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  • The

    SREBRENICAMASSACREEvidence, Context, Politics

    Edited by Edward S. Herman

    Foreword by Phillip Corwin

  • This book as a whole, as well as the Foreword, Preface, and each ofthe individual 10 chapters that comprise it, are licensed under a CreativeCommons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No-Derivative Works 3.0License (CC-BY-NC-ND). (See ; and see .)

    Each author retains his copyright, but also hereby grants to otherparties the right to reproduce and distribute individual chapters pro-vided that credit is given to the respective author(s), that this work isused non-commercially, and that the chapters are reproduced-in-full,unless otherwise granted permission by the author to use his work in amanner different than that specified here.

    Licensed 2011

    Layout/design: Helen CuprisinAlphabet SoupEvergreen Park, IL 60805



    Maps 4-6

    Foreword 7Phillip Corwin

    Preface 13Edward S. Herman

    Chapter 1. Introduction 19Edward S. Herman

    Chapter 2. Prelude to the Capture of Srebrenica 37George Bogdanich

    Chapter 3. The Military Context of the Fall of Srebrenica 66Tim Fenton

    Chapter 4. The Numbers Game 101Jonathan Rooper

    Chapter 5. Securing Verdicts:The Misuse of Witness Evidence at the Hague 153

    George Szamuely

    Chapter 6. The ICTY and Srebrenica 211Michael Mandel

    Chapter 7. UN Report on SrebrenicaA Distorted Picture of Events 224

    George Bogdanich

    Chapter 8. U.S. Media Coverage of Srebrenica 248Edward S. Herman

    Chapter 9. U.K. Media Coverage of Srebrenica 259Philip Hammond

    Chapter 10. Summary and Conclusions 278Edward S. Herman

    Note on Contributors 299

  • 4

    The former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslaviaaccording to the 1974 Constitution, with its six Republics,

    and two Autonomous Provinces

    Source: Perry-Castaeda Library Map Collection, University of Texas atAustin,



    Kraj ina

  • 5

    Source: Adapted from the Bosnia and Herzegovina map, UN Carto-graphic Section, Dag Hammarskjld Library


    Bosanski Brodo

    Bosnia and Herzegovina, Summer 1995

  • 6

    Eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Summer 1995

    Source: Adapted from the Bosnia and Herzegovina map, UN Carto-graphic Section, Dag Hammarskjld Library



    Nova Kasabao


    Phillip Corwin

    On July 11, 1995, the town of Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serbarmy. At the time, I was the highest ranking United Nations civilian of-ficial in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In my book, Dubious Mandate,1 I madesome comments on that tragedy. Beyond that, I decried the distortionsof the international press in their reporting, not only on that event, buton the wars in Yugoslavia (1992-95) in general. I expressed the wishthat there could have been, and must be, some balance in telling thestory of what actually happened in Srebrenica and in all of former Yu-goslavia, if we are to learn from our experience.

    This book by the Srebrenica Research Group, The Srebrenica Mas-sacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, answers that call. It presents an alter-native and well-documented assessment of the tragedy of Srebrenica,and of the suffering of all the constituent peoples of former Yugoslavia.It is an invaluable document. Of course, there will be those who will dis-agree with the authors perspective. But if we are to open a discussionthat has been closed to all but the faithful, if we are to prevent similartragedies from occurring again, then we must take seriously the accountsput forward by the bright and discerning contributors to this book. Nohonest reader can doubt the credentials of these authors. And no hon-est reader should doubt the importance of what they have to say. I con-gratulate them on their scholarship and their courage.

    Coincidentally, I have a personal reason for recalling what happenedon July 11, 1995, for not only was that the day Srebrenica fell, but it wasalso the day that a Bosnian sniper tried to assassinate me as my vehicle,white and clearly marked as a UN vehicle, was driving over Mt. Igmanon the way back to Sarajevo from a staff visit to Gorni Vakuf. The snipertargeted our vehicle as we sped around the hairpin turns of that nar-row, rutted mountain road, and it was due only to the courageous ef-forts of Bruno Chaubert, the Corsican warrant officer who was mydriver, that we survived. We knew from the trajectory of the bullet, andthe fact that we had identified ourselves only minutes earlier at a Bosn-ian army checkpoint, that the sniper who fired on us was in Bosniangovernment controlled territory, and that he knew who we were. Actu-ally, the sniper had targeted the driver, because he knew if the driver


  • Foreword

    had lost control, then the vehicle and all its passengers would have goneover the mountain. At the time, however, I chose not to publicize theevent because the Bosnian government would have denied it, and theUN would not have protested, given its gaping lack of credibility withthe Bosnian government. But the message was clear. The Bosnian gov-ernment considered the UN to be its enemy.

