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The BBC's Geraldine Coghlan reports from the Hague
 real 28k

Friday, 4 February, 2000, 17:14 GMT
Mothers demand arrest of UN officials

mothers of srebrenica Mothers of Srebenica and their lawyer at the Hague

Survivors of the massacre in Srebrenica have called for the arrest of top United Nations officials, including current secretay-general Kofi Annan, and former chief, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

The Association of Mothers of Srebrenica has filed a criminal complaint against UN officials with the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

The mothers want the role the UN played in the 1985 massacre in Bosnia-Hercegovina investigated.

And they have accused the UN officials and subordinates of complicity in the genocidal massacre and called for their arrest for crimes against humanity.

mass grave Srebrenica massacre mass grave uncovered
They say the officials bear partial responsibility for the killing of up to 8,000 Bosnian-Muslim men by Bosnian separatists who overran the town - a dedicated UN safehaven - in July 1995.

The massacre has been widely seen as the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Professor Francis Boyle, lawyer for the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja, said: "We're here to say that these men, these UN officials, maybe they did not actually kill the people of Srebrenica themselves but without their behaviour, Srebrenica would never have happened.

We were hoping the UN would help us but they did exactly the opposite. They have to answer for what they did.
Hafiza Mujkanovic, vice president of the Mothers of Srebrenica
"This makes them as guilty as their aiders and abettors to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity."

The group filed complaints against Mr Annan, his predecessor Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former UN commanders Bernard Janvier and Michael Rose, and Ton Karremans, the commander of the Dutch peacekeepers in Srebrenica in 1995.

Names of Serb and Bosnian-Serb leaders, Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic, also appear in the criminal complaint.

Kofi Annan UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: calls for his arrest
The mothers of Srebrenica also want the assets of these officials to be frozen, so they can receive some reparation for what they see as a harm inflicted on them.

Mr Boyle said UN officials had deliberately sacrificed Srebrenica to produce the carve-up of Bosnia.

"We were hoping that they would help us but they did exactly the opposite. They have to answer for what they did," said Hafiza Mujkanovic, vice president of the Mothers of Srebrenica, who lost her husband, two brothers and two sons.

Witness interviews

The value of witness interviews was the focus of a separate meeting that International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Chief Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, held on Friday with Montenegran Prime Minister, Filip Vujanovic.

Mr Vujanovic said the tribunal would be granted access to Serb victims and witnesses for interview in his country and that all persons indicted by the tribunal for arrest would be handed over, on condition that the arrests would not provoke internal conflict in Montenegro.

Mr Annan, visiting Bosnia last October, expressed regret for the international community's mistakes during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

"The tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history forever," he said.

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See also:
16 Nov 99 |  Europe
Srebrenica report blames UN
19 Apr 98 |  Despatches
Uncovering Srebrenica's mass graves
11 Oct 99 |  Americas
Kofi Annan apologises for Srebrenica

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