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MSF Urges France to Take Responsibility for Part in Srebrenica Tragedy
May 17, 2001
Paris — Today the programs coordinator for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for the former Yugoslavia, Pierre Salignon, testified on the Srebrenica tragedy before the French Parliamentary Information Commission. Salignon stated that the massacres perpetrated by the Serb forces were predictable, that member states of the United Nations failed to protect the inhabitants of the "safe area," and that France manipulated humanitarian action during the Bosnian conflict.
Although declared a "safe area" by the United Nations, on July 11, 1995, Srebrenica fell to Bosnian-Serb forces. In the days that followed, an estimated 7,000 people were massacred and 30,000 others deported. Among them were dozens of wounded patients under MSF care and 22 Bosnian medical personnel.
The United Nations and the Dutch government have already carried out investigations on their roles in the fall of Srebrenica. The "safe areas" were created based on the initiative of a French general and a French proposal to the UN Security Council. UN forces in the former Yugoslavia were under control of a French general at that time. MSF has been calling on France to create a commission on Srebrenica for the past year. A French commission commenced the investigation on November 23, 2000.
Salignon presented information indicating that the commitment to protect the inhabitants of Srebrenica was abandoned to satisfy broader political objectives, such as the conclusion of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
At the same time, he highlighted the gaps and contradictions in the official argument presented by political leaders and the French military concerning their responsibility in the fall of this enclave and the massacres.
Read testimony given before the French Parliamentary Information Commission:
May 17, 2001- Pierre Salignon, MSF Programs Director in 1995 for the former Yugoslavia
Tags: Bosnia and Herzegovina