Srebrenica - 10th anniversary

Not open for further replies.
Has it really been 10 years?

A soundbite from the UN:

On 10th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre, UN recommits to rehabilitation

5 July 2005 – As the United Nations prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica during the Balkan wars, a senior official has reaffirmed the UN's commitment to help heal the wounds in the town that was the site of a massacre of Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces after they took over the town designated by the Security Council as a "safe area."

Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Public Information and Communications, said he hoped that the tragedy of Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II, had taught the global community an important lesson on the need to respond resolutely to systematic attempts to terrorize, expel or murder an entire people.

"As the Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed in his 1999 report on the Fall of Srebrenica, the international community as a whole must accept its share of responsibility for its response to the ethnic cleansing campaign that culminated in the murder of some 7,000 unarmed civilians in Srebrenica," Mr. Tharoor told the UN News Service after meeting at UN Headquarters in New York with two survivors of the massacre.

"Ten years after those tragic events, they continue to haunt us and serve as a reminder that such atrocities must be met with all necessary means and that there must be the political will to carry the policy through," said Mr. Tharoor, after discussing UN rehabilitation efforts in Srebrenica with Munira Beba Hadzic, Director of Bosfam, a Bosnian non-governmental organization (NGO) involved in an income-generating project for female war victims in the Srebrenica region, and her colleague Magbula Divovic, both survivors of the Srebrenica tragedy.

"You will see; we will succeed," were Ms. Hadzic's parting words to Mr. Tharoor after the meeting.

Today, various international development projects are underway in the Srebrenica region, including a UN Development Programme (UNDP) regional project which aims to improve local governance and the general socio-economic environment. These projects are being undertaken in close cooperation with the local authorities with an understanding that it is upon the people of the region now to make these international assistance and resources productive and functional.

Founded during the war in 1994, Bosfam promotes reconciliation and strives to improve the quality of life for the local population by setting up income-generating projects. It began with knitting and weaving programmes to provide occupational therapy for women victims of the war.
The story is here.

I understand that Mark Malloch Brown is also on his way to Srebrenica next week as well.

Perhaps I'm being cynical, but it sometimes seems that the UK are the only nation actually 'doing something' about crimes against humanity in the Balkans, irrespective of all these UN focus groups and do-gooding hand-wringing liberals moaning and weeping for the victims.
i couldn't help feeling that if the British troops were in charge not the Dutch, the end result might have been different.
As a matter of interest, I can't remember, WAS ANY action ever taken against the Dutch Contigent who were at Srebrenica?
I think there was a enquiry /court martial dont remeber the result .At least one has tried/has commited sucide . They got shafted by the un stuck
in a horrible situation .Brit forces might have gone down fighting but dont think they could have changed the situation.
I was out there working with the Dutch Marines at the time. I remember watching on Sky as the Dutch Para CO (11 Bn?) drank champagne with the Serbs. The marines were appalled and it really caused a schism between them and the Army.

3 yrs later I served with the same para bn in Cyprus (they were attached to us). They had real psychological issues and were still undergoing heavy duty councelling- I think the Blue Berets brought it all back to them. They were put in an invidious position but they should have ballsed it out - it is unlikely that the Serbs would have wiped them out, but if they had...death before dishonour!

The Serb Corps Commander has been sentenced for 45 years and the deputy Brigade commander from Zvornik has also gone down for it. The Muslim commander Nasser Oric is also indited for War Crimes against the Serbs. He was the one who took hostage a recce party of 9/12L in 1993 and prevented them leaving the pocket when the Serbs were counterattacking the area in 1993. How they managed to get out was a miracle (3 out of 5 vehicles were destroyed in the process).
it looked to me at the time the serbs rolled up and gave the dutch a way out.
kind of hard to go down guns blazing when given the easy way out:(
A good example as to why we should have Command and Control over UN types,when these situations arise
(as they will again).The UN style of military command was catastrophic then,and Janvier is a fcuking disgrace!
I was in Bosnia at the time. What happened in Shrebriniza could well have happened to Gorazda. The RRW did disappear into the woods for a couple of days when the Serbs threatened to destroy the camp. A Lt role Inf Bn with Milan as their heaviest weapon are no match for a Bde of Serb military with Armour and Arty Support. These guys were 150 Kms from the nearest friendly forces. Not an easy situation, both for the Dutch or the Brits. We were lucky in that the Serbs realised after Shrebriniza that the world was not going to allow tham to do it again. Very sad but the boys were hung out to dry as were the rest of us under UN colours at the time. Fighting a war with all your limbs tied behind your back and a HQ (New York) totally divorsed from reality.
At the time I was spending most of my life flying AWACS missions over Bosnia. I remember the period as exceptionally frustrating and regularly had to listen to ground forces requesting CAS, the CAS assets saying they could see the BSA tanks/vehicles/arty, but being unable to do anything because we couldn't get weapons release authority from the UN Secretary General himself. That request would often take hours to be actioned via troops/aircraft - AWACS/ABCCC - CAOC at Vicenzia - diplomats - UN HQ - Boutros Gali and back again.

