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Genocide against Bosniaks in the Safe Area Srebrenica, Case reconstruction

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: July 24, 2011  


(Case reconstruction)

The Serb aggressor (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – Serbia and Montenegro) with the participation of their (Serb) collaborationists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in and around Srebrenica – UN safe area in July 1995, during one week killed thousands of Bosniacs and buried them in the mass graves; buried alive hundreds; mutilated and slaughtered men, women, and children; killed children in front of their mothers; forced a grandfather to eat liver of his grandchild; raped women and girls; deported around 30,000 people, mainly women and children, played the scenes from the Dante hell. There are numerous pieces of evidence in support of this, including mass graves, covered by grass, while the beasts carried away the bodies left on a surface or shallowly buried. According to the ICTY, these are “the scenes from hell, written in the darkest pages of the human history”.

Podrinje area (Bijeljina, Zvornik, Bratunac, Srebrenica, Vlasenica, Rogatica, Višegrad, Goražde, Čajniče, and Foča) was predominantly populated by Bosniacs. That territory is of “huge strategic importance” for the great Serbian ideology, politics, and practice. Therefore, in accordance with the establishment of “Great Serbia”, ethically clean Serb state, “elimination of the Drina river as a boundary between Serb states” is one of the strategic goals of Serb people. In accordance with the Serb great state project, the plan was to “have in the territory, 50 kilometers to the west from the Drina river, everything Serb, purely Serb”.

One of the top priority strategic goals of the expansion of Serb living space and the sites of the versatile crimes, including genocide, was Podrinje. It has been hot as such ever since the recognition of Serbia and the Berlin Congress in 1878, and it has been based on Garašanin set up formulated in Načertanije of 1844, that “Serbia cannot stay small” and that it has to “spread”. Even at that time, Jovan Cvijić was not satisfied that Serbia was a “surrounded country”, and “Serbs arrested people”. At the time annexation crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, Cvijić formulated the proposal for Podrinje. As the Serbian consent that Austro-Hungarian Monarchy for the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cvijić proposed that Serbia gets Podrinje and/or corridor along its eastern border, about 50 kilometers long, with 12 counties of over 10.000 km2 in space. As for the western border of Podrinje, Cvijić compared it with the river flow of the rivers Drina and Bosna. Considering this fact, he insisted that this is done due to “specified reasons”. Namely, southern part of “Corridor” along the road Foča – Trebinje ended with the access to the Adriatic sea in Sutorina, which was a part of the Trebinje county. Serbia would get much more with the “Corridor”. The ally, Kingdom of Montenegro would then be isolated from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and the Novi Pazar Sandžak would be isolated from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cvijić finished his expose with the statement: “Serb problem has to be resolved by force”.

Six years later, at the beginning of the First World War, Army of the Kingdom of Serbia tried to do that. Around the mid 1914, Serbian and Montenegrin troops (Užice and Sandžak Army) started the offensive across the Drina river. The crimes committed intensified the resistance of defenders, and on 24 October 2021 the offensive ended with the defeat and retreat, so that even after the First World War the border between Serbia and Bosnia remained on the Drina river. The collaborationist regime of Nedić, during the WWII, tried to move the borders of Bosnia from the Drina river. Not even the genocide committed by the Chetnic movement of Draža Mihailović against Bosniacs succeeded in changing the border on the Drina river, despite numerous attempts to change the ethnic composition with the genocide.

Continuity of the conquering expansionistic and genocidal politics and the blooded practice against Bosnia and Bosniacs has unfortunately been present even at the end of the 20th century, when the great Serbian aggressor (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro) started an armed aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the conquering war for the territory, for the “living space“ (lebensraum), stealing the territory. The armed aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been an important part of the Serbian great state Nazi project and genocidal plan – unification of all the Serb territories and Serb people and an important determinant of the Milošević state policy, thanks to which the biggest part of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied, and Bosniacs, with the purpose of their extermination, massively (and individually) killed, expelled, raped, injured, taken to the concentration camps and other places of incarceration, while their property, housing and other facilities looted and destroyed. Their religious and cultural monuments were destroyed and religious personnel killed.

Genocide against Bosniacs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in and around UN safe area Srebrenica in July 1995, by its extent is a paradigm of the suffering of Bosnia and Bosniacs. The character of armed conflict and the nature of crimes were particularly expressed in Srebrenica – UN safe area in July 1995. The aggression (international armed conflict) was heinous, brutal – and of conquering and genocidal character. In the presence and complicity of the UN soldiers (Dutch battalion) the genocide against Bosniacs was committed.

Great Serbian aggressor in the period April 1992 to July 1995 initiated several massive and brutal offensives against this free territory. These offensives included directly the regular units of the Serbian and Montenegrin armies, especially Užice Corps, special forces from Niš, Belgrade and other places, as well as numerous Serb armed formations from Serbia (Arkan and Šešelj troops…), including also the Serb collaborationists from Bosnia and Herzegovina. During these offensives, the aggressor killed, in a greater central Podrinje, a large number of civilians, and looted and destroyed their property, devastated and burnt religious and cultural facilities.

