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).

11 March, 2011


All Sides Guilty? Not a chance. Serbs committed at least 90 percent of war crimes.

To those who think the parties are equally guilty, this report is pretty devastating. Serbs carried out at least 90 percent of the ethnic cleansings in BosniaEthnic cleansing generally describes the practice, common in the Bosnian war, of killing, forcibly evicting and persecuting ethnic groups other than one’s own.

By Roger Cohen
New York Times
9 March 1995.

In what is believed to be the most comprehensive United States assessment of atrocities in Bosnia, the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that 90 percent of the acts of “ethnic cleansing” were carried out by Serbs and that leading Serbian politicians almost certainly played a role in the crimes.

The C.I.A. report, based on aerial photography and what one senior official called “an enormous amount of precise technical analysis,” also concludes that while war crimes were by no means committed exclusively by Serbs, they were the only party involved in a systematic attempt to eliminate all traces of other ethnic groups from their territory.

The report, which is so sensitive one official said it was classified at “an obscene level,” was completed early this year. One reason for the highly secret classification may be that it comes as the United States and its European allies have embraced the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, as a potential peacemaker. The Administration may fear that wide dissemination of the report could cause Mr. Milosevic to cease his cooperation, since the C.I.A.’s conclusions suggest that he is extremely ill-fitted for the role of peacemaker.

The report’s contents were made available to The New York Times by three American officials — one in Europe and two in Washington — whose accounts of it coincided. Two expressed unhappiness with the way American policy has evolved.

Mark Mansfield, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said, “We do not comment on classified reports.” But people close to the agency said the report has been submitted to senior officials at the Pentagon, the State Department and the National Security Council.

One official, reading from notes he took from the report, quoted it as saying, “Serbs carried out at least 90 percent of the ethnic cleansings in Bosnia.” Ethnic cleansing generally describes the practice, common in the Bosnian war, of killing, forcibly evicting and persecuting ethnic groups other than one’s own.

The report, the official said, continued by saying no “conclusive evidence” had been found of the direct involvement of Serbian leaders in the planning and execution of large-scale ethnic cleansing.

“But,” the report added, “the systematic nature of the Serbian actions strongly suggests that Pale and perhaps Belgrade exercised a carefully veiled role in the purposeful destruction and dispersal of non-Serb populations.” The Bosnian Serb headquarters is in Pale.

The report, the officials said, also contains specific evidence that some Bosnian Serb leaders — including Radovan Karadzic — knew of the concentration camps through which many Bosniaks and Croats who had been evicted from their homes in 1992 were processed.

Mr. Milosevic and Dr. Karadzic have consistently denied responsibility for the killing and imprisonment of Bosniaks in the 70 percent of Bosnia now held by Serbs. In an interview in December, Dr. Karadzic attributed the departure of nearly three-quarters of a million Bosniaks from this area to “chaos and fear” in an uncontrollable war.

The ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats cited in the report took place throughout the area now controlled by Serbs. It was particularly intense in towns, including Prijedor, Banja Luka, Zvornik, Bijeljina, Vlasenica, Foca and Trebinje.

The report makes nonsense of the view — now consistently put forward by western European governments and intermittently by the Clinton Administration — that the Bosnian conflict is a civil war for which guilt should be divided between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.

This argument has increasingly been used by countries — particularly Britain and France — that have been opposed to any Western military intervention in the Bosnian conflict. The Administration has also made the argument as it has backed away from its initial proposals to counter “Serbian aggression.”

“To those who think the parties are equally guilty, this report is pretty devastating,” one official said. “The scale of what the Serbs did is so different. But more than that, it makes clear with concrete evidence that there was a conscious, coherent and systematic Serbian policy to get rid of Bosniaks, through murders, torture and imprisonment.”

The Administration has veered back and forth on the degree of Serbian guilt. In 1993, Secretary of State Warren Christopher suggested that all three sides shared responsibility, telling the House Foreign Affairs Committee, “You’ll find indications of atrocities by all three of the major parties against each other.”

But more recently, the Administration has guardedly returned to the argument that the war is rooted in a premeditated Serbian attack on Bosnia’s Muslim population.

The officials said the report had prompted what one called “a quiet mini-firestorm of negative reaction in the Pentagon among people who see it as an effort to bring Americans into the conflict.”

One official described the report as “very objective and straightforward” and argued that a “sanitized version,” from which some aerial photographs and other indications of the C.I.A.’s methods had been removed, should be made public.

The report, an attempt to collate and analyze all the evidence on the war known to the intelligence agency, says Bosniaks and Croats also committed atrocities, some of them of great ferocity. But it concludes that these actions “lack the intensity, sustained orchestration and scale of what the Bosnian Serbs did.”

During the fighting between Bosnian Bosniaks and Croats in 1993, both sides engaged in ethnic cleansing, and the Croats opened several concentration camps for Bosniaks, mainly around Mostar. Bosnian Serbs have also been hounded from their homes, mainly in central Bosnian towns like Zenica.

Richard Goldstone, the judge leading the investigations of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, has said two conditions must be met for political leaders to be indicted for war crimes: Did they know about the crimes? Did they have the ability to stop them?

Two officials said that, on the basis of these criteria, the report suggested virtually conclusively that Serbian leaders could be indicted.