I particularly remember one utterly sickening incident when some French UN peacekeepers ended up getting killed by the BSA despite the CAS assets (UK Jags and USMC FA-18Ds if I remember correctly) being able to see clearly what was going on. It ranks as probably the most appallingly frustrating moment of my career. Even heard one of the poor bastards get killed as he was talking to us.

Srebrenica was similar. More robust CAS ROE could possibly have overcome the fact that the BSA outgunned most of the UN ground forces. The summer of 95 I seem to remember was a very pleasant one and there were certainly plenty of nice targets out there. The results of Op DELIBERATE FORCE during Aug 95 showed the effect that aggressive CAS and AI could achieve against the Serbs.

Note to self: never let the UN dictate the ROE.

I was also in Bosnia at the time and well remember the requests for assistance from Sector Sarajevo - who had a number of Brits working there. We were 150 miles away in Central Bosnia and could only listen to events unfolding. The Bosnian Muslims blocked the roads and the first recce team sent by us into into Vares to assist the refugees was shot at and then detained by the Muslims and then - as I recall - PAKBAT! At the same time a BBC film crew lost it's kit and our media ops bloke his pistol.

And before everyone kicks off about the useless UN HQ's - do remember that Douglas Hurd's policy of appeasement (of the Sebs) dragged the British Army into a quagmire - one I do not wish to revisit.
hamster_man said: remember that Douglas Hurd's *policy of appeasement (of the Sebs) dragged the British Army into a quagmire...
*Perhaps we could insert the phrase 'hopelessly incompetent but well-meaning' into this?

And let's not forget Owen's ridiculous scheming either...
Darth_Doctrinus said:
hamster_man said: remember that Douglas Hurd's *policy of appeasement (of the Sebs) dragged the British Army into a quagmire...
*Perhaps we could insert the phrase 'hopelessly incompetent but well-meaning' into this?

And let's not forget Owen's ridiculous scheming either...

As I recall a certain Micheal Portillo came out to visit us. Well meaning? Possibly - but who was the person who gave us 24 Air Mobile when we asked for Armour? How we laughed as they floundered at Ploce. The use of hels in the mountains is problematic - heat and altitude and lift - and we wanted more warrior and larger kit to protect our pink bodies.

Bottom line was that we planned a couple of ops to break the siege of Sarajevo - but red carded by our politicians - because they though they could deal with a bunch of psycho Serbs - without the threat or use of force. It was not one of our more glorious episodes.
Wasn't it that French general who finaly hit the table with his fist and confronted the Japanese head diplomat, demanding more robust support for the troops?

I read somewhere the french came up with a plan to use tactical nukes
to break the siege of sarajevo .It was not the uns finest hour should have had roe to unleash hell on anyone who even looked at a blue beret in a funny way imho .
This was one of the few times that I respected elements of the French Command as they were definately up for it. There are a couple of good books around on this period - and our policticians do not come out of it well.
One of the problems the UN faced at the time was the fact that the Safe Areas were never defined. More importantly the Safe Areas were supposed to be demilitarized. The muslims in Srebrencia, Zepa and Gorazde failed to handover their weapons, despite orders from their Generals (I can understand that).

However, the Serbs played a very careful game of wait and see. Because the Safe Areas were still full of Armed soldiers, the Serbs knew that it would not take long for the Muslims to initate an attack. This is exactly what happened. In Srebrencia 1993, Gorazde 1994 and then in 1995, the Serb attacks were in effect counter attacks. The UN (and NATO) having failed to enforce the Safe Area agreements (and therefore act against the Muslims) could do little when the Serbs reacted to these offensives.

In Gorazde 1994 (read Mike Rose's book "Fighting for Peace"), the UN could do nothing until the Serb tanks were literally on the outskirts of the town and there was therefore no question of the boundry of the safe area.

The point is that in any situation, you have to work to the highest standards - enforce the rules and ensure that you treat each side equally with force. We failed to stop the Muslims and when it was time to stop the Serbs it was too late. Had we prevented the Muslims breaking the agreements - Srebrencia would never have become an issue.

Even more importantly, Rose had all the sides in Geneva in the summer of 1994 about to sign an agreement to end the War (all sides were ready to sign - splitting Bosnia 49%:51%) - the American intervened and the Muslims changed their mind and refused to sign. 12 months later Srebrencia happend and up to 7000 were killed. Dayton then happened and a peace was signed - splitting Bosnia 49%:51%.
What a waste of time and lives!
Not open for further replies.

Latest Threads