In the spring and summer 1992, Yugoslav National Army / Army of Yugoslavia, following the orders of the u leadership of the great Serbian movement, occupied a major part of Podrinje and almost all its towns and committed genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law against Bosniacs. Almost one third of Bosniac population (over 100,000) remained in several enclaves (Goražde, Žepa, Srebrenica, and triangle Cerska - Kamenica –Konjević Polje).

In early 1993, “Army of Republika Srpska”, together with the regular forces of the Army of Yugoslavia took over in the offensive the places Kamenica, Cerska, and Konjević Polje, and reduced the size of the Srebrenica enclave from 900 to around 150 km2. Bosniacs from the neighboring regions came to Srebrenica and its surrounding, which increased the population there to around 60,000 people, and the density of civilians populating the enclave turned into an unbearable burden for local infrastructure. General Philippe Marillon played his role here, who around the mid March 1993, came to Konjević Polje, Cerska, and Kamenica, and suggested the population to go towards Srebrenica. Losing 90% of the villages, any possibility of organizing food was lost, and Srebrenica had to receive tens of thousands of new residents. After that, the UNPROFOR Commander, General Philippe Marillon, came to Srebrenica in March, and saw for himself the horrible conditions of the siege (no water, electricity, food, medications, and other living supplies, and the great Serbian forces prevented all of them) and stated that the population was under the protection of the United Nations, which would not abandon them.

On 16 April 1993, UN Security Council, acknowledging Chapter VII of the UN Charter adopted a Resolution (No. 819) declaring that “all parties and others should treat Srebrenica and its surrounding as UN ‘safe area’ which has to be spared from any armed attack or any other act of hostility”. This document set the demand to “immediately stop all the armed attacks … against Srebrenica and immediate withdrawal from the area around Srebrenica”.

UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali, after the adoption of the Resolution 819 (1993), sent a Directive to the UNPROFOR Commander, General Wahlgren, in which he informed him that in his opinion, Resolution “does not understand the duty of military engagement of UNPROFOR in the protection of safe area”. This Directive was in contravention of the Resolution 819, which nowhere mentioned that it “does not understand the duty of military engagement of UNPROFOR in the protection of safe area”. However, not even all the members of the UNSC were informed of this Directive. This made the Resolution on the safe areas a mere farce. The role of UNPROFOR was interpreted and directed towards providing humanitarian aid, with the consent of the aggressor, perpetrator of genocide and other forms of crimes. Thus the UNSC Resolution 819 (1993), just like many others, were a complete fraud since the day one: an exclusive declarative approach to the responsibilities imposed by the UN Charter, and the corpus of the international (primarily humanitarian) law in terms of protection of peace and security and/or civilians was followed by a complete lack of political will, at the international level, to implement them.

Yet, General Wahlgren, UNPROFOR Commander, contrary to the UNSC Resolution 819, declared a complete demilitarization of town (not the enclave) and force General Sefer Halilović to sign on 18 April 1993, together with Ratko Mladić, Agreement on demilitarization of Srebrenica, in other words the agreement on capitulation. This agreement demanded the disarmament of Bosniacs.

Even though Srebrenica was declared UN safe area, all this time until the take over of the region in July 1995, the isolated Bosniac population there was subjected to special forms of war and genocidal destruction, such as: deprivation of water, electricity, preventing the humanitarian aid from entering the enclave, as well as medications, and everything else which was required in terms of biological survival. Such a situation, according to Convention on prevention and punishment of crime of genocide, is one of the elements of genocide (“imposing upon a group such severe conditions of living calculated to bringing to their destruction in whole or in part”). Great Serbian aggressor “made the life miserable” to Bosniacs and it constantly kept brutally violating the status of “safe area”, by shelling Srebrenica, whereby many civilian were killed or injured.

On 8 March 1995, Radovan Karadžić, president of a para-state and collaborationist creation Republika Srpska, “very urgently” issued “DIRECTIVE FOR FURTHER ACTIONS NUMBER 7” to the Army of Republika Srpska in relation to its long-tem strategy against Srebrenica and Žepa, UN safe areas, aimed at “definitive liberation of Podrinje”, according to which, it was necessary to use “daily planned and well envisaged combat activities to create the conditions of complete insecurity, hopelessness among the residents of Srebrenica and Žepa”. This order, among other things, envisaged and confirmed once again the specific intention (dolus specialis) to exterminate Bosniacs and commit genocide. This strategy specifically stated that the “Republika Srpska Army” needs “to physically separate Srebrenica from Žepa as soon as possible”.
Worsen from the beginning of the year, around the mid 1995, the humanitarian situation for the Bosniac civilians and military personnel in the enclave became, as scheduled in the Karadžić Directive of 8 March 1995, catastrophic. Civilians died of hunger.

In early July 1995, the Command of the Second Drina Corps started the preparations for the military operations against UN safe area Srebrenica. Operation was named “Krivaja -’95”.

The offensive of the Armed forces of “Republika Srpska”, supported by the units from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and volunteers from Russia and Greece, started on 6 July 2021 against the UN safe area Srebrenica. Bosniacs asked UNPROFOR to “return them their weapons, which they surrendered as part of the agreement on demilitarization from 1993”. However, the request was denied with the explanation that “UNPROFOR is accountable for the defense of the enclave, not them”.
By the evening of 9 July, “Army of Republika Srpska” penetrated four kilometers inside the enclave, stopping only one kilometer away from Srebrenica.

On 9 July (in early evening hours), Radovan Karadžić, having finished the discussion on the “events” in Srebrenica with Momčilo Krajišnik and Jovica Stanišić (State security of the Ministry of Interior from Serbia) announced the great Serbian genocidal intentions to exterminate Bosniacs. In his contact with Miroslav Deronjić, and upon his question “What do you, Miroslav, think to do with this population there?”, meaning in Srebrenica, UN safe area, Karadžić stated, having heard Deronjić that he could not even in his dreams foresee “the developments of the situation upon entering Srebrenica”: “Miroslav, they should all be killed … all that you can”.

In the morning on 10 July, the situation in Srebrenica was very tense. Serb forces for the active military operations, “especially around Srebrenica”, executed “their combat tasks as scheduled”, whereby they shelled Srebrenica, while the town was “full of people”, then the UN base in the northern part of the town., which was full of refugees, and where several people were injured, as well as hospital, where around 2,000 people found shelter, and killed six people there. People came to the streets and started running towards Potočari, UN base. Colonel Karemans sent urgent messages, asking for the NATO air support. Even though the situation deteriorated in UN safe area, General Janvier did not, even on 10 July, approve the air support. Dutch battalion commander in the night 10/11 July 1995, at the meeting in Srebrenica, informed the Bosniac political and military leadership that he gave an ultimatum to the great Serbian aggressor to withdraw out of the UN safe area, and that they have to inform him about their response by 11 July at 06:00 hours. In the event that the aggressor rejects the ultimatum, the air strikes would follow against the aggressor targets, “and the area south of town until Zeleni Jadar was declared ‘death area’ in which everything that moves would be targeted”. He suggested Bosniacs that the “civilians should be as far as possible from the confrontation line” (from the “current front line and keep safe at home”), and he “recommended” to the defense forces to vacate their positions. After that, the Command of the defense forces in Srebrenica made the decision to stop the planned counter attack in the earl morning hours, which was tragic for the defense of the enclave. Great Serbian forces took advantage of this and continued towards the town.

On 11 July 1995, “Republika Srpska Army” took over Srebrenica, first UN safe area. At 14:07 hours, they raised the Serb flag above the bakery in the southern part of town. Around 14:30 hours, company “B” of the Dutch battalion left the base in Srebrenica. The population joined them towards Potočari, including refugees who found shelter in the company “B” base. By then, several requests for air support were denied at various levels of the UN system of command. General Janvier, despite the formal insisting to stop the shelling of civilians and violation of the UN safe area, “acknowledging the operations” undertaken by General Mladić ”in the territory of Srebrenica”, worried about comfort of 30 “captured” Dutch officers. Dutch battalion “did not fire a single bullet at the coming Serb forces”. At 16:20 hours, “Srebrenica was full of Serbs”. Around 16:30 hours, thousands of refugees tried to escape towards Potočari. In late afternoon hours, Generals Ratko Mladić, Milenko Živanović, Radislav Krstić, and other officers of Republika Srpska Army “victoriously” walked along Srebrenica streets, while thousands of refugees walked towards Potočari, desperately asking for the protection of the Dutch battalion. At the main square in Srebrenica, General Ratko Mladić stated: “Here we are, 11 July 2021 in Serb Srebrenica. In the eve of the Serb holiday, we give Serb people this town as a gift. Finally, the time has come that we can revenge here to Turks after the rebellion against the invaders.” Karadžić personally (“marketing purposes”, “he needs it for some reasons”) ordered that a Greek flag be raised next to the Serb flag in Srebrenica, whose citizens (Greeks), in addition to Russians and other, took part in the attack and the take over of Srebrenica.

In the even and after the take over of Srebrenica, UN “safe area”, civilian population was in panic and they were running towards Potočari, waiting for the expected help in and around the UN base. By the evening of 11 July 1995, there were between 20,000 and 25,000 refugees in Potočari, mainly women, children, the elderly, and those not capable for army.

Several thousand of people entered the UN base through the opening made by cutting the wire, when they sought shelter in warehouses, while others remained outside the base – in the factories and fields. There were between 1,000 and 2,000 men among women and children. None of them had any weapons.

