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).

10 July, 2009


Reading time: 5-6 minutes

Just as they did last year, local Serbs are trying again to disrupt the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide by threatening to prevent survivors and relatives of the genocide victims from visiting a massacre site of Bosniak civilians in Kravica village. Serbs are 'angry' because Bosniaks responded to Serb attacks by securing Kravica on Orthodox Christmas in 1993. From 1992-1995, Kravica was a heavily militarized Serb villlage from which Serbs constantly attacked neighboring Bosniak villages and the town of Srebrenica. Serbs never demilitarized around Srebrenica.

PHOTO: More than 1,000 Bosniak men, children, and elderly were taken to this warehouse in Kravica and killed by Serb paramilitaries during the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Three years earlier - in 1992 - at least 927 Bosnian Muslims were slaughtered by Serbs from heavily militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica. To put things into perspective, from 1992 - 1995 at least 24,117 Bosniaks lost their lives in the Podrinje area.

WHAT ARE THE FACTS: The inhabitants of Serb village of Kravica participated in brutal attacks on Bosnian Muslim villages around Srebrenica and the town of Srebrenica in 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995. Kravica was a heavily militarized Serb village used to launch artillery attacks on the neighbouring Bosniak villages, as well as to terrorize Bosnian Muslim population in the besieged enclave of Srebrenica.

Due to constant Serb attacks from heavily militarized Serb villages around Srebrenica, Bosniaks finally responded to Serb attacks by counter-attacking and securing Kravica on January 7, 1993 - Orthodox Christmas. Just a few days earlier, Serbs from Kravica launched brutal attacks on Srebrenica.

The Trial Judgment in Naser Oric case makes it clear that Serb villages around Srebrenica were heavily militarized bases from which Serbs launched brutal attacks on Bosnian Muslim villages, as well as on the town of Srebrenica itself. As stated in the Oric judgment, quote:
"Between April 1992 and March 1993, Srebrenica town and the villages in the area held by Bosnian Muslims were constantly subjected to Serb military assaults, including artillery attacks, sniper fire, as well as occasional bombing from aircrafts. Each onslaught followed a similar pattern. Serb soldiers and paramilitaries surrounded a Bosnian Muslim village or hamlet, called upon the population to surrender their weapons, and then began with indiscriminate shelling and shooting. In most cases, they then entered the village or hamlet, expelled or killed the population, who offered no significant resistance, and destroyed their homes. During this period, Srebrenica was subjected to indiscriminate shelling from all directions on a daily basis. Potočari in particular was a daily target for Serb artillery and infantry because it was a sensitive point in the defence line around Srebrenica. Other Bosnian Muslim settlements were routinely attacked as well. All this resulted in a great number of refugees and casualties."

According to the Oric judgment, the Bosnian Muslim villages around Srebrenica were totally unprepared for war:
"In comparison, it appears that the Bosnian Muslim side did not adequately prepare for the looming armed conflict. There were not even firearms to be found in the BosnianMuslim villages, apart from some privately owned pistols and hunting rifles; a few light weaponswere kept at the Srebrenica police station."

The Oric judgment makes it clear that Serb village of Kravica was a military base from which Serbs launched deadly attacks on neighbouring Bosnian Muslim villages and town of Srebrenica itself. The Bosniak counter-attack on Kravica on the 7 January 1993 followed as a result of Serb blockade of humanitarian aid and constant attacks on nearby Bosnian Muslim villages. According to the judgment:
"The fighting intensified in December 1992 and the beginning of January 1993, when Bosnian Muslims were attacked by Bosnian Serbs primarily from the direction of Kravica and Ježestica. In the early morning of the 7 January 1993, Orthodox Christmas day, Bosnian Muslims attacked Kravica, Ježestica and Šiljkovići. Convincing evidence suggests that 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 Trial Chamber is not satisfied that it can be attributed solely to Bosnian Muslims. The evidence is unclear as to the number of houses destroyed by Bosnian Muslims as opposed to those destroyed by Bosnian Serbs. In light of this uncertainty, the Trial Chamber concludes that the destruction of property in Kravica between 7 and 8 December 1992 does not fulfil the elements of wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages not justified by military necessity."

The Oric judgment also confirms that Bosniak refugees in the besieged enclave started dying from starvation caused by the Serb blockade of humanitarian aid. As a result, Bosniaks had to counter-attack Serb military bases around Srebrenica to obtain much needed food and other necessities for the survival:

"Between June 1992 and March 1993, Bosnian Muslims raided a number of villages and hamlets inhabited by Bosnian Serbs, or from which Bosnian Muslims had formerly been expelled. One of the purposes of these actions was to acquire food, weapons, ammunition and military equipment. Bosnian Serb forces controlling the access roads were not allowing international humanitarian aid – most importantly, food and medicine – to reach Srebrenica. As a consequence, there was a constant and serious shortage of food causing starvation to peak in the winter of 1992/1993. Numerous people died or were in an extremely emaciated state due to malnutrition."