Into Bosnia's Killing Fields Series starts tomorrow on how Monitor reporter David Rohde was captured and released by Bosnian Serbs.
FROM 100 yards away, the freshly turned earth of the field appeared to be covered with haphazard dots. Five feet away, the dots became empty shoes, shattered eyeglasses, and decaying clothing.
In the woods nearby, three canes and a crutch jutted from a mildewing heap of more than 100 windbreakers, sweatshirts, and leather jackets. No evidence of battles having been fought was found.
The forlorn debris and areas of fresh digging, discovered by the Monitor on Oct. 29, are the most specific and convincing evidence yet that Bosnian Serb forces massacred thousands of Muslim civilians - including the elderly and crippled - after the fall of the UN ''safe area'' of Srebrenica.
Bosnian Serbs say no massacres occurred and the graves are filled with Muslim soldiers killed in combat. But the crutch that was found is something no combatant would lean on. The three wooden canes are supports no soldiers would need.
The Monitor has visited four of six possible mass grave sites identified by US spy planes and satellites around the fallen Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. At
each site, human remains, documents from Srebrenica, Muslim identity cards, personal photos with Muslim names on them, or civilian clothing have been found (List of grave sites, left).
Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II was apparently carried out with brutal efficiency on the nights of July 14, 15, and 16, as nine survivors interviewed by the Monitor in September say it did. Bosnian Serb military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic, whom eyewitnesses place at this and three other execution sites, apparently ordered the cold-blooded executions of as many as 5,000 Muslim prisoners.
The United States has said it will not sign any peace agreement that would allow General Mladic or ''President'' Radovan Karadzic to remain in power, and insists they must be turned over to the war crimes tribunal. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic have reportedly agreed to leave office, but only if they receive immunity from prosecution.
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