Genocide in Bosnia

Bosnian Genocide, 1992-1995

Posts Tagged ‘Srebrenica Genocide

ICJ Judge, Serbia’s involvement in Srebrenica Genocide supported by massive and compelling evidence

Case: Bosnia v. Serbia
Judgement: Dissenting opinion of Judge Al-Khasawneh, Vice-President of the International Court of Justice.

The Court’s jurisdiction is established – Serious doubts that already settled question of jurisdiction should have been re-examined – SFRY’s United Nations membership could only have been suspended or terminated pursuant to Articles 5 or 6 of the Charter; Security Council and General Assembly resolutions did not have the effect of terminating the SFRY’s United Nations membership – The FRY’s admission to the United Nations in 2000 did not retroactively change its position vis-à-vis the United Nations between 1992 and 2000 – Between 1992 and 2000, the FRY was the continuator of the SFRY, and after its admission to the United Nations, the FRY was the SFRY’s successor – The Court’s Judgment in the Legality of Use of Force cases on the question of access and “treaties in force” is not convincing and regrettably has led to confusion and contradictions within the Court’s own jurisprudence – The Court should not have entertained the Respondent’s highly irregular 2001 “Initiative” on access to the Court, nor should it have invited the Respondent to renew its jurisdictional arguments at the merits phase.

Serbia’s involvement, as a principal actor or accomplice, in the genocide that took place in Srebrenica is supported by massive and compelling evidence – Disagreement with the Court’s methodology for appreciating the facts and drawing inferences therefrom – The Court should have required the Respondent to provide unedited copies of its Supreme Defence Council documents, failing which, the Court should have allowed a more liberal recourse to inference – The “effective control” test for attribution established in the Nicaragua case is not suitable to questions of State responsibility for international crimes committed with a common purpose -The “overall control” test for attribution established in the Tadić case is more appropriatewhen the commission of international crimes is the common objective of the controlling State and the non-State actors – The Court’s refusal to infer genocidal intent from a consistent pattern of conduct in Bosnia and Herzegovina is inconsistent with the established jurisprudence of the ICTY – the FRY’s knowledge of the genocide set to unfold in Srebrenica is clearly established – The Court should have treated the Scorpions as a de jure organ of the FRY – The statement by the Serbian Council of Ministers in response to the massacre of Muslim men by the Scorpions amounted to an admission of responsibility – The Court failed to appreciate the definitional complexity of the crime of genocide and to assess the facts before it accordingly. Read the rest of this entry »

Court Rules Serb Forces Committed Bosnian Genocide

On 24 May 1997, a 34-year-old Bosnian Serb was sentenced by a German court to five years in jail for taking part in a massacre of Bosnian Muslims during the war in Bosnia.

Novislav Djajic was found guilty on 14 counts of acting as accomplice to murder and attempted murder. It was the first war crimes trial in Germany since the Nuremberg tribunal on Nazi war crimes more than 50 years ago.

Although there was no sufficient evidence that Novislav Djajic had “intent” to commit genocide, Judge Ermin Briessmann recalled that the court established, beyond reasonable doubt, that Serb forces committed genocide in the Bosnian municipality of Foča [pronounciation: FO-CHA] in 1992 (three years before the Srebrenica genocide).

The judge held Djajic responsible for the massacre of Bosnian Muslims. He recalled how Djajic along with other Bosnian Serb troops, had lined up 15 Bosnian Muslim civilians on a bridge over the river Drina near the town of Foca in eastern Bosnia in April 1992 and shot 14 of them in revenge after their colleagues were killed by a mine.

Novislav Djajic filed an appeal arguing he was innocent and challenging the judgement that Serb forces committed the Bosnian genocide. At Djajic’s appeal on 23 May 1997, the Bavarian Appeals Chamber confirmed that the acts of genocide against the Bosnian Muslim population were committed in June 1992 in the administrative district of Foca.

