Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Why 'never again' recurred

Ten years later, many survivors are eager to remind the world that Srebrenica was not an isolated horror.

About these ads

The genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica started, but did not end, on July 11, 1995. It took eight days.

On July 13, for example, Serbian forces deported 20,000 thirsty and dazed women and children. On July 16, Drazen Erdemovic of the 10th Sabotage Unit was ordered at 10 a.m. to shoot unarmed Muslim men brought by truck to a farm in Branjevo. His squad shot a dozen at a time until 3 p.m., leaving 1,100 dead. So far, Mr. Erdemovic is the only foot soldier to plead guilty for his action at the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal here.

Now 10 years later, many witnesses and survivors are eager to remind the world that Srebrenica was not, as it is sometimes presented, an isolated horror conducted by a clutch of crazy hillbillies - nor simply the worst slaughter in Europe in 50 years.

Rather, they see it as an extension of a racial superiority campaign, and sparked by sophisticated Serb hate propaganda in Belgrade that acted like a blowtorch on a bale of hay in the Balkans.

The killing fields of Bosnia, they say, represent an "again" - on a continent that swore "never again." Video evidence at the war crimes tribunal here shows Milan Jolovic, a Serb "Wolf" brigade commander, after the Dutch UN peacekeepers have left on July 14, saying into his radio set, "Get on with it. There is nothing anyone can do to us now."

In Srebrenica, according to the tribunal indictment, Gen. Ratko Mladic finished a job begun in 1992 - to rid the Drina river valley of non-Serbs, and to do so unchecked by any great power.

"Srebrenica was a fusion of all the elements of the war in a concentrated time and space," says Emir Suljagic, who lived in the "safe haven" for three years and is one of few young Muslim males to survive. "You had deportation, selection, random killings, executions, organized burial, peacekeepers thwarted - in a small area, in a week."


Page 1 of 5

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.