12 July 1995 – France 2– Stephan Oberreit, MSF: Srebrenica – FRENCH



TV journalist: The main news tonight is the liberation of Srebrenica. Proclaimed solely by the Serbs, this is one more defeat for the UN and the international community. The peacekeepers had to pull back from the area declared “safe” by the United Nations in 1993 and this morning tens of thousands of people fled from the zone. Combining tones of threat and victory, a Bosnian-Serb general declared earlier today that he would have the Muslim refugees bombed if the UN asked NATO to carry out airstrikes. However, people in Pale, the capital of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbia, are saying quite the opposite.

Commentary: Here are the victors, Serb soldiers, filmed a few weeks ago as they surrounded Srebrenica. According to their leader General Mladic and I quote, “the town was liberated last night,” and, I’m still quoting, “we can no longer tolerate the Muslims committing acts of terror against the Serb people.” But the people living in terror are the Muslims who have assembled around the Dutch peacekeepers’ headquarters in the village of Potocari 15 kilometres further north. Our journalist has managed to contact the Médecins Sans Frontières team who are with them.

MSF: Over 20,000 people have assembled in a razed village. There is no shelter and distraught people are subjected to appalling sanitary conditions. The children, their faces haunted, sit on the ground. There are no shelters, little water, no food for them to eat and we have a big problem due to the shortage of drugs in the small makeshift hospital set up in the UNPROFOR compound.

Commentary: This morning, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic stated that the refugees are free to stay or leave. They won’t be hurt but the Serbs aren’t going to leave Srebrenica. UN General Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali has proclaimed that this is not a failure on the part of the UN and that the peacekeepers’ priority is now on looking after the refugees. But who are we to believe? The Serbs captured 20 more Dutch peacekeepers this morning and now it’s the turn of the enclave in Zepa to be attacked. Cynicism rules supreme in this war.