GENOCIDE OF BOSNIAN MUSLIM IN THE HEART OF EUROPE
We all have some knowledge, sketchy or otherwise, of the wrongs committed against the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s. We need to know a bit more. This article allows us to learn something of the horrors that were perpetrated on the Muslims.
The writer is a senior journalist with three decades of International reporting.
Genocide of Bosnian Muslims in the heart of Europe!
Will Ratko Mladic, architect of Srebrenica massacre, also escape justice as Milosevic?
Ratco Mladic, savage Serbian beast of unparalleled evil and cruelty, is responsible for the genocide of around 10,000 innocent Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995.
After sixteen years of what Jewish controlled Western media described as “hiding”, Mladic was arrested in the village of Lazarevo, around 60 kilometers northeast of Belgrade on Thursday 25 May 2011.
However Mladic, supported by the Serb army, Orthodox Church, relatives and friends ,lived in comfort and freely attended wedding parties, football matches and expensive restaurants in public. And yet Serbian government, US, Europe and United Nations could not trace him?
One Muslim woman stated that “For all those years this monster was hidden by Serbia and they knew where he was,” .Now they are handing him over to justice. Well, better late than never. But I’m afraid of another trial without a verdict.” The question is whether he will also die without a verdict like Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic who claimed he was poisoned.
Though the calculated massacre began as early as 1992 it culminated with the genocide in Srebrenica .Mass graves of Muslims remain scattered all over the beautiful mountainous areas of Bosnia.
Despite all these gruesome massacres, even today, neither Milosevic nor Mladic was described as terrorist by the Western media or the Western leaders who describe Osama Bin Laden as the worst terrorist though his crimes are yet to be proved? So much for double standard of Jewish controlled US and European Crusaders and their media towards Islam and Muslims.
Bosnian Muslim prisoners. Trnopolje, Bosnia1992
Judge Fouad Riad of the United .Nations. tribunal said during Mladic’s 1995 indictment in absentia that “there was evidence against Mladic of “unimaginable savagery. Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive,men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson,”
This happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the heart of Christian Europe, where Muslims, blue-eyed Europeans themselves, form the largest group in the population. Influenced for centuries by western culture for Bosnian Muslims, religion and religious traditions represented a crucial symbol of self-identity, though it was not easy to differentiate them from the predominantly Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.
In 1945, Bosnia-Herzegovina became a republic within the Yugoslav Socialist Federation and under President Tito’s regime; Muslims were defined as a separate nation and enjoyed the same rights as others.
A child cries at his father’s funeral. Croatia 1991
Problems began with the collapse of communism and the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.Following a referendum in April 1992, Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence and emerged as a separate country. Bosnian Serb President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia unleashed a wave of violence, which later turned out to be the bloodiest ever war in Europe since World War II. Bosnian Serb troops, led by Radovan Karadzic, the Ariel Sharon of Bosnia, lay siege on the Bosnian capital Sarajevo controlled by Muslims. Violence broke out in the once peaceful area and some of the worst ever genocides were committed against Muslims, who were detained in warehouses and other such places, starved for weeks, tortured, systematically and mercilessly butchered and buried in mass graves, some of which are yet to be identified.
Television footage of once healthy but starved, beaten, tortured and scantily dressed Muslims locked up by the hundreds in cattle-shed like enclosures spoke volumes for their plight.
Bosnians cry in fear as Serb commandos take over the town. Bosnia 1992
Inaction of Europe and the US to stop the genocide encouraged the Serbs to further intensify their carnage. In fact former French President Jack Chirac openly declared that France will never tolerate a Muslim entity in Europe
Even Bosnian Muslims themselves couldn’t believe their plight because those who were burning and destroying their homes, villages and killing them were none other than their own friends and neighbors with whom they had lived in harmony and peace for generations.
One of the first casualties was the 16th-century Mostar City, built during the time of the Ottoman Empire and remained a symbol of Bosnia’s cultural diversity, which was destroyed together with its famous bridge. The United Nations failed to act in time, but hoodwinked the world by creating so called safe havens for Muslims in Sarajevo, Gorazde and Srebrenica where the Muslims didn’t find any safety when their turn came to face Serb killers.
(Exhumation site shows mounds of bodies in the Srebrenica massszacre ( above) and Cancari Valley below)
Around 300,000 Muslims were systematically butchered and 25,000 disabled. However no one really knows how many were killed as no proper records of killings were found yet. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim women and girls were gang raped by Serbian thugs. Several hundred thousand Muslim women who lived in peace lost their husbands, families, shelter and almost everything and thrown into streets with no means of survival. All these crimes took place for 44 long months between 1992 and 1995 under the watchful eyes of United States, Europe, United Nations and all other so called champions of human rights and freedom.
An eyewitness account of Srebrenica massacre said Muslims begged the Dutch Peacekeepers and other UN officials to save them. But Dutch soldiers refused and allowed the Serbs to take the Muslims away knowing very well that these Muslims would be slaughtered-as it happened later.
Five days after Serbs overran Srebrenica the entire Srebrenica region was turned into a slaughterhouse and the adjacent calm and serene beautiful valleys into mass graveyards – some yet to be identified and victims unearthed. Some say 7,000 Muslims were killed. Others put the figure at 10,000, while some estimate it as much more, though the world will never be told of the exact number British daily Independent said “UN let 8,000 to die in Srebrenica”.
Describing how Muslims were mercilessly massacred, a Serb soldier Drazen Erdemovic, himself claimed to have killed one hundred Muslims in the Srebrenica massacre, told the war crimes tribunal of Milosevic that “Muslim men and boys were taken in busloads to a farm, systematically lined up and shot – first with machine-guns, then with a single pistol shot to the head”. Many were blindfolded and had their hands tied. They first started mistreating people they recognized, and then started killing them all over the field. Yet he couldn’t understand why it was done.
Former NATO Commander Wesley Clerk said that Milosevic had told him that he was aware a Srebrenica massacre was being planned. But nothing was done by anyone to stop this slaughter of Muslims.
Admitting the UN’s failure the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had this to say in his 155 page report on the massacre of Srebrenica Muslims:
“The massacre of Muslims would forever haunt the UN which must accept partial responsibility for this massacre, in the UN “safe area”. The UN Security Council should have approved “more decisive and forceful action to prevent the unfolding horror”. Not since the horrors of World War II had Europe witnessed massacres on this scale .The tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history forever and observers had been quick to blame the Dutch UN battalion which withdrew from Srebrenica in the face of Serb attack. But the Dutch commander’s repeated requests for the use of air power were turned down and the UN was wrong to declare it would only use NATO air power against the Serbs as a last resort. The cardinal lesson of Srebrenica is that a deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorize, expel or murder an entire people must be met decisively with all necessary means, and with the political will to carry the policy through to its logical conclusion”.
Criticizing the Security Council staff at the UN headquarters, including himself, UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica and the six-nation “Contact Group” that oversees the Balkans, Mr. Annah said that the “primary responsibility lay with wartime Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief General Ratko Mladic, who planned the killings. Both men have been indicted by the international war crimes tribunal but are still at large”.
Kofi Annan said, “Remains of around 2,500 people have been found in mass graves. Thousands more who are still missing will probably be found in other burial sites. Many of those exhumed had their hands bound or were blindfolded. Some were shot in the back, others in the head. The fall of Srebrenica was “shocking” because the enclave’s inhabitants had believed the UN and NATO would ensure their safety. Yet Serb forces ignored the Security Council, pushed aside the UN troops and overran Srebrenica with ease, and the military force should have been used to halt the killings”.
Gravestones at the Potočari genocide memorial near Srebrenica
A public inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre by a Dutch parliamentary commission held the Dutch Government politically responsible for the massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica. The government of former Prime Minister Wim Kok’s centre left cabinet resigned en masse after an official report by the Dutch War Archives Institute drew similar conclusions.
A Serbian paramilitary commando with the bodies of just executed Muslim civilians during the first battle in Bosnia. Bilijenia 1992
Criticizing the UN for failing to protect the Muslims, the inquiry report stated that the French General, Bernard Janvier, who was in charge of UN troops in the region, was wrong to refuse to allow air strikes to support the Dutch peacekeepers. This report also holds the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his general, Ratko Mladic, ultimately responsible for the mass murders at Srebrenica.
The carnage in Bosnia ended, following the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord, which created two entities; one for Bosnian Muslims and Croats, the other for Serbs each with its own government, parliament, president, police and military besides a central Bosnian government and rotating presidency with a NATO led peacekeeping force to ensure order and stability. Instead of integration, the two entities reinforced separation and nationalism.
The only survivor of his Muslim village returns home after recapturing it from Serbs. Bihac Region 1995
Though the whereabouts of both Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were open secret, they dare not arrest and bring them to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Perhaps the two may come out with information which may embarrass many European countries in view of their shady role in helping the pair to continue their genocide and help Bosnia slide into the morass it is today.
On 11 March 2006, Slobodan Milosevic, charged with more than sixty counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity arising from wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, was found dead in his prison cell at the UN detention centre in Hague. Earlier Milosevic had complained that he had been poisoned with drugs.
Lamenting that he had died before being convicted shocked and deeply disappointed relatives of hundreds of thousands of Milosevic’s victims said they had lost their chance to hear the verdict of impartial judges. Accusing the tribunal of failing to convict him, they pointed out that through five years, hundreds of witnesses, and tens of thousands of documents, the tribunal had ample evidence to convict Milosevic, but failed to do so and now, Milosevic could never be pronounced guilty or innocent.
Survivors of Srebrenica recount their ordeal. Tuzla 1995
The trial’s premature conclusion also raised questions about the conduct of tribunal judges who made key decisions that led to an exhausting, expensive five-year process sending US$200 million down the drain.
“It’s a huge setback for justice,” said Richard Dicker, legal adviser of Human Rights Watch. “Most of all, it’s a setback for the victims.”
The judges “were deathly afraid that they would try him to death. And they did. That’s exactly what happened,” said Scharf, director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In hindsight, the legal experts said, the judges made a series of mistakes. They should not have allowed an ailing man to defend himself, they should not have agreed to join the three indictments into a single case and they should not have isolated Milosevic from other defendants facing the same charges.
Kids from Srebrenica at a United Nations camp. Tuzla 1995
Milosevic “ended up cheating history. One of main purposes of the tribunal was to create a historic record of atrocities and of who was responsible that would pierce years of propaganda,” Scharf said. “It would have been far better to have a verdict handed down by the tribunal on Milosevic’s responsibility,” said Dicker. But “history has already passed its verdict on Slobodan Milosevic’s role and responsibility.”
Now the question whether Ratco Mladic too will die before he is convicted?
Photo: Tens of thousands of Bosnians commemorated the massacre
A Bosnian Muslim woman comforts her son as he weeps over the coffin of his father
Bosnian Muslim women Ramiza Begic weeps near the coffin of her father among other coffins of Srebrenica massacre victims displayed at the memorial center of Potocari near Srebrenica, 120 kms northeast of Sarajevo on Thursday, July 9, 2009
Bosnian Muslim women comfort each other near coffin of their relative among coffins of Srebrenica massacre victims displayed at a memorial center of Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, Friday, July 10, 2009.
A Bosnian woman grieves at her husband’s grave. Bihac 1995
Sri Lanka’s journalist Latheef Farook worked for Ceylon Daily News and Ceylon Observer for almost a decade before leading a team of journalists to Dubai in February 1979 where he re launched Gulf News. After living and working in the Gulf for almost a quarter century he has returned and now based in Colombo.