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Srebrenica: Questions for the Future
MSF in Srebrenica: Questions for the Future, 2002
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Having been the only international aid organization to witness the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, MSF has repeatedly called for independent and thorough inquiries into the tragedy. In 2001, MSF presented testimony at the French Parliamentary Hearing into the Srebrenica tragedy. In April of 2002, MSF submitted "Srebrenica: Questions for the Future" to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) asking that the institute's independent inquiry into the events clarify key questions. Excerpts from the report are below. Click here to read the full document.
On July 11th 1995, the east Bosnian city of Srebrenica fell into the hands of the Bosnian-Serb army. This resulted in a mass exodus from the enclave; approximately 7,000 men have since been killed or are missing.
The people of Srebrenica lived in a "safe area" as labelled by the United Nations. They were convinced that those same UN forces that carried the word "protection" in their name would protect them: UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force). The UNPROFOR battalion in Srebrenica at the time of the fall was the Dutch battalion, Dutchbat.
As the only international aid organization with international staff in Srebrenica at that time, MSF witnessed the panic and fear of death amongst the population during the fall of the enclave and the days that followed. MSF witnessed the international community's failure to act, which resulted in the deaths of many thousands of people. The fact of our presence bearing witness to events provides us with the responsibility to demand total disclosure of the facts.
The international community and the Dutch parliament must never again allow people in conflict situations to be deluded by a false sense of security; they must never again allow their soldiers and humanitarian aid workers to be placed in such an untenable position; they must put the lessons from "Srebrenica" into practice to promote real protection of civilians and prevent crimes against humanity.