Last modified April 19, 2013
Serbian denial of Serb war crimes in Bosnia continues, even after the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. This denial is endorsed and abetted by various Western commentators, even including some supposedly in the progressive community.
Here we examine some common misrepresentations of Serbian war crimes in Bosnia.
“The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past”.
Face to face with Radovan Karadzic By Ed Vulliamy, The Observer (London), December 3, 2011
Michael Dobbs' Srebrenica Blog
Mapping Genocide Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 17, 2011
Memories of a better future in the aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide By Hariz Halilovich, June 2011
Srebrenica - war crimes deniers
Noam Chomsky invited to give the annual Amnesty International Lecture (October 2009)
Controversy over the interview with Chomsky in the Guardian (UK), Oct 31, 2005
Srebrenica Documentary Background
Srebrenica Survivors Lawsuits
Articles on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre
Bosnia: The confession of a war criminal By Renaud Girard and Patrick de Saint-Exupery, Le Figaro (Paris), March 8, 1996 (in French)
The Betrayal of Srebrenica: A Commemoration by Paula Allen and Lisa DiCaprio, 2005
Srebrenica Memorial Photos by Peter Lippman, September-October 2008
Mladic War Diaries The documents show how Serbia almost entirely funded the Bosnian Serb military forces. It is clear from the diaries that the Republika Srpska Army was created on the basis of a plan designed in the cabinet of then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Southeast European Times, August 5, 2010
The day when British justice humbled the British and Serbian governments The most spectacular, and historically most important, event in Ejup Ganic's trial was Serbia's formal admission that up to May 15, 1992 the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina was an international military conflict, in which the Yugoslav Army fought under Belgrade's command - an official, written Serbian admission that it was a case of an "international armed conflict in which two concerned parties took part, namely Bosnia-Herzegovina on one side and Serbia on the other." Bosnian Institute News (London), August 21, 2010
The Bosnian Book of Dead: Assessment of the Database An independent review of the Population Loss Project of the Research and Documentation Centre in Sarajevo. June 17, 2007
Bosnian war killed 97,000 people - study Bosnia's 1992-1995 war claimed some 97,000 lives. The non-governmental Research and Documentation Centre presented the results of the four-year study. Using hundreds of different sources, the organization created a huge database containing names and other information on each victim, including photographs of more than 55,000 of them. "The purpose of this research was to reduce space for manipulation with figures on war victims," said a representative, regarding the project financed mainly by the Norwegian foreign ministry. June 21, 2007
What do the figures for the Bosnian war-dead tell us? Analysis of the above study. By Marko Hoare, January 4, 2008
Srebrenica victim count Number of Srebrenica genocide victims stands at 8372, as of December 2008
Srebrenica victims body identification DNA Results of the International Commission on Missing Persons Reveal the Identity of 6,186 Srebrenica Victims. July 9, 2009
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Death Toll 104,732 wartime estimated deaths. By the Demographic Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), January 2010
Numbers of Dead and Missing from Srebrenica This is an earlier examination. Numerous more mass graves have since been discovered. But this article is useful in discussing the origins of the list of dead and missing. By Andras Riedlmayer, July 19, 2005
Bosnian Atlas of War Crimes is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that uses Google Earth technology and presents the facts about the 1992-1995 war in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in an innovative and unconventional way. On a digital map of Bosnia and Herzegovina, researchers, scholars and anyone who is interested can access to information from the database and other resources about locations of mass murders, rapes, destruction, as well as information about the war events in every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Requires Google Earth (free download). Research and Documentation Center, Sarajevo, December 2010
Ljudski gubici u BiH (Human Losses in Bosnia and Herzegovina) In Bosnian. Includes charts with numbers by region. Powerpoint files. Research and Documentation Center, Sarajevo
Genocide on the Drina A book by Edina Becirevic, 2009. The book begins with the basics about genocide in the first chapter and then gives a historical overview of genocide in the Balkans. Special emphasis is placed upon Serb nationalist programs from the 19th century, ranging from the Serb nationalist politician Ilija Garašin's program to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Memorandum from 1986 in the second chapter. The third chapter deals with the Bosnian Serb modus operandi in committing the Bosnian Genocide. The fourth chapter is the most important one; in it the author explains in detail how genocide was committed in 10 towns in Eastern Bosnia in 1992/93. The fifth chapter deals with modern-day Bosnia and the common issue of post-genocidal societies: denial of committed crimes.
