Was Srebrenica a Hoax? Eye-Witness Account of a Former United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia
by Carlos Martins Branco
Global Research, July 24, 2005
This detailed account first published in 1998 by former UN Military Observer Carlos Martino Branco casts serious doubt on the decision of The Appeals Chamber of the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) that “genocide was committed in Srebrenica in 1995.”
“…Bosnia Serb forces carried out genocide against the Bosnian Muslims (…) .Those who devise and implement genocide seek to deprive humanity of the manifold richness its nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions provide. This is a crime against all humankind, its harm being felt not only by the group targeted for destruction, but by all of humanity.”
Under these premises, Radislav Krstic was found “guilty of aiding and abetting genocide” and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.
For details on the 14 April 2004 judgment, see the ICTY Press release (!9 April 2004) at: http://www.un.org/icty/pressreal/2004/p839-e.htm
Michel Chossudovsky, 20 April 2004
I was on the ground in Bosnia during the war and, in particular, during the fall of Srebrenica.
One may agree or disagree with my political analysis, but one really ought to read the account of how Srebrenica fell, who are the victims whose bodies have been found so far, and why the author believes that the Serbs wanted to conquer Srebrenica and make the Bosnian Muslims flee, rather than having any intentions of butchering them. The comparison Srebrenica vs. Krajina, as well as the related media reaction by the “free press” in the West, is also rather instructive.
There is little doubt that at least 2,000 Bosnian Muslims died in fighting the better trained and better commanded VRS/BSA. Yet, the question remains, WHEN did most of these casualties of combat occur? According to the analysis below, it was before the final fall of Srebrenica: the Muslims offered very little resistance in the summer of 1995.
I was UNMO [United Nations Military Observer] Deputy Chief Operations Officer of the UNPF [United Nations Population Fund] (at theatre level) and my information is based upon debriefings of UN military observers who where posted to Srebrenica during those days as well as several United Nations reports which were not made public.
My sources of information are not Ruder & Finn Global Public Affairs. My name is not included in their database.
I do not wish to discuss numbers and similar matters pertaining thereto. There is reason to believe that figures have been used and manipulated for propaganda purposes. These figures and information do not provide a serious understanding of the Yugoslavian conflict.
The article is based upon TRUE information and includes my analysis of the events. The story is longer than what I have presented here in this article.
It is my hope that it will contribute to clarifying what really happened in Srebrenica.
Was Srebenica a hoax?
It is now two years since the Muslim enclave, Srebenica, fell into the hands of the Serbian army in Bosnia. Much has been written about the matter. Nonetheless the majority of reports have been limited to a broad media exposure of the event, with very little analytic rigor.
Discussion of Srebrenica cannot be limited to genocide and mass graves.
A rigorous analysis of the events must take into consideration the background circumstances, in order to understand the real motives which led to the fall of the enclave.
The zone of Srebrenica, like almost all of Eastern Bosnia, is characterized by very rugged terrain. Steep valleys with dense forests and deep ravines make it impossible for combat vehicles to pass, and offers a clear advantage to defensive forces. Given the resources available to both parties, and the characteristics of the terrain, it would seem that the Bosnian army (ABiH) had the necessary force to defend itself, if it had used full advantage of the terrain. This, however, did not occur.
Given the military advantage of the defensive forces it is very difficult to explain the absence of military resistance. The Muslim forces did not establish an effective defensive system and did not even try to take advantage of their heavy artillery, under control of the United Nations (UN) forces, at a time in which they had every reason to do so.
The lack of a military response stands in clear contrast to the offensive attitude which characterized the actions of the defensive forces in previous siege situations, which typically launched violent “raids” against the Serbian villages surrounding the enclave, thus provoking heavy casualties amongst the Serbian civilian population.
We might add a final curious note. As the UN observation posts were attacked, and proved impossible to maintain, the forces withdrew. The barricades set up by the Muslim army did not let the troops past. These troops were not treated as soldiers fleeing from the front line, but rather with a sordid differentiation.
The Muslims not only refused to fight to defend themselves, they forced others to fight on their behalf. In one instance, the commander of a Dutch vehicle decided after conversations with ABiH to pass the barrier. A Muslim soldier threw a hand grenade whose fragments mortally wounded him. The only UN soldier to die in the Srebrenica offensive, was killed by the Muslims.
Carlos Martins Branco teaches at the European University Institute, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Badia Fiesolana, Italy
Naser Oric’s (circled) proud butchers pose for a group photo after they attacked and destroyed Serbian Orthodox Church on Christmas 1993. Their handiwork can be seen here and here, among other places, for those with strong stomachs.