Conditions in Potočari were dreadful. There was no water, food, medicines, toilettes, and the July heat was intolerable. Situation was chaotic. Hungry and thirsty, people were squeezed, in fear. Sharp shooters shot at them, set houses on fire, which increased the fear in people, who were horrified.

During the morning of 12 July 1995, General Ratko Mladić showed up in Potočari, accompanied by high-ranking officers of the Main Staff of the “Republika Srpska Army” and TV crews which recorded him giving sweets to children and falsely convincing people that nothing would happen to them.

On 12 and 13 July 1995, Serb military and police forces, including the units from Serbia and “Republika Srpska Krajina”, in summary proceedings, in various places around the UN base in Potočari liquidated Bosniac men, even some women.

Terror was intensified during the night. Cries, screaming, shooting and other intimidating sounds echoed throughout the night. Soldiers were taking out and away people from the crowds.

The following day, in the morning of 13 July 1995, some refugees, looking for water, found heaps of bodies near a creek, a heap of slaughtered people (according to some witnesses – more than 300 of them), including some women among them (“decapitated or they did not have heads on their shoulders”).

During 12 and 13 July 1995, “Republika Srpska Army” organized and executed the planned deportation of women, children, and the elderly from Potočari towards Kladanj. Around the noon of 12 July 1995, according to the previous plan, a number of buses and trucks, including vehicles from Serbia, started arriving to Potočari to deport women, children, and the elderly.

Loading on the buses was carried out in the presence and under the control of Army and the special police units of “Republika Srpska”, with the support of the Dutch battalion.

On 12 and 13 July 1995, in Potočari, there was the most systematic separation of men and boys from women and children. In the morning of 12 July, the great Serbian forces, in the presence started in the presence and upon the order of Ratko Mladić, and with the participation of police officers with dogs, picked and separated men and children from other refugees and took them, apprehended, and kept them in separate places in and around Potočari. On one side there were women and children who cried and screamed, especially children who watched their father being taken away, and on the other side the screaming, crying, yelling and shots were heard. This continued throughout the night of 12 July 1995. They took the separated individuals to a location in front of the Zink factory, and then during the same night they transported them on trucks to other places of incarceration. Once the refugees started embarking the buses, Serb police officer and soldiers systematically separated men who tried to sneak into the buses, depriving them of their personal property (personal documents and valuables). They also took those people to a building known as “White house” (in the immediate vicinity of the UN base), where they made them, before entering the building, leave their personal belonging, including money, personal ID’s, which they burnt later on. All the separated men were kept in very inhuman conditions, while some of them were tortured and killed. There were boys among them. The separation continued during the embarking the vehicles and the deportation.

The largest number of separate Bosniacs in Potočari (over 1,000), starting on the 12 July afternoon throughout 13 July 1995, were loaded into separate vehicles and they were transported from Potočari to the places of incarceration in Bratunac. There, they also brought people who tried to escape on a column, and from there they took them all to the site of execution.

The complete deportation of Bosniacs civilians from Potočari was finished in the evening of 13 July 1995, by 20:00 hours. That was the time when the Dutch battalion officers ordered refugees to leave their base.

A number of Srebrenica UN “safe area” residents (between 10,000 and 15,000), trying to escape from the enclave, after the takeover of Srebrenica, gathered in the evening of 11 July 2021 in Šušnjari, looking for salvation in the free territory. Around one third of men were members of the 28 Division, of which majority were unarmed. Others were civilians, including women and children. They started running away, in a long column through the forests towards Tuzla.

Great Serbian forces, on 12 July, continued their military operation as scheduled. Army and the Ministry of Interior of “Republika Srpska” shelled the refugee column from all the directions. The artillery was engaged from different locations, including the systems of large caliber. Around 10:00 hours, once the column was ambushed, they engaged the mortars. There were many injured and killed in the area of Hajdučko groblje, below Bokčin potok. Around 100 people were killed in only one valley.

Forces of the “Republika Srpska” Army and the Ministry of Interior captured, during the afternoon and early evening hours, in the area of Ravni Buljim a larger number of people from the end of the column. “Republika Srpska” Army and police used different heinous means (ambush, calling people to surrender, and alike), including the use of stolen uniforms and vehicles of the UN and ICRC to deceive and capture people in the column, promising that they would protect them, take them to Tuzla and that they guarantee their safety, and also that UNPROFOR and ICRC have the mandate to transfer them to Tuzla. Number of captives on 12 July was around 1.000.

On 12 July 1995, all the Drina Corps units took “all the steps to prevent any surprise, and engaged all the available units in accomplishing the mission of the operation ‘KRIVAJA-95”, and according to plan “executed all the combat tasks”. Along the evaluated avenues of attack, Army and police units of “Republika Srpska” organized ambushes attempting to destroy Bosniacs who did not surrender and who tried to escape with “women and children towards Ravni Buljim and Konjević Polje”, where they encountered a “mine field”.

In the early morning hours of the 13th July, in the area of Pobuđe (a forest around Konjević Polje), between the roads Bratunac – Konjević Polje – Nova Kasaba, around 8,000 people were blocked, whose execution was planned by “Republika Srpska” army and police.

The largest groups of men and boys from the column were captured by the “Republika Srpska “ army and police on 13 July along the road Bratunac – Konjević Polje – Milići, while the soldiers and police used megaphone to invite people to surrender, promising that they would treat them in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. During that day, by 17:30 hours, at least 6,000 people were captured, who were later on closed in several locations. The biggest number of them was taken to the collective centers in Nova Kasaba – between 1,500 and 3,000 people, then Sandići on a field – between 1,000 and 4,000 people. Controlling the operation of capturing and giving support to his subordinates to complete the mission, General Ratko Mladić deceived captives in both locations, telling them that nothing would happen to them and that they would be exchanged as prisoners of war, and also that their families were already transported to Tuzla.

A number of those captured near Nova Kasaba and Konjević Polje was killed in the morning of 13 July 2021 at the banks of the river Jadar.
During the same day in the afternoon hours, (around 16:00 hours) “Republika Srpska” army and/or police transported a group of Bosniacs in three buses to Cerska and executed them there. There were at least 149 people, 14 to 50 years of age, execute there, of which 147 were in civilian clothes. Majority of victims had ligatures made of wire on their hands.

Several dozens of captives were killed on the site along the road Kravica - Milići (Konjević Polje, Pervani, Lolići…).
A number of captives from Konjević Polje, including boys, were taken to Jahorina and Trnovo, where the Republic of Serbia Ministry of the interior Special Forces executed them, what was recorded on TV.

On 13 July 2021 in late afternoon, between 1,000 and 1,500 captives from Sandići were taken to Kravica and they were forced to enter the Farming cooperative, where a huge massacre was committed. Around 18:00 hours, they were all executed (RPG, hand held rocket launchers, hand grenades, bullets).

“Republika Srpska” Army and Ministry of Interior, and other armed units including those from Serbia and “Republika Srpska Krajina”, in the period from 22:00 hours of the 12th until approximately 15th July, and especially on the 13th July 1995, based on well designed plan on separation, temporary incarceration (in Bratunac) and organized and systematic execution of the captives, in several locations in Bratunac killed thousands of captives. Following the order of the “Republika Srpska” leadership, captives were brought to Bratunac. That town, on 13 July, was full of captives, who were brought from the road Bratunac – Milići. Captives were taken to the stadium, schools, military prison, police, hangar, garages, and other facilities; they were also kept in vehicles (buses and trucks) parked in town and along the roads, and the Bratunac residents knew all of that. The captives were severally tortured and beaten in Bratunac, and they cries of men echoed, who were later on taken away and killed. They did not received any food or water

A large number of captives were killed in the Vuk Karadžić school in Bratunac and in other locations along the road Kravica – Milići, as well as Konjević Polje. Colonel Ljubomir Beara came to Bratunac in the morning of 13 July 2021 and he gave the order to soldiers to kill all the captives (the order came from top to kill al the captives).
In the late evening hours, on 13 July 1995, he started with the execution of the instruction which he received from Radovan Karadžić and the order of General Mladić to take all the captives to Zvornik and kill them. During the night between 13 and 14 July 1995, around 2,000 – 5,000 men, previously separated in Potočari and elsewhere, were transported from Bratunac (in around 30 buses) to the gym of the elementary school in Grbavci (near Orahovac) and other schools, where some of them were killed behind the school while others were taken elsewhere and killed. On 14 July 1995, in the early morning hours, soldiers of the “Republika Srpska Army” blindfolded men in the Grabovica school, about 1,000 of them, loaded them on trucks and took them to a neighboring field near Orahovac, ordered them to come down from trucks, and killed them in summary execution from the automatic weapons. They were all blindfolded. General Ratko Mladić personally observed the execution. Immediately after their execution, the killed were buried in mass graves (14 and 15 July).

On 14 July 1995, Republika Srpska Army and/or police took between 1,500 and 2,000 captives from Bratunac and took them to Petkovci, imprisoned them in the gym of the elementary school, where they beat them up, ill-treated and shot at them from the automatic rifles. They tied the hands of the captives behind their back, make them take off their shoes, and during the night of the 14th and in the morning of 15 July 2021 transported them a place near the Dam by Petkovci. There were already many killed people there, with their face down and hands tied behind their back. They gathered these people below the dam, and killed in the summary execution in groups of 10-15. in the morning of the 15 July 1995, “Republika Srpska Army” used the diggers and other machines to bury the victims, while the executions were still in progress.
On 15 July 2021 in Belgrade, at the time while the aggressor and its collaborationists carried out the operation of the execution of the captives, Slobodan Milošević held a secret meeting with Carl Bildt (EU peace envoy), Thorwald Stoltenberg (Un representative at the International conference), Yasushi Akashi (UNSG special envoy), and Rupert Smith (Commander of the UN forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Upon the request of Bildt, General Mladić attended the meeting as well, who was in command of the operation against Srebrenica and the genocide against Bosniacs. Unfortunately, none of participants was interested in the captured Bosniacs.

The operation of killing captives, according to the plan ‘to kill captives’ was pursued on 14 and 15 July 2021 in the area of responsibility of the 1st Zvornik brigade. At the same time, ‘there were huge problems related burial of the executed and safeguarding of those who were supposed to be executed’.

On 16 July 1995, at the Military Farm Branjevo, following this pattern, around 1,200 captives were killed, who were taken to Pilice on 14 July 1995. Then, they called them out of the school, loaded them on trucks with the hands tied behind their back and transported them to the Military Farm Branjevo, where they lined them up in groups of ten and then killed them. Then, the digger picked the bodies of the killed.

On the same day (around 15:00 hours) another execution was carried out. The soldiers of the Bratunac brigade, together with other members of the “Republika Srpska” army and police, in the building of Cultural center in Pilice in summary execution killed with the automatic weapons about 500 people. The following day, soldiers of the Zvornik brigade collected the mortal remains, transported them to the military farm Branjevo and buried them in a mass grave.

Also on 16 July 2021 “Republika Srpska Army” killed several hundreds of captives (around 500) in an isolated location near Kozluk and buried them in a nearby mass grave.

Numerous units of the “Republika Srpska” army and police during the July and August 1995, and also later on, “searched the terrain and used ambush” to prevent “passage of Muslims going from the former enclave Srebrenica towards Tuzla and Kladanj”, while many Bosniacs were captured and systematically killed on site.

Smaller groups of Bosniacs wandered days and months through the forests, trying to reach Tuzla (last group reached Tuzla on 16 April 2022).

On 23 July 1995, military police, following the order of General Mladić, killed a certain number of injured from Srebrenica, who were treated in Zvornik.

“Republika Srpska” armed forces, in cooperation with the units from Serbia and “Republika Srpska Krajina”, foreign mercenaries, following the great Serbian ideology, politics and practice deported “all Muslim women and children” from Potočari, while they captured, imprisoned and killed thousands of men and boys, who tried to escape after the fall of Srebrenica, UN safe area, and buried them in mass graves in hidden locations.

About the slaughter of Bosniacs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in and around UN safe area Srebrenica in July 1995, told a surviving victim of genocide, seventeen year old boy, Prosecution witness in ICTY in the case against Radoslav Krstić. Specifically, after the fall of Srebrenica, UN safe area in July 1995, he “surrendered to the Bosnian Serbs who were in camouflaged uniforms”. “He was ordered to undress as his clothes stunk like dried urine” and “to stand by the edge of valley covered with bodies of the killed:

‘There were several Serb soldiers there … They were behind us … I though I would die quickly, that I would not suffer. I thought that my mother would never find out how I ended …

Someone said: ‘Lie down’. Once we started falling down … shooting started … I do not know what happened. I did not think about anything … I thought it was the end. I do not know if I fainted at that moment, I may have been still conscious … All I know is that I, while on the ground, felt pain in the right side of my chest …

I though, maybe I could call them to finish me off, as I felt strong pain. I thought if I do not die here, I could survive, and that I would be taken away alive and that my agony would continue. … At one moment … next to my face, there was a military boot. I continued watching, I did not close my eyes. That many walked over me – he was a soldier – and he fired a bullet to a head of a man next to me. At that moment I closed my eyes; I was hit to my right shoulder …

I was, almost, between life and death. I was not sure if I wanted to die or to stay alive. I decided not to call them to kill me, but at the same time I prayed to my God that they come and kill me …’.

After the butchers drove away”, the boy “lifted his head and he saw another survivor among the dead. He called him, and crawling across the bodies, tried to reach him, and then he somehow managed to bring his tied hands to his mouth so that he can cut with his teeth the ropes: ‘That many had a shirt without any sleeves, green color, and a sweater … He took it off and tore it apart … Having dressed my wound, I fell asleep on his knees, as I did not sleep for long … We stayed there until the morning, and with the daylight, he woke me up and asked: ‘Where shall we go?’ I told him: ‘I do not know’”.

As for the execution of Bosniacs (men and boys) in and around this UN safe area, “brought the death fields which were already full of dead bodies”, it is important and incredible what a driver “supplier of the Bosnian Serb army”, stated, who is one of the Prosecution witnesses in ICTY case against Popović at al., who “at the time of Srebrenica slaughter transported food and drink for the military units”. He described “that he witnessed execution of Muslim boys and men brought to the death fields which were already full of dead bodies”:

“From that heap, a pile of dead bodies which did not resemble human bodies any longer … but only a pile of flesh in pieces … a man crawled out. I say a man, but in fact it was a boy, five or sic years old. It is incredible. Incredible.

