Srebrenica 20 År Senare: Del 2

A Memorial Stone in Potocari, listing the places where victims of  Srebrenica genocide came from.
A Memorial Stone in Potocari, listing the places where victims of Srebrenica genocide came from.

Den här artikeln publicerades i Västerbotten-Kuriren den 11 juli 2015 i samband med minneshögtiden för folkmordet i Srebrenica. För att läsa artikeln på VK.se följ länken.

I dag, den 11 juli 2015, är det 20 år på dagen sedan den bosnienserbiske befälhavaren Ratko Mladic den FN-skyddade enklaven Srebrenica. Under en veckolång kampanj avrättades drygt 7 000 muslimska män och pojkar. Mördandet pågick i 10-tal dagar och drygt 1 000 människor till mördades i en rad bakhåll då de försökte nå territorium som kontrollerades av den bosniska regeringen.

Både krigsförbrytartribunalen i Haag och ICJ, den mellanstatliga internationella domstolen har kommit fram till att det rörde sig en välplanerad mordoperation vars syfte var att helt eller delvis utplåna den bosnienmuslimska befolkningen i Srebrenica och östra Bosnien.

Folkmordet i Srebrenica var också kulmen på den politik som fördes av den bosnienserbiska ledarskapet med Radovan Karadzic i spetsen. 1992 hade bosnienserbiska separatister kommit fram till att deras mål var en ”separation av folken och upprättandet av gränser där Serber bodde” och ett strävan mot att se till att Drina-floden upphör som gräns mellan Serbien och serber som bodde i Bosnien-Hercegovina.

Det var en plan för en homogen, etnisk ren stat som skulle införlivas med Serbien och serbiskt-erövrade områden i Kroatien som redan hade ”rensats” året innan.

Redan i början av april hade man med hjälp av den jugoslaviska armén, serbiska säkerhetsstyrkor och paramilitära grupper både från Bosnien och Serbien samt Karadzic-stödda extremister erövrat 60 procent av Bosnien, med massakrer koncentrationsläger och etnisk rensning som följd.

Under de tre och halv år som följde mördades tiotusentals människor runtom östra och nordvästra Bosnien, i Hercegovina och under belägringen av Sarajevo. De som kom undan massakerna flydde till ställen som Srebrenica, Zepa eller Gorazde, småstäder som nu fylldes med folk som hade flytt i ren desperation undan ett folkmord var nu fångar i små så kallade ”skyddade enklaver” som i själva verket var inte alls skyddade.

Fyra år efter folkmordet i Srebrenica kom FN-rapporten om folkmordet där den dåvarande generalsekreteraren Kofi Annan erkände att FN hade genom sin hållning i förhållande till den serbiska militära och politiska ledningen gjort sig medskyldiga till folkmordet.

Annan kallade det för: appeasement (eftergiftspolitik) och pekade ut bland annat förre FN-generalsekreteraren Boutros Boutros-Ghali, FN-generalen Bertrand Janvier och Yasushi Akashi.

Enligt rapporten så hade det internationella samfundet under hela kriget i Bosnien försökt förhandla med vad som var en ”skrupulös och mordisk regim” och att det enda sättet att stoppa aggressionen mot Bosnien Hercegovina var genom militära medel. FN-rapporten medgav också att vapenembargot mot den bosniska regeringen gjorde att landets armé inte kunde försvara sin befolkning.

Det internationella samfundets eftergiftspolitik i Bosnien slutade dock inte med Srebrenica. Oförmågan eller oviljan att se den serbiska regimen i Belgrad och deras klienter i Bosnien som de skrupulösa mördare de var, ledde till att de behandlades som samarbetspartners även i efter folkmordet i Srebrenica – vid förhandlingsbordet i Dayton och deras militanta nationalistiska politik som slutade med folkmord plågar Bosnien än i dag.

Det finns så klart ljusglimtar, jag skrev tidigare i år att etno-nationalismens tid i Bosnien närmar sig sin slut, inte nödvändigtvis för att alla bosnier har hittat tillbaka till varandra (man har en hel del brobyggande kvar att göra) utan för att man sitter i samma båt.

