judge at the ICTY, stated in 2004 that “by seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed a genocide.”

“They targeted for extinction of the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of Bosnian Muslims in general,” he said.

Serbian General Vladimir Lazarevic, Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic and Bosnian Serb Momcilo Krajisnik were convicted for “horrific crimes against humanity”, yet they were given a hero’s welcome upon release from prison with government officials in attendance, the report noted. Fourteen Serb war criminals were convicted of genocide and other crimes at the ICTY including former Military Commander Radislav Krstic, former President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic, and Bosnian Serb Military Leader Ratko Mladic.

“All three, as  senior officials and commanders, participated in ethnic cleansing and campaigns harming millions and devastating communities. The mentality that can regard those men as heroes is difficult to understand,” Meron wrote.

The systematic murder of over 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Srebrenica by Serb forces in July 1995 was ruled as an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice.Denial of facts established in the Tribunal’s judgments are widespread in the education system throughout former Yugoslavia, the report noted, where students are taught “widely different and irreconcilable versions of the recent past”.

International Court of Justice
Theodor Meron, the presiding judge at the ICTY, stated in 2004 that “by seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed a genocide.”

“They targeted for extinction of the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of Bosnian Muslims in general,” he said.

Serbian General Vladimir Lazarevic, Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic and Bosnian Serb Momcilo Krajisnik were convicted for “horrific crimes against humanity”, yet they were given a hero’s welcome upon release from prison with government officials in attendance, the report noted. Fourteen Serb war criminals were convicted of genocide and other crimes at the ICTY including former Military Commander Radislav Krstic, former President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic, and Bosnian Serb Military Leader Ratko Mladic.

“All three, as  senior officials and commanders, participated in ethnic cleansing and campaigns harming millions and devastating communities. The mentality that can regard those men as heroes is difficult to understand,” Meron wrote.

Canadians launch petition to ban Srebrenica genocide denial
Denial of facts established in the Tribunal’s judgments are widespread in the education system throughout former Yugoslavia, the report noted, where students are taught “widely different and irreconcilable versions of the recent past”.

An online petition has been launched in Canada by the Institute for Research of Genocide (IRGC), requesting the Canadian government to enact a law making Srebrenica genocide denial a punishable offence.

If the petition is adopted, Canada would join nine other countries in Europe including Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Macedonia in prohibiting genocide denial.

Canada has already adopted two resolutions recognizing the Srebrenica genocide, launched by the IRGC.

However, its Director Emir Ramic noted that the process of adopting the first resolution took five years as the Conservative Party – under the influence of the Serbian and Russian lobby – had rejected the resolution.

He told Al Jazeera that the threats intensified as discourse changed from denial to glorification and triumphalism.Ramic’s work with the institute has made him a target of death threats and verbal abuse for years by genocide deniers.

However, he says it has made him all the more determined to make sure a law is enacted banning the denial of Srebrenica genocide. If adopted, Canada would make a major contribution in the fight against genocide denial worldwide, Ramic told Al Jazeera.

“Denying the genocide in Srebrenica is very dangerous. We need to learn from history, recognise [what happened in Srebrenica] and call it by its real name,” he said.

“The aggression and genocide in Bosnia have shown that … there aren’t adequate mechanisms in place to protect freedom and human rights.””Human rights are under attack worldwide,” Ramic added. “Bosniaks, as the only people in Europe who survived aggression and genocide [since the Holocaust], are exposed to unacceptable discrimination not just in the motherland, but in the Diaspora as well.”

“We’ve seen this with Holocaust denial, we’ve seen this with denial for Rwanda and of course with Srebrenica,” said Parliamentarian Brian Masse on the necessity of a law.

“It’s very hurtful for the victims and families of the survivors to continue to wrestle with something based on facts, so the initiative will help in preventing denial and create awareness that we will never forget.”

On April 24, 2015,  the House of Commons passed a motion to include the Srebrenica genocide, and Srebrenica Remembrance Day as part of “Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Awareness Month” every April. Earlier on October 19, 2010, the House of Commons passed a motion to recognize July 11 annually as Srebrenica Remembrance Day in Canada.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gamil.com

Courtesy: Counter Current

24th anniversary: Srebrenica genocide remembered

July 11 marks the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the worst atrocity on European soil since the World War Two. In July, 1995, Serb forces systematically killed more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys in the UN-protected enclave in Srebrenica, Bosnia.




Al Jazeera provides a graphic account of the Srebrenica genocide.

On July 11, 1995 at 16:15 General Ratko Mladic (now a convicted war criminal) entered Srebrenica with Serb forces, including paramilitary units from Serbia, claiming the town for Serbs. Strolling through the streets with the TV cameras rolling, Mladic announced that there will be “revenge against the Turks”.