In the past years the spotlight has been almost exclusively on the Srebrenica genocide, which suits many political and intellectual circles in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The "genocidal processes" in other areas from 1992-1995, as the author puts it, are completely forgotten and even denied. Unlike other authors, Edina has the courage to use the term "genocide" instead of the jaded term "ethnic cleansing" to explain the events in Eastern Bosnia in 1992/93, which were the systematic destruction, murder, and rape of Bosniaks. The author's central thesis is that genocide in Eastern Bosnia started in 1992 in several towns such as Zvornik, Bratunac, Vlasenica, Visegrad, Rogatica, Foca and Srebrenica. The author provides us with new details of Serb genocidal bureaucratic policies such as the ordering of the establishment of the infamous Susica concentration camp, which she substantiated with an original document ordering its formation, as well as orders for the expulsion of the Muslim inhabitants of Birac. She also pays special attention to the "slow genocide" in Srebrenica, where tens of thousands of starving Bosnian Muslims were kept under siege, and to the raids carried out in quest for food in surrounding militarized Serb villages. She clearly notes: "The defenders of Srebrenica were under constant pressure from starving people who protested on a daily basis, in front of the war presidency in Srebrenica, asking for organized action to gather food."
International Court of Justice Decision in the case of Bosnia v. Serbia The Court finds that Serbia has violated its obligation under the Genocide Convention to prevent genocide in Srebrenica and that it has also violated its obligations under the Convention by having failed fully to co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Summary of the Judgment of 26 February 2007 (PDF)
Judgment of 26 February 2007 (PDF)
Opinion of the Court's Vice President - Dissent from the Court's decision not to find Serbia guilty of genocide. (PDF)
How Belgrade Escaped Genocide Charge Belgrade has more than once invoked national security to stop the Hague tribunal from sharing with the International Court of Justice documents related to the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. It is widely believed that the transcripts, which record the meetings of top Serbian officials, contain evidence of Belgrade’s direct involvement in the wars in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s. Among the documents were files of the Bosnian Serb generals, including top fugitive General Ratko Mladic, who were on the Yugoslav army’s payroll during the war. By Slobodan Kostic, IWPR, February 15, 2008 (Republished May 2, 2008)
Vital Genocide Documents Concealed The former official spokeswoman for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia's chief prosecutor provides a systematic review of the way in which minutes of Serbia’s Supreme Defence Council, that might provide evidence against Serbia for genocide at Srebrenica, have been concealed by that same tribunal. As a result of her revelation, she has been charged with contempt of court by a trial chamber of the Tribunal. By Florence Hartmann, January 21, 2008
Call for Serbia to Release Confidential Documents Academics say they want disclosure so that Serbia’s role in the Bosnian war can be assessed objectively. By Merdijana Sadovic, IWPR, November 25, 2007
New Light Shed on Belgrade Role in Bosnian War The International Court of Justice decided Serbia was not to blame for the genocide in Bosnia, but documents quietly published in Montenegro hint it may have been wrong. At the time, it seemed bizarre that the ICJ declined to demand minutes of Serbia’s Supreme Defence Council as evidence in the case, and a few glimpses of the transcripts in a new book make it look even more so. By Edina Becirevic, IWPR November 16, 2007 (Republished November 27, 2007)
Bosnia vs Serbia: The evidence scandal Redacted documents confirm that Bosnian Serb political and army structures were under direct control by the Serbian government, who also gave them financial and logistical support. Evidence would have made Serbia liable for the Srebrenica genocide, and whenever the agenda turned to discussion of the financing of the Bosnian Serb army and personnel matters, as well as to Croatian Serb activities, the documents were blacked out in places. During the war in Bosnia, up to 4,000 officers on the Yugoslav Army payroll were serving in the Bosnian Serb Army. ISN Security Watch, International Relations and Security Network, April 24, 2007
Srebrenica Massacre Verdicts Spark Outrage Among Survivors The Advocacy Project, April 12, 2007
Genocide Court Ruled for Serbia Without Seeing Full War Archive This article comes at a particularly awkward moment for Belgrade, as it tries to invoke international legality as the reason why it should be allowed to hang on to Kosovo, at least de jure if not de facto. By Marlise Simons, New York Times, April 9, 2007
Mapping Genocide This documentary animation presents the chronology of events in Srebrenica between July 6 and 19, 1995. The material lasts 220 minutes and is divided into 17 maps. By Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo), June 17, 2011
Memories of a better future in the aftermath of the Srebrenica genocide I am not under any illusion that Mladić’s arrest and his trial at the Hague Tribunal might somehow reverse history and bring back all those lost people who made the places Mladić destroyed. I know that my place of birth will forever be tainted with Mladić’s name and the genocide he committed there, rather than known for its natural beauty, rich cultural history, and the people who live(d) there. Like thousands of other survivors, I’ll have to live with this reality and hold onto, as best I can, memories of Srebrenica before Mladić. Nonetheless, I’m hoping that Mladić’s trial will give back dignity to those brutally murdered, and restore the minimum of belief that justice does prevail in the end - that war crimes, like any other crimes, never pay. It is also critical that this possibly last trial at The Hague sparks a public debate on the broader context emphasised in this article: that the 8,372 victims at Srebrenica, 10,000 in Sarajevo, and tens of thousands across Bosnia did not die in a natural disaster. They were all victims of politics still very much alive in Serbia and even more so in Republika Srpska. By Hariz Halilovich, openDemocracy, June 13, 2011
A question for genocide deniers The cold-blooded murder of 7,000-8,000 Muslim men following the fall of the United Nations "safe area" in July 1995 is probably the most documented war crime in history -- but there are still those who insist it never happened. By Michael Dobbs, Foreign Policy, February 1, 2012
Edward Herman: The Politics of the Srebrenica Massacre On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, Herman insults the survivors with denial of Serbian atrocities and apologetics for Serbian aggression. Several readers responded. July 2005
More on Edward Herman here.
