DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

03 June, 2010


PHOTO: Forensic samples from Srebrenica genocide mass graves.

An exhibition revealing in detail the exhumation work in 80 discovered Srebrenica genocide mass graves opened in the Open Society Archives' (OSA) Centralis Gallery in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday.

In the period of July 11-18, 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army massacred over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in and around the small eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, a “safe area” under UN protection. The bodies were first dumped into mass graves; these were later reopened and the commingled remains reburied in secondary mass graves to make their identification more difficult. During the nearly 15 years of investigation, however, more than six thousand victims from
80 mass graves have been identified. The massacre was condemned as genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in a precedent trial, but many still refuse to recognize it as such despite the collected evidence (see: a multitude of facts).

The true scale, the military architecture, and the predetermined and careful organization of the genocide are best revealed in the documents which have been produced as the result of an enormous amount of meticulous investigative work. The map of war crimes created with the help of these “exhibits” provides compelling evidence as to the identity of the perpetrators and serves as a basis for their indictment. A clinically precise yet somewhat detached analysis of documents and data, however, reveals that it is as important for the victims, who, stripped of their identities, were shot down,
blindfolded, hands tied behind their backs, into unmarked mass graves, and then were given only identification codes and numbers in the various exhumation records, to regain their identities and have a proper burial and final rest.

OSA’s reconstruction builds primarily on records collected during forensic investigations, exhumations of mass graves and the identification of human remains. Military maps, site sketches and photos, aerial images
produced by spy satellites, forensic reports, testimonies by survivors and excerpts from films will be presented partly in traditional forms and partly in computer installations in a reconstructed model of a mass grave, created with the tools of land art. In the gallery’s two aisles adjacent to the main installation, additional archival sources describing the wider context of the story will be available: documents, books and audiovisual materials from OSA’s extensive relevant collections will be displayed for consultation in the research room, and documentaries will be screened in the movie hall. Thus, visitors who wish to continue the exhumation by doing their own archival research become part of the exhibition themselves.

The film program features documentaries about the massacres, the criminal investigations, as well as the mass grave exhumations and identification procedures in the region. Court recordings, interviews with victims, investigators and perpetrators, as well as rare amateur footage provide perspective on the events, their orchestrators, and repercussions. The exhibition will remain open until 2 July 2010.

Wednesday film screenings

Wednesday, June 9, 6 PM
A Cry From the Grave

Leslie Woodhead, UK, 1999, 104 min, English, B/C/S, with English subtitles
This detailed account of the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in July 1995, in Srebrenica, relies on eye witness testimonies and on shocking telltale footage. Combining the testimony of witnesses, interviews with senior investigative and judiciary figures, and previously unseen footage shot by the Serbs and Dutch peacekeeping soldiers, the director tells the story of a brutal 72 hours in the life and death of several thousands of Bosniak refugees under the protection of the United Nations’ safe areas. Extracts of the film were shown at the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) in the Hague as well, at the trial of Bosnian Serb commander, General Radislav Krstic, who, alongside indicted war criminal, General Ratko Mladic, was implicated in the genocide.

Wednesday, June 16, 6 PM
Heddy Honigmann, the Netherlands, 1999, 97 min, in Dutch, English subtitles
The film focuses on the experiences of a number of Dutch UN soldiers in various hotbeds of violence around the world such as Korea, Cambodia, Lebanon and former Yugoslavian territories. The director interviewed the "blue helmets" in their native Holland, and the footage depicting the regions involved consists of photographs and home movies that were shot by the soldiers themselves. The vehicle of their recollections is the music they played at the time, which they will forever associate with their war memories. One of them used his music to literally drown out his fear, while another created a musical space with "Stabat Mater," where she could be alone with her thoughts. With a mixture of bravura and emotion, a young man tells about the perilous rides he made through "bomb alley" in Bosnia, invariably playing music by Guns N' Roses at full blast. A film about war, peace missions, post-traumatic stress disorder and those trying to cope with it.

Wednesday, June 23, 6 PM
The Scorpions, A Home Movie
Lazar Stojanovic, Serbia, 2007, 52 min, in Serbian, English subtitles
After the breakdown of Yugoslavia, in the summer of 1995, more than 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in and around Srebrenica region by Serbian forces. These forces included the Scorpions, a Serbian paramilitary unit active in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The Scorpions filmed their activities, including the murder of six Bosniak civilians. This footage (and related evidence) was subsequently used in the war crimes trials of the Scorpions unit in The Hague and Serbia. The documentary uses the footage filmed by the perpetrators, together with statements of former members and materials recorded by the unit itself in the course of its campaigns, to cast light on the military and individual dimension of the crimes committed.

Wednesday, June 30, 6 PM
Srebrenica: Autopsy of a Massacre
2008, 52 min, B/C/S and French with English subtitles
Jean-René Ruez, Chief Investigator of the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), spent more than a decade to unearth evidence and reconstruct the sequence of events that occurred in Srebrenica where thousands of Bosniaks were slaughtered in July 1995. Ruez was the central figure in establishing the facts of the “operation” during which more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys fleeing Srebrenica were rounded up by Bosnian Serb forces, shot, buried and then reburied in mass graves to hide the evidence. Following his investigation, during which he gathered evidence that the massacres were a planned and coordinated operation, the atrocities committed and the perpetrators gradually take shape.

12 PM
Crime and Punishment

Maria Fuglevaag Warsinski, Norway, 1998, 75 min, B/C/S with English subtitles

Utilizing clandestine footage, the director takes an unflinching look at the final days of Srebrenica till the UN's final pullout. Powerful interviews detailing the disparate views of combatants on both sides are woven together with vivid descriptions of the impossible journeys faced by the few civilians who made it out alive.

2 PM
Bosnia – Lost Images [
Gert Corba, UK, 2003, 29’, Serbian with English subtitles
Under the watch of Dutchbat soldiers, queues of Muslim men and women are separated by one of General Mladic’s men – haunting images broadcast by TV stations around the world in the wake of the Srebrenica massacre. Shot by Serbian journalist Zoran Petrovic-Pirocanac, who later attempted to cover up the evidence by editing out and erasing important scenes, this tape was used as evidence by the ICTY to indict perpetrators.

Operacija Srebrenica
Zoran Petrovic-Pirocanac, 1995 July 13, 29 min, Serbian with English subtitles
The original footage shot by Serbian journalist Zoran Petrovic-Pirocanac as broadcast on Studio B TV, Belgrade on July 14.

3 PM
Monument to Unresolved Grief
Kay Mastenbroek and Jaap Verdenius, 2005, the Netherlands, 50 min, B/C/S, Dutch with English subtitles
A documentary about the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, the film shows the effects of the tragic events on the lives of the parties involved ten years after the fall: a former Dutchbat soldier (UNPROFOR), a Bosnian woman who lost her husband and her son, a former Muslim commander and a former Serbian commander.

4 PM
Srebrenica – Triumph of Evil
Mina Vidakovic, Mirko Klarin, 2001, 90 min, B/C/S with English subtitles
Produced by SENSE Agency (based in The Hague, ICTY) this documentary about the Srebrenica Trial is the first video-document about a complete trial before an international criminal tribunal after WWII.

More info: www.osaarchivum.org