Srebrenica Debate I-Russia TV

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Srebrenica Debate I-Russia TV

Victims and responsibility for Srebrenica - Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey and Misha Gavrilovic with host on Russia Television's "Crosstalk" program.

Was Srebrenica "Massacre" or "Genocide"?
Who is responsible for Srebrenica: Mladic, Milosevic and was it "Bosnian Serbs" or Serbia's Belgrade Government?
Are Serbs who embrace Mladic, Milosevic, Karadzic effectively indicting Serb people themselves for crimes of such individuals and regime by embracing their defense?

Read More at:"Of Osama Bin Laden & Ratko Mladic"-

The two have a lot in common, but the question here is how others see them similarly or not, particularly among Muslims and Serbs. Muslims globally are frequently challenged in how they respond to terrorism. Those who defend Osama Bin Laden are rather promptly defined as supporting terrorism. Rationalizing Bin Laden’s actions as a response to real or imagined US offenses is to transform the offending Muslim into radical, terrorist or perhaps enemy of the state.

Defending Ratko Mladic has not had the same consequences.

Embracing Ratko Mladic & Osama Bin Laden, and by Extension Their Crimes:
Post slaughter and siege in Srebrenica and Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) as a whole, and post indictment by the ICTY (“International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia”), Ratko Mladic continued to receive salary, subsequent pension as well as protection from Serbia’s Government (including under then Defense Minister Boris Tadic) and Republika Srpska authorities. Post arrest, Ratko Mladic has continued to receive financial support for his legal defense from Republika Srpska authorities.

It is appropriate to ask what some members of the Pakistani Government knew and if any provided protection for Osama Bin Laden. With respect to Ratko Mladic, the questions are even more pointed, as it is evident that protection, support was and continues to be provided.

Serbs who have opted to promote their version of history by defending Mladic should consider the consequences of this association. (See Osama Bin Laden and some Muslims). We should not, and I certainly have not, spoken of Mladic’s actions as those of all Serbs, Serbs as a people. Of course Mladic did try to link his crimes, the genocide as being perpetrated on behalf of Serbs. He publicly termed his “Srebrenica conquest” a “gift to the Serb people.”

Biljana Plavsic Challenges Mladic and Ideologue Cosic to Admit Culpability:
Biljana Plavsic, former President of Republika Srpska, (who was also convicted of grave violations of international humanitarian law by the ICTY and served a prison term), has told Ratko Mladic that he should accept responsibility for the crimes, plead guilty and thus relieve the Serb people as whole of the association. Besides having been convicted in part for her association with Mladic’s crimes in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ms. Plavsic appears to understand the historical and potential political even legal corollary.

Ms. Plavsic has also proposed that Dobrica Cosic, the ideologue for “Greater Serbia” (its Ayman al-Zawahiri) should be held accountable for Serb nationalism misdirected. (Some of Ms. Plavsic's perspective on Cosic and Mladic is that she sees them as converts of convenience to Serb nationalism when Yugoslav communism began to flail. Ms. Plavsic continues as a Serb nationalist).

Comparing the Deeds, Osama & Ratko:
Of course, some may still come back to my original comparison of Bin-Laden and Mladic. We can stop and just say that they are both equally bad guys, but Mladic’s crimes have not received the full expose as those attributed to Bin-Laden. Sniping and shelling by Mladic’s forces killed more children just in the besieged capital Sarajevo than were killed in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. Mladic’s military and paramilitary participated in mass rapes, of at least 20,000 women but probably more. His rampage and war throughout Bosnia & Herzegovina demolished the country’s normalcy and undermined traditional notions of tolerance and pluralism for 3 ½ years in a country more than half the size of New York City. That sense of tolerance, pluralism and normalcy still remains highly impaired. Mladic’s forces set up concentration camps within which hundreds of thousands were held and tens of thousands were brutalized, raped and murdered. As many Muslims were victims in the World Trade Center attack upon NYC, many Serbs were also the direct victims of Mladic force’s shelling and sniping of Sarajevo.

Bin Laden’s attack took a few minutes to execute. Mladic continued largely un-confronted for those 3 ½ years. The executions of over 8,000 just in Srebrenica, (not the largest in number but most noteworthy because presumably the town was protected as a UN “safe area” and NATO “protected zone”), took place over at least a good part of a week. Reports of the executions, (from the Dutch peacekeepers and technological intelligence), were received within 24 hours of Mladic overrunning Srebrenica without the promised NATO/UN response. However, no effort was undertaken to stop the systematic murders until Mladic killed every person and child he took prisoner.

Quiet Acquiescence & Silent Sympathy:
Ratko Mladic will have his opportunity to try to justify to the Tribunal his killing of “Muslims.” I’m not certain that we needed to or would have had the chance to similarly hear from Osama Bin Laden on killing Americans. Unfortunately, some Muslims undoubtedly have sympathy for Bin Laden’s motives. Unfortunately, some Serbs (and maybe others in Europe, the US etc) sympathize with Mladic’s motives.

Of course, Serbs can choose to see history through Mladic’s eyes. Some defend Mladic by contending that Serbs were also victimized. Undoubtedly all suffered to some degree, but Mladic’s crimes were with the purpose of ethnic cleansing, genocide and terror, which also binds him with Bin Laden. Serbs also have the option to see recent history through courageous groups and persons in Serbia, as Natasha Kandic and Sonja Biserka. Ms. Kandic secured and publicized Serbian paramilitary videos of executions of Muslim men and teens, supporting efforts at justice, and the rule of law as well as raising awareness in Serbia of what had been done in its people’s name.

Bin Laden Was a Surprise – Mladic Was Seen Coming:
The looking into the mirror is not just for Serbia though. How about in Washington, Paris, London or Brussels, (besides the hesitant glances from The Hague). In Washington, the question is asked and political careers are put at risk: “why did we Americans not see Bin-Laden coming?”

Washington, Paris, London, the UN and NATO did see Mladic coming, and for over a month preparing and gradually executing his attack upon Srebrenica. (Dutch Defense Minister at the time Joris Voorhoeve told me of intelligence 40 days in advance pointing to an assault upon Srebrenica, which information was purportedly received from the US Government – See FILM REPORT - ). According to a recent statement by David Harland, author of the UN’s Srebrenica Report, the “Dutchbat” peacekeepers requested NATO air support seven times, without response. Why was nothing done to confront Mladic, especially as by 7-11-1995 was as proven killer and agent of terror as Osama Bin Laden was in 9-11-2001?

Mladic Moves as Free Man Among NATO/US Troops in BiH:
More questions: After Mladic committed his killing in Srebrenica, was indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal, why did NATO and Washington refuse to apprehend him? During our negotiations in Dayton, Washington refused to accept a direct obligation to pursue Mladic and apprehend. Nonetheless, NATO forces implementing the Dayton Accords in BiH had an acknowledged international legal obligation to arrest Mladic if physically in their presence. Instead, Mladic was allowed for several years after his indictment to live and move freely among IFOR (NATO/US commanded implementation force).

Osama Bin-Laden got lucky is the most frequent explanation. What was Ratko Mladic when he walked into Srebrenica with terror in tow?

Related Reports – “War Crimes Justice” Channel -

Are all victims recognized?


Language: English

Year of Production: 2011

Length: 12 mins

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina


  • Susan Sacirbey (Russia Television - Crosstalk)


  • Susan Sacirbey (Russia Television - Crosstalk)