Archive for Saturday, June 4, 2005

Serbs see brutality of Muslim massacre

June 4, 2005

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— The Serb paramilitaries prodded the six skinny young Bosnian Muslims - their hands tied behind their backs - through the tall green grass, and then shot them one by one. The bodies slumped to the ground.

Gruesome video of the July 1995 killings near Srebrenica was shown this week in Serbia, forcing Serb leaders to finally acknowledge their country's role in the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

The pictures mark the first time most Serbs have seen such images and could change the way the nation thinks of the slaughter in Bosnia, where Serb troops overran the enclave and killed 8,000 Muslim men and boys after separating them from women. Dutch troops witnessed the Serbs taking the Srebrenican men away but didn't see the men being shot.

It could also help authorities in extraditing the alleged masterminds of the Srebrenica massacre - wartime Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic - to the U.N. war crimes tribunal, which has indicted them for genocide and crimes against humanity.

The shocking TV images prompted Serbian officials to acknowledge publicly that war crimes were committed by Serbs during the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

The video first was shown Wednesday by prosecutors at the U.N. war crimes tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, at the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, indicted for his alleged role in atrocities during the Balkan wars, including genocide for the massacre at Srebrenica.

Prosecutors contend the killings shown in the video were carried out by Serb paramilitaries known as Scorpions, allegedly under orders from Serbian police in Belgrade directly tied to Milosevic.

Police arrested 10 suspects after the images were shown on Belgrade TV. Four remained in custody Friday.

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