Interview with Carla Del Ponte
Chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

By Sylvie Matton
November 2, 2006

Below are translated excerpts of the interview. In the first part of Del Ponte’s answer to Question #18, she states that a genocide in Srebrenica was not predicted. However, Del Ponte then seems to contradict this view in her answer to Question #19, in which she affirms that “everyone knew” that the Bosnian Serbs would not take any prisoners. It is possible she means that it was known that all prisoners would be killed but that no one could have imagined the execution of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica.

See also:
> The full interview, in French, with ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Paris-Match, November 2, 2006 (PDF). 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 Fetscher, Der Tagesspiegel, November 2, 2006

At [no longer available] there was a tape of Richard Holbrooke's admission that he was "instructed to sacrifice Zepa, Srebrenica, and Gorazde." Holbrooke later stated that he "confused" Srebrenica and Gorazde, which seems implausible. The Domovina site also included excerpts from an interview with Holbrooke by Sylvie Matton in which Holbrooke identifies Anthony Lake as the individual from whom he received his instructions. The interview is now available here: Page 1   Pages 2-4

QUESTION #4: There are two opposing theories concerning Srebrenica. One is that it was Mladic who committed an unimaginable act of madness. The other is that it was all pre-meditated and organized by Mladic and Karadzic with Milosevic.

ANSWER: Voila, that is the truth. We know that there was close coordination between Mladic, Karadzic, and Milosevic.

QUESTION #18: The telephone conversations between Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic and among others that were intercepted since 1991, and which were revealed during the Milosevic trial and made public on the Internet, very clearly indicate the implementation of “ethnic cleansing.” The international community was clearly informed...

ANSWER: But I don’t think that it [the international community] knew that a genocide would take place in Srebrenica. They underestimated, they did not increase the protection. They accepted the separation of the women and the men...

QUESTION #19: As Alain Juppe, who became Prime Minister in May 1995, confided to me, everyone knew that the Serbs were not going to take prisoners...

ANSWER: Yes, it is clear...They knew that they were going to kill them.

QUESTION #29: Your requisitoire [in the Milosevic trial] was it written? [Translator's note: “requisitoire” literally translates as “indictment” or “list of charges.” Since the reference here is to a statement that Del Ponte would have presented at the conclusion and not at the beginning of the Milosevic trial, this most likely concerns an aspect of her concluding statement (perhaps a final reading of all the charges) which she did not have the opportunity to give in court as a result of Milosevic’s death.]

ANSWER: I cannot say that it was written. Yes, certainly, the important points. In my role as chief prosecutor, I would have presented the introductory part and the final requisitoire. I do not want to speak of it now because it makes me ill. But in the introductory part, I would have spoken of all that trial procedure did not allow to be admitted as formal evidence.

QUESTION #30: Evidence that relates to what charges?

ANSWER: On Srebrenica...Evidence from an indirect source informs us that Milosevic, Karadzic, and Mladic had organized the attack on Srebrenica and that large-scale massacres would be committed, but also that the internationals knew about it, that they spoke of it, but did nothing to prevent it. This is the ‘smoking gun,’ the ultimate proof. I have the names of the individuals who participated in this meeting. This was an official meeting, and the minutes necessarily must exist. If we could have used this evidence in court, the whole truth about Srebrenica would have been revealed...

QUESTION: #31: But for the sake of the victims and for history, when do you think that you will make this information public?

ANSWER: In September 2007, when I am free [i.e. no longer Chief Prosecutor at the ICTY], I will make a list of all the information that I have which could not be introduced in court.


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