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Srebrenica ID, by Milivoje Ivanišević

Feb 4th, 2009 | By | In Bosnia, Commentary, Controversy, Earlier, Featured Articles

Srebrenica Serbs mourn their loved ones killed by Bosnian Muslims
Srebrenica Serbs: Old Serb woman mourns her loved ones killed by Bosnian Muslims. Srebrenica, Republic Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Srebrenica ID Card, full 34-page report in PDF format, translated by Milo Yelesiyevich (published in Serbian in May 2007, in Glas Javnosti)

Introduction

By Marija M. Zarić

In a recent judgment handed down by the International Court of Justice, the Army of the Republic Srpska was named as a possible perpetrator of genocide against Muslims in Srebrenica. Despite the fact that charges against Serbia for complicity in genocide, albeit a local one that did or did not take place in Srebrenica, have been dropped, prejudiced political proponents ascribe all manner of guilt to Serbia and have thus concluded that the Serbian parliament must issue an official public declaration that is tantamount to an apology for Serbia, which, during the years of Slobodan Milosević’s rule did not prevent the crime that took place in Srebrenica, and did not either then or afterwards make an effort to satisfy all the demands of International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague by arresting and remanding every individual indicted by The Hague Tribunal who is sought in Serbia.

Milivoje Ivanišević, a publicist and war-crimes investigator in former Bosnia-Herzegovina, in his essay “Searching for the Truth,” proves that there are at least two sides (he refers to them two “Identification Cards” or “IDs”) for Srebrenica, which are tied to the events that took place in July 1995. The first Srebrenica ID, to which Bosnian Muslim leaders in Srebrenica subscribe, is that a genocide took place for which the International Court of Justice did not set an example by punishing the guilty party. According to the other ID card, subscribed to by Milorad Dodik and the government of the Republika Srpska, a war crime took place, but not genocide. These two IDs for the same city prove that the Srebrenica controversy cannot and will not be easily resolved.

Mr. Ivanišević’s investigative essay pleads in favor of the wartime Srebrenica ID that refutes the genocide charges. The editors, who do not wish to enter into disputes or commentaries on Srebrenica’s ID cards, wish to extend readers the opportunity to read Mr. Ivanišević’s engaging essay closely as a contribution to possible debate about such a Declaration from the Serbian Parliament.

Mr. Ivanišević privately believes that the Serbian Parliament cannot and will not issue a Declaration that would characterize the Republika Srpska as a possible initiator of genocide. He supports his convictions with compelling evidence.

The Srebrenica ID Card, by Milivoje Ivanišević

Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich

From the time the Serbs returned to Srebrenica on July 11, 1995 by force of arms, just as they had been expelled by force of arms, stories began to circulate about large number of Muslims who had been killed there, above all innocent Muslim civilians, including woman, children, and the elderly. Over the course of time, these numbers continually increased until they finally reached such dimensions today that not only The Hague Tribunal, but Muslim religious and civil authorities as well speak of genocide, which is logical and expected, but officials from other countries often do so, too.

In this case, a great many Sarajevo- and Belgrade-based non-government organizations (NGOs) keep public interest continually focused on this theme. The dead Muslim fighters of Srebrenica have now finally become completely innocent, and are present in various schemes developed by those who never knew them and who, today, still devoid of any sensible foundation, have adopted them and “defend” them. The imposed cult of Srebrenica is still keeping watch over our conscience, and has become a metaphor for the unimaginable, and in addition to of all this, it has even become a metaphor of the genocidal crime Serbs carried out against the innocent local residents of an inaccessible Bosnian town situated at the bottom of a ravine.

According to one of the documents captured from the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“B&H”), which we will in all likelihood refer to again, states verbatim: “At the end of January and at the beginning of February 1993, the Operations Group (OG) created a large, interconnected, free territory in Zone 8 of responsibility with Srebrenica at its center, which comprises 95% of the area of Srebrenica County, 90% of the area of Bratunac County, 60% of the area of Vlasenica County, and 50% percent of the area of Zvornik County. Likewise, direct physical contact was established with Žepa region in Srebrenica County.”

According to this same document, the Muslims at that time took control of over 850 square kilometers of the aforementioned counties. This uncontested, successful military undertaking resulted in the almost complete destruction of indigenous Serbian settlements and the death of their Serbian inhabitants. Of the 93 Serbian settlements in the counties of Srebrenica and Bratunac, 82 of them were destroyed (except for the villages of Crvica, Liješća, Petrica and Skelani in Srebrenica county, while in county of Bratunac, besides the eponymous town itself, the villages Dubravica, Jelah, Krasanovići, Pobrđe, Polom, Rekovac, Repovac and Slapašnica were spared).

About twenty Serbian villages and hamlets that were destroyed in the counties of Vlasenica and Zvornik must be added to that number. After this Muslim attack, only 860 of the 9,390 Serbs who lived in their own homes in the Srebrenica area remained, or 9%; while in Bratunac, only 5,391 of 11,500 Serbian inhabitants, or 47%, remained, and that thanks mostly to Serbs who resided in the county seat (3,201 people).