Det kan dock inte förnekas att trots att Radovan Karadzic är i dag tillsammans med Ratko Mladic i Haag, där bägge är åtalade för folkmord, så har hans politiska arv förts vidare av bland annat nationalistiska politiker i Republika Srpska där folkmordsförnekelse, historierevisionism och diskriminering är numera institutionaliserad.

Med andra ord så skördar bosnier än i dag eftergiftspolitikens ruttna frukt.

Det finns en hel del att lära sig från folkmordet i Bosnien. Framför allt om vad ohämmad nationalism, muslimhat och rädslan för ”den andre” kan orsaka. Den bosniske fotografen Ziyah Gafic brukar dagligen lägga upp bilder från massgravar i Bosnien på sin FB-vägg, bilder på klockor, skor, familjebilder och så vidare under rubriken: ”En fotografi om dan håller fascismen borta.”

För min del så har jag försökt hålla fascismen borta genom de senaste åren att skriva om Bosnien och Srebrenica, framför allt på årsdagen, och vad det betyder för mig. I grunden så handlar om att påminna folk, framför allt i Sverige om vad fördomar, till och med nationalism, missbruk av historien – det vill säga myter och drömmar om etniskt-homogena och därmed ”harmoniska” samhällen – kan leda till.

För dem som tror att det ”kan aldrig hända i Sverige”, kan jag bara säga att så brukade vi säga i forna Jugoslavien också …

Mirza Hota 

Srebrenica 20 år senare

Srebrenica
Srebrenica

Detta text publicerades på Nyheter 24 i samband minnesstunden för  folkmordet i Srebrenica, 11 juli 2015. Följ länken för att läsa texten på Nyheter 24. 

Den amerikanske författaren och historikernTaylor Branchs bok “The Clinton Tapes” gav en inblick i hur Vita Huset och dess europeiska allierade såg på det pågående folkmordet i Bosnien. I en rad samtal med Branch medgavBill Clinton så tidigt som 1993 att alla försök som hans administration hade gjort för att i alla fall minska vapenembargot mot den bosniska regeringen hade blockerats av USA:s europeiska allierade, främst Frankrike och Storbritannien.

Enligt Clinton så var anledningen till det något som de inte vågade säga rakt ut, nämligen att Bosnien, som hade en muslimsk majoritetsbefolkning helt enkelt “inte hörde hemma” i det “kristna Europa”. Enligt Clinton så hade framförallt François Mitterrand och brittiska diplomater pratat privat om en smärtsam återgång till ett “kristet Europa”. Detta kunde inte sägas öppet, framförallt av världsledare som Mitterrand men förklarar delvis varför det serbiska erövringskriget i Bosnien tolererades.

Det var realpolitik i dess blodigaste form, och det var onekligen smärtsamt och onekligen blodigt. Under det 3,5 år långa kriget så dog drygt 100 000 människor, 81,3 procent av krigets civila offer var bosniaker (bosniska muslimer), och drygt 8 000 människor saknas fortfarande. Enligt UNHCR så tvingades 2,2 miljoner människor på flykt vilket gör det till den största flyktingsvågen i Europa sedan andra världskriget. Enligt Women Under Siege kan mellan 20 000 och 50 000 kvinnor och flickor ha utsatts för olika former av sexuellt våld, och att sexuellt våld användes som vapen i kriget av de serbiska styrkorna.

Men ingenstans var det så smärtsamt som i Srebrenica. Staden hade lyckats överleva en orkan av våld som Ed Vulliamy uttrycker det. En orkan som hade släppts loss över östra Bosnien under början av kriget, då den jugoslaviska armén med hjälp av serbiska säkerhetsstyrkor, paramilitära grupper från Serbien och Bosnien inledde sitt angrepp mot landet. Det som följde var massakrer, våldtäkter, etnisk rensning och förstörelse, hundratals byar brändes ner, städer tömdes på det icke-serbiska befolkning och läger inrättades där offren misshandlades, våldtog och mördades. 8 000 människor mördades under Srebrenicamassakern.

De som lyckades fly våldet nådde till Srebrenica, vars befolkning svällde från 8 000 till 42 000 vettskrämda svältande människor som var avskurna från omvärlden, och enligt de få observatörer som lyckades ta sig dit pågick det ett “folkmord i slowmotion“. Redan såg man vad som skulle komma, men genom en blandning av tur och militär briljans så hade staden och dess befolkning lycktas överleva den våren. Som “skyddad enklav” stod den under FN:s och NATO:s skydd som senare också visade sig falla offer för realpolitiken.

