As ex-President Slobodan Milosevic is grilled at The Hague, certain questions have come to light about what really happened at Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995.
What really happened at Srebrenica?
What, don’t you know? The Serbs massacred thousands of Moslems.
But wasn’t there a war on?
Yes, there was, but these were civilians.
I had thought so but now it appears that many of those slaughtered died fighting, or at least were in columns protected by Bosnian Moslem soldiers, who were shooting at the Serbs as they fought their way through the lines at Srebrenica, trying to reach their own enclave.
How do you know that?
A British SAS sergeant, Nicholas Cameron, has been revealing all and sundry in The Sunday Times. He doesn’t seem too happy with the way things were handled at Srebrenica and decided to go for the jugular.
So he confirms that the Serbs killed the Moslems?
Yes, he does, but he also claims that the Moslems were not exactly an innocent group of by-standers. He states that “The Moslems had already killed one Dutch soldier” and that “We ourselves had been held at gunpoint the night before”.
Strange, weren’t the NATO and UN forces sent in to help the Moslems?
They were in Srebrenica to help them, yes.
So why didn’t they?
This is the interesting point. It seems that firstly, the British and Dutch contingents were not on speaking terms (The Dutch did “absolutely nothing” for 4 months) and although this sergeant Cameron had taken up a position over the town to direct NATO air raids, and while he was relating detail by detail what was happening, that the Bosnian Serbs were taking the town and firing on Bosnian Moslem positions, the air raid, when it came half an hour later, consisted of two Dutch F-16s which fired some rounds at two tanks.
Wasn’t that rather futile?
Yes, and pathetic, two adjectives used by Sergeant Cameron.
Maybe NATO did not understand what was going on in Srebrenica.
Oh they understood all right. They changed the Rules of Engagement three times in quick succession during the conflict. Before the Serbs attacked, the ROE were to “engage positions threatening the enclave” (the UN safe area). Secondly this was altered to attack “smoking barrels”, those Serb forces which had just fired shots. Finally, as the Serbs stormed the city, the ROE were changed again to only fire back at those Serb forces attacking UN personnel.
But what about the Moslems?
They were the victims, no doubt and thousands were killed, but in the Balkans wars the real story is often as confused and distorted as the ethnic and geographical reality on the ground. It appears there was not only one set of good guys and bad guys. However, they have their scapegoat and he’s on trial. Now the others can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, because Carla del Ponte has already publicly declared the defendant (Milosevic) guilty.
But she can’t do that! She’s a lawyer and the case isn’t settled!
But she did.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru London United Kingdom