Panicked residents in the enclave fled to the UN Dutch Battalion base only to find that the 400 lightly-armed peacekeepers were unable to defend them. Serb forces had inherited much larger resources of the former Yugoslav army, the fourth largest in the world at the time.

On that day, thousands of Bosniak men start to make their escape through the woods, forming a column and hiking some 100km in an attempt to reach free territory controlled by the Bosnian army.

The journey was known as the death march, as they were ambushed, shot at and attacked by Serb forces. Less than a quarter of them survived.

Over the course of six days, more than 8,000 Bosniaks were killed. Women and small children were deported.

In an attempt to conceal the killings, Serb forces transported the dead bodies with bulldozers and trucks and buried them in numerous locations, leaving the victims’ remains fragmented and crushed.

Human bones can be found as far as 20km apart, making it difficult for families to give their loved ones a proper burial.

What led to the massacre?
Genocide is not committed by a small group of individuals, rather a large number of people and the state all contribute to genocide.

The idea of a Greater  Serbia (including the territories of Bosnia, Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro and other neighboring countries) dates back to the 19th century, and was revived following the death of Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980.

With the decline of the Communist bloc, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Serbian nationalists saw a chance to mobilise the masses in support of establishing a homogenous Serbian state.

In Milosevic’s famous address to a crowd in Belgrade in 1989, he presented himself as the savior of Serbdom and Europe. It enforced the notion of “us [Serbs] vs them”.

Bosniaks were typically called Turks, Balije (a slur for a Bosnian Muslim) and branded as terrorists and Islamic “extremists”.

A plan to destroy Bosnia and “completely exterminate its Muslim people” was drawn up as early as the 1980s by the General Staff of the Yugoslav People’s Army, according to Vladimir Srebrov, a politician who cofounded the SDS party with convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.

One document, written by the army’s special services including experts in psychological warfare, stated that the most effective way to create terror and panic among the Bosniak population would be by raping women, minors, and even children.

How genocide was organized?
Organized from Belgrade, Serbia, weapons were distributed to the Serb population by the truckload throughout 1990 and 1991 in Bosnia, according to Al Jazeera.

“Weapons and military equipment were even flown in by military helicopters to Serbian military officers. It is said that by the end, almost no Serbian house was without an automatic gun,” according to a UN report from 1994.

“The pretext for the arms deliveries and the rearmament was that this was necessary for the defence against ‘the enemies of the people’ – the Muslim extremists.”

As Serb troops arrived in each town, they killed non-Serbs, often after torturing them. Bosniak properties were confiscated.

As many as 50,000 Bosniak and Croat women, girls and young children were raped in Bosnia from 1992- 1995.

In Prijedor, a city in western Bosnia, Bosniaks were forced to wear white armbands to be clearly identified and tie white flags to their doors.

Across the country 200,000 people were deported to concentration  camps where they were tortured, starved and killed.

Others living under siege, such as in Sarajevo and Mostar, starved while being targeted by snipers and heavy shelling.

Srebrenica, which was known as the world’s biggest detention camp, was under siege for three years, before it fell to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.

Serb troops separated boys and men aged between 12 and 77 from the rest of the population and took them to fields, schools and warehouses to be executed.

International Court of Justice
The systematic murder of over 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Srebrenica by Serb forces in July 1995 was ruled as an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice.

Theodor Meron, the presiding judge at the ICTY, stated in 2004 that “by seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed a genocide.”

“They targeted for extinction of the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of Bosnian Muslims in general,” he said.

Serbian General Vladimir Lazarevic, Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic and Bosnian Serb Momcilo Krajisnik were convicted for “horrific crimes against humanity”, yet they were given a hero’s welcome upon release from prison with government officials in attendance, the report noted. Fourteen Serb war criminals were convicted of genocide and other crimes at the ICTY including former Military Commander Radislav Krstic, former President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic, and Bosnian Serb Military Leader Ratko Mladic.

“All three, as  senior officials and commanders, participated in ethnic cleansing and campaigns harming millions and devastating communities. The mentality that can regard those men as heroes is difficult to understand,” Meron wrote.

The systematic murder of over 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Srebrenica by Serb forces in July 1995 was ruled as an act of genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice.Denial of facts established in the Tribunal’s judgments are widespread in the education system throughout former Yugoslavia, the report noted, where students are taught “widely different and irreconcilable versions of the recent past”.

International Court of Justice
Theodor Meron, the presiding judge at the ICTY, stated in 2004 that “by seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed a genocide.”

“They targeted for extinction of the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of Bosnian Muslims in general,” he said.

