11-13 July 1995 – France 2 – Srebrenica: Ethnic Cleansing / Epuration ethnique – FRENCH

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Translation: 

TV journalist: Good evening. According to the NATO Secretary General, the Muslim enclave in Srebrenica is definitively lost, a view not shared by Paris. We’ll go back to that in a minute. In any event, the leaders of the Serbs militias on the ground are methodically carrying out what the UNHCR spokesperson has called one of the biggest ethnic cleansing operations in the history of this tragic war. Stéphane Manier reports on exclusively Serb images.

Commentary: These people are safe, at least for the time being. They’re being held in concrete hangars intended for military planes near Tuzla airport, one of the five remaining Muslim enclaves. Their faces are anxious, exhausted, stunned, not even the smallest sign of relief at being still alive. They’re suffering from dehydration and malnutrition, and some are passing out. There are only women, children and elderly people, and a few casualties being looked after by the peacekeepers. The Serbs got the ones capable of walking through the tunnel that marks the frontline off the buses a few hundred metres before and told them to “run for it.” That’s ethnic cleansing. From now on, you’ll only be seeing images filmed by Serb cameras, the only ones authorised in the small village of Potocari where the refugees left from. General Mladic, the Serb military commander, is shown as a sensitive man, handing out chocolate and reassuring people as he himself organises the exodus. "Get on the buses, nobody will hurt you,” he says. But you won’t see the tearing apart of families as they’re separated, or the money that Serb soldiers demand before allowing them to leave, or the men over the age of 16 who are taken to a stadium for interrogation. The Serbs consider anyone suspected of carrying a weapon a war criminal. Some are exchanged for prisoners, others don’t come back, we’ll never know how many, there were no records kept in Srebrenica. That’s ethnic cleansing too. But these images also show peacekeepers becoming auxiliaries to this ethnic cleansing in an effort to avoid panic. Mladic spares them no humiliation and refuses their timid request to put one UN worker on each bus. We also see General Mladic making his triumphant entrance into Srebrenica two days before and his embracing of the victors. "Srebrenica will never be a UN protected area ever again; the town is Serb now," proclaims Radovan Karadzic. The camera films several burning houses but no corpses, no people, nor the seriously injured the Serbs have brought back to Srebrenica and forbidden to leave. This is ethnic cleansing, and it is on this that Greater Serbia is being inexorably and ruthlessly founded.

TV journalist: A demonstration is being held at 3 pm tomorrow at the Communards’ Wall in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris to condemn this latest ethnic cleansing. Now over to Gilles Rabine, live from Sarajevo. Gilles, a simple question, how is the fall of Srebrenica perceived by the Muslim population in Sarajevo?

Gilles Rabine: You know, the fall of Srebrenica is perceived with much bitterness and a feeling of having been betrayed by the UN, because the Bosnians in Srebrenica played the game, they let themselves be disarmed and put themselves under the protection of the UN. As for the rest, the diplomatic posturing beginning to take shape, people stopped commenting on it a long time ago. You know, the inhabitants of Sarajevo have been in a state of siege for 39 months, 39 months during which they’ve heard and expected it all, hoped in vain that their fate would improve. Nobody in Europe has been subjected to such a siege or nightmare in over 150 years. Tomorrow or the next day it’ll be Zepa that’ll fall into Serb hands and then Gorazde perhaps; it’s hard to see the UN preventing the Serbs from trying to take Zepa. So the inhabitants of Sarajevo have had it with all the questions, they’ve had it with being filmed, being photographed, they’re tired of being watched as they die live on TV with nothing being done to rescue them. What do you want them to say? Other than they’re right?