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Paras: The Other Side of Srebrenica

July 14, 2011

Naser Oric, Bosniak Commander in Srebrenica

I laughed when Ratko Mladic was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The accusations against him are probably the most serious that can be brought to any individual but it was just too rich that in less than 24 hours after his arrest every “expert” that appeared on the news made sure to mention how this was some sort of precondition to Serbia joining the fledging European Union.

As if the trial of one man should be the main blockade between the 7.3 million citizens of Serbia being part of the European community.In comparison with the past media snuffs of the people of Serbia this incident of patronization is just worth a laugh.

What more can you do?

It’s no secret that the fate of Mladic is intertwined with the events that transpired in the village of Srebrenica during the summer of 1995 but he is not the only one who’s found himself wrapped in controversy surrounding Srebrenica.

Naser Oric was the commander of the Bosniak forces in the area of Srebrenica; a man whom in my opinion hold as much to blame for the travesties that occurred in that area during the war as Mladic does.

Time Frame

In the history of the break-up of Yugoslavia the events that led up to the notorious massacre at Srebrenica are complex.

Yugoslavia was composed of a number of federal states, one of which being Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first elections with multiple parties in Bosnia came about in November of 1990. Most of the seats went to ethnic interest groups representing Bosniaks, Serbs and Coats. On October 15th 1991 Bosnia declared itself independent from Yugoslavia; all of the Serb legislators walked out of Parliament.

These Serb legislators set up their own Parliament 9 days later as the active Parliament for the Serb peoples of Bosnia. This Parliament then declared independence from the newly created Bosnia in January of 1992 with the intent of re-joining Yugoslavia. The Republika Srpska was carved out of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Civil War took off in April 1992 as the new republic aimed to create a new border with the Bosniak controlled part of Bosnia and Herzegovina while eliminating the border between itself and Serbia.

Srebrenica was one of the hot pockets of Bosniak contingency within the mostly homogenous Republika Srpska that worked to counteract the ability to form a homogenous border.

The Story of Srebrenica

During the conflict, the control of the town flipped from Serb to Bosniak then was ultimately created a UN safe haven. As refugees poured into the area from the surrounding villages the population increased dramatically.

The story of what happened next is often blurred. Most people know that Mladic and the army of Republika Srpska moved into the area past the Dutch peace keepers; divided the women and girls from the men and boys; then systematically slaughtered any male between the ages of 16 and 55.

A few facts just don’t sit right with me. Why, in a conflict marked by sexual warfare, slaughter 8000 men and let the women walk free? Why not keep the men as prisoners of war and exchange them for prisoners or land in the peace agreement? It doesn’t make sense.

At the beginning of UN Commander Morillon’s mission to make the area a safe haven in March 1993 Oric refused to disarm and co-operate and instead he would “screw up those convoys.” Oric seemingly favoured a human shield to protect his own insurgents.

He started a campaign of terror against Serb civilians by assassinating a well known Serb judge to send the message that Serbs weren’t welcome in Srebrenica. He then attacked the neighbouring hamlets of Oparci, Ratkovici, Brezani, Krnjici, Oricevi, Zalazje, and dozens more while operating out of a UN safe zone. These attacks were marked by “using knives, pitchforks, blunt objects, by crucifixion, castration, setting on fire and torture.”

Oric even tortured detainees in the police station of Srebrenica, in the wake of UN mission to create a safe zone for refugees. You could actually see the allegations of torture against him here:  http://www.icty.org/x/cases/oric/ind/en/ori-3ai050630e.pdf.

UN General Morillon actually said that Oric, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.”

Oric and his men were also complicit in the forced sexual slavery of Bosniak women in Srebrenica.  In many cases Bosniak women fled to the Serb side of the conflict to seek asylum from their tormentors.

Conclusion

In the annals of military history there is but one thing for certain, that war never changes. I didn’t write this piece today to exonerate the crimes of Mladic but rather to show people that no conflict is ever black and white; no side is ever in the right.

To simply understand why Mladic did what he did one has to realize that Mladic and his men were looking for the monsters responsible for the butchering that went on around Srebrenica in the months prior to the taking of the town. They didn’t touch the women because they came to Srebrenica for one explicit purpose, to find Oric and his insurgents, and write the wrongs he committed through force. Oric by that time had fled via helicopter, leaving the people he deprived of a safe zone to die.

Of course, Mladic and his men have and will stand trial for the crimes that they have committed, but no justice is ever perfect or accurate. After Oric’s trial he (in)famously stated that the behaviour of a person indicted in detention and in the court room would reflect heavily on the sentencing.  The bias of justice and the way the favour of the world swings is something we can only laugh at.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Semi-troll permalink
    July 14, 2011 6:37 am

    Excellent article, learned a lot

  2. Bosnian Genocide permalink
    July 29, 2011 2:00 am

    Garbage article. Serbian propaganda. Discredited lies. Naser Oric proved his innocence in the court. He also proved Serbian side extensively lied. That’s all you Serbs know to do — to lie.