    ***In the years since Srebrenica fell, the name itself has become a buzz-

    word for allegations of Serbian genocide. Books have been written, re-ports have been compiled, and radio and television broadcasts havesaturated the air waves with evidence of this crime against humanity.The United Nations Security Council convened an international tri-bunal in The Hague to prove this pre-trial judgment. It would not bean exaggeration to say some journalists and aspiring politicians havemade careers out of promoting this allegation.

    But the situation is more complicated than the public relations spe-cialists would have us believe. That there were killings of non-combat-ants in Srebrenica, as in all war zones, is a certainty. And those whoperpetrated them deserve to be condemned and prosecuted. Andwhether it was three or 30 or 300 innocent civilians who were killed, itwas a heinous crime. There can be no equivocation about that. At thesame time, the facts presented in this volume make a very cogent argu-ment that the figure of 8,000 killed, which is often bandied about in theinternational community, is an unsupportable exaggeration. The truefigure may be closer to 800.

    The fact that the figure in question has been so distorted, however,suggests that the issue has been politicized. There is much more shockvalue in the death of 8,000 than in the death of 800.

    There is also evidence in this book that thousands of Serbs were mas-sacred, expelled, tortured, raped, and humiliated during the wars withinformer Yugoslavia. The international community has not seen fit topublicize these atrocities with as much vigor as it has those of Srebrenica.That simple observation does not justify what occurred in Srebrenica.But it is another piece of the puzzle that explains the anger of the Serbswhen they assaulted Srebrenica. In May 1995, for example, just twomonths before Srebrenica fell, the Croatian army captured WesternSlavonia and expelled 90 per cent of the Serb population in that region.


  • Foreword

    Serbs had lived in Western Slavonia for hundreds of years. But the in-ternational community said nothing about those expulsions; in fact, itapplauded the Croatian action, as though the Serb civilians deservedwhat had happened. To massacre Croatians or Bosnians or Kosovo Al-banians was genocide. To massacre Serbs was regarded as appropriateretribution. Clearly, the international community has not seen fit toconsecrate the massacres of Serbs with monuments. Instead, it has issuedarrest warrants for Serb leaders.

    What happened in Srebrenica was not a single large massacre of Mus-lims by Serbs, but rather a series of very bloody attacks and counterat-tacks over a three-year period, which reached a crescendo in 1995. Andthe number of Muslim executed in the last battle of Srebrenica, as for-mer BBC reporter Jonathan Rooper has pointed out, was most likely inthe hundreds, not in the thousands. Moreover, it is likely that the num-ber of Muslim dead was probably no more than the number of Serbsthat had been killed in Srebrenica and its environs during the preced-ing years by Bosnian Commander Naser Oric and his predatory gangs.

    The events at Srebrenica in July 1995 did not occur in a political vac-uum. In fact, they might never have occurred at all if Yugoslavia had notbeen forcibly dismembered against the will of 45 percent of its people,the Serbs. (Serbs were about 31 percent of pre-war Bosnia.) The breakupof Yugoslavia, in fact, was contrary to the last Yugoslav Constitution(1974), which invested the right of self-determination in Yugoslaviassix constituent nations (Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Mus-lims, Serbs, and Slovenes), and required that all of these nations had toagree to the dissolution of the federal state for it to be legal. And ofcourse, the Serbs never agreed. In my book, Dubious Mandate, I reportthe following question, which was posed to me by a Bosnian Serb: Why,after 50 years as a Yugoslav, should I suddenly be told Im a minority ina Muslim State, when I was never even given a choice?

    People can get very angry when you take away their country.Today, one can only imagine what might have happened in the

    Balkans if diplomacy had been given a better chance, if NATO had nothad the ambition it had to push eastward, up to the borders of the for-mer Soviet Union, to annex what was then being called the new Eu-rope. It is possiblenot certain, but possiblethat in due time theremight have been a peaceful breakup of the former Yugoslavia, probably


  • Foreword

    along different international borders. But the decisions