|"A Muslim woman and her husband, who later died, were treated in July 1995 after Serbian military forces attacked them." (Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse)|
By David Rohde and John F. Burns
The New York Times, May 26, 2011
"With video cameras capturing the moment, Gen. Ratko Mladic's bodyguards handed out chocolates to Bosnian Muslim children, promising terrified women that the violence was over. 'No one will be harmed,' the Bosnian Serb commander said on July 12, 1995, gently patting a young boy on the head. 'You have nothing to fear. You will all be evacuated.' As he spoke, thousands of his soldiers formed a vast cordon around the town of Srebrenica, a United Nations-protected 'safe area' that had just fallen to his forces. Over the next 10 days, his soldiers hunted down, captured and summarily executed 8,000 men and boys from the town. Women were raped. And pleas for restraint from the international community were mocked. 'Over 500 victims of the Srebrenica genocide were boys under the age of 18,' said Hasan Nuhanovic, a survivor from Srebrenica whose father, mother and brother were executed by Mr. Mladic's forces. 'They were 16, 17 years old when they were executed.' The mass executions around Srebrenica became Mr. Mladic’s ghastly trademark -- and his undoing. ... The massacre was the culmination of years of worsening cruelty that began with the siege of Sarajevo in 1992, the longest in modern warfare. The four-year bombardment killed 10,000 people, including an estimated 1,500 children. In Sarajevo, Mr. Mladic embraced a frightening form of warfare where a heavily armed military unleashed artillery and sniper fire on civilians. His forces were also accused of using systematic rape as a weapon of war. [...]"