Eyewitnesses Confirm Massacres in Bosnia
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The Bosnian Serbs placed armored personnel carriers and patrols all along the picturesque road, which follows the meandering Jadar River and lies in a small valley. Muslims easily could be seen trying to cross farm fields and clearings around dozens of burned Muslim homes.Skip to next paragraph
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New evidence, obtained through interviews with nine men who say they survived mass executions and others who arrived from Srebrenica over the last three weeks, confirms that the site is a mass grave. The evidence includes:
* Smail Hodjic, and another man taken to another location after Mladic spoke at the Nova Kasaba soccer field, say dozens of friends, relatives, and acquaintances from Srebrenica that they saw on the field on July 12 and 13 are now missing and presumed dead. The two men, who both survived a later mass execution near the town of Karakaj, say hundreds of men held at the soccer field were executed and buried in the nearby grave.
Both men who say they were at the soccer field gave correct, detailed descriptions of the soccer field, which was visited by the Monitor in August.
The men also accurately described the way prisoners and their Bosnian Serb guards were configured on the field according to the US spy-satellite photo taken on July 12 or 13. But US analysts estimated that there were only 600 prisoners in the field, not the 1,000 to 1,500 the two men say.
In separate interviews, both described Mladic addressing the prisoners at around 3 p.m. Mladic derided Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, told the prisoners they would not be harmed, and said they would soon be returned to their families.
According to a report released by UN investigators on Aug. 22, a peacekeeper and a woman from Srebrenica transitting the Nova Kasaba area saw hundreds of prisoners in the soccer field.
On the following day, July 15, another UN peacekeeper reported seeing shoes and rucksacks of 100 men on the soccer field and a tractor pulling a cart with corpses on it. Closer to the grave site, he saw another row of shoes, 20 to 40 people, and a truck carrying corpses, as well as an excavator.
* Another credible eyewitness, who was hiding in the woods in the area on July 14 and 15, reports seeing 40 Muslim prisoners being tortured and executed one mile north of the grave site. A truck was loaded with bodies and drove south toward the grave.
* Two documents found at the grave site by the Monitor last month have been identified by relatives and friends as belonging to two men from Srebrenica who are missing and presumed dead.
Dervis Smajic, the brother of Murat Smajic, a man whose 1982 elementary school certificate of merit was found only 50 feet from one of the mass graves, gasped when he was shown the document. ''He was carrying it with him for identification,'' stammered Mr. Smajic, who stared blankly at the certificate then quietly faded into a crowd of soldiers. ''My father and I were separated from him in an ambush.''
Photographs washed out by rain with handwritten Muslim names written on the back were found at the grave site, next to the certificate. Smajic, before being told that photographs had been found, stated that his brother was carrying family photos.
The other document found at the grave site, a piece of paper with handwritten notes on it found 200 feet from one of the graves, was identified by soldiers from the Srebrenica enclave as belonging to Mehmed Vejzovic, a man who is also missing.
The paper contains handwritten notes from a March 14, 1995, community meeting in the village of Potocari inside the former Srebrenica ''safe area.'' In another section of the paper are notes on how to load and use various weapons. Vejzovic, the soldiers said, was involved in civil defense in Potocari.
* Survivors of the execution also said a large number of prisoners were held overnight in the village of Bratunac on July 13. A small building on the grounds of the Bratunac soccer field filled with human feces, blood stains, bullet-pocked walls, and indications of torture discovered by the Monitor in August was only a few hundred yards from where prisoners were kept, according to the survivors. Small groups of men were taken away during the night, according to the survivors, and never returned.
* Rejha Gabeljic, a Muslim woman who crossed into government-held territory on Sep. 10, said that she had been released, but that nine Muslim men are being held in a forced labor camp in Milici.
There was no way to confirm her report. Bosnian Serbs interviewed by the Monitor in the Srebrenica area in August denied that Muslim prisoners were being held.
Eyewitnesses Confirm Massacres by Serbs.