In a series of pre-trial briefs and a hearing last week former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic gave the public a sneak peak of his defense against charges of genocide in Srebrenica. by Andy Wilcoxson
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Former Bosnian-Serb president Radovan Karadzic gave a sneak-peak of his Srebrenica defense during a hearing and a series of pre-trial briefs filed at the Hague Tribunal last month.
Speaking at a pre-trial hearing on July 23rd Karadzic said, "This is the last ever opportunity for us to clarify what happened in Bosnia, and particularly in Srebrenica. ... I assure you that we are talking about the differences that can be numbered in the thousands of victims [this] is matter of establishing the facts, and if we do that, I don't even care what the Trial Chamber's decision will be about me. I just want to find the truth." He said, "Everything in relation to Srebrenica that has been presented so far is erroneous ... everything is contentious and everything needs to be established fact by fact."
Karadzic did not dispute the fact that there were some executions. He said, "people's hands were tied, and based on that we can assume that those people were executed, but this is a generalization which cannot be used to establish the guilt of an entire people, not only one person." He said, "We have to establish the truth. When somebody died, whether they died in 1992, 1993, or 1995; whether they were killed in combat or whether they were killed as a result of executions."
It would be a mistake to treat Karadzic's reference to executions as an admission that Bosnian-Serb forces executed innocent Bosnian-Muslims from Srebrenica. The Srebrenica Muslims were anything but innocent. In 1992 Bosnian Muslims from Srebrenica attacked, massacred, and sadistically tortured Bosnian-Serbs in the surrounding villages. Video evidence of their handiwork can be seen here and here.
During the trial of Slobodan Milosevic the former UN Protection Force commander in Bosnia, General Philippe Morillon, described Srebrenica as a "hellish circle of revenge." He said the Bosnian-Muslims "engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region."
The presiding trial judge asked Morillon point-blank: "Are you saying, then, General, that what happened in 1995 was a direct reaction to what Naser Oric [the Bosnian-Muslim military commander in Srebrenica] did to the Serbs two years before?" Morillon responded, "Yes. Yes, Your Honour. I am convinced of that."
During the pre-trial hearing Karadzic set out a series of arguments that, if he can prove even some of them, will seriously undermine the credibility of those alleging genocide in Srebrenica. He said, "graves are being dug out [and] bodies are being moved to Srebrenica in order to prove a point ... There are living people whose names are on the tombstones. In the first elections, there were people who voted who had been listed as missing and killed. ... There were people who fell victims in combat throughout the entire period, and people who died in 1992 on 1993 [who] were later on portrayed as victims of massacre in Srebrenica ... there are many people living abroad who were listed as missing."
Indeed, there is no dispute between the prosecution and the defense that many of the bodies found in the mass graves around Srebrenica had been dug-up from other locations and reburied. The prosecution's explanation is that this was done to conceal evidence of killings. Karadzic's explanation appears to be that those bodies were re-buried to inflate the body count and give credence to the allegation of genocide.
Karadzic raised the possibility that victims are being double and even triple counted by investigators. For example, if the same person's DNA is found in three separate gravesites they may be counted as three separate victims. He said, "There is a multifold exaggeration here. We wish to establish exactly who perished and whose DNA was provided in order to be able to say that, yes, this number of victims is beyond contention ... I have mentioned primary, secondary, and tertiary graves. One DNA could have been portrayed three times representing three persons and we need to verify everything."
To ascertain whether double-counting has taken place, Karadzic is demanding that his expert team be given access to all of the post-mortem and DNA evidence. His intention is to compare 300 random samples from all of the DNA collected to see if there are any duplicates. If there are, his expert team will analyze all of the samples until they ascertain how many unique samples have been found.
Unfortunately, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which handles the exhumations and the DNA analysis, is not sharing the evidence with Karadzic's defense team. As it turns out, nobody from the Tribunal has ever seen the DNA evidence. Prosecutor Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff told the court, "The ICMP did also not provide the DNA to us. They have it. So it's not that they give it to us and not to others."
It's a little bit shocking that the Tribunal relies on the ICMP's findings to substantiate allegations as grave as genocide when they haven't even seen the evidence -- let alone tested its quality or reliability. When dealing with allegations as serious as genocide you'd think they'd be more careful.
