Serbs admit to 1995 massacre

Bosnian Serbs have admitted for the first time that their forces killed several thousand Muslims in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

    An earlier report had tried to minimise the massacre toll

    A report by a Bosnian Serb government commission said that it has "established that during the 10-19 July 1995 period several thousand Bosniaks (Muslims) were liquidated in a way which represents grave violations of international humanitarian law".

      

    "The perpetrators undertook measures to cover up the crime by moving the bodies", from the place where the victims were killed to other locations, said the report.

     

    In denial

      

    Bosnian Serbs had previously refused to acknowledge the extent of the Srebrenica massacre, considered the worst atrocity committed in Europe since World War II.

     

    Some 7000 Muslim men and boys were killed when heavily armed Serb troops overran a small force of United Nations peacekeepers protecting the enclave.

      

    "The perpetrators undertook measures to cover up the crime by moving the bodies"

    Bosnian Serb Government commission

    The commission "established participation (in the massacre) of military and police units, including special units of the Bosnian Serb interior ministry", said the report, which was submitted earlier on Friday to the government of Republika Srpska.

      

    In 2002, the Bosnian Serb government issued a report minimising the number of victims, triggering outrage among survivors and the international community.

      

    The commission was set up in January under heavy international pressure. 

      

     

    'Triumph of evil'

     

    Described by the UN war crimes tribunal as "the triumph of evil", the July 1995 massacre ironically took place in Serebrencia which was described as a "safe area" by the UN three months earlier.

     

    Dozens of mass graves containing
     massacre victims were unearthed

    Seeking a safe haven, around 30,000 Muslims fled the advancing Serb army and crowded into the town which was protected by Dutch peacekeepers.

     

    Following the onslaught, no Muslim was left in the town as many fled while those who stayed were rounded up and murdered.

     

    While some were taken to execution sites where they were shot with automatic rifles, others were buried alive, according to  Jean-Rene Ruez, a French policemen who collected evidence from Bosnian Muslims and testified at the Hague tribunal in 1996.

     

    Post-war Bosnia consists of two semi-independent entities - the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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