A man /in fact a child – by author S. Č./ crawled out and started towards a path, a path with people armed with automatic rifles who carried out their mission. And that child crawled towards them. All these soldiers and police officers there, those people who did not have any problems with killing … all of a sudden … put down their rifles and all of them, every single one of them, simply froze. There, it was a child … an innocent, cute child … covered with pieces of flesh of other people …
One officer … I am sure h was a colonel of lieutenant … And he was … incredibly arrogant … turned towards people, soldiers and told them: ‘What are you waiting for? Come on, finish him off.’ And those people, who just a second ago did not have any problem to kill people told him: ‘Sir, you have a pistol, why don’t you finish him off? Please, go ahead, we cannot do that’. They all … were simply speechless; then, that officer stated: ‘Take a child, put him on a truck and drive him away; and then bring him here again with a new group and then we shall finish him off’.

I was there. I was completely helpless. I was an outsider … someone from logistics … I had nothing to do with what was going on there. They were killing people, any my task was to bring them supplies; then, they took the child, not the men who were killing people, no. Others took the child by his hand. … The child was saying, Babo, that is how they call father. He was saying, ‘Babo, where are you?’ The child was in a shock. They put him on a truck. The child, knowing that he was previously on a truck, began trembling. He was trembling and saying, ‘No, no. I won’t’.

Then, I interfered … I told them: ‘Listen, I will turn on lights in my van and I will turn on some music to attract his attention so that he does not pay attention to what is going on here. I will turn on radio’, because I wanted the child to recover. He was completely lost, he did not know what was going on there, or who he was. I said: ‘I will try to give him a lift wherever he wants me to take him’. I entered my van and turned on lights … and that helped this child, because everything was dark around him …
I told him: ‘Come here, come here, come to me’. I told him: ‘Look. I turned on lights and music’. All of a sudden he took my hand and came to me. … I do not want anyone to go through this. I sued to be strong. I used to be tough. That was my reputation. But, I do not wish anyone to get this grip, his grip of my hand, and I was surprised with his strength. The strength of that child. And then, I entered my vehicle, and – and left the boy alone for a moment, just because I had to turn on engine, and I turned on music, and then I returned with the others – you know what this others means – so that the next group can be executed”.

In this ruthless “operation of killing”, mainly during four days, with the intention and based on exactly defined pattern, in a horrific way, more than 8,000 captured and detained Bosniacs were killed, which was motivated by their national, ethnic, religious background and the attempt to take over their living space, marked in great Serbian plans as territory of strategic relevance. Three generations of men were exterminated. This is the biggest individual and in short time committed massacre and a complete persecution of people in Europe ever since WWII. Exactly fifty years since the end of the Nazi Holocaust, the same crime was repeated in Europe, whose brutality and lack of reaction is “a synonym of huge failure of the international community”.

The takeover of Srebrenica, deportation of civilian from Potočari and the operation of capturing, detention, and execution of Bosniacs are the acts of genocide, well planned, envisaged, efficiently organized, widespread, ordered from the top political and military leadership, and executed systematically according to the plan.
Number of the killed and the short period of execution, quick formation of mass graves, quick burials in mass graves, dislocation of mortal remains to secondary and tertiary mass graves suggest that the political, military, administrative, and police potential of the Serb forces supported by a large number of disciplined perpetrators took part in the plan, preparation, execution and the cover up of genocide. According to the research of the Republika Srpska Government, more than 25,000 people took part in the genocide against Bosniacs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in and around the UN safe area in July 1995. Ideological, political, and military leader in genocide was the state Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), and the great Serbian regime of Slobodan Milošević, while the key executors were the Army of (Federal Republic) Yugoslavia, Republic of Serbia Ministry of the Interior, collaborationist units of the great Serbian aggressor in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Republika Srpska Army”, “Republika Srpska Ministry of the Interior” and other organs of the executive and administrative authorities of the para-state Republika Srpska), mercenaries from Greece and alike.

Perpetrators of crime took al the steps, including the systematic digging, transfer, and reburial of the victims’ bodies, so as to cover up the genocide and prevent the justice, which constitutes yet another systematic form of crime committed against the killed, which ahs not been known in history. This speaks of the perpetrators as being aware of the criminal character of their actions, and there is no dilemma related to their subjective accountability and liability and/or firm intention related to the perpetration of this graves form of crime.

Mass graves of the genocide victims in the UN safe area Srebrenica in July 1995 are apparent evidence of the planned and organized system of crimes, which resulted in genocide – the worst form of crimes against humanity and international law. Simultaneously, they are also one of the ways of concealing and destruction of clues of crimes. Unfortunately, International Court of Justice in The Hague in the case Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), did not mention at all the mass graves of the genocide victims in the UN safe area Srebrenica in July 1995.

The massive crime against Bosniacs of Islamic religion was committed in and around Srebrenica in July 1995. That crime is an act of genocide against Muslims. The area were the crimes were committed, speed of execution of several thousands of people, territory in which the bodies were buried, multiple transfer of mortal remains, and the number of individuals who took part in the execution and the covering of the crime absolutely indicate that the crimes were known to a large number of people and that they were persistently concealed. Imprecise mandate of the UN is one of the elements of proof that there was no political will to protect lives of civilians and prevent the worst crime, so that the UN could act decisively in accordance with the UN Charter and the spirit of the international law.

Genocide against Bosniacs of Bosnia and Herzegovina in and around UN safe area Srebrenica in July 1995 was committed before the eyes of the world public, along with the clear assistance and criminally passive attitude of the UN and their “peace” forces, which were supposed to protect the population in the UN safe area. This was a part of direct preparation for the Dayton Accord following the traditional manner of placing everyone before the final act whiles securing strategically important border area to Serbia. This crime of genocide is only a tip of the iceberg within the crimes against humanity and international law committed continuously in the period of four years in the territory of three quarters of the state territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina – in all the occupied places and towns under the siege.


* This problem was studied based on numerous relevant sources of different provenience, kept in the Archive of the INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND INTERNATIONAL LAW OF THE SARAJEVO UNIVERSITY and other results, including the Research of the Republika Srpska Government from a2004 and 2005. Due to limited space, the text is shortened, and the scientific apparatus is mainly removed from the body test.

[1] Dušan Stranjaković, KAKO JE NASTALO GARAŠANINOVO NAČRTANIJE, Spomenik Srpske kraljevske akademije, XCI, Beograd, 1939, str. 76-102.

[1] Jovan Cvijić, ANEKSIJA BOSNE I HERCEGOVINE I SRPSKI PROBLEM, u: SRPSKI NAUČNICI O BOSNI I HERCEGOVINI, Službeni list Savezne Republike Jugoslavije, Beograd, 1995, pp. 41-73, especially p.45.

[1] Ibid, p. 73. Jovan Cvijić was in favor of the thesis that the Serbs were race and superior Dinarides, as the core of the Serbian people. Suggesting the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Serbs, and the need of its unification with Serbia and Montenegro, he claims that “Bosnia and Herzegovina are only the regions of purely Serb race” (Ibid). these positions were later on formulated in the concept of homogenous “Great Serbia”.

Advocating the thesis of superiority of everything Serbian, Jovan Cvijić gave the primacy even to the Serbian language, claiming that “there is no such an ethnic language which is so much formulated and developed for the literature as the Serbian language…” (Ibid).

According to the 31 March 2022 census in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were 599,833 citizens of the “Corridor”. Podrinje (16 municipalities) had 522,556 citizens, and Herzegovina region (4 municipalities) without Foča 77,277 citizens. Podrinje ethnic composition was 277,825 Bosniacs/Muslims or 53.18%, 223,578 Serbs or 42.77%, and Others 20,153 or 4.05%.

[1] Criminal Biljana Plavšić at the XVII session of the “Assembly of Serb people“, 24-26 July 1992, stated that 70% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was conquered. To this end, she stated: “65% of the Serb territory by cadastre belongs to our people, and 70% was conquered, which is only 5% in our favor in relation to the previous figure. If we start from the fact that the enemy /Bosniacs – note by S.Č./ gets as much as we can give as a gift, who would dare then to explain to our people that they should vacate what they already have, which is a compensation for what was destroyed, burnt or from which they were expelled.” On 15 April 1994, Slobodan Milošević, at the session of the Supreme Council of Defense of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia among other things stated: “… our forces control 72% of the territory ofBosnia and Herzegovina. According to General Zdravko Tolimir, at the 53rd session of the “Assembly of Republika Srpska”, held on 28 August 1995, great Serbian aggressor and their collaborationists occupied “more than 70% of the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which during 1991 more than 65% of non-Serb population lived, mainly Bosniacs.

[1] Significant number (almost 50,000) of men, women, and children escaped to the central free territory in Tuzla or UNHCR evacuated them as injured, sick, or exhausted people.

[1] Four days earlier, on 4 March, at the Jahorina mountain, the content of Directive was thoroughly analyzed by the military and political leadership of Republika Srpska and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, whereby the special attention was paid to Podrinje.

[1] C. Del Ponte – Ch. Sudetic, MADAM PROSECUTOR: FACING THE WORST WAR CRIMES AND CULTURE OF NON-SANCTIONING, Buybook, Sarajevo, 2008, pp. 17-18.

[1] Ibid, pp. 331-332. Four days after this testimony, on 26 February 2007, the trial from the courtroom 1 was played again on the internal screen in the Office of the Tribunal Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte “One young man testified in camera session: a young man, who as the seven year old boy, covered in blood, dust, covered with feces crawled out of the pile of dead bodies and approached butchers who killed his father” (Ibid, p. 332).

Carla Del Ponte, sad, “sat in her office and listened to his words, she could almost hear a collective sigh of relief and the burst of evil laughter from Serbia” (Ibid).

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada