Foreign Policy Blogs

Mourners honor Srebrenica victims on annivesary

Mourners gathered in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica to honor the victims and mark the anniversary of the bloodiest massacres during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

War crimes fugitive Gen. Ratko Mladic led his troops in July 1995 into the U.N. safe-haven of Srebrenica and “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,” according to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

A video that surfaced during ICTY proceedings depicts members of the Scorpions paramilitary force leading Bosnian Muslims to their execution in a field in Srebrenica. In one incident, six men are shown being taken from the back of a military vehicle and forced to march single file to meet machine gun fire – one man at a time – by the Scorpions. During the video, a soldier is shown emptying an entire magazine into the head of one of the prisoners, protesting “I have a few more shells left!”

In July 1995, Dutch troops operating under the U.N. Protection Force in Srebrenica attempted to turn back Serbian forces by firing warning shots in their direction. Supporting airstrikes were called in by NATO forces, but were abandoned due to poor visibility. Dutch forces surrendered and Serbian forces captured Srebrenica on July 11, 1995.

When the situation was complete, over 8,000 civilians were massacred in the worst episode of ethnic cleansing since the extermination of the Jews in World War II.

Serbian officials in July 2008 captured Bosnian Serb wartime president Radovan Karadzic following 13 years on the run for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He allegedly coordinated events at Srebrenica along with Mladic.

Bosnian Serbs to this day deny the events at Srebrenica amount to genocide, though world leaders continue to condemn the atrocities. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described Srebrenica as the “darkest day” in Europe since the Holocaust, while U.S President Barack Obama calls the event a “stain on our collective consciousness.”



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors