29 November 2001 – France 3 – Jean-Hervé Bradol, MSF: Parliamentary Fact-Finding Commission on Srebrenica

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Mission parlementaire sur le massacre de Srebrenica – FRENCH

Translation: 

TV journalist: Collective responsibility for a massacre. It is estimated that in 1995 Serb troops executed at least 7,000 civilians in three days in Bosnian town Srebrenica. The parliamentary fact-finding mission has now submitted its report – a conclusion that is also an admission of failure. Julien Colombani explains.

Commentary: He triumphed, Ratko Mladic, as his troops entered the Muslim enclave in Srebrenica on July 11 1995. The Commanding General of the Bosnian Serbs ordered that the men be separated from the women, children and the elderly who were deported. The men were executed. 8,000 deaths, the worst massacre committed in Europe since World War II. The 300 Dutch UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica could do nothing. But, during the first hours of the attack, they had asked General Bernard Janvier, the French head of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia, to order airstrikes to stop the Serbs. A vain effort. Why? Years later, at the request of Médecins Sans Frontières, a parliamentary fact-finding mission tried to probe the extent of France’s responsibility. This morning it presented its report and emphasised the errors committed by all the countries represented in the UN force.

François Loncle: We have exonerated no one, but we are not accusing anyone in particular, except the two major war criminals.

Commentary: But some of the parliamentarians still have doubts. A few days before the fall of Srebrenica, 376 French peacekeepers who were Serb hostages, were freed. Did France make a trade-off – the hostages in exchange for no military intervention?

Pierre Brana: The minority, and I’m one of them, are saying we have no proof of a deal so we can’t be sure. There may or may not have been a deal. General Janvier or the civilian authorities may have made one. We have no proof either way.

Jean-Hervé Bradol: There are two parts to the conclusions in the report. It highlights the military responsibility while shrouding the political responsibility.

Commentary: Everyone acknowledges that this responsibility is far from being elucidated. It’s going to take a lot more will and time to understand, "Why Srebrenica?"