Written by genocideinbosnia

January 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Bosnian Serb Nikola Jorgic Guilty of Bosnian Genocide

On 27 September 1997, a German court convicted of genocide and other charges in the killing of Bosnian Muslims during the war in Bosnia. On 18 December 1999, Jorgic was sentenced to life in prison by Düsseldorf High Court.

”Whoever hoped that events like the Nazi genocide of the Jews could never be repeated is bitterly disappointed after the events in the former Yugoslavia,” Judge Gunter Krentz said as he imposed the life sentence.

Nikola Jorgic had been tried in Dusseldorf on 11 counts of genocide and 30 of murder as well as lesser charges. German justice authorities had agreed to try the case because the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was overburdened and because Jorgic was arrested in Germany.

Bosnian Serb Maksim Sokolovic Guilty of Bosnian Genocide

On 30 November 1999, a court in Dusseldorf sentenced Maksim Sokolovic, a 59-year-old Bosnian Serb and longtime German resident, to nine years in prison for war crimes in Bosnia in 1992. Sokolovic, who led a paramilitary unit, was convicted of complicity in genocide and other crimes in eastern Bosnia. He was tried in Germany to ease the caseload at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

His charges related to a question whether or not genocide was committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina against the Bosnian Muslim population. The court in Duesseldorf, presided by a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor, reached unanimous consensus that Serb forces indeed committed genocide. Sokolovic was found guilty of participating in the systematic extermination of Muslims during the Bosnian war. His conviction relates to war crimes in the municipality of Kalesija, near Zvornik.

Written by genocideinbosnia

January 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

American Spy Photos Show Bosnian Genocide Mass Grave: 2,700 Bosnian Muslims believed to be executed

Toledo Blade
11 August 1995.

UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. ambassador showed spy photographs to the Security Council yesterday, saying they were strong evidence that Bosnian Serb rebels executed as many as 2,700 Muslim civilians last month.

The eight high-altitude photos of what appeared to be mass graves, along with witness accounts, are a “compelling case that there were wide-scale atrocities committed … against defenseless civilians,” Ambassador Madeleine Albright said.

“There were high-level Bosnian Serb military people present,” Ms. Albright said. “This is clearly a case that needs to be investigated further by the [U.N.] war crimes tribunal.” Read the rest of this entry »

Holocaust Survivor: Forty-thousand Bosnian Muslims Targeted for Extinction in Srebrenica

In 2004, Presiding U.N. Judge Theodor Meron – who is Polish-American of Jewish descent – delivered a historic speech at the Srebrenica Genocide memorial located in Potocari (near Srebrenica). His speech was both moving and inspiring, but also educational. We hope you read it carefully and learn from it. Judge Meron is a holocaust survivor.

Judge Theodor Meron (Srebrenica Genocide Judgement) Holocaust Survivor

It is with honour and humility that I stand today at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery. This place is a daily reminder of the horrors that visited the town of Srebrenica during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The crimes committed there have been well documented and have been recognized – and roundly and appropriately condemned – by the United Nations, the international community in general, and by the people of the region of former Yugoslavia. These crimes have also been described in detail and consigned to infamy in the decisions rendered by the court over which I preside, the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia.

I have had a special wish to visit the Potocari Memorial Cemetery because earlier this year I had the privilege of sitting as the Presiding Judge in the appeal which, for the first time, judicially recognized the crimes committed against the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 as genocide. In that case, named Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic, the Appeals Chamber of our Tribunal convicted one of the leaders of the Bosnian Serb assault on Srebrenica, General Radislav Krstic, for aiding and abetting genocide. The Appeals Chamber also found that some members of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army harboured genocidal intent against the Bosnian Muslim people who sought safety in the enclave of Srebrenica, and that these officials acted upon that intent to carry out a deliberate and massive massacre of the Muslims in Srebrenica.