Delvis nya och omskakande detaljer som publicerades nyligen visar att det internationella samfundet visste att serbiska styrkor skulle attackera Srebrenica och vad som skulle ske om staden föll. Men de såg redan i Maj 1995 till att dra bort NATO-skyddet som lämnade befolkningen och de holländska FN-trupperna försvarslösa mot ett serbiskt angrepp. Resultat var det största slakten på europisk mark sedan andra världskriget. En slakt som alla visste skulle komma och som kunde förhindrats.

Den 11 Juli är det 20 år sedan folkmordet och runt om i världen högtidlighölls minnet av Srebrenica. I Sverige pekas folkmordet ut som nationalismens yttersta konsekvens, vilket är helt i sin ordning, Srebrenica och folkmordet i Bosnien som helhet var resultat av dels militant nationalism och ett förverkligande av gamla storserbiska drömmar. Men, medan Srebrenica och Bosnien som helhet tjänar som en varning till andra om vad som kan hända så måste man påpeka att samma ideologi som ledde till folkmordet i Bosnien är långtifrån besegrad och det internationella samfundet är medansvarig för dels folkmordet men också för att samma politik fortfarande håller Bosnien gisslan.

Srebrenica: 20 Years On | Short Documentary

Short documentary about the genocide in Srebrenica by Austrialian journalist Rusty Woodger. In his short doc Woodger points to what can be described as a culture of denial by the local Serbs in and around Srebrenica, above the execuation-sites like the one in Kravica where over 1000 people were executed 13th of July are now completly neglected.

Rusty gave permisson to to uppload his film on my blog. You can find him on twitter: @RIV_RWoodger

Comment by Rusty on why he decided to make this film:

The purpose of the film was to explore how the genocidal events of two decades ago are being acknowledged by the Bosnian Serbs who now dominate the area. Before embarking on the project I did a lot of reading and was stunned to discover some places where mass crimes took place were completely neglected and there was nothing to remember the many victims who were murdered there.

I had to see some of these places with my own eyes and was disappointed to see the things I read had been true.I also saw with my own eyes – and used my camera to document this – the stark difference in how the war is remembered in the Srebrenica region. Bosniak victims are barely acknowledged outside the Potočari cemetery while Bosnian Serb soldiers are remembered with huge Orthodox crosses or monuments. Overall I was disturbed by my visit to Srebrenica but I hope the film will help keep alive the memory of people and historical events which some others are still trying to hide or downplay.

The Truth About “A Town Betrayed”

Srebrenica
Srebrenica

Most people outside of Scandinavia, more precisely Norway and Sweden have never heard of “A Town Betrayed ” a revisionist take on the genocide in Srebrenica and the events that led up to it. It first aired in Norway in the spring of 2011 and later in Sweden in fall that same year. On the surface, it looked like a typical Norwegian documentary with high production values packaged as a “new truth” about the genocide in Srebrenica and the events that led up to it, however it didn´t take long before most people with basic knowledge of the events in and around Srebrenica and the Bosnian genocide to see that this “new truth”  was in fact old lies and discarded conspiracy theories that the filmmakers Ola Flyum and David Hebdicth had repackaged as a “new truth”.

I have written extensively on the documentary on my blog (1 2 3, in Swedish) along with a long host of others. This list includes some of the most noted experts on the Balkans in Scandinavia. As well as journalists and human rights groups who were exposed to the same type of recycled Serb propaganda and conspiracy theories that the filmmakers were peddling as a “new truth”

However I never considered writing about it in English. I honestly saw no need for it, until now. By the spring of 2012 the documentary had been widely perceived as recycled Serb nationalist propaganda. Swedish journalist, of Croatian origin, Tonchi Percan who had covered the wars in Bosnia and Croatia for Swedish press, wrote several times about the documentary saying that Swedish Television should apologize to the victims and survivors for broadcasting what were essentially discarded Serb nationalist conspiracy theories that had been floating around in the Balkans and had been debunked by amongst other things the court proceedings at ICTY in Hague. Percan compared it to Swedish Television broadcasting a documentary about the 9/11 attacks being a false flag, without showing any actual evidence.

