Balkan Strategic Studies
September 19, 2003
On the eve of the dedication of a monument to Muslims killed at Srebrenica, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1995, a group which includes a former UN official, intelligence experts, and journalists, released a statement on September 18, 2003, challenging the alleged casualty number of 7,000 victims as “vastly inflated and unsupported by evidence”.
They asserted that one-sided interventionist policies permitted al-Qaida forces and radical Islamists backed by the Iranian clerical government to take root during the Bosnian war, clouding the future of the region. As well, they agreed that the “memorialization” of false numbers in the monument actually appeared to be intended to perpetuate regional ethnic hatred and distrust and to deliberately punish one of the victim groups in the Bosnian civil war.
Former US President Bill Clinton is expected to attend and legitimize the dedication of the monument at Srebrenica, which was constructed using one million dollars of US Embassy funds at the request of High Representative Paddy Ashdown. But former BBC journalist Jonathan Rooper, who has researched the events in Srebrenica since 1995, says that the region was a graveyard for Serbs as well as Muslims and that a monument to inflated casualties on one side “serves neither truth nor the goal of reconciliation”.