by Carl Savich
Introduction: The Smoking Gun
On Thursday, February 12, 2004, Philippe Morillon testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) established by the US and NATO at The Hague. Morillon was offered as the last major prosecution witness against Slobodan Milosevic. His testimony was meant to provide "the smoking gun" to prove that Milosevic was guilty of genocide in the fall of Srebrenica in 1995. Morillon was first questioned by ICTY Prosecutor Dermot Groome, then by Slobodan Milosevic, and by Branislav Tapuskovic, the Amicus Curiae.
Who was Philippe Morillon? Philippe Morillon was born on October 24, 1935 in Casablanca, Morocco, the son of a French military officer who died in World War II. He graduated from the Saint-Cyr military academy in France in 1956. From 1954-1995 he was an officer in the French Army. In the 1980s, he had been the president of the Yugoslavian-French commission for arms procurement. His first military command had been in Algeria during the secessionist/separatist war that erupted there in the mid-1950s. Morillon along with other French officers fought to keep Algeria a part of France and to prevent secession. In 1961, French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the French army to abandon Algeria and to withdraw to France proper. To Morillon, the order was "an act of treason". Thousands of pro-French Algerians were killed or fled after the French withdrawal. For Morillon and other French officers, "to them Algeria was France", an integral part of France. Morillon joined a group of officers who rebelled against the de Gaulle pullout order. Ironically, Morillon at that time was in a similar position to that of the Bosnian Serbs, who also opposed the secession of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the creation of a Muslim-dominated state. These senior French rebel officers were subsequently purged. Morillon was a middle level officer so he was spared, becoming a four star general. On July 20, 1999, he was elected to the EU European parliament. During the Bosnian civil war, he was the UN commander there in 1992 and 1993, insisting on UN neutrality in Bosnia. His policy of neutrality made him unpopular with the Bosnian Muslim faction. Morillon intervened in Srebrenica to prevent the military defeat of Naser Oric and the fall of Srebrenica in 1993. Morillon established Srebrenica as a "safe haven" but was not able to demilitarize the area. Naser Oric was able to deploy the Bosnian Muslim 28th Infantry Division in Srebrenica after it became a safe area or haven.
Morillon: The Fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the "Direct Reaction" to Naser Oric's Massacres of Bosnian Serbs in 1992-1993
What did Morillon testify to at The Hague? What did he reveal? The so-called Western media of the "free world" manipulated, censored, and spin doctored his testimony. Through the Western media propaganda technique of "emphasis" his testimony was manipulated to support the NATO official version or "party line". What did Philippe Morillon really say at The Hague?
The major conclusion from Morillon's testimony was this: The fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the "direct reaction" to the massacres of Bosnian Serbs by Naser Oric's forces in 1992-1993. Morillon acknowledged that Oric's troops had committed war crimes in eastern Bosnia. Morillon personally witnessed the exhumation of the bodies of Bosnian Serb civilians and soldiers who had been tortured, mutilated, and executed. He saw with his own eyes the Serbian villages that had been burned to the ground in the Srebrenica pocket. More than anyone else, Morillon understood the level of devastation in eastern Bosnia and the extent and nature of the massacres of Bosnian Serbs.
How the Civil War in Bosnia Started
What is the context for the crises in Srebrenica? How did the Bosnian civil war start? Who was to blame for the Bosnian civil war?
Did the Bosnian civil war happen spontaneously? Did it catch everyone by surprise? Was it planned and orchestrated? The Bosnian civil war was planned and orchestrated by the government of the United States. The US ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, was directly responsible for starting and perpetuating this needless civil war. In other words, the US government was responsible for the Bosnian civil war and the subsequent loss of life there.
During World War II, Bosnia-Hercegovina was the scene of one of the worst civil wars. The Croat and Bosnian Muslim factions engaged in a genocide against the Bosnian Serbs. The potential for a repeat of the World War II carnage was seen by all. This is why a compromise agreement was reached in 1992 known as the Lisbon Plan. Only the US government ignored this potential for conflict and recklessly pushed for a Muslim-dominated state in Europe.
What was the Lisbon Plan? Why did the Lisbon Plan collapse? Milosevic was able to show that the rejection of the Lisbon Plan by Alija Izetbegovic was what led to the civil war in Bosnia. Jose Cutileiro, the Portuguese president of the European Union (EU) at that time, mediated and negotiated the cantonization plan for Bosnia, the Lisbon Plan. An agreement was signed on March 18, 1992 by Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serb faction, Alija Izetbegovic, the leader of the Bosnian Muslim faction, and Mate Boban, leader of the Bosnian Croat faction. This was a compromise meant to avert all-out civil war. All three ethnic factions in Bosnia accepted the secession of Bosnia from Yugoslavia and its recognition as an independent state. The Lisbon Plan was meant to ensure that no faction would be dominated by the others. It ensured peace.
