From: (slm)Subject: BULLETIN: Zepa falls to Serb forcesTo: nebosnia-list@world.std.comDate: Tue, 25 Jul 1995 14:23:52 -0400 (EDT)Content-Length: 5779 Reply-To:
July 25, 1995

"Bosnian Serb troops marched into Zepa on Tuesday, seizing the secondUN `safe area' in as many weeks and sending frightened civiliansfleeing," Associated Press reports this afternoon (Tuesday). "We can confirm from UNPROFOR presence on the ground that the Bosnianarmy no longer appear to be in Zepa town, and that the Bosnian Serbarmy soldiers are in Zepa," UN spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Vernon toldreporters in Sarajevo. Bosnian officials fear a repeat in Zepa of the wide-scale atrocitiescommitted when Serbs overran Srebrenica last week. Thousands of people from Srebrenica are still missing, and there is mounting evidence that Serbs committed rape, mutiliation, and mass murder inthat "UN-protected" zone. The Bosnian government and UN had disputed earlier Serb claims thatZepa had fallen. But Bosnian radio said today that defenders leftthe town for surrounding woods and high ground, in an attempt toprotect some land within the enclave. A "substantial stretch ofterritory" around Zepa remains under Bosnian army control, accordingto that report. There are about 20 villages within the enclave. Many civilians had already fled the town, seeking shelter in nearbycaves, AP reports. Ukrainian peacekeepers in Zepa did