This is a guest post by Andrew Murphy
“Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson. These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history”
International Criminal Judge Fouad Riad confirming the Srebrenica indictment of Radovan Karadzic
This week in the Hague starts the war crimes trial of Radovan Karadzic, the co-founder of the Serbian Democratic Party in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was the first President of Republika Srpska from 1992 to 1996. Karadzic has been defiant since his capture last year on a Belgrade bus that he is innocent of any crimes and that he was allowed to go into anonymity by a sweet heart deal cut by former US envoy to Balkans, Richard Holbrooke.
Karadzic’s trial will once again illuminate the crimes that were committed in the name of a “Greater Serbia” And make no mistakes, while many will try to claim Karadzic is being framed or will be subject to false moral equivalencies between himself and Tony Blair, Karadzic has a lot to answer for in front of the International Courts.
Srebrencia, the small town within Bosnia would soon become etched into European memory as one of the worst massacres on European soil since the end of World War 2. As early as 1992, the Bosnian Serbs as documented before the international court, plotted and planned the removal and elimination if necessary of Bosnian Muslims within the area around Srebrenica.
Ratko Mladić, Chief of Staff of the Republika Srpska army issued Operational Directive 4 on November 1992 which stated, “First offer the able-bodied and the armed men to surrender, and if they refuse, destroy them.” Mladić was referring to the Bosnian Muslims in the surrounding area in and around Srebrenica. Because of the humanitarian crisis in refugees influx in the area of Bosnian Muslims, the United Nations(UN) Security Council passed Resolution 819 April 1993 which declared the area as a “safe zone”
After attempts to flush out armed Bosnian militia, Karadzic issued his infamous Directive 7 on March 8, 1995 which would end up giving license for murder.
“Complete the physical separation of the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves as soon as possible, preventing even communication between individuals between the two enclaves. By planned and well-thought-out combat operations, create an unbearable situation of total insecurity, with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica or Zepa.”
After giving orders to shell the town and civilian targets, the weight of the Srpska army finally was too much for Srebrenica. July 6, 1995, Srebrenica fell and with it, the fate of the civilian population within it. Karadzic walked down the empty streets with his military and no doubt, nodding in full agreement when Mladić went on television to announce that “the moment has finally come for us to take revenge on the Turks here.” Revenge on the Turks seems an odd statement to make until one considers that may have been a rallying call for some Greek volunteers who helped their “Orthodox” comrades. Greek author Takis Michas has written about this and Greek judicial system several years ago opened an investigation into the matter.
What was next is all sorted history, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000+ Muslim men and boys were methodically killed. The Red Cross estimated 7,079 dead however DNA evidence points to 8,100.
Body counts appear to mean a lot to several authors like Diana Johnston who in her book, Fool’s Crusade published in 2002 puts ‘Srebrenica massacre’ in quote marks and while she admits thousands of bodies have been dug up, she was willing to only admit 199 Muslims were killed by the Srpska army.
It is quite extordinary that many of those on the “Left” who hail Hamas, Hezbollah and even excuse the Taliban as Muslim blowback to Western imperialism have no sympathy at all for the Muslims murdered by Serbs. It’s a dialectic tension in their world view that begs an answer.
Ironically the Bosnian Muslims have always been known for their moderation. Bin Laden tried to create a jihad in Bosnia during the 1990s and most of the native Muslims found Bin Laden’s charms completely resistible. As author Evan Kohlmann Berg reported in his book, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe:The Afghan-Bosnian Network,
‘In spite of vigorous efforts to ‘Islamicise’ the nominally Muslim Bosnian populace, the locals could not be convinced to abandon pork, alcohol, or public displays of affection. Many Bosnian women persistently refused to wear the hijab or follow the other mandates for female behavior prescribed by extreme fundamentalist Islam’
Berg also documents several times where Bosnian Muslim regular army troops went out of their way to protect churches and Catholic civilians from Bid Laden’s nihilist band of jihadists.
Likewise, it should be duly noted that the lie which continues to be perpetrated that the American so called “neoconservatives” are the sock puppets of the Israeli Right should have been put to rest in Bosnia as well. As Robert Fisk reported General Ariel Sharon was a staunch supporter of Serbia and denounced NATO involvement in Bosnia as “brutal interventionism”, yet in the USA who were the strongest supporters to protect the Bosnian Muslims, those dastardly “neocons.”
Karadzic will face the justice soon that he denied others and lets hope that the International Court also once and for all, not only gives the victims of Srebrencia closure but that they also give closure to the myths that the real villains in the Bosnia war was NATO and not the ‘national socialism’ of Radovan Karadzic.