Still, in time of the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, the documentary floated up again on twitter, spread by Serb nationalists, propagandists and their sympathizers, including far-right loons, in other words; people like: John R. Schindler.

By the fall of 2011 the documentary had been debunked in Norway and exposed as recycled Serb propaganda and conspiracy theories with one of the journalists working on the documentary, the Bosnian Mirsad Fazlić publicly distancing himself in interviews in Norway and Bosnia from it, saying that he protested in several e-mails to the filmmakers that they were in fact trying to distort the what had happened in Bosnia. According to Fazlić once he saw the finished results of several years of work he was shocked, the documentary was clearly pro-Serbian and in it went out of its way to downplay and shift the blame for the genocide from the Serbs.

The documentary was the first program to be brought down in both the Press Complaints Commission ( PFU ) in the fall of 2011 and the Investigation Committee , the Swedish equivalent of PFU in the spring of 2012. The Norwegian PFU wrote that the documentary leaves out some of the most basic facts about the Bosnian war.

Aage Borchgrevink, the senior advisor at The Norwegian Helsinki Committee wrote back in 2011 that the documentary described the Bosnian war in a way that reminded him of the way Serbian state media used to report from Bosnia when Slobodan Milošević was president.

According to Borchgrevink : ”the documentary was historical revisionism disguised as groundbreaking journalism. Using factually incorrect information, selective use of sources, fringe experts and biased portrayals of events, NRK had described the genocide in Srebrenica the same way Serbian state media had reported from Bosnia when Slobodan Milošević was president. Ratko Mladić, the general indicted for genocide is portrayed as a decent soldier while Izetbegović who didn´t bother answering Srebrenica´s calls for help is responsible.”

Borchgrevink also pointed to the fact that the Bosnian Army´s attack on Kravica in January 1993 is described as a “massacre” in the documentary, however the ICTY cleared the Bosnian commander Naser Orić of any wrongdoing during the attack. Several civilians were killed in the attack. Though most of those killed were Serb soldiers and the village of Kravica was according to the ICTY  a legitimate military target. According to RDC ( Reaserch and Documentation Centre) 35 Serb soldiers and 11 civilians died in the fighting. An additional 36 Serb soldiers were wounded. This information was collected from offical Bosnian Serb documentation, a document entitled: Warpath of the Bratunac Brigade.

According to the ICTY´s verdict against the Bosnian Army commander in Srebrenica, Naser Orić :

Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties.(Orić , par.103)

In comparison, it appears that the Bosnian Muslim side did not adequately prepare for the looming armed conflict. There were not even firearms to be found in the Bosnian Muslim villages, apart from some privately owned pistols and hunting rifles; a few light weapons were kept at the Srebrenica police station. (Oric, par.94)

Between June 1992 and March 1993, Bosnian Muslims raided a number of villages and hamlets inhabited by Bosnian Serbs, or from which Bosnian Muslims had formerly been expelled. One of the purposes of these actions was to acquire food, weapons, ammunition and military equipment. Bosnian Serb forces controlling the access roads were not allowing international humanitarian aid – most importantly, food and medicine – to reach Srebrenica. As a consequence, there was a constant and serious shortage of food causing starvation to peak in the winter of 1992/1993. Numerous people died or were in an extremely emaciated state due to malnutrition. (Orić , par.104)

In regards to Kravica, the verdict says:

The fighting intensified in December 1992 and the beginning of January 1993, when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. In the early morning of the 7 January 1993, Orthodox Christmas day, Bosnian Muslims attacked Kravica, Ježestica and Šiljkovići. Convincing evidence suggests that the village guards were backed by the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army], and following the fighting in the summer of 1992, they received military support, including weapons and training. A considerable amount of weapons and ammunition was kept in Kravica and Šiljkovići. Moreover, there is evidence that besides the village guards, there was Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area. The evidence is unclear as to the number of houses destroyed by Bosnian Muslims as opposed to those destroyed by Bosnian Serbs. In light of this uncertainty, the Trial Chamber concludes that the destruction of property in Kravica between 7 and 8 December 1992 does not fulfil the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity. (Orić , par.662,)

