Serbs admit scale of Srebrenica massacre - Al Jazeera, Qatar
- Serbs admit scale of Srebrenica massacre
Thursday 14 October 2004, 20:23 Makka Time, 17:23 GMT
Bosnian Serb authorities have admitted for the first
time that Serb forces slaughtered more than 7000
Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Europe's
worst atrocity since World War II.
"I am confirming that the number [of victims] is
higher than 7000. I cannot reveal the exact figures.
It is up to the government to do it," an official from
a special investigative commission said on condition
of anonymity on Thursday.
In 2002, Bosnian Serb officials issued a report which
lowered the number of victims, triggering outrage
among survivors and the international community.
In June, the Bosnian Serb government admitted that
Serb forces had committed the massacre and tried to
cover up the crime, but it avoided giving a definite
figure on the number of victims.
The figure of more than 7000 victims - a number which
conforms to most independent assessments - is
contained in a new report the investigative commission
presented to the government on Thursday.
"I think that the commission made the most objective
and the most correct list of those killed in
Srebrenica," commission member Djordje Stojakovic
"We had more than 30 sources of information but the
list is not final. I'm not sure that there will be a
final list ever."
Srebrenica is the first episode in the bloody break-up
of the former Yugoslavia that the UN war crimes
tribunal at The Hague considered genocide.
Bosnian Serb forces overran the enclave, which was
supposed to be under UN protection, in July 1995.
Women and children were allowed to flee but Muslim men
and boys were rounded up. The International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that more than 7000
of them were subsequently killed.
Most Bosnian Serbs deny the massacre and continue to
regard their political leaders during the country's
1992-95 war, Radovan Karadzic, and his military
commander, Ratko Mladic, as heroes.
Both men have been indicted by the UN tribunal at The
Hague for war crimes and genocide for their alleged
roles in the atrocity, but remain at large somewhere
in the former Yugoslavia.
The genocide is also the basis of key charges laid
against former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic,
who has been on trial at The Hague for more than two
Massacre survivors said it was about time the Serbs
admitted the scale of the slaughter, but warned that
more information was needed on the whereabouts of the
culprits and the locations of hidden mass graves.
"Considering the scale of the crime, it is a success
that after nine years the number of victims is being
confirmed," the head of the Srebrenica mothers
association, Munira Subasic, told reporters.
"But we also want to find out from the report who the
perpetrators are. Who were those who took away our
kids? We would also like to know where they were
More than 6000 bodies have been exhumed from mass
graves near the town. On Thursday, forensic experts
said they had found the remains of more Srebrenica
victims in three mass graves in eastern Bosnia.
"The three sites, all located in the village of
Bljeceva in eastern Bosnia, are secondary mass graves
as the bodies were initially buried somewhere else and
then moved there," Commission for Missing People
member Murat Hurtic said.
The remains of some 1327 Srebrenica victims have been
identified using DNA analysis since 1995 and reburied
at a Srebrenica memorial site. Another 5000 bodies are
yet to be identified.
Post-war Bosnia consists of two semi-independent
entities - the Serb-run Republika Srpska, which
includes Srebrenica, and the Muslim-Croat Federation.
Bosnia's war claimed some 200,000 lives and more than
two million people, over half the country's
population, were forced to flee their homes.
More information about Bosnia at:
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