On March 25, 1992, Izetbegovic, however, withdrew his signature from the agreement after he was induced to do so by US ambassador Warren Zimmermann, pompously referred to as the "last ambassador". Why did the Lisbon Plan fail? The Lisbon Plan failed because the US government did not want to see it succeed. Milosevic emphasized that the Bosnian Serbs wanted to maintain the peace by reaching a compromise agreement. Milosevic quoted a statement that Morillon had made when he arrived in Bosnia in 1992 as the UN commander: "Mr. Milosevic, according to what I remember, from the very first days we met the parliament of Bosnia, and there was a speech by General Nambiar who said, 'We are here to calm your fears. I am an Indian general, I am here with my head of the cabinet, a Pakistani, then there's also a French general and a German diplomat. We are here to show you reconciliation is always possible.' And this was a moving moment, because in response to this speech, a Serb got up, and he said, 'I am a Serb, and next to me I have a Muslim. He's my brother. And I don't see how one day we could be confronted against one another.'" In other words, there was no need for the Bosnian civil war. The civil war in Bosnia was fomented and advocated by the US government and corporate media. Before US involvement, the three factions in Bosnia had reached a compromise settlement. It was the US that fomented war. It was the US that was responsible for the Bosnian civil war that ensued.
The first ethnic attacks and ethnic murders in Bosnia were committed against Bosnian Serbs. Even before the civil war began, Serbian civilians had been murdered in Bosnia by Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Milosevic showed that the first ethnic murder occurred in downtown Sarajevo when Bosnian Serb Nikola Gardovic was killed.
Milosevic asked Morillon if he knew that the first person killed in the Bosnian civil war on March 2, 1992 was a Bosnian Serb, Nikola Gardovic. He was killed by Bosnian Muslim gunmen in front of the Old Serbian Orthodox Church in Sarajevo, which was built in the XIth century. Gardovic was participating in a Serbian wedding in downtown Sarajevo when he was killed. The wedding was an Orthodox wedding relying on Orthodox customs and rituals which included the Serbian flag.
Morillon replied that he remembered the murder: "Yes, the Serb in question, according to what I know, was killed during a wedding." The murder was an ethnic and religious murder. Gardovic was killed solely because he was an ethnic Serb and because he was an Orthodox Christian. His brutal murder during a wedding ceremony was meant to demonstrate the Bosnian Muslim intolerance for ethnic Serbs and for the Orthodox religion. It was the spark that ignited an already volatile climate. The Bosnian Muslim faction had declared war against Serbs and Orthodoxy in Bosnia. According to Milosevic, the message that Bosnian Muslims wanted to send to Serbs was: "We came out in favor of independence, and now we can kill you." Muslim paramilitary commanders emerged, such as Juka Prazina, a paramilitary commander under Alija Izetbegovic, and Ramiz Delalic.
Who started the ethnic and religious killings and massacres in Bosnia? The very first massacres in Bosnia were against Bosnian Serbs. On March 26, 1992, entire Serbian families were massacred in northern Bosnia near Bosanski Brod in the village of Sijekovac. From April 3rd to 6th, 1992, Croatian regular army troops, who had moved illegally across the border into Bosnia, massacred 56 Serbs. On April 4, 1992, armed Bosnian Muslims from Korace killed 117 Serbs, old men, women, and children, who were Serb refugees from Barice and Kostres. Tens if not hundreds of Serbs were killed before the war/conflict in Bosnia even started.
Morillon commented on these massacres of Serbs: "It contributed to the sickness of fear." The Bosnian Serb fear was real and justified, however, by these events in Bosnia. The Bosnian Serb fear was not based on "nationalism" or paranoia or ancient myths from World War II, but on real ethnic and religious murders that the Bosnian Muslims and Croats were committing in the present, not in the past.
On April 8, 1992, spurred on by the US government, there was a declaration of war by the Bosnian Muslim faction. The civil war in Bosnia then started.
Milosevic asked Morillon: "Did the Serbs kill anyone in that period? Do you have a single example that you could mention?" Morillon said that he did not know. There were "rumours" at the time that he heard about. Morillon conceded, however, that the civil war started in Bosnia with attacks against the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) by the Bosnian Muslim faction.
When did the real siege of Sarajevo start? Morillon replied: "I believe this was on the 2nd of May, 1992, after the command and recruits of the JNA were surrounded in the Marshal Tito barracks and the JNA attempted to pull out." First the JNA was placed under siege and "then the siege of Sarajevo was actually in response to that."
Milsoevic queried Morillon: "Is that right, General?" Morillon: "Initially, yes." The siege of Sarajevo was a "provoked reaction."
The first attack in Sarajevo occurred when Bosnian Muslim troops killed Yugoslav National Army (JNA) soldiers who were withdrawing from the city following an agreement to do so. The Bosnian Muslim forces attacked a JNA military column in Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo as it was withdrawing. Several JNA soldiers were brutally murdered and their bodies burned and mutilated in these attacks. Their blackened, disfigured, and charred bodies lined the streets. They had been ambushed and murdered for no other reason than because they were ethnic Serbs and Orthodox Christians. There had been an agreement for the withdrawal of the troops, which agreement the Muslim faction violated. This was a cold-blooded, premeditated massacre or provocative murder of JNA solders who were withdrawing to Yugoslavia. It was a criminal act, it was murder. But the US government and media never condemned this Muslim crime, this Muslim massacre of Serbs. The so-called Western media did not even cover it. Milosevic asked Morillon: "Do you remember that?" Morillon replied: "Yes.there was a massacre."
The Bosnian Muslim faction had assembled a large military force in Bosnia whose first attacks were directed against the JNA. Milosevic cited a book by Bosnian Muslim army commander Sefer Halilovic who maintained that the Bosnian Muslims had "120,000 people under arms" when the war broke out in 1992. Hasan Efendic claimed that in Tuzla 160 JNA members were killed and 200 were injured when they were evacuating Tuzla. There had been an agreement for their withdrawal in Tuzla as there had been in Sarajevo. During the April 15, 1992 withdrawal of JNA troops from Muslim-held Tuzla, 160 JNA soldiers were killed and 200 wounded after a deliberate Muslim attack. The Bosnian Muslim faction was creating anarchy and mayhem in Bosnia. The Bosnian Muslim faction was deliberately seeking to provoke the JNA and the Bosnian Serb faction to react and to respond.
Morillon saw Bosnia as another Lebanon: "I compared this process to what happened in Lebanon." There was a "Lebanonisation", according to Morillon, where "each community shut itself within their own borders and warlords started to reign by terror from that very period on. There were horrors.and attacks against the forces that were withdrawing did indeed take place."
The US and the EU pursued an anti-Serbian, anti-Yugoslavia foreign policy, meant to dismember the former Yugoslavia and create "Balkanization", small and weak states, "fledgling democracies" in the US propaganda jargon of the time, that could act as puppets, proxies, allies, surrogates for the US and the EU states. One example of this bias was the presence of the Croatian Regular Army in Bosnia. The US and EU did not seem to notice these Croatian troops. The way to "defeat Serbia" was to implement sanctions against Yugoslavia according to the US and EU. The US and EU were able to impose sanctions on Yugoslavia by deliberately withholding a UN report that concluded that the JNA had withdrawn from Yugoslavia while the Croatian Regular Army had occupied Bosnian territory.
Milosevic cited a report by UN Secretary-General Bhoutros Bhoutros Ghali that concluded that the JNA had withdrawn from Yugoslavia while the Croatian Regular Army maintained troops in Bosnia. Milosevic cited this UN Security Council Report that found that the Bosnian Serb army was not under the control of Belgrade and found that the Croat regular army troops were in Bosnia. This report was deliberately held back by Austrian Peter Hohenfellner, who was then the presiding officer of the Security Council, until sanctions were voted against Yugoslavia.
Milosevic had shown that he no longer had authority over the Bosnian Serb Army or political leadership after May, 1993. Milosevic could still exert political influence, but Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic made all the decisions in the Republika Srpska (RS) after this date.
Morillon: There are No Good Guys or Bad Guys
The objective of the Bosnian Muslim faction was to induce US military intervention on the Muslim side. Pursuant to this policy, the Bosnian Muslim faction engaged in propaganda, staged massacres, killed Bosnian Muslim civilians to garner sympathy, and used civilian hostages or shields to further its propaganda of victimization. Morillon, Lewis MacKenzie, Sir Michael Rose, and other UN officials acknowledged this objective. Western media reporting during the civil war in Bosnia had one single goal, to get the US to fight on the side of the Bosnian Muslim faction. The only way this could be done was to present the civil war as a "genocide". This is why the US government and the corporate media relied on genocide/Holocaust propaganda in Bosnia. Only a genocide propaganda motif would do the trick. This is why the Bosnian civil war became associated with the Holocaust. It was a US propaganda stunt, it was part of the US inforwar strategy. In Iraq, it was the nonexistent and phony Weapons of Mass Destruction. In Bosnia, it was the nonexistent and phony genocide or Holocaust propaganda. In both instances, this propaganda was orchestrated, planned, and coordinated by the US government and the corporate media. Everyone knew this. Milosevic quoted Morillon's statement that he had made in Paris: "The aim of the Presidency from the very outset was to ensure the intervention of the international forces for their own benefit, and this is one of the reasons why they never were inclined to engage in talks." It was the Bosnian Muslim faction that opposed peace. Pursuant to the policy of provoking intervention by the US, Muslims would not allow a single Muslim to leave Sarajevo for propaganda purposes as human shields, to be sacrifices in the interest of Muslim propaganda. Similarly, Bosnian Muslim civilians in Srebrenica were not allowed to be evacuated because the Bosnian Muslim leadership wanted to use them as human shields for propaganda purposes.
Morillon acknowledged that Bosnian Muslim forces shelled his residence during the war. Such actions convinced him that there were no good or bad guys in Bosnia. The US propaganda, however, relied on the simplistic and self-serving characterization of aggressors and victims, good guys and bad guys. Morillon stated: "A little time after that I received an American senator and he asked me, 'Where are the good guys?' And I said unfortunately there are no good guys and bad guys; they're all bad guys. Caught in this infernal cycle they had no other means on all sides."
Morillon emphasized that he disagreed with the US propaganda policy of demonizing the Serbian people: "Serbs should not be demonized." Milosevic quoted Morillon's statement: "I always rejected considering that there were the aggressors on the one side and the victims of aggression on the other." Milosevic quoted a statement of Indian General Satish Nambiar, UN military commander in Bosnia, in a speech he gave on April 12, 1999 in New Delhi, who also rejected assigning blame to one side only:
Portraying the Serbs as evil and everybody else as good was not only counter-productive but also dishonest. According to my experience, all sides were guilty but only the Serbs would admit that they were no angels, while the others would insist that they were. With 28.000 forces under me and with constant contacts with UNHCR and the International Red Cross officials, we did not witness any genocide beyond killings and massacres on all sides that are typical of such conflict conditions."
Milosevic asked Morillon if he agreed with Nambiar's characterization of the Bosnian conflict. Morillon concluded: "One must not demonise Serbs in this matter: there were not good guys on one side and bad guys on the other side." Morillon maintained that the Bosnian civil war was a result of or reaction to the "memories" of the civil war in Bosnia during World War II and earlier conflict there: "I think that this drama once again came out of memories which were fuelled." Morillon castigated those who "reminded people of ancestral massacres in Bosnia" and "those who recalled a memory of ancient fears." Milosevic asked Morillon if he had any evidence that showed that he had every advocated anything other than tolerance and peace in Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia. Morillon acknowledged that he could not find anything to imply that Milosevic incited anyone to ethnic or religious conflict. But how are Bosnian Serbs to react when a Bosnian Muslim magazine, Novi Vox, in an October, 1991 issue, announces that Bosnian Muslims have prepared a new Nazi SS Division, Handzar, ("Spremna Handzar Divizija"), alluding to the World War II 13th Waffen Gebirgs Division der SS "Handzar/Handschar", which was formed by Heinrich Himmler to fight Serbian guerrillas in Bosnia? Was this merely an isolated publication with no relevance? Was the Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar not relevant to Bosnian Serb fears and concerns? In a news report from Fojnica on December 29, 1993, a news dispatch that sneaked through the US government and media censorship, London Daily Telegraph correspondent Robert Fox showed that, indeed, the Bosnian Muslim leadership had formed a new Handzar Division, consisting of 6,000 troops. It was not merely "memories" that fuelled the conflict, but real antagonism between the three factions, who were engaged in a real secession or disengagement.
During the civil war, the Bosnian Muslim faction killed its own civilians to implicate the Bosnian Serb forces and garner propaganda points. Milosevic quoted a UN document of February 6, 1994 that blamed the Bosnian Muslims forces for attacking Muslim civilians: "UNPROFOR is almost hundred per cent sure that the Bosniaks on at least two occasions during the past 18 months have been the origin of shelling that caused casualties in Sarajevo." United Nations officials and senior Western military officers" held the Muslims responsible for the so-called Bread Line Massacre on Vasa Miskin Street. In Kosevo Hospital in Sarajevo, Muslims fired mortars from the hospital to provoke a Serbian reply. Morillon's statement read as follows: "We saw a mortar there ready to provoke a reaction from the Serbs. They did that all the time. I know that some UN observers saw that mortar at Kosevo."
The Bosnian Muslim faction had planned to establish a militant nationalist Muslim regime before the civil started in 1992. Milosevic showed that a so-called Patriotic League was formed by Muslims on March 31, 1991, a year before the civil war, which was an armed wing of Izetbegovic's Muslim party, SDA, the Party of Democratic Action, in fact, a Muslim nationalist party. It was the first party army to appear in Europe and be established in Europe" after World War II and Hitler's experience." The SS had been such a party army during World War II. In 1991, Alija Izetbegovic had formed a militant Islamic party army in Bosnia.
Milosevic quoted from a statement by Morillon: "Milosevic stated that he could not give orders to the BSA. Milosevic's new role as decisive peacemaker and honest broker was rather apparent." Milosevic and Morillon used all the "political influence which we had, and that was the only influence that we did have to achieve that." Milosevic stated that "the influence I could have wielded .was used to stop any kind of bloodshed from taking place over there.. Is that right, General?" Morillon replied: "Yes." Morillon reiterated that: "I refuse to see the Serbs demonized." He stated that "not only Serbs responsible" for the conflict in Bosnia. Morillon, did warn Milosevic, however, that "you will be satanised" if Srebrenica were to fall to Bosnian Serb forces.
Sandzaki in Bosnia
Milosevic quoted from a report made by Morillon that noted that citizens of Yugoslavia were fighting in Bosnia: "members of the armed forces from Sandzak, many volunteers from Sandzak in the army of the Bosnian Muslims". Izetbegovic had deployed them to the Sarajevo airport and in Srebrenica. Morillon: "We called them the Sandzaki. There were some units which, like militias, probably several hundred but not much more. They were essentially, the Sandzak[i] were deployed in the region of Srebrenica.Some Sandzakis, some Mujahedin, yes." Milosevic asked about foreign Mujahedeen "fundamentalists", or "the so-called Mujahedin or the warriors of the jihad?" Morillon replied that they were active essentially in the region of Vitez. There was there practically a brigade." Morillon stated that: "I saw them in action." Mercenaries are covered under the 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Conventions and have no right to the classification of combatants or POWs under the 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949.
In the Zvornik area, Milosevic showed that several Muslim paramilitary groups operated such as the Mosque Doves (Dzamijski Golubovi) and the Kobras led by Sulejman Terzic. These Muslim paramilitary groups massacred Bosnian Serb civilians in eastern Bosnia, murdering elderly Serbian civilians as well in their attacks on Bosnian Serb villages.
Al Qaeda in Bosnia
Milosevic quoted from the indictment in the US against Zacarias Moussaoui, implicated in the 9/11 bombings, in the District Court in Eastern Virginia: "Al Qaeda functioned from various jihad groups in different countries, including Bosnia." Judge Patrick Robinson did not allow Milosevic to continue on relevance grounds. Milosevic argued that the US indictment showed that "at that time, Al Qaeda was active in Bosnia-Herzegovina." Al Qaeda engaged in a "conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries." Before attacking New York on September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda terrorist network was engaged in a terrorist war against the Bosnian Serbs in Bosnia. Indeed, one of the 9/11 hijackers had a Bosnian passport. Ossama bin Laden was alleged to have met with Alija Izetbegovic and been active in Bosnia, providing Al Qaeda troops for the Bosnian Muslim Army. What was the US government role in bringing Ossama bin Laden and Al Qaeda to Bosnia? Ossama bin Laden was armed and trained by the US as a proxy against the USSR in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The US-created mujahedeen were then transferred to Bosnia to fight in the Bosnian Muslim Army. Everyone knew of there presence in Bosnia. But what role did the US play in bringing its former proxy forces, Ossama bin Laden, the mujahedeen, and Al Qaeda, to Bosnia?
Srebrenica and Naser Oric
In his testimony, Morillon confirmed that the Srebrenica enclave was being used as a military base of operations by the Bosnian Muslim Army under the command of Naser Oric. Oric himself contributed to the humanitarian crisis by hit and run guerrilla attacks that targeted Serbian villages. Morillon explained: "These enclaves were partly occupied by forces, Muslim forces under the command of Naser Oric, who engaged in regular fights. So the possibilities of getting supplies of food for the population from Bosnia, which it was hoped would come both from Belgrade and from Split through Mostar were considerably hampered and hindered, and the Bosnian Serbs were telling us that it was due to the fighting which took place."
ICTY Prosecutor Dermot Groome asked Morillon a question about the Kravica attack on Orthodox Christmas: "General, your statement details attacks by Naser Oric, particularly the Orthodox Christmas Eve attack. " Morillon replied: "The actions that you are referring to were one of the reasons for the deterioration of the situation in the area, especially in the month of January. Naser Oric engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region, and this prompted the region of Bratunac in particular---that is the entire Serb population---to rebel against the very idea that through humanitarian aid one might help the population that was present there."
"One Can't Be Bothered With Prisoners"
Under the Geneva Conventions, it is a war crime to torture and execute Prisoners of War (POWs) and to order that no prisoners would be taken. Yet this is precisely what Naser Oric did in the Srebrenica pocket. He has not been indicted for these obvious and blatant war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Protocols. Why didn't Carla Del Ponte indict Oric for his execution and torture of Bosnian Serb prisoners? As the testimony of Morillon showed, Oric admitted himself to Morillon and there is abundant and overwhelming evidence to prove it.
What were the Bosnian Serb forces accused of when they captured Srebrenica in 1995? US propaganda accused the Bosnian Serbs of executing Bosnian Muslim soldiers. US propaganda and infowar terminology referred to "Muslim men and boys" to brainwash us into thinking or believing they were unarmed and hapless Muslim civilians. This is a propaganda and brainwashing trick of the US propagandist. In fact, these forces were well-equipped and well-armed. They were an army, the 28th Infantry Division of the Bosnian Muslim Army, stationed in Srebrenica and supplied and commanded from Muslim-held Tuzla. So the Bosnian Serb forces are accused of executing Bosnian Muslim POWs? Is that a war crime? Can you torture, mutilate, and execute POWs? You can if you are a proxy, client, or surrogate of the US government and corporate media. This is what Naser Oric had been doing systematically in 1992 and 1993. So the pieces finally fit together in the puzzle. Naser Oric was not indicted or charged for war crimes by Del Ponte for executing Bosnian Serb POWs because this charge was being saved only for the Bosnian Serb forces. This was going to be the basis for the "massacre" charge. It all makes sense now. One can ask: But weren't Naser Oric's forces "massacring" Bosnian Serb troops in just such a manner in 1992 and 1993? This is the fact that must be denied and suppressed by Carla Del Ponte and the ICTY. This is the reason why Naser Oric is not charged with war crimes in relation to the systematic mass killings/executions of Bosnian Serb POWs. If this fact is admitted, that Oric committed war crimes in executing Bosnian Serb POWs, then the whole US propaganda construct collapses. This is why this issue is crucial in understanding the Srebrenica case. There are legal subtleties here that expose the ICTY as a biased political show trial set up by NATO/US. Then there is the other issue of Naser Oric's systematic policy of burning Bosnian Serb villages and killing all the inhabitants. The ICTY indictment implies that no one was living in those villages because Oric is only charged with destroying and burning them. But what about Oric's systematic policy of killing all Serbian civilians in those villages? Oric is not indicted for those crimes. Why? This bias is meant to preserve and sustain the US propaganda image of the Bosnian Muslim faction as the victims. To admit otherwise would be to admit that Bosnia was a civil war where all three factions bear responsibility. This is why the Oric indictment is limited to a few token crimes and crimes against property.
ICTY Prosecutor Groome asked Morillon about Oric's treatment of Bosnian Serb POWs: "If I could ask you, what if anything did Mr. Oric himself say to you with respect to what he had been doing with prisoners during this time period?" Morillon answered: "Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself. I think that he realized that these were the rules of this horrific war, that he could not allow himself to take prisoners. According to my recollection, de didn't even look for an excuse. It was simply a statement: One can't be bothered with prisoners."
It is a war crime to refuse to take prisoners and to execute POWs. In the June 8, 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949, under Article 40, Quarter, it is stated: "It is prohibited to order that there shall be no survivors." Under both the international and non-international protocols of 1977, the same prohibitions exist. Why didn't Carla Del Ponte indict Oric for these obvious and blatant war crimes?
Morillon explained how he had been shown the bodies of Bosnian Serbs massacred in eastern Bosnia: "I wasn't surprised when the Serbs took me to a village to show me the evacuation of the bodies of the inhabitants that had been thrown into a hole, a village close to Bratunac. And this made me understand the degree to which this infernal situation of blood and vengeance-I think Subotic (sic) [the reference is to Croatian-American journalist Chuck Sudetic and the book Blood and Vengeance] spoke very well about this blood and vengeance, the degree to which this led to a situation when I personally feared that the worst would happen if the Serbs of Bosnia managed to ender the enclaves and Srebrenica."
Morillon expected retaliation in Srebrenica: "I feared that the Serbs, the local Serbs, the Serbs of Bratunac, these militiamen, they wanted to take their revenge for everything that they attributed to Naser Oric. It wasn't just Naser Oric that they wanted to revenge, take their revenge on, they wanted to revenge their dead on Orthodox Christmas." One has to ask: Why does the US government and media excuse "revenge killings" in Kosovo and not in Srebrenica? Why isn't the so-called massacre in 1995 merely a retaliatory revenge killing? Of course, only proxies and clients of the US can engage in "revenge killings." Legally, murder is murder. There is no such thing as a "revenge killing" as US propaganda maintains. All murders are "revenge killings" in one way or another. This does, however, show how the US sanctions murder in Kosovo against the Kosovo Serbs. The US selectively enforces this sanction as is shown by the Srebrenica case. Moreover, what about the Croat army attack that ethnically cleansed over a quarter of a million Serbs in Knin, Pakrac, and the Krajina area, which was a UN-protected area? Hundreds if not thousands of Krajina Serbs were killed in this US-orchestrated act of ethnic cleansing, the largest single act of ethnic cleansing during the Yugoslav conflict. The Croat troops killed not only Krajina Serb civilians, but UN peacekeepers. Where is the concern for these massacres? These massacres committed against Serbs in Krajina are ignored and covered-up by the US government and media because the US government and media orchestrated, planned, and conducted the massacres against Serbs in Krajina.
Morillon concluded that the fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was due to the massacres committed by Naser Oric's forces in 1992 and 1993. Judge Patrick Robinson asked Morillon: "Are you saying, then, General, that what happened in 1995 was a direct reaction to what Naser Oric did to the Serbs two years before?"
Morillon replied: "Yes. Yes your Honour. I am convinced of that."
Morillon was convinced that the Srebrenica crisis was being manipulated by the US and the Bosnian Muslim leaders to achieve other political and propaganda goals. Milosevic quoted a statement Morillon had made: "I was convinced that the population of Srebrenica was the victim of a higher interest.this higher interest which was located n Sarajevo and New York." Morillon talked about how Mladic had been tricked into attacking Srebrenica. Oric had been evacuated by helicopter to Tuzla. The Bosnian Muslim political and military leadership had abandoned Srebrenica after provoking a Bosnian Serb attack.
How did Morillon explain the alleged massacre in 1995? Morillon had been asked earlier and had replied: "Accumulated hatred. There were heads that rolled. There were terrible massacres committed by the forces of Naser Oric in all the surrounding villages. And when I went to Bratunac at the time when I intervened, I felt that."
Milosevic related how the Bosnian Muslim forces were firing artillery into Serbia and were threatening the hydroelectric plant in Bajina Basta in Serbia. This was the reason why Yugoslav military forces fired at the Bosnian Muslim positions.
Morillon explained the propaganda machinations that the Bosnian Muslim leaders had engaged in. The commander of Srebrenica had orders from Sarajevo not to let him enter Srebrenica. Milosevic asked him: "So all this was rigged from Sarajevo? .They were being manipulated and stage managed." Morillon's statement was read by Milosevic: "The fact that they held me as a prisoner in Srebrenica was orchestrated by Sarajevo." The Izetbegovic authorities opposed the humanitarian evacuation of civilians from Srebrenica, ".2 to 3.000 women.", because they wanted to use them as human shields and to create a humanitarian crisis to provoke military intervention by the US. Milosevic quoted Lord David Owen who maintained that Izetbegovic prevented the evacuation of civilians from Sarajevo as a propaganda ploy to garner world sympathy. Morillon stated that "similarly they prevented the evacuation of Srebrenica." So in both Sarajevo and Srebrenica, Izetbegovic wanted to use Bosnian Muslim civilians for propaganda purposes, sacrificing them to score propaganda points.
The Amicus Curiae, Branislav Tapuskovic, questioned Morillon about his meetings with Bosnian Muslim military commander in Srebrenica, Naser Oric. Morillon stated that he had met Oric in Konjevic Polje and in Srebrenica.
Morillon's statement was read: "Naser Oric, every night, raided Bosnian Serbs outside town. When General Morillon opposed him on this score, he said that this was the only way he had to get hold of weapons and ammunition. He admitted killing Bosnian Serbs every night."
Morillon repeated the admission to him by Oric that he never took any Bosnian Serb POWs: "Oric said that those were the rules of the game, and that in this type of partisan warfare, he cannot take prisoners." Morillon confirmed that Naser Oric was getting his directives and instructions from Alija Izetbegovic in Sarajevo: "Naser Oric's reign implied a thorough knowledge of the area held by his forces. It appeared to me that he was respecting political instructions coming from the Presidency" in Sarajevo.
Geneva Convention on the Treatment of POWs
The Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949 established the guidelines for the treatment of POWs. These international legal guidelines for the treatment of POWs emerged in the wake of World War II. The treatment of POWs had been the focus of international treaties and conventions beginning in the mid-19th century. There was an attempt at a codification of the "laws of war" in 1864 when 12 nations endorsed the first Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Time of War. A subsequent treaty was ratified by 54 states. It was replaced by the 1906 Geneva Convention and then by the 1929 Geneva Convention. They dealt with: 1) the protection of hospitals, staff, and medical facilities; 2) the protection of civilians; and, 3) the right of reputation. The first attempt to regulate international treatment of POWs was in 1874 in Brussels, which resulted in the Brussels Declaration. The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 adopted the 1864 Geneva Convention. These guidelines were further codified in the 1907 Hague Regulations. On August 12, 1949, the Geneva Conventions defined the treatment of POWs in international law. On June 8, 1977, Protocols to the Geneva Conventions were enacted that added greater protections for POWs and civilians.
Naser Oric's forces committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian laws on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to civil wars. POWs must be treated humanely and murder, mutilation, torture, and cruel treatment are proscribed. POWs cannot be executed unless there is a public trial, due process, and the right to appeal. While vengeance or retaliation is not allowed, "reprisals", however, are allowed against combatants. A reprisal is "an otherwise illegal act resorted to after the adverse party has himself indulged in illegal acts." Reprisals are allowed if proportional to the original wrong. Isn't this what the Bosnian Serb forces engaged in when they took Srebrenica in 1995, reprisals against Naser Oric's forces?
Philippe Morillon's testimony at the Milosevic trial at The Hague showed that Naser Oric's troops tortured, mutilated, and executed Bosnian Serb soldiers and civilians. These were flagrant war crimes and violations of the Geneva Conventions for which neither Naser Oric nor Alija Izetbegovic nor Sefer Halilovic were charged by Carla Del Ponte. Morillon revealed that the fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the "direct reaction" to the massacres and mass murders that Oric had committed against Bosnian Serbs in the Srebrenica pocket. The US propaganda claim that "7,000 Muslim men and boys" were "slaughtered" at Srebrenica is not based on factual evidence. It is a propaganda allegation of the US government meant to place the blame for the Bosnian civil war on the Bosnian Serb faction, when in fact the US government fomented the war. A prosecution witness that testified on Wednesday, February 11, 2004, a Bosnian Serb soldier who participated in the capture of Srebrenica, showed that much of the Bosnian Muslim casualties were sustained when elements of the 28th Infantry Division sought to break out from the Bosnian Serb encirclement. The 28th Division was seeking to withdraw to Muslim-held Tuzla. Many of the Bosnian Muslim troops were killed during this breakout. But many Bosnian Muslims troops managed to withdraw to Tuzla. US government and media propaganda implies that the Bosnian Serb forces executed unarmed and defenseless civilians. But this is patently untrue. As photographs clearly demonstrated, Oric's forces wore military fatigues and uniforms, wore military insignia, and possessed AK-47s, artillery, grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles, tanks, and helicopters. These were not civilians, but armed combatants, soldiers, killers who had murdered Serbian civilians and burned entire villages. The Bosnian Muslims had military formations in Srebrenica. The fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was a military disaster for the Bosnian Muslim Army forces led by Naser Oric, but it was not a "massacre" of civilians.
What came out during Morillon's testimony was that Bosnian Muslims and Croats engaged in "mass murdering" of Serbs even before the outbreak of war. The first victims in the Bosnian civil war were Serbian civilians. Moreover, Morillon revealed that Izetbegovic sought to use Muslim civilians as shields in Sarajevo and Srebrenica to garner sympathy and garner propaganda points. Morillon showed that the real siege of Sarajevo started when the Muslims surrounded and attacked the JNA, killing the JNA soldiers as they were withdrawing. The Bosnian Muslim faction violated its own agreement by attacking the troops. Such premeditated and wanton murder only provoked a corresponding response. But clearly the Bosnian Muslim faction provoked the violence.
The Bosnian Muslim "mass graves" have not been found to substantiate the massacre charges/allegations. There were many Bosnian Serb mass graves in the Srebrenica area. Naser Oric's forces had murdered hundreds if not thousands of Bosnian Serb civilians in the Srebrenica area. At least 50 Bosnian Serb villages in eastern Bosnia were burned to the ground by Oric's forces. Morillon's testimony showed that the fall of Srebrenica in 1995 was the "direct reaction" to Naser Oric's real massacres in 1992 and 1993.