Antiwar.com: While the perpetrators of the Bosnian Serb massacre of over 7,000 Muslims at Srebrenica are starting to confess (see Bosnian Serbs finally admit truth of Srebrenica deaths), Serb nationalist apologists are still denying that the massacre happened. Antiwar.com is among the prominent deniers. For a good antidote, see The Independent, November 5, 2003. The article notes, "The Bosnian Serb government has admitted for the first time that Bosnian Serb forces were responsible for the mass slaughter of Muslims in Srebrenica in July, 1995, Europe's worst atrocity since the end of the Second World War." See also Remains of dozens found in Bosnia's largest grave. (The Independent, July 29, 2003)
See a listing of various Chomsky statements denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo.
Srebrenica and Honesty The writer criticizes Chomsky for soft-peddling the Serbian massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. "I cannot believe you are ignorant of the facts about Srebrenica and the Yugoslavian wars. You've devoted your life to uncovering hypocrisy and dispelling ignorance. So how am I to understand your bias in this matter?" By Julie Wornan, member of Americans Against the War, France, January 4, 2005
General Lewis MacKenzie:
http://www.ohr.int/decisions/war-crimes-decs/default.asp?content_id=32750his is propaganda that has been spread at regular intervals by the deniers of the massacre ever since the late 1990s. It's easy to make up a list of names. Kalinic was a collaborator with Karadzic and his direct political heir after the war. Eventually he was removed from office - see
Some of those names on the list may have been people who were thought to have been missing but indeed turned up surviving. Others were simply the same names as people who did go missing. In any case, that list doesn't disprove that there was a massacre. We know that at least some body parts of around 6,500 victims have been DNA-identified, as of 2010.
The Work of the International Commission on Missing Persons ICMP provides forensic expertise to locate and identify victims of the wars in the Former Yugoslavia, including the Srebrenica massacre. To date the ICMP has positively identified about 3000 bodies of Srebrenica victims and has partial remains of about 1000 more. The ICMP still predicts that about 8000 were killed in the massacre. By Adam Boys, ICMP, in The Scotsman, March 14, 2007
On the Western role in the Srebrenica massacre:
> Srebrenica: a genocide foretold, by Sylvie Matton, 2005. Reviewed in Dani, March 3, 2006
> Interview with ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte, by Sylvie Matton, Paris-Match, November 2, 2006 (PDF, in French). Page 1 Pages 2-4 Ms. del Ponte claims that international observers and politicians knew of plans for mass murder in Srebrenica in advance.
> Holbrooke: 'I was under initial instructions to sacrifice Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde' Reference to Paris-Match article, November 2, 2006
> Del Ponte: Srebrenica plan was known to Internationals, by Caroline Fletscher, Der Tagesspiegel, November 2, 2006
> Report on Bosnian Murders Fuels Debate, by Mark Perelman, Jewish Daily Forward, November 10, 2006
Srebrenica Suspects Revealed 28,000 people, according to the Republika Srpska authorities, were directly or indirectly involved in the massacre. August 26, 2006
Srebrenica’s search for justice
The discovery of a mass grave in August 2006 near Zvornik in eastern Bosnia containing the remains of 1,150 Bosnian victims of the Srebrenica massacre is only the most recent evidence of the scale of the atrocity perpetrated in and around the town in the days after 11 July 1995. By Peter Lippman, August 24, 2006
Focus on Srebrenica Suspects Profiles of defendants in largest joint trial ever seen at the Hague court. IWPR, July 7, 2006
Depositions given with the guilty pleas of two high-ranking Bosnian Serb officers who admitted to their participation in the planning and implementation of the Srebrenica massacre, and the subsequent burial and reburial of the victims' bodies:
Momir Nikolic, Chief of Intelligence and Security of the Bratunac Brigade during the Srebrenica executions in July 1995. May 6, 2003.