Srebrenica: Muslim Commander
In my battalion, out of 320 soldiers, 280 died during the war. What did we fight for? I know that they are now trying to humiliate people from Srebrenica and spread rumors that we supposedly did not fight and were slain while running away from Srebrenica. No one can deny that in the Srebrenica municipality there are 2,000 buried fighters. No one can deny that we set up a large free territory. However, without assistance from outside we could not hold out for long surrounded by the enemy. You can write that I absolutely support the statement by Hakija Meholjic that we were betrayed.
Former Bosnian Muslim commander Nesib Buric, in a statement to Sarajevo daily “Dani”, January 18, 1999
In the West, the popular mythology about 7,000-8,000 Muslim men being executed in Srebrenica in 1995 is still alive and well, but independent research shows some 2,000 Bosnian Muslim fighters were killed in battle for Srebrenica and that is the number of bodies Hague investigators were able to find, said Swiss researcher Alexander Dorin, who has been investigating Srebrenica events for the past 14 years.In his latest book titled Srebrenica The History of Salon Racism (Srebrenica die Geschichte eines salonfahigen Rassismus) published this month in Berlin, Dorin focuses on manipulations with the number of Muslims who lost their lives in Srebrenica.Regarding the events in Srebrenica in 1995, the media manipulations still reign in the West, claiming that after the town fell to Serbian hands some 7,000 to 8,000 of Muslim fighters and male civilians were killed. However, the researchers around the world have shown this bears no relation to the truth, Dorin told Srna News Agency.According to data he had gathered, Dorin discovered that at least 2,000 Muslim fighters were killed in battle for Srebrenica. He added the facts are showing that neither civilian nor military leadership of Republic of Srpska (Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina) ever ordered execution of the Muslim fighters and POWs.2,000 is approximately the number of bodies Hague investigators were able to find up to this day. To that number the Muslim side added several hundred Muslim fighters, most of whom came from abroad, who were killed in battle few years before the fall of Srebrenica, in Han Pijesak and Konjević Polje, Dorin said, adding that this is evidenced even by the Muslim documents captured by the Bosnian Serb Army.Bosnian Serb Army Fought Against Orićs Cutthroats, not Against Muslim CiviliansPrior to the fall of Srebrenica, Naser Orićs troops withdrew from this small town, leaving 25,000 civilians behind, although a certain number of civilians, some of whom were armed, was withdrawing together with Orićs fighters, Dorin said.He said that Bosnian Serb Army did not kill a single Muslim civilian of those who remained in Srebrenica or Potocari, while it did engage Orićs column, which was breaking through to Tuzla in several groups, in fierce fighting.There is no way the Serb Army could have captured seven or eight thousand Muslim fighters and male civilians and execute them somewhere, partly because that was technically impossible, Dorin said. He explained that, among else, there was never enough Serb soldiers who could carry out a crime on such scale.In his research, Dorin was using various sources, including statements by the Muslim fighters and commanders, as well as testimonies given by Dutch UNPROFOR troops who were stationed in Srebrenica at the time.He pointed to a very interesting investigation carried out by the Bulgarian reporter and author Germinal Civikov, who wrote a book about the case of Croat Drazen Erdemović, former member of the Bosnian Serb Army, whose testimony represents the key Hague evidence ofìSrebrenica massacre, who claimed that his commander Milorad Pelemis ordered him and few other soldiers to execute some 1,000-1,200 Muslim POWs.But the analysis of that case, said Dorin, proves Erdemović invented most, if not all of that story.Dorin explained that director of the Belgrade Center for Investigation of War Crimes Milivoje Ivanisević analyzed the lists of alleged Srebrenica victims. Ivaniević discovered that, a year after the fall of Srebrenica, some 3,000 Muslim men who were supposedly killed in 1995, were voting in the Bosnian Muslim elections.In addition, at least 1,000 of the alleged 1995 Srebrenica massacre victims have been dead long before or after Bosnian Serb Army took the town over.
