ZEPA ENCLAVE RESIDENTS HAD NO CHOICE TO STAY
A protected witness, whose testimony inadvertently revealed his own identity (Hamdija Torlak), shed some light on Gen. Ratko Mladic's "generosity" in expulsion of Bosniak civilians and their subsequent ethnic cleansing from Zepa. The town of Zepa was the second U.N. protected "safe area" that fell under the Bosnian Serb control in July 1995.
During the Srebrenica genocide, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic gave an interview in a Spanish newspaper El Pais. He laughed off the idea he might be tried for war crimes and said the concept of UN "safe areas" in Bosnia was untenable.
"The Muslim enclaves in Bosnia are no longer viable and have to disappear. If not we will take them by force," he threatened. Then he focused his energy on capturing Zepa - the eastern Bosnian town situated in one of the deepest canyons in Europe.
According to Sense Tribunal, at the trial of Zdravko Tolimir, the witness (Hamdija Torlak) described how notorius Bosnian Serb General, Ratko Mladic, tried to fool them with his phony interpretation of Geneva Convention. According to Gen. Mladic, ethnic cleansing is okay and "in line with Geneva Convention."
"...Paragraph 7 of the Agreement on the Disarmament, its official title, stated that the citizens of Zepa would be given an opportunity ‘to choose freely their place of residence, in line with the Geneva Conventions’."
"The Trial Chamber accepts the submission by the Prosecution that Miroslav Deronjic with the encouragement of Radovan Karadžic prepared this document, whose 'contents did not correspond with the truth' and that it was done in order 'to mislead the international community'. Consequently, the Trial Chamber agrees that the Accused’s admission is important for two reasons:
1) '[it is] important to diffuse any suggestion in trials that are ongoing or will be coming up in the future about Srebrenica that the Bosnian Muslims left the enclave because of their own free will' and
2) '[it is] important to negate the arguments of future revisionists that might use this document for the proposition that the forcible displacement of the Bosniaks from Srebrenica was a mere humanitarian evacuation conducted in accordance with the principles of international law.'"