  3. Alex Moldovan permalink
    August 2, 2011 9:13 pm

    I wrote this article to shed light on the situation in Srebrenica during the war.

    Actually Naser Oric was sentenced to two years imprisonment for mistreatment of detainees, he was far from innocent. He was acquitted on the charges of wanton destruction beyond military necessity; which, doesn’t necessarily mean he was innocent rather they could have not had enough evidence to prosecute.

    I fail to see how he proved that “the Serbian side extensively lied.”

    I’m actually appalled at your bias against Serbs. I’m Romanian by ethnicity and Canadian by birthplace. I didn’t write this to seek ethnic hatred but rather to enlighten readers on the terrors that were caused by all sides during this conflict.

  4. Bosnian Genocide permalink
    August 13, 2011 9:42 pm

    He was sentenced and then acquitted of ALL charges. He proved in court that Serbs were the ones who committed 99% of war crimes around Srebrenica. Serbs burned close to 300 Bosnian Muslim villages three years before the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Serbs also slaughtered more than 3000 Bosnian Muslim women, children and elderly three years before the 1995 genocide.

    Shame on your for parroting Serbian propaganda on your blog. You, being Romanian (Orthodox like Serbs), tells a lot about your leanings.

    Learn more about Serbian lies here:

    http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2010/01/naser-oric-kravica-incident-on-orthodox.html

    and here

    http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2008/12/photo-forgeries-of-serb-victims-around.html

  5. Alex Moldovan permalink
    August 14, 2011 12:52 am

    Ok friend I can see that your logic isn’t very developed. In the sentencing process the Judge or Jury work to find a verdict that is suitable for the charges brought against accused, in this case Naser Oric.

    You can’t sentence then acquit. Presumably what u meant was that he appealed the decision. I’d like to ask you for specific ICTY records on the matter and not your own blog.

    Oric was acquitted of the charges of wanton destruction beyond military necessity because the prosecution could have not been able to generate viable proof. In the other charges of mistreatment of detainees he was sent to jail for two years because he was found guilty. I’m sure if you look in the ICTY records you will find the truth.

    Lol I actually think the ICTY records would be a more suitable place to search for unbiased information then your own blog friend.

    Lets get some things strait shall we friend?

    Firstly, this isn’t my blog, I just post opinion pieces from time to time.

    Secondly, can you show me an unbiased statistic where 99% of the war crimes around Srebrenica were committed solely by Serbs?

    Thirdly, can I ask you outright if you are a racist?

    My leanings are my own and I do not “parrot” Serbian “propaganda”.

    I’m Romanian by ethnicity yes but I’m first and foremost a humanist. I’m not even Orthodox like those big mean Serbs that you seem to villainize. When it comes to religion I’m technically a Uniate.

    Furthermore, your assumption that Orthodox beliefs influence my political leanings are as valid as if I were to say that since both Bosniaks and Serbs share a common ethnicity they should see eye to eye on many issues.

  6. Bosnian Genocide permalink
    August 14, 2011 3:46 pm

    All links contain paragraphs from international judgements and UN inquiries. They are not my blog’s opinion.

    You’re trying to justify genocide. You’re trying to put Serbs in better light even though they committed at least 90 percent of all war crimes in Bosnia. Even if it was true that Naser Oric committed some war crimes against the Serbs, who cares? You can’t compare Oric with Serbs. HERE IS WHY: Three years before the Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs were the ones who committed 100 times worse crimes against the Bosniaks THREE YEARS BEFORE the Srebrenica Genocide. Don’t you get it? It was Serbs who began campaign of ethnic cleansing in eastern Bosnia in April of 1992, more than three years before the Srebrenica Genocide. It was Serbs who burned hundreds of Bosnian Muslim villages and tortured, raped and killed thousands of Bosnian Muslms in three years preceding the Srebrenica Genocide.

    Even in Naser Oric’s trial judgement (later he was acquitted of ALL charges against him), the Court established:

    The Trial Judgment in Naser Oric case makes it clear that Serb villages around Srebrenica were heavily militarized bases from which Serbs launched brutal attacks on Bosnian Muslim villages, as well as on the town of Srebrenica itself. As stated in the Oric judgment, quote:
    “Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties.”

  7. Bosnian Genocide permalink
    August 14, 2011 3:48 pm

    Part 2 response:

    … and, I don’t need to remind you again that Naser Oric was found NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/oric/cis/en/cis_oric_en.pdf

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