It is perfectly clear that Muslim organizations listed as Srebrenica victims all the Muslim fighters who were killed in the fights after the fall of Srebrenica, the Swiss researcher said.According to Dorin, some Western reporters wrote back in 1995 that part of Srebrenica Muslim population, after the towns takeover, migrated to other countries. This includes an American journalist who wrote that around 800 Srebrenica Muslims went abroad from Serbia.It was not possible to conduct an in-depth investigation, since no one can search the entire world to pinpoint each and every name [from the lists of alleged Srebrenica victims]. Still, the available evidence already shows there were immense manipulations at play, Dorin said.A number of photos of Muslim fighters taken during their breakthrough to Tuzla, which Dorin obtained from the Muslim sources, show Izetbegovićs fighters in uniforms, with many of them wounded.On these photos one can see a number of wounded fighters who survived the battle against the Serb Army. Muslim side is now presenting its fighters who did not recover from their wounds as the victims of an execution, said Dorin.He pointed out that some Muslims have admitted at least 2,000 of their Srebrenica-based fighters were killed in the battle.Dorin also reminded of the statements by the Muslim politicians given to media about an offer American president Bill Clinton made to Bosnian Muslim war leader Alija Izetbegović back in April 1993, to have the Chetnik [Serb] forces enter Srebrenica and massacre 5,000 Muslims, which would result in the [US-led NATO] military intervention against Bosnian Serbs.At the same time, Dutch UNPROFOR troops testified that Serb Army treated Muslim civilians in an entirely correct manner, while Srebrenica Muslim warlord Naser Orić with his fighters was massacring Serb civilians in the most monstrous fashion for years in Srebrenica municipality, and pillaging and destroying their property all the while.For Those who Want to Know the Truth About SrebrenicaDespite all the evidence about what really took place in Srebrenica and the fact there was no massacre, Dorin doubts the Hague verdicts in regards to Srebrenica events can be contested or overturned, being that this so-called tribunal has convicted a number of people for the alleged Srebrenica massacre without any evidence whatsoever.He cited a case of the Serb Vidoje Blagojević, convicted to a long prison term even though he had no connection to Srebrenica events, while the mass murderer Naser Orić was acquitted of all responsibility for killing the Serbs.That court routinely discards everything that proves Serbs are not the monsters they have been made out to be. That tribunal has a purely political function. It has no relation to the justice and truth, Dorin told Srna.The Swiss researcher does not expect his book about Srebrenica events will be able to break down the stereotypes. He said the book was written for those who wish to learn the truth about the events Western mainstream media sold as Srebrenica massacre and even genocide, in order to justify their war against the Serbs.Dorin added that mostly left-oriented Western newspapers and organizations have shown an interest in his latest book and have offered cooperation.Alexander Dorinís book about Srebrenica events is expected to be translated both into Serbian and English language.May 23rd, 2009 | By De-Construct.net | In Bosnia, Bytes ‘n Bits Alexander Dorin: “Srebrenica – Die Geschichte eines salonfähigen Rassismus” Kai Homilius Verlag
Former President of the Serbian Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina Radovan Karadžić said that U.S. government, in collusion with other countries, was supplying arms to Bosnian Muslims, one of the warring parties in the Bosnian civil war (1992-1995), in violation of the United Nations arms embargo.
“Srebrenica Massacre” Invented by Bill Clinton and Alija Izetbegović
“After 14 years of investigating events that took place in Srebrenica in 1995 I can attest there was no genocide over Muslims in that enclave — the myth about the massacre of Muslims was invented by the late Bosnian Muslim war leader Alija Izetbegović and then-U.S. president Bill Clinton,” Swiss researcher Alexander Dorin, author of the book Srebrenica — The History of Salon Racism (Srebrenica — die Geschichte eines salonfahigen Rassismus) told Belgrade daily Press in an exclusive interview.
A few points.
First regarding credibility, this being the internet, how do we know Carlos Martins Branco is who he says he is? Well, for one thing, here’s a 2003 link to a Portuguese Defense Ministry website with the summary of an article he wrote for the official Defense Ministry magazine, “Nation and Defense”:
It’s in Portuguese, but it is easy to see that the article deals with UN peacekeeping operations.
Second, some websites have mistakenly described Mr. Branco as Italian. He’s not. He taught at the European University Institute in San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy, but he’s Portuguese.
Branco’s article, “Was Srebrenica a Hoax?” was apparently written in 1997. A year later he published it on a discussion group called T-Watch, the scene of arguments about Yugoslavia. The arguments got pretty hot, hence his ironic comment that some people might not like what he has to say.
Mr. Branco translated the article into English, which isn’t his first language, and there’s some confusing syntax and a few other errors. We’ve corrected these. (For a link to the uncorrected version, see footnote .) We’ve also added some comments and clarifications in [brackets].
Carlos Martins Branco, like most everyone else, refers to the people fighting the Bosnian Serbs as ‘Muslims.’ In fact, the Bosnian Muslims were sharply divided. One faction, led by Fikret Abdic, was allied with the Serbs. The key force opposing the Serbs was Alija Izetbegovic’s SDA, an extremist party, despite the Western media’s unfortunate practice of describing it and Izetbegovic as moderate. Anyway, Branco uses ‘Muslim,’ and because it’s awkward to keep writing ‘Muslim extremist’ or ‘Muslim fundamentalist,’ we sometimes do too, but please keep in mind that Alija Izetbegovic was not supported by all Bosnian Muslims.