A report from the Bosnian Serb Army´s Bratunac Brigade dated January 4th 1993 says that combat operations in the area Bratunac – Kravica will continue until Serb forces have control over that area. Meaning that far from being on the defensive, the VRS were in fact on the offensive. Lazar Ostojić , the Bosnian Serb commander in Kravica during the attack says in his book, “Bloody Christmas in Kravica” (Krvavi Božić Sela Kravica) that he had at his disposal 50 elite soldiers from Bjelijna and a so-called Internventni Vod ( a commando unit)  along with 400 soldiers. According to his account he decided to evacuate the village around 9 o´clock in the morning, leaving only soldiers in Kravica. Last group of Serb soldiers left Kravica at around four in the afternoon. That day he signed off on 22 cases of infantry ammunition and more than 400 artillery shells along with 5000 anti-air craft rounds to his soldiers, proving that Kravica was a highly militarized village and one of the staging points for Serb attacks on Srebrenica.

The Trial Chamber also found that there was  evidence that in Kravica and Ježestica, Serbs fired artillery from houses and other buildings, which led to house-to-house fighting  between Bosnian Army soldiers and the Serb rebels. Furthermore, according to the Trial Chamber;  Serbs located on hills north and northeast of Kravica fired artillery in the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. A witness observed shells landing on houses in the villiges, causing fire. (Orić , par.665)

According to the RDC, the number of Serbs from Central Bosnia buried in Bratunac was consistent with the population movements after the war, especially the Serb population from the Serb-held parts of Sarajevo, which had under the Dayton Peace Accords became part of a re-integrated Sarajevo, having previously been held by Bosnian Serb forces. The political leadership of the Bosnian Serbs called on the population to leave those areas and even take the graves of their loved ones with them. According to RDC such a large percentage of Sarajevo Serbs followed the instructions that parts of the city that had been under  occupation remained deserted for months. Most importantly though,  the RDC notes that the Serb dead from Sarajevo who were later re-buried in Bratunac area are represented as results of actions taken by the Bosnian Army units from Srebrenica.

The RDC also concluded from their investigation of the military cemetery in Bratunac that 139 of the dead soldiers buried there had lived and fought elswhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, but where nevertheless buried at the Bratunac military cemetery. According to the RDC: 48 victims buried in Bratunac fought and died in Hadžići; 36 fought and died in Srebrenica; 34 and died in Vogošća; 3 in Konjic and 3 more in Ilijaš; 2 fought and died in Sarajevo, two more in Ilidža; one in Trnovo, Pale and Tuzla each. All of these figures are  presented as results of Naser Orić ´s actions as well. ( the only ones actually being the 34 Serb soldiers who died in fighting around Srebrenica)

Serbs in Ilijas digging up their dead in winter of 1996
Bosnian Serbs in Ilijaš digging up their dead in winter of 1996

In January 1996 HRW´s Emma Daly reported from Sarajevo about the removal of bodies from cemeteries and Serbs burning their own houses rather then let it fall into the hands of the “Muslim enemy” as well as the fact that Bosnian Serb forces were still firing into the city, and killing civilians months after Dayton Peace Accords had been signed. (Daly reported for The Independent during the Bosnian war)

Borchgrevink also points to the United Nations 155-page report on the fall of Srebrenica, where former UN-secretary general Kofi Annan says that the Serbs exaggerated the Bosnian Army attacks as way of disguising their real objective; which was an ethnically pure Serb state. That meant that Serb forces killed tens of thousands Bosniak and Croat civilians during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. According to Borchgrevink: Srebrenica was not an ordinary military operation as NRK´s expert (John R. Schindler) points out but the culmination of the ethnic cleansing of eastern Bosnia.

Borchgrevink goes on to say that the documentary´s expert (John R. Schindler) recycles old controversial Serb nationalist claims about 1300 Serb civilians killed around Srebrenica, and that of the Bosniaks killed by Serb forces after the fall of Srebrenica only some 2000 disarmed prisoners of war were executed by elements of the Bosnian Serb Army´s counterintelligence while the rest were killed in combat while trying to reach Tuzla.

This is of course nonsense, even if it´s cleverly packaged. As Borchgrevink writes; John R. Schindler´s  claims are refuted by RDC´s findings, which show that of the 567 Serbs killed in the Bratunac area (Where Naser Orić ´s alleged crimes took place) 448 were Serb soldiers, and the rest, 119, were civilians. This is of course a lot, but nowhere near the figures Schindler cites. It should be added that John R. Schindler  himself has used RDC findings in his now eviscerated propaganda tract Unholy Terror. British historian, well known Balkan expert and genocide scholar Marko Attila Hoare, who reviewed Schindler´s book pointed to Schindler´s amusing blunders in regards to RDC figures. Hoare writes:

One of the more amusing of Schindler’s blunders concerns the scientific calculation of the figure for Bosnian war-dead carried out by Mirsad Tokaca’s Research and Documentation Centre in Sarajevo, which placed it at about one hundred thousand. Schindler seems to endorse this figure wholeheartedly, seeing it as proof that earlier estimates of Bosnian war-dead had been ‘grossly exaggerated’, and complaining that Tokaca’s result ‘got minimal attention in Bosnia or abroad’ (p. 317). The reason this is amusing is that Tokaca’s figures disprove several of the figures for Serb dead at the hands of Bosnian forces that Schindler himself cites. Thus, Schindler claims that ‘more than 3,000 Bosnian Serbs, some soldiers but at least 1,300 unarmed civilians, had been killed by Muslim forces based in Srebrenica’ (p. 228).

Borchgrevink also points out that international forensics experts have identified 6481 individual victims from various mass graves from around Srebrenica and have determend that over 8100 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) were killed. Subsquent trials that have taken place at the ICTY and ICJ (International Court of Justice) have proven that Srebrenica was an act of genocide, a well planned and carried out mass murder with the intent to destroy the Bosniaks of Srebrenica and Žepa as an ethnic, religous and a political group.

It should also be added that Borchgrevink´s and Norwegian Helsinki Committee critique of  “A Town Betrayed” and it´s main “expert” John R. Schindler came in May 2011. Since then figures regarding those found in mass graves has changed, given that Srebrenica is still an active crime scene and that about 1000 of those killed in the genocide still are uncounted for. As of June 2015, the figure of those Bosniaks who have been identified stands at 6930, working from a set of 17,000 human remains located in 93 mass graves. This of course destroys the filmmakers and John R. Schindler´s thesis that the majority of Srebrenica´s Bosniaks were “killed making their way to Tuzla” instead they were captured and taken to various execution sites. For more, see Christian Jennings: Bosnia´s Million Bones- Solving the World´s Biggest Forensic Puzzle)

Borchgrevink also dismisses Schindler´s claim that the reason Ratko Mladić wanted to take the town was due to arms smuggling into Srebrenica. Schindler and the filmmakers remain quiet about the notorious Directive 7 order issued out by Bosnian Serb leadership in March 1995, four months before the genocide in Srebrenica. Directive 7, signed by Radovan Karadžić called for the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims from the safe areas. The safe areas included Srebrenica and Žepa. On March 8th 1995, Radovan Karadžić issued Operational Directive 7 from the Supreme Command of the VRS. The Directive ordered the VRS (Bosnian Serb Army) to “complete the physical separation of the Srebrenica and Žepa enclaves as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals between the two enclaves. By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity, with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica or Žepa.”

As Ed Vulliamy and Florence Hartmann point out in a new report published by The Guardian, Mladić  had told the Bosnian Serb assembly, “My concern is to have them vanish completely”, and that Karadžić pledged “blood up to the knees” if his army took Srebrenica.” Directive 7, was of course known, or should have been known to the filmmakers and John R. Schindler, yet it does not appear anywhere in the documentary. A pretty big omission in my opinion…

But the most telling sign of what this documentary´s objective really was, is the fact that behind the scenes, the documentary´s advisors and consultants were made up of what Swedish daily Eskilstuna-Kuriren´s political editor Alex Voronov called “a Serb nationalist propaganda centre and a revisionist sewer.”

This sewer included Zorica Mitić, a physician from Belgrade who had since 2000 lived in Norway. In Serbian media, like Pecat and various Serb Diaspora sites she had repeatedly denied that what had happened in Srebrenica was an act of genocide and had highly recommended sites and organizations that had “exposed the myth of genocide” (go ahead, just read the link from Pecat and Glas Dijaspore) among the sites she had recommended was a Hague-based NGO called “Srebenica Historical Project”  led by a Serb-American lawyer Stephan Karganović who was in 2012 compared to Holocaust denier David Irving by USHMM and Foreign Policy Magazine. Srebenica Historical Project is funded in part by Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik as USHMM and Foreign Policy explain. Dodik is one the most fervent genocide deniers in the Balkans, as late as June 2015 he called the genocide in Srebrenica “the biggest sham of the 20th century.”

Another “consultant” to the documentary was a man named Ozren Jorganović, who for a while worked for Norwegian State Television. (NRK) I don´t  know how he got the job in Norwegian State Television, but what is known is that during the Bosnian war Jorganović was station manager of Radio Ozren, a Bosnian Serb propaganda station near Doboj, as well as Radio Doboj during the war. He was also a long-time correspondent for various news sites in Bosnia´s Republika Srpska entity as well as for SRNA.

Aside from Borchgrevink´s critique, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee also sent the Norwegian Television an 18-page report listing 25 (!) factual errors in the documentary. Here is the full report, in Norwegian (PDF)

It would be simply impossible to list and translate all the inaccuracies and falsehoods in the documentary; the Norwegian Helsinki Committee´s report is 18 pages long (!) so here are just a few of the most important ones. (Within the first ten pages!) However the points that NHC raises show the real intent of the filmmakers and the level of deception that they engage in.

1 (3) the documentary claims that Bosnia´s Muslim majority declared independence (in the spring of 1992) and that a civil war erupted as result of that. This is misleading. There was a referendum on March 1, 1992 about the independence where Bosniaks, Croats and some Serbs voted for independence. A large number of Serbs voted against or boycotted the referendum. What happened after was that Bosnian Serb forces along with Serbian forces (both regular and paramilitary) attacked the Bosniak civilian population and representatives of the Bosnian authorities in April 1992. After the initial attack on Bosnia, Serbia officially tried to distance itself from the war, but Serbian authorities continued to support and exercise control over those forces. This has also been established by the ICTY and the ICJ. (International Court of Justice)

2 (4) 6:32 The documentary says that “two years later (1992) there is a civil war in Eastern Bosnia” The documentary does not explain how that war played out in that part of the country. During the ethnic cleansing of Eastern Bosnia thousands of civilians were killed and the surviving Bosniaks expelled to Bosnian-government controlled territory or forced into the enclaves of Goražde, Žepa and Srebrenica where they were subjected to artillery attacks. These areas were declared “safe areas” by the UN Security resolution on 16 of April 1993. One of the main problems with that was that the despite the Security Council´s decision there was a lack of willingness from the UN-member states to send enough soldiers to protect the area.

3 (8) 25:20 The documentary says that the Bosniaks promised that they would not attack Serb villages from Srebrenica and not harass the Serbs the area of Sarajevo in connection to the establishment of the safe areas. It´s true that both sides broke the agreement on demilitarization, but the documentary avoids mentioning that the situation was asymmetrical and that the Serbs did not remove their heavy artillery from around Srebrenica. Instead Serbs used it to shell the area. In addition to blocking aid to the enclaves and taking UN-personnel as hostages on several occasions.  A delegation from the UN-Security Council, led by Diego Arria arrived in Srebrenica on April 25  1993 and in its report the UN condemned the Serb forces for carrying out that what was called a “slow-motion process of genocide” The report concluded “that Serb forces must withdraw to points from which they cannot attack, harass or terrorize the town”. In the end the Serbs captured two of the enclaves, Žepa and Srebrenica.

And lastly, the report points out that it has been proven in the Krstić verdict that Srebrenica had immense strategic importance for the Serb war effort. Being situated as it is in the middle of what was planned to be a Greater Serbia.

”Srebrenica (and the surrounding Central Podrinje Region) were… of immense strategic importance to the Bosnian Serb leadership. Without Srebrenica, the ethnically pure Serb state of Republika Srpska they sought to create would remain divided into two disconnected parts, and its access to Serbia proper would be disrupted.”

NHC concludes that is the reason why Srebrenica was attacked and that the decision to kill the male population of Srebrenica has to be viewed in that context.

Note: As I wrote above, the full report is 18-pages long and points to in total 25 similar falsehoods and factual errors which show that this is not a question of innocent mistakes, but a deliberate deception on the part of the filmmakers and the “experts” and “consultants”.

