Don't miss




'Sleep tight beautiful boy': Charlie Gard's parents to take him off life support

Read more


South Africa's 'Guptaleaks': New website aims to reveal extent of 'state capture'

Read more


Building walls: French protesters block access to hotel migrant shelter

Read more


Google parent company's profits hit by EU fine

Read more


Phelps flops in man v shark challenge

Read more


Jerusalem Crisis: Who will play the peacemaker?

Read more


How Senegal is leading the fight against AIDS in West Africa

Read more


A year of crucial elections in Europe

Read more


Music show: Blues legend Lucky Peterson & Lollapalooza Paris

Read more


The murderous face of 'Ethnic Cleansing' at Srebrenica

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2009-10-26

Over five days in July 1995, 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys, separated from their womenfolk, were butchered in what should have been the safe haven of Srebrenica, allegedly on the orders of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic failed to attend the opening of his long-awaited war crimes trial at The Hague Monday.

But unlike Karadzic, the memory and legacy of the Srebrenica massacre - which he is accused of masterminding - is not lurking in a cell.

Some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed in the tiny enclave in July 1995, the biggest ethnic massacre to take place in Europe since the Second World War.

Secure zone?

"The population of Srebrenica was buried, there is no one left, the town is dead," survivor Fazila Efendic tells FRANCE 24.

In 1993, while the Yugoslav War was in full swing, Sebrenica was declared a "secure zone" by the UN Security Council, and put under NATO control.

But the six hundred Dutch soldiers responsible for the security of the mostly Muslim town proved unable to prevent the "ethnic cleansing" that took place in 1995.

In March of that year, Karadzic, then leader of the Bosnian Serbs, allegedly issued "Directive 7" - an order to besiege the enclave and carry out "planned and well-thought-out combat operations meant to create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope for further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica."

Planned massacre

These words would become a reality under the direction of General Radko Mladic in July 1995.

The final assault on the enclave, home to some 30,000 people, began on July 6.

In a few days Mladic and his men were in control and humanitarian organisations in Srebrenica sent out frantic telegrams warning of an impending massacre.

It began on July 12.

Women and children deported

Immediately, Serbian forces set about isolating 23,000 women and children under the age of 12, earmarked to be deported from the enclave.

According to witnesses, the first killings began on July 13 in the neighbouring village of Kravica.

Over five days 8,000 Muslim civilians were murdered, while the international community failed to react.

The Dutch troops had asked for help from NATO, but apart from two bombardments, no help came.

Since the end of of the war only 3,000 bodies have been identified.

And while Karadzic must answer to the court for his alleged overall responsibility for the massacres, the man who carried out the killings, Ratko Mladic, remains on the run.

Date created : 2009-10-26


    Karadzic no-show forces trial adjournment

    Read more


    Karadzic trial to begin despite defendant's refusal to appear

    Read more