Thursday, June 02, 2005

Serbian TV shows Srebrenica massacre for the first time

By Matt Prodger
BBC News, Belgrade

The footage shows victims with their hands tied behind their backs
TV stations in Serbia and Montenegro have been showing graphic footage of what appear to be executions of residents from Srebrenica in 1995.

The video apparently shows members of Serbian state security forces executing six Muslims from the Bosnian town.

The footage shows victims with their hands tied behind their backs. This one is of a 16 year old boy being shot.

The video was used as evidence during a trial at The Hague war crimes tribunal on Wednesday and in an unusual step was repeated in news broadcasts in Serbia.

More than 7,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in the enclave in 1995.

The footage was shown by prosecutors at the trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Deadly Scorpions

It is a truly chilling video which begins with a Serbian Orthodox priest blessing paramilitaries before they go into battle and ends with what appears to be the same paramilitaries shooting badly beaten civilians prisoners in the back with machine guns.

The six men were led away from a lorry and shot

The killers are wearing the uniforms of a unit known as the Scorpions, which prosecutors say fell under the command of the Serbian interior ministry.

At one point the man filming the executions complains that the power supply for the camera is running down and is told by one of the killers to keep filming as long as he can.

The six men were led away from a lorry and shot

This is the first time that the Serbian media has presented the public with such graphic and direct evidence of the Srebrenica massacre.

UN pressure

Despite this, only one newspaper carried the story of the video on its front page on Thursday.

The 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre falls on 11 July, yet last week a survey suggested that only half of the Serbian population believe it actually occurred.
The same survey suggested that two thirds of the public believed that the men most wanted in connection with the crime - Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - were in fact heroes.

The United Nations chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, is currently in the Serbian capital to press the government once more to arrest the two indicted men, who are believed to be hiding in Serbia and Montenegro or the Bosnian Serb republic.

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