MONITOR EXCLUSIVE . Until now, the world knew little of what happened when Bosnian Serb forces took over the UN-protected Muslim town of Srebrenica in July. But Monitor interviews with nine survivors tell of systematic executions and massive war crimes.
BOSNIAN Serb soldiers systematically executed as many as 2,000 Muslim prisoners after taking the UN ''safe area'' of Srebrenica in July, according to credible eyewitness accounts newly obtained by The Christian Science Monitor.
Nine Muslim men who say they are survivors of mass executions gave separate, corroborating accounts of what could be one of the greatest single war crimes of Bosnia's brutal 3-1/2 year conflict. Executing prisoners is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention.
In interviews that were conducted without the supervision of the Bosnian government, the nine men gave compelling accounts of mass executions in five locations.
A pattern of hundreds of Muslim soldiers and male civilians being taken to the Serb-held villages of Nova Kasaba, Kravica, and Bratunac - near Srebrenica - on July 13 emerged from the accounts. Last month, the Monitor uncovered evidence that a mass grave containing hundreds of bodies exists in Nova Kasaba.
The largest execution appears to have occurred near Karakaj. Up to 2,000 prisoners were taken from the three villages to a remote location near the Serb-held town, 25 miles northwest of Srebrenica, and executed on July 14, according to the survivors.
Srebrenica, a refugee-packed mining town nestled in the thick forests and rolling hills of eastern Bosnia, fell to the Bosnian Serbs on July 11.
The conquest of the town and subsequent Bosnian Serb ''ethnic cleansing'' of its 40,000 Muslim residents sparked events that led to a more muscular Clinton administration policy in Bosnia, which soon may bring peace.
Bosnian Serb officials have repeatedly denied that any atrocities were committed by their forces following the fall of Srebrenica, but mounting evidence of widespread executions is again turning Srebrenica into a test of President Clinton's resolve.
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