For my Bosnian readers, I can highly recommend Sanjin Pejković dissection (in Bosnian) of the documentary. Sanjin has written extensively about it in Swedish. He, along with Alex Voronov  and others were engaged in a debate with the filmmakers, a debate which the filmmakers lost.

There is of course plenty more to be said about this documentary, and a lot of it explained by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee´s 18-page report as well Pejković´s dissection of the methods used by the filmmakers and what they were alluding to.

As for me, I can only say that I am proud to have been a small part of a larger group of dedicated people who worked on exposing the lies told in the documentary.

Furthermore for those not interested in recyceled Serb nationalist lies and propaganda, I can highly recommend the following documentaries on Srebrenica:

Srebrenica- A Cry From The Grave, from 1999. Full Documentary.

As well as the new Dutch documentary: Why Srebrenica had to Fall

Also check out BBC´s new documentary about the genocide:

 

This post has been edited and uppdated on 19/07/2015

P.S. I had previously (erroneously) written that 448 Serbs died in the Bratunac area in total. That has been corrected. The correct figure is; 567, of those 448 Serb soldiers and 119 civilians. Follow the RDC link for full info.

Unholy Alliance-Greece and Milosevic´s Serbia Revisited

Radovan Karadzic  awarding members of the GVG with the White Eagle medal.
Radovan Karadzic honouring members of the GVG

About two years ago I got the permission from CNAB ( Congress of the North American Bosniaks) to re-publish a revised and uppdated version of Daniel Toljaga´s 2009 interview with greek writer and journalist Takis Michas. Michas had in 2002 published a book detailing the support of the Greek State, the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the popular support of ordinary greeks for the Slobodan Milosevic´s Greater Serbian campagin, and the support for his Bosnian Serb clients: Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. The book; Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic’s Serbia dealt in great detail the relationship between the two countries (Serbia and Greece) during the Yugoslav wars and particular the Bosnian genocide. The partnership included shipment of arms to Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs, in 2002 the Dutch report of the fall of Srebrenica concluded that Greece had sent arms and ammunition to the Bosnian Serbs during 1994 and 1995. Michas book on the other had in it testemony that the Greek goverment under the leadership of Andreas Papandreou leaked Nato military intelligence to the Bosnian Serbs.

Double-headed Eagle of Byzantium. Emblem of the Greek Volunteer Guard.
Emblem of the Greek Volunteer Guard. (Grcka Dobrovoljacka Garda)

In Bosnia, Greek ultra-nationalists including members of the Greek Volunteer Guard and reporterdly members of far-right Golden Dawn also made up a 100-man strong contigent of the Bosnian Serb Army. The unit was formed on the order of Ratko Mladic. The unit, which fought alongside Russians and Ukrainians, was led by Serb officers and had its own insignia, the double-headed eagle of Byzantium. According to the report: Greek and Russian mercenaries were also involved in the attack on Srebrenica. A Greek Volunteer Guard, a unit based in Vlasenica, was formed in March 1995 and was fully incorporated in the Drina Corps.” At least four of its members were awarded the White Eagle medal of honour by Karadzic. ( page 2787 NIOD -Report )

Despite the well-documented presence of Greek volunteers in Srebrenica, (after the fall of Srebrenica Ratko Mladic thought it would be a good idea if the Greeks raised a Greek flag above the town along with the Serb flag for propaganda purposes) none of the volunteers have thus far been indicted by the Greek state for their role in the takeover and the subsequent genocide in Srebrenica. Now in a new interview, 13 years after his book Michas and Al Jazzira Balkans revisited what is for many Greeks still a difficult topic. According to Michas the presence of Greek nationals fighting alongside the Bosnian Serbs was not a secret in Greece. Many of them were interviewed by Greek newspapers and they were considered to be heros by a great many people. Greek media also reported on the Greek volunteers role in the takeover of Srebrenica as well as the raising of the Greek flag. According to Michas, however after it became clear that the ICTY was going after the people responsible for what happened in Srebrenica, greeks who had been in Bosnia stopped giving intreviews to newpapers and tried to disappear.

See the full intreview with Takis Michas in English (with Bosnian subtitles) here below.