The judgment which the Appeals Chamber has pronounced will be of importance not only in acknowledging the crime committed in Srebrenica for what it is, but also in developing and enhancing the international criminal law’s understanding of genocide. By discussing and elaborating the legal requirement of genocide, and by explaining how they applied it in the circumstances of Srebrenica, the Appeals Chamber has facilitated the recognition – and, I hope, the prevention – of this horrible crime.

Many victims of this crime lie here, in this cemetery. In honour of their memory, I would like to read a brief passage from the judgment in Krstic, the passage which discusses the gravity and the horrific nature of the crime of genocide, and states unhesitantly that its perpetrators will unfailingly face justice.

“Among the grievous crimes this Tribunal has the duty to punish, the crime of genocide is singled out for special condemnation and opprobrium. The crime is horrific in its scope; its perpetrators identify entire human groups for extinction. Those who devise and implement genocide seek to deprive humanity of the manifold richness its nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions provide. This is a crime against all of humankind, its harm being felt not only by the group targeted for destruction, but by all of humanity.

The gravity of genocide is reflected in the stringent requirements which must be satisfied before this conviction is imposed. These requirements – the demanding proof of specific intent and the showing that the group was targeted for destruction in its entirety or in substantial part – guard against a danger that convictions for this crime will be imposed lightly. Where these requirements are satisfied, however, the law must not shy away from referring to the crime committed by its proper name. By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. The Bosnian Serb forces were aware, when they embarked on this genocidal venture, that the harm they caused would continue to plague the Bosnian Muslims. The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.”

Those who drafted, on the heels of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide, were animated by the desire to ensure that the horror of a state-organized deliberate and massive murder of a group of people purely because of their identity will never recur in the history of humankind. The authors of the Convention hoped that by encapsulating the crime of genocide, by declaring unambiguously that it will not go unpunished, and by requiring the international community to do the utmost to prevent it, they will forestall forever attempts to annihilate any national, ethnic or religious group in the world. As the graves in this cemetery testify, the struggle to make the world free of genocide is not easy and is not one of uninterrupted victories. But I would like to think that by recognizing the crimes committed here as genocide, and by condemning them with the utmost force at our command, we have helped to make the hope of those who drafted the Genocide Convention into an expectation and perhaps even a reality. As I stand here today, I can do little better than to repeat the solemn warning sounded by the Appeals Chamber of our Tribunal that those who commit this inhumane crime will not escape justice before the courts of law and the court of history.

Finally, I take this opportunity to call, once again, for the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet their obligations under international law to cooperate fully with the ICTY. It is simply unacceptable that the authorities in the Republika Srpska have yet to arrest and transfer any individual on their territory who has been indicted by the Tribunal. This situation cannot be allowed to continue and I would like to see a dramatic change in the Republika Srpska’s level of compliance with its legal obligations. It is hightime that the RS break with its tradition of non-cooperation and obstruction of the Rule of Law.

In this regard, I take note of the findings in the Republika Srpska Srebrenica Commission’s preliminary report, which I see as a step in the right direction. It indicates a new readiness to come to terms with painful events of the past and to constrain revisionist tendencies. However, the process is far from complete.

Systematic Rapes of Bosnian Muslim Women, An Instrument of the Bosnian War 1992-95

Introduction by Khadija Husain: Systematic rape is a brutal tactic used in times of war to terrorize women by sexually assaulting them. It has also been used as a means to perform ethnic cleansing by degrading and demoralizing the persecuted ethnic group. According to international law, systematic rape has been declared a crime against humanity as well as a war crime. It is also one of the criteria that identifies a genocide.

The concept of systematic rape was utilized during the genocide in the Bosnian War. During the ethnic cleansing performed by the Serbian soldiers against the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian women and girls were tortured by sexual violence. A United Nations committee determined that the number of women who were raped was around twenty thousand, whereas the Bosnian government estimated that there were in fact fifty thousand rape victims. As a result, war crime tribunals are now allowed to prosecute superior officers and hold them liable for the actions of their subordinate soldiers.

Currently in the city of Darfur in Sudan, the Janjawid militia is systematically raping the women there leading to another human rights crisis. This is similar to the brutality faced by Tutsi people in Rwanda where the women and children today still remain distraught and tormented as the deal with the aftermath of the systematic rape by the Hutu tribe that occurred there 10 years ago. There is no question that rape is a tool of genocide even if it does not result in physical death, it does have a decided impact on the rape victims both mentally and spirtually.

***

The following is a report from the Dallas Morning news:

Women: Weapons of War

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serb leaders’ policy of “ethnic cleansing” has allowed – or commanded – Serb troops to terrorize, slaughter and rape. Rape required neither gasoline nor bullets and made a powerful weapon, according to local war-crimes investigators.

By George Rodrigue
Dallas Morning News
9 May 1993.

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — First Serb prison guards branded Aziza Osmanovic with iron rods. Then they raped her, along with her 12-year-old daughter. Read the rest of this entry »

"Srebrenica wasn't exaggerated. It was the worst place I've ever seen"

Brit thought he knew misery until he rolled into Srebrenica

The Milwaukee Journal
24 March 1993 (2 years before the genocide)

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Larry Hollingworth spent 30 years in the British army, then did relief work in Africa’s worst famine zones. Never, he says, has he seen a place as miserable as Srebrenica.

For eight days, Hollingworth witnessed the suffering of that besieged eastern Bosnian town at close range, holding out there with a 16-member UN team until advancing Serbian forces finally agreed to let a food convoy enter for the first time in three months.

Back in Sarajevo on Tuesday, revived by his first shower in more than two weeks, Hollingworth recalled that reports of calamity in some other cut-off Bosnian towns proved exaggerated when UN relief workers at last arrived. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 16, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Jewish leader warns, "Bosnian Muslims suffering like Jews under Nazi"

Article courtesy of San Francisco Jewish Community Publications Inc., dba Jewish Bulletin of Northern California. Published on Friday, July 28, 1995.

Photo: Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Serb-run concentration camps in 1992 Bosnian Genocide. Credits: RON HAVIV, Blood and Honey

Photo: Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in Serb-run concentration camps in 1992 Bosnian Genocide. Credits: RON HAVIV, Blood and Honey

Bosnian Muslims suffering like Jews under Nazis, official says

by Jewish Telegraphic Agency
28 July 1995.

“The expulsion terror practices in Bosnia today is quite comparable to what happened from the beginning of the Third Reich to the outbreak of the war,” Ignatz Bubis, chairman of the central council of Jews in Germany, told German radio last week.

Bubis said he could not understand why the United Nations and NATO have not learned the lessons that came from appeasing the Nazis before the outbreak of World War II.

In the interview, Bubis said he supported Western military intervention on behalf of the Bosnian Muslims, who, after a three-year-old war, are under increasing attack by the rebel Bosnian Serb forces. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 8, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Srebrenica Massacre Included Systematic Rapes of Muslim Women

“Two took her legs and raised them up in the air, while the third began raping her. People were silent, no one moved. She was screaming and yelling and begging them to stop. They put her a rag into her mouth, and then we were just hearing silent sobs coming from her closed lips. When they finished, the woman was left there.”

Atrocities Reported by Refugees
by SNJEZANA VUKIC

TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) – Zarfa Turkovic says she watched through half-closed eyes, pretending to sleep, hoping she would not be next, as four Bosnian Serb men raped a 28-year old Muslim woman.

Turkovic’s testimony, terrifying in its graphic detail, is one more piece of the horrible mosaic forming in the aftermath of the Bosnian Serbs’ capture of the “safe area” of Srebrenica.

Atrocities reported by many of the thousands of traumatized Muslims deported from Srebrenica can’t be independently verified. But some of the horrors are repeated over and over: Serbs taking away young Muslim women – as well as young men who had not fled. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by genocideinbosnia

December 4, 2010 at 11:31 pm