In a pre-trial brief filed on June 29th, Karadzic challenged the Tribunal's questionable use of the term "genocide" in relation to Srebrenica.
In the Krstic case Tribunal ruled that "the existence of a plan or policy is not a legal ingredient of the crime of genocide." Krstic was convicted of genocide in Srebrenica in spite of the fact that the judges found, "no statements by members of the VRS Main Staff indicating that the killing of the Bosnian Muslim men was motivated by genocidal intent to destroy the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica."
The Tribunal uses such a broad definition of genocide that the killing of military personnel during a war qualifies. In the Krstic judgment the tribunal found that "a percentage of the bodies in the gravesites examined may have been of men killed in combat."
According to the ICTY appeals chamber, "the Trial Chamber treated the killing of the men of military age as evidence from which to infer that Radislav Krstic and some members of the VRS Main Staff had the requisite intent to destroy all the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica." Their ruling said, "the perpetrator's genocidal intent will almost invariably encompass civilians, but that is not a legal requirement of the offence of genocide."
Srebrenica genocide deniers, such as myself, reject the tribunal's definition of genocide and the inference it's based upon. The definition of "genocide" used in relation to Srebrenica could be applied to almost any military conflict.
In his pre-trial brief, Karadzic held that "genocide is a specific intent crime" and as such the prosecutor must prove the existence of a genocidal plan. He pointed to the work of prominent international lawyer Raphael Lemkin who was instrumental in drafting the Genocide Convention.
Lemkin invented the word genocide in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, where he wrote: "By 'genocide' we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannicide, homicide, infanticide, etc.(1) Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves."
Ever since the word genocide was invented the existence of a plan has been an essential requirement. Karadzic went on to cite judgments from the Israeli courts, the Nuremburg tribunal, and the statute of the ICC all of which hold that a plan is an essential ingredient in the crime of genocide. He concluded his argument by stating that "The ICTY should join its sister Tribunals in concluding that the existence of a plan is a required element of genocide."
In a separate motion filed by the defense on July 22nd, Karadzic asked the court to subpoena NATO command for documents related to airlifts by US C-130 aircraft to the Bosnian-Muslim airbase in Tuzla. In the filing Karadzic stated that "guns and other military equipment was delivered from Tuzla by helicopter to Zepa, largely to be forwarded in transit from there to Srebrenica. Both were UN safe zones from which the Bosnian Muslim Army launched attacks against the Bosnian Serbs."
Karadzic wrote in the filing that "the material related to the sighting of aircraft carrying supplies of arms into Tuzla for onward shipment to the safe area of Srebrenica, is relevant to rebut the allegation in the indictment that Dr. Karadzic was part of a joint criminal enterprise to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica. The documents obtained will support Dr. Karadzic's defence that there was a legitimate military objective to commence operations in March 1995 directed at the enclaves, since they had become a safe haven to which weapons were being smuggled and from which attacks on Serb civilians were being launched.
"In addition, documents showing the actual presence of an aircraft carrying weapons in violation of the United Nations Arms Embargo on the side of the Bosnian Muslims from NATO member states are relevant to the credibility and bias of international witnesses from those states to be called by the prosecution for the purpose of establishing violations of United Nations safe zones and other agreements on the part of Dr. Karadzic and the Bosnian Serbs."
If the pre-trial hearings are this interesting one can only imagine what Karadzic has in store for the Tribunal when his trial starts and he gets to cross-examine witnesses and call evidence.
Andy Wilcoxson administers a website where he covered Milosevic's trial in The Hague. He recently finished writing a book about the break up of Yugoslavia based on the information that came to light during the course of Milosevic's trial. He was a founding member of Milosevic’s defense committee in The Hague. He can be reached via e-mail.
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Deny deny and more deny, you may outlive your sentence but you will burn in hell dr.kadazic. I lived through srebrenica as a kid and let me tell you that in 1995 when the occupation was complete they took grown men and boys and executed them animal style. There is a God and he see's everything, what u can do for the 100,000+ dead bosnian muslims is at least appoligize then root in prison but instead u will go down as a coward that you are
Posted By: Andy Wilcoxson
Date: 2009-08-07 00:23:27
You know Jaz, your people are victims of their own billigerence. If your people hadn't abused Srebrenica's status as a UN safe area to launch attacks from, and if they hadn't massacred the Serbian villages around Srebrenica in 1992 and 1993 then the Serbs wouldn't have slaughtered your troops in 1995. If they didn't want to be "hunted down like animals" then they shouldn't have behaved like animals. How long did you think the Serbs would tolerate having their people massacred by your cowardly attacks from the so-called "safe area" of Srebrenica until they eliminated the threat?
100,000 people died in Bosnia because your people, the Bosnian-Muslim followers of Alija Izetbegovic, decided to start a war there. You have nobody but yourselves to blame for what happened. The last thing Radovan Karadzic, or any Serbian leader, owes you is an apology.
The only Muslims who were victims in Bosnia were the followers of Fikret Abdic in Western Bosnia, and they were victimized by Izetbegovic's Islamist regime in Sarajevo. As you'll recall they were in a military alliance with Karadzic and the Serbs because they rejected the Izetbegovic's Islamic fundamentalism.
Posted By: John Bosnitch
Date: 2009-08-09 01:40:32
It is high time that you start to study the facts about your own issue. According to statistics recently released from the Muslims in Sarajevo, the death toll for the whole civil war barely reached 100,000... including Serbs and Croats and a few others.
You should therefore be rejoicing in the knowledge that the 300,000 dead that you were falsely being told about by your own Muslim propagandists during the war was a massive lie and that more than 200,000 of your fellow Muslims are alive and well, including of course most of the claimed dead at Srebrenica (your neighbors).
Indeed, not only did the Muslim fundamentalists in Sarajevo choose war when peace was readily available and a deal already signed, they also sent their best troops to kill their fellow Muslims in the northwestern Bihac region as a top priority when those moderate Muslims would not join in the war against their Serb and Croat neighbors. I traveled there during the war and interviewed and videotaped those Muslim victims of your fundamentalist leaders in person.
Furthermore, there are continuing reports, never convincingly refuted, that the fundamentalist leaders in Sarajevo actually decided to sacrifice you and your family in Srebrenica to use your bodies as the physical and ideological foundation of an Islamist state. These accusations are not being made by Serbs or Croats, but by high-ranking Muslims who witnessed the decision to pull out the troops defending Srebrenica in the middle of a battle that they had in fact initiated. Presumably, Alija Izetbegovic (your fundamentalist ex President) had expected the Serbs to slaughter all your women and children in the same way as his own Muslim troops from your town had previously slaughtered Serb women and children all around Srebrenica. The fact that the Serbs did *not* kill any women or children when they took the town has made the whole Srebrenica genocide lie much harder to sell.
As for those Muslim men who died in arms while moving on the field of battle across Serbian territory... One can regret their unnecessary deaths as with any soldier killed in a war, but no one can call it genocide.
In all, the entire genocide story about Srebrenica was a planned effort to minimize the historical importance of the *real* genocides conducted by the Ustasha Croats and their Muslim allies against as many as 700,000 Serb men, *women and children* in WWII, as well as even being an effort to reduce the German Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust itself into some kind of parity with the relatively tiny armed battle and consequences around Srebrenica.
The truth is finally coming out now and all those who wailed their crocodile tears so long for Karadzic's arrest will rue the day that they found him!
The Bosnian Muslims will try to string out the Srebrenica misinformation and disinformation for as long as they can to promote their western image as "victims." It's an old Muslim tactic to be the aggressors but promote themselves as "oppressed" that has proven effective and is used wherever and whenever they have set their sights on stealing land belonging to another people, Kosovo being yet another major example. But I have faith that with intellects and analysts such as Andy Wilcoxson, who came into this fray as an impartial observer of news reports that simply didn't ring true from the very beginning and proceeded to do his own thorough research, we will yet bring something akin to balance to this 20+ year old con job on the truth of what really went on in the former Yugoslavia and who those are that were really responsible, both in the Balkans and in the West.
Bravo to both Andy and John for their rational rebuttals to Jas and so many other Muslim Bosnians who troll from website to vlog leaving comments that are compartmental in their information and, often downright vulgar and vile with no valid argument.
Hopefully with rational wisdom from people like the the two of you, some sort of truth will come out. Non-serbs speaking out about the travesty and misinformation the media put forth about the situation for political reasons is more valuable and less dismissible than it would coming from the Serbs themselves.