Serbian General Vladimir Lazarevic, Bosnian Croat Dario Kordic and Bosnian Serb Momcilo Krajisnik were convicted for “horrific crimes against humanity”, yet they were given a hero’s welcome upon release from prison with government officials in attendance, the report noted. Fourteen Serb war criminals were convicted of genocide and other crimes at the ICTY including former Military Commander Radislav Krstic, former President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic, and Bosnian Serb Military Leader Ratko Mladic.

“All three, as  senior officials and commanders, participated in ethnic cleansing and campaigns harming millions and devastating communities. The mentality that can regard those men as heroes is difficult to understand,” Meron wrote.

Canadians launch petition to ban Srebrenica genocide denial
Denial of facts established in the Tribunal’s judgments are widespread in the education system throughout former Yugoslavia, the report noted, where students are taught “widely different and irreconcilable versions of the recent past”.

An online petition has been launched in Canada by the Institute for Research of Genocide (IRGC), requesting the Canadian government to enact a law making Srebrenica genocide denial a punishable offence.

If the petition is adopted, Canada would join nine other countries in Europe including Switzerland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Macedonia in prohibiting genocide denial.

Canada has already adopted two resolutions recognizing the Srebrenica genocide, launched by the IRGC.

However, its Director Emir Ramic noted that the process of adopting the first resolution took five years as the Conservative Party – under the influence of the Serbian and Russian lobby – had rejected the resolution.

He told Al Jazeera that the threats intensified as discourse changed from denial to glorification and triumphalism.Ramic’s work with the institute has made him a target of death threats and verbal abuse for years by genocide deniers.

However, he says it has made him all the more determined to make sure a law is enacted banning the denial of Srebrenica genocide. If adopted, Canada would make a major contribution in the fight against genocide denial worldwide, Ramic told Al Jazeera.

“Denying the genocide in Srebrenica is very dangerous. We need to learn from history, recognise [what happened in Srebrenica] and call it by its real name,” he said.

“The aggression and genocide in Bosnia have shown that … there aren’t adequate mechanisms in place to protect freedom and human rights.””Human rights are under attack worldwide,” Ramic added. “Bosniaks, as the only people in Europe who survived aggression and genocide [since the Holocaust], are exposed to unacceptable discrimination not just in the motherland, but in the Diaspora as well.”

“We’ve seen this with Holocaust denial, we’ve seen this with denial for Rwanda and of course with Srebrenica,” said Parliamentarian Brian Masse on the necessity of a law.

“It’s very hurtful for the victims and families of the survivors to continue to wrestle with something based on facts, so the initiative will help in preventing denial and create awareness that we will never forget.”

On April 24, 2015,  the House of Commons passed a motion to include the Srebrenica genocide, and Srebrenica Remembrance Day as part of “Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Awareness Month” every April. Earlier on October 19, 2010, the House of Commons passed a motion to recognize July 11 annually as Srebrenica Remembrance Day in Canada.

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) email: asghazali2011 (@) gamil.com

Courtesy: Counter Current

Related Articles

Monday

18

Nov

Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Saturday

30

Nov

Jana Natya Manch, New Delhi

Thursday

07

Nov

Thrissur, Kerala

Theme

babri

How the Babri Masjid was demolished

Citizens Tribunal on Ayodhya
babri

Fact and Faith

Allahabad High Court Judgement in Babri Demolition Case, 2010
kashmir

How Green Is My Valley

The killing of innocent Hindus by Pakistan-trained mercenaries in J and K is one more bid to convert the Kashmiriyat issue into a Hindu-Muslim problem

Campaigns

Monday

18

Nov

Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Saturday

30

Nov

Jana Natya Manch, New Delhi

Thursday

07

Nov

12 am onwards

Vibgyor Film Collective

Thrissur, Kerala

Videos

Communalism

What is the Ram Temple REALLY about?

For the many who do not know what the original Ram Temple movement is and the many who may have forgotten the mayhem, eminent activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad presents a ready reckoner on what the Ram Temple movement really is about and why has it been so conveniently resurrected, twenty six years later in 2018.

Communalism

What is the Ram Temple REALLY about?

For the many who do not know what the original Ram Temple movement is and the many who may have forgotten the mayhem, eminent activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad presents a ready reckoner on what the Ram Temple movement really is about and why has it been so conveniently resurrected, twenty six years later in 2018.

Analysis

babri

How the Babri Masjid was demolished

Citizens Tribunal on Ayodhya
babri

Fact and Faith

Allahabad High Court Judgement in Babri Demolition Case, 2010
kashmir

How Green Is My Valley

The killing of innocent Hindus by Pakistan-trained mercenaries in J and K is one more bid to convert the Kashmiriyat issue into a Hindu-Muslim problem

Archives