PHILIPPE MORILLON'S DISTORTIONS ON SREBRENICA
Briefly from 1992-1993, French General Philippe Morillon served as the Commander of the United Nations Forces in Bosnia. He also mainted very close personal friendship with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In February 2004, Morillon testified in the Milosevic trial and made some highly controversial statements. During his testimony, Morillon provided a smoking gun of Serbia's involvement in the war in Bosnia and even described that Serbs shelled Srebrenica from the Serbian side of the River Drina.
MYTH: For example, Morillon claimed that the Bosniaks „engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants.” He was referring to the 1993 attack, led by Army of Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the command of Naser Oric, on a heavily militarized Serb village Kravica.
FACTS: Facts tell a different story. According to the Hague Tribunal's Office of the Prosecutor,
"the figures circulating of hundreds of victims or claiming that all 353 [Kravica] inhabitants were 'virtually completely destroyed' do not reflect the reality.... During the attack by the BH army on Kravica, Jezestica, Opravdici, Mandici and the surrounding villages (the larger area of Kravica), on the 7th & 8th January 1993, 43 people were killed, according to our information. Our investigation shows that 13 of the 43 were obviously civilians."
The Research and Documentation Center (RDC) in Sarajevo lists 11 Serb civilian victims. (Myth of Bratunac) The RDC data was favorably evaluated by a team of international experts including the Hague Tribunal's demographic expert Ewa Tabeau.
It is crucially important to note that the attack on Kravica does not represent a massacre. The "massacre" by definition is "a brutal slaughter of a large number of people." The 11 or 13 individual Serb victims that died in the attack belonged to the "village guards," and according to the Oric judgment,
"the village guards were backed by the VRS [Bosnian Serb Army], and following the fighting in the summer of 1992, they received military support, including weapons and training. A considerable amount of weapons and ammunition was kept in Kravica and Šiljkovići. Moreover, there is evidence that besides the village guards, there was Serb and Bosnian Serb military presence in the area."
The Office of the Prosecutor also explained that "Military or Police casualties from combat should not be considered victims in a criminal investigation context, in the same way people are victims from war crimes, such as summary executions." (Weekly Press Briefing) In other words, Serb Army soldiers that died in the pursuit of criminal enterprise - which consisted of ethnic cleansing, rape, torture, and killing of Bosniak civilians around Srebrenica - do not qualify as victims of the massacre. They died in combat and not as prisoners of war (many Srebrenica massacre victims were summarily executed as PoWs).
It is equally important to note that the 1993 attack on Kravica followed "when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica." (Oric judgment) The Hague Tribunal conceded that Oric's attack on Kravica and subsequent destruction of property "does not fulfil the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity." So, the attack was justified.
MYTH: In another example of deliberate historical distortions, genocide denier Carl Savich quoted Morillon as saying: "Oric was responsible for several massacres in which dozens of women and children had been killed, and it seemed to me there was more hatred in that one small corner of Bosnia than anywhere else. Mladic wanted to avenge his dead."
FACTS: Philippe Morillon's standing in this matter is extremely weak as he never bothered to explain what alleged massacres of Serb women and children around Srebrenica he was referring to? The Hague Tribunal found no evidence that such crimes had been committed by the forces under the command of Naser Oric around Srebrenica. Talking about revenge, Morillon never bothered to investigate horrendous crimes that Serb forces had committed around Srebrenica in 1992. He never mentioned horrendous murder of Bosnian Muslim women, children and the elderly during the Glogova massacre in 1992. Morillon never said anything about the Zaklopaca massacre in 1992, where approximately 80 Muslim women, children, and the elderly were summarily executed and dumpted in mass graves. All this occured in 1992, three years before the Srebrenica genocide.
During the same year, Serb forces plundered, razed, burned and destroyed more than 400 Bosnian Muslims villages, hamlets, and settlements in Srebrenica and neighbouring municipalities. Additionally, Serb forces murdered at least 11,391 Bosniaks in Podrinje - the Drina Valley region of Eastern Bosnia where Srebrenica is located. In Podrinje alone, close to 100,000 Bosniaks had been displaced and expelled from their homes as a result of the Bosnian Serb Army's systematic attacks and widespread ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population in the area. (Human Losses - Research and Documentation Center)
As demonstrated, the facts speak for themselves and the distortions cannot stand the integrity of time. Naser Oric was originally found guilty of mistreating several Serbs (not "thousands"), but was acquitted on appeal. The judges concluded that,
“that any criminal responsibility of Naser Orić was offset by the real and present necessity to acquire food for the survival of the population of Srebrenica. Having recognised that the defence of necessity was an established principle in customary international law in 1992 and 1993, the Trial Chamber considered the extraordinary humanitarian circumstances in Srebrenica at the time. It thus found that there was abundant evidence that Srebrenica was isolated, that the starving population was drastically increasing with the influx of refugees and that there had been repeated calls for help.” (Case Information Sheet)
IN CONCLUSION: The "massacre" by definition is "a brutal slaughter of a large number of people." Individual Serb victims who died in the crossfire between Serbian Chetniks and the regular forces of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina do not qualify as the 'victims of massacres.' Serbian propaganda regularly misuses images of individual Serb victims - who died all over Bosnia - and deliberately misrepresents them as victims of the "Muslim attacks" on Serb civilians around Srebrenica. Serbian ultra-nationalist media sources are also on record for misusing / abusing photos of the Srebrenica genocide mass graves, e.g. Glas Javnosti.