Balkan experts George Kenney and David Binder put the number of deaths in Bosnia between 40,000 to 70,000. BBC reported in 2002 that "Some 40,000 civilians were murdered as Serbs, Muslims and Croats fought for control of Bosnia from 1992 to 1995," thereby confirming the lower statistic. If you remember, for years the media, without any documentation, without any challenge, reported that over 250,000 (all Muslims, of course!) were killed. Now the number of deaths at 100,000 appears to be the accepted statistic although it is still an inflated number.
Even the number of Srebrenica casualty victims of 7000 was vastly inflated by the Bosnian government according to Gregory Copley of The International Strategic Studies Association and that the numbers were challenged by experts as politicized and ethnically divisive and unsupported by evidence. (2003)
Defense and Foreign Affairs Daily Tim Butcher of the Daily Telegraph, London (24 July 1995,) wrote regarding Srebrenica, "After five days of interviews the United Nations chief investigator into alleged human rights abuses during the fall of Srebrenica has not found any firsthand witnesses of atrocities."
And who can forget the image of the charming Madeline Albright wildly waving a CIA photo over her head of the soccer field where thousands of Muslim victims were alleged to have been buried? "PROOF POSITIVE," she said. However, journalists from all over the world went to Bosnia to look for bodies. Crews from CNN, CBS, BBC, France II, TG1 (Italy), Dutch Television and from elsewhere arrived in August 1996. They found very little. Some crews did not bother at all to find the soccer field from the satellite photo, because the journalists had already come to believe that there was no mass grave there anyway. However, the journalists didn't bother to report what they didn't find so the stigma of the Srebrenica massacre against the Serbs remains.
A representative in the Bosnian and Federal Parliaments, Ibran Mustafic, gave an explosive interview on Aug. 15, 1996, to Slobodna Bosnia ("Free Bosnia," a Sarajevo newspaper). Mustafic was quoted as saying that the betrayal of Srebrenica "was consciously prepared and that the Bosnian president and the army command were involved in this business," and that was to sacrifice Srebrenica in order to gain the sympathy of the West. Of his internment in a Serbian jail, he writes, "I should have died. They [the Bosnian Muslim authorities] don't appreciate living people. They appreciate the dead because they cannot talk."
Iran was sending in insurgent mujahedin from the entire Muslim world to fight the Christian Serbs. Professor John Schindler's book "Unholy Terror, Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad," should be read by everyone wanting to know the truth about al Qaida in Bosnia.
I leave you with the following quotes:
"The gigantic campaign to brainwash America by our media against the Serbian people is just incredible, with its daily dose of one-sided information and outright lies." - John Ranz, Chairman of Survivors of Buchenwald Concentration Camp, USA.
"The organized anti-Serb and pro-Muslim propaganda should cause anyone believing in democracy and free speech serious concerns. It recalls Hitler's propaganda against the allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when convenient, disregarded." - Yohanan Ramati, Director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense.
Posted By: Eric Siverson
Date: 2009-09-13 18:41:50
It would be fun if the truth could come out , but I dont have much faith in it happending in America . Serbia has a better chance in the ICJ court , in getting a ruling against NATO , I doubt that will even be of intrest to the world mainstream media . I followed evrey word in the transcripts of Milosevics trail . Even when the prosecution dropped the charges . Shocked Milosevic and the judges , but they decided agaist releasing him anyway . If Karadzic comes out of this alive , He will be the only Serb president to live through his trail So far three out of 4 died mysteriously . Karadzic would be 4 out of 4 . The US news will just say another war criminal cheated justice .
Posted By: Branko Zivanovic
Date: 2009-10-24 18:45:03
SERB CRIMES AROUND SREBRENICA IN 1992: Three years before the Srebrenica massacre, Serbs committed horrendous crimes against the Bosniak civilians around Srebrenica. The mass killings of Bosnian Muslim civilians particularly defenceless children - around Srebrenica in 1992 was a prelude to the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. According to the Naser Oric trial judgement,
"Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties."
Posted By: Branko Zivanovic
Date: 2009-10-24 18:47:14
Correction: here is the link of Serb crimes against Bosnian Muslim children around Srebrenica in 1992, which is 3 years before the genocide. Warning: photos of dead Muslim children, killed by Serbs around Srebrenica in 1992.