The illegal yet timely organization of armed paramilitary formations that were supplied with weapons from military reserve units and Territorial Defense [TO] storage depots largely contributed to the Muslims’ success. In addition to that, a large number of men, approximately 10,000 soldiers from B&H, were sent to the Educational Center of the Republic Croatia for training. Almost a thousand young men from the Srebrenica-Bratunac region traveled illegally to Croatia.

A letter to the executive board of the SDA [Strana Demokratske Akcije, i.e., the political party founded by Alija Izetbegović], gave instructions to send candidates to such training. The letter stated that everyone had to receive “a party orientation, etc.” This meant that a political party was creating a military formation. On February 4, 1992, Muslims hauled out a storage battery from the weapons depot of a Territorial Defense factory, and dragged a three-barreled 22mm anti-aircraft gun into one of their villages. The Muslims purchased one part of their infantry armament with money from Yugoslav government loans, which had been lavished on B&H in order to increase the number of available jobs for state companies. Indeed, this was done secretly and only in firms whose directors were Muslims.

From the date of the withdrawal of the JNA (the “Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija” or “Yugoslav People’s Army”) from B&H on May 19, 1992 to the formation of the Drina Corps in the Republika Srpska on November 1 of the same year, the defense of Serbian villages was left to the villagers themselves, who were not able to effectively defend themselves against incomparably larger Muslim forces. At that time, the Muslims established numerical superiority in comparison to Serbian armed formations, which remained constant throughout the war. Just as Muslims took possession of weapons from police storage depots and Territorial Defense storage facilities, the Serbs also took, sometimes by force, a significant part of the weaponry, vehicles, munitions, sanitary supplies, engineering equipment, and other technical resources and radio-stations from JNA units that were withdrawing throughout the former Yugoslavia.

Muslim campaigns against Serbian villages became something of a “national movement.” After soldiers captured a village, the soldiers’ cousins, neighbors, and friends arrived as a second and third echelon of women, children, and old men, so-called civilians, equipped with all manner of tools and instruments, who rushed into Serbian homes and stripped them of everything that could be carted away.

According to statistics kept by the livestock fund for individual villages, and the testimony of refugees, Muslims stole approximately 7,200 head of cattle, 16,200 sheep, and 38,000 fowl. Even though it is not known how much wheat and corn had been plundered, it is certain that there was enough not only for the winter, but also enough for seeding the following spring. After all, it was plain to see in spring 1993 by simply looking at the newly planted fields. Hunger could only threaten the plundered Serbian villages and dispossessed Serbian refugees.

Serbs who had been captured during these campaigns got the worst of it. They were mostly old and sick, mentally and physically handicapped, bedridden individuals, sometimes wounded people, but their fate, almost without exception, was always the same. They were beaten up by Muslim “civilians” who used all kinds of tools that they had brought with them for burglarizing houses: axes, bars, clubs. . . . Some victims were burned alive in the houses in which they had been captured.

Despite their great suffering, the Serbs at that time in Srebrenica were already being subjected to a high-pressure propaganda campaign [i.e., from the West], which concealed their suffering as well as Muslim crimes against them.

Footnotes:

1. “Command 8. OG Srebrenica, 07.03.1994. Odbrana Republike, Vojna tajna, Strogo pov. Sektoru za Moral Drugog korpusa, Prilog za vodič hronike Armije BH, dostavlja. Veza Vaš akt str. Pov. Br. 04-1-364-2.” This document presents information intended for the production of a chronicle of the Army B&H.

2. Permanent Mission of the SFRY at the UN, June 2, 1993. “Memorandum on War Crimes and Crimes of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia (Counties of Bratunac, Skelani, and Srebrenica) Committed against the Serbian Population from April 1992 to April 1993, p. 8.

3. Of these 82 Serbian villages that were destroyed in the counties of Srebrenica and Bratunac, only those in which the greatest number of Serbs were killed will be listed. These include the villages of Međe, Oparci, Obadi i Špat, Ratkovići, Loznička Rijeka, Brežani, Zagoni, Krnjići, Sase i Zalazje, Magašići, Hranča, Podravanje, Fakovići, Boljevići, Sikirić, Bjelovac, Brana Bačići, Ježestica, Kravica, Šiljkovići, Skelani. . . .

4. Oznaka: SDA, Broj: 1258-3-91, dated July 11, 1991. Signed by Pro Tempore Executive Secretary Hasan Čengić. The address of the Training Center is cited: Štrosmajerova br. 80, Zagreb, and states that trainees “must arrive on Wednesday, July 17, 1991 by 4:00 p.m.” The document can be found in the Prosecutor’s Office of The Hague Tribunal.

5. Milovoje Ivanišević: “Hronika našeg groblja”, Komitet za prikupljanje podataka o izvršenim zločinima protiv čovečnosti i međunarodnog prava, Beograd–Bratunac, 1994. str. 106-107.

6. The Commander of Muslim forces, Naser Orić, had only attended a police academy, while the units of the Drina Corps and Brigades were commanded by General Milenko Živanović, who was born in Ratkovići in Srebrenica County, and several dozen higher-ranking officers who were also born in B&H, who were formerly JNA officers.

The Srebrenica ID Card, full 34-page report in PDF format

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