Jared Israel and Petar Makara
Hintergründe, der wahren Story
UN-General Lewis MecKenzie sah das ähnlich und sagte:
„Als die bosnischen muslimischen Kämpfer besser ausgerüstet und trainiert waren, begannen sie außerhalb Srebrenicas zu operieren, sie brannten serbische Dörfer nieder, töteten deren Bewohner und zogen sich dann schnellsten wieder zurück in die Sicherheit, die ihnen der sichere Hafen der UN bot.
Diese Angriffe erreichten ein Crescendo (Höhepunkt) im Jahr 1994 und zogen sich hin bis ins Frühjahr 1995, nachdem die kanadische Infanterie, die dort drei Jahre lang stationiert gewesen war durch ein größeres holländisches Kontingent ersetzt wurde.
Die bosnischen Serben mögen zwar die schwereren Waffen gehabt haben, aber die bosnischen Muslime machten dies durch ihre Infanteriekünste wett, die man in dem felsigen Gebiet rund um Srebrenica so sehr benötigte.“ (The Globe and Mail, 14. Juli 2005)
Auch MecKenzie schien mit solchen Statements nicht die gewünschte Linie vertreten zu haben, denn gegen ihn startete man später eine Verleumdungskampagne und behauptete, er sei von der serbischen Lobby in den USA mit 15.000 $ geschmiert worden. Unabhängig davon, ob das stimmt oder erfunden wurde (ich persönlich halte letzteres für wahrscheinlicher):
Er kann mit seiner Einschätzung nicht soweit daneben gelegen haben. Denn selbst der damalige Oberbefehlshaber der ArmijaBIH, General Sefer Halilovic, räumte am 05. April 2001 im Prozess gegen Radislav Krstic in Den Haag ein, dass es „in jenen Tagen eine große Zahl von Befehlen für Sabotageoperationen von den Sicherheitszonen aus“ gab.
Damit dürfte sich auch die Ausrede erledigt haben, Oric habe an der Führung in Sarajevo vorbeiagiert, welche auf diese Überfälle keinen Einfluss hatte.
Dass die Verantwortlichen auf diese Weise eine serbische Reaktion provozieren wollten bzw. die spätere Einnahme Srebrenicas durch die Serben billigend in Kauf nahmen, bestätigte auch der SDA-Funktionär Ibran Mustafic indirekt in seiner Einschätzung, die er nach Kriegsende machte (weiter unten in Gänze zitiert):
„….Wenn ich den Befehl erhalten hätte, die serbische Armee aus der demilitarisierten Zone heraus anzugreifen, hätte ich den Befehl bedenkenlos verweigert, und ich hätte von der Person, die den Befehl erteilt hat, verlangt, dass diese ihre Familie nach Srebrenica bringen soll und dann hätte ich ihr ein Gewehr in die Hand gedrückt, damit diese Angriffe aus der demilitarisierten Zone heraus durchführen kann. Ich wusste, dass es verächtlich war, denn diese eiskalt kalkulierten Maßnahmen haben mein Volk in eine Katastrophe gestürzt. Die Befehle kamen aus Sarajevo und Kakanj.“ (Slobodna Bosna, 17.06.96)
Eine gern genommene Ausrede ist die, dass man die serbischen Dörfer überfallen musste, um an Vorräte zu gelange, mit denen die Menschen in der Enklave versorgt werden sollten. Das ist jedoch in Anbetracht der UN-Hilfslieferungen, die in Massen nach Srebrenica gekarrt wurden, absurd. (Diese dürften in Anbetracht der u.g. Volkszählung sogar eher zu hoch ausgefallen sein)
Diese Hilfslieferungen durften von serbischer Seite übrigens nicht überprüft werden. Wenn die Serben doch mal schauen wollten, ob Waffen auf diese Weise illegal in die „UN-Sicherheitszone“ geschmuggelt wurden, wurden sie gehindert und man warf ihnen vor, „humanitäre Hilfslieferungen zu behindern“.
Dass solche Befürchtungen serbischer Seits nicht an den Haaren herbeigezogen waren, beweist das Buch „Wie der Dschihad nach Europa kam“ von Jürgen Elsässer, in dem er nachweist, dass die Moslems im Bosnienkrieg logistische Unterstützung aus dem (westlichen + islamischen) Ausland erhielten; und zwar sowohl illegale Waffenlieferungen als auch tausende nach Bosnien geschleuste Mudschaheddin-Kämpfer.
Die gleichen Schlüsse zieht auch der vom Niederländischen Institut für Kriegsdokumentation (Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, kurz „NIOD“) erarbeiteten Srebrenica-Bericht (auch bekannt als „NIOD-Report“) – mit 3.496 Seiten und über 900 befragten Zeugen die bislang umfassendste Analyse zu Srebrenica. Den gibt es hier auf Englisch: