OSA / Highlights

The Srebrenica Massacre - Ten Years On

zoomIn the summer of 1995 the Bosnian town of Srebrenica became the scene of the worst massacre in the Bosnian war, in fact the worst massacre in Europe after the Second World War. At the time, Srebrenica had been designed a "United Nations Safe Area". Srebrenica and the War in Bosnia Materials in OSA

Brief Summary of Events

July 6-8: Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge from earlier Serb offensives in north-eastern Bosnia. They were under the protection of about 600 lightly armed Dutch UN soldiers. Fuel was running out, and no fresh food had been brought into the enclave since May.
Serb forces began shelling Srebrenica. Bosnian Muslim fighters in the town asked for the return of weapons they had surrendered to the peacekeepers, but their request was refused. The Dutch commander called UN Headquarters in Sarajevo asking for "close air support" after shells and rockets landed close to refugee centres and observation posts manned by peacekeepers.

July 9: The Bosnian Serbs stepped up their shelling and thousands of refugees fled to the town from southern camps ahead of advancing Serbs, who attacked Dutch observation posts, taking about 30 soldiers hostage.
One peacekeeper was fatally wounded when Bosnian Muslims fired on retreating Dutch troops.

July 10: Around 4, 000 refugees gathered in Srebrenica in the evening, there was panic in the streets.

July 11: By midday, more than 20, 000 refugees fled to the main Dutch base at nearby Potocari. Two Dutch F-16 fighters dropped two bombs on Serb positions surrounding Srebrenica. The Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic entered the town, accompanied by camera crews. He told the Dutch UN commander that the Muslims must hand over their weapons if their lives were to be guaranteed.

July 12: 23, 000 women and children were deported by bus to Tuzla. The Serbs accompanying them wore stolen UN uniforms. All men aged 12-77 were separated "for interrogation". Around 15,000 Bosnian Muslim fighters had tried to escape from Srebrenica overnight and were shelled as they fled.

July 13: The first killings of unarmed Muslim men took place in the nearby village of Kravica.

July 16: Early reports of massacres emerged as the first survivors of the long march from Srebrenica began to arrive in Muslim-held territory. The Dutch UN soldiers were permitted to leave Srebrenica, leaving behind weapons, food and medical supplies.
In the five days after Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, around 8,000 Muslim men are thought to have been killed. Most of them were thrown into mass graves.

Bosnia and Herzegovina political map, CIA 1997.

Map of Srebrenica (1:50 000), US Defense
Mapping Agency 1996.

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