Dragan Obrenovic, acting commander of the Zvornik Brigade. May 20, 2003
The Interim Report (June 11, 2004, Word document) of the Republika Srpska (Bosnian Serb) government Commission for Investigation of the Events In and Around Srebrenica Between 10th and 19th July 1995; and the Final Report (Addendum) (October 15, 2004, PDF file).
"The report itself admits and provides details of the plan and deliberate liquidation of thousands of Bosniaks [Muslims] by the Bosnian Serb forces," said Bernard Fassier, deputy to Bosnia's top international administrator. (As quoted by the Associated Press, Nov. 8, 2004.)
See also Ljubiša Beara, Architect of the Srebrenica Massacre. Beara was the invisible hand that planned and guided events firmly in the direction of death. By Emir Suljagic, a survivor of the Srebrenica massacre, November 4, 2004.
Military Analyst Richard Butler testified extensively at The Hague on Bosnian Serb military preparations for the Srebrenica massacre. His testimony (November 10-26, 2003) is indexed here.
His written reports are available in large PDF files. They include:
Srebrenica Military Narrative, Operation Krivaja 95 Nov. 1, 2002, 138 pages (8 MB PDF)
Military Narrative Supporting documentation, 344 files, 85 MB (PDFs)
VRS Brigade Command Responsibility Report Oct. 31, 2002, 40 pages (2.4 MB PDF)
Brigade Command Supporting documentation, 37 files, 43 MB (PDFs) (also available in one Zip file)
Preliminary list of dead of the genocide at Srebrenica in 1995. Bosnia Federal Commission for Missing Persons, June 5, 2005
Beyond Reasonable Doubt, a documentary film produced by SENSE, examines evidence adduced from the judicial process. The film presents the testimony of victims, forensic experts and the confessions of several of the massacre’s perpetrators, side-by-side with the denials and revisionist interpretations that seek to minimize the scale of atrocity. 2005
NPR report June 3, 2005 (read transcript, or click on "listen")
Belgrade’s Srebrenica Connection, by Aleksandar Mitic, Transitions Online, June 6, 2005
SREBRENICA INVESTIGATION: Summary of Forensic Evidence – Execution Points and Mass Graves. May 16, 2000
Dean Manning witness statement on Srebrenica in Milosevic trial November 24, 2003
War Crimes and Individual Responsibility: A PRIMA FACIE CASE FOR THE INDICTMENT OF SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC By Paul Williams and Norman Cigar, 1997
France criticises UN on Srebrenica French Parliamentary inquiry. BBC News, November 29, 2001
All That Remains: Identifying the Victims of the Srebrenica Massacre A succinct summary of the Srebrenica massacre and the process of body identification. By Laurie Vollen, Human Rights Center, U.C. Berkeley, 2002
Bridges of Bone and Blood - identifying victims in Bosnia Scientists with the International Committee for Missing Persons (ICMP) identify remains of those killed at Srebrenica. This article discusses how they work, and provides explicit discussion of the Serbian practice of digging up mass graves and hiding the bodies elsewhere.
Radio Netherlands, July 11, 2005 (audio)
In downplaying the massacre, the war-crimes denier Edward Herman has written that he finds evidence of body removal and reburial "unconvincing."
From the Ashes: The Past and Future of Bosnia's Cultural Heritage The Serbian assault on Bosnia included the deliberate targeting and destruction of cultural, religious, and historic landmarks by nationalist extremists. By András Riedlmayer, 2002 (PDF)
Mujahedin in Bosnia A more realistic treatment of the subject than that provided by the hysterical propaganda tracts that have unfortunately clouded our understanding. By Marko Hoare, Bosnia Report, July 2007.
The Serbian Unity Congress and the Serbian Lobby A Study of Contemporary Revisionism and Denial. By Brad Blitz, October 1994
Greek journalist Takis Michas sued for writing about Greek paramilitaries in Bosnia The trial date has been set for September 29, 2010. Congress of North American Bosniaks, August 5, 2009
The Greek Way Links to more information and a video on the involvement of Greece in the Srebrenica massacre and the Yugoslav wars. By Ingeborg Beugel, 2008
Kosovo Serb Refugees: Unimportant Detail or The Real Ethnic Cleansing? Panayote Dimitras, Greek Helsinki Monitor, July 2, 1999 (On Greek attitudes toward Serbian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and an examination of Greek and Serbian anti-Muslim attitudes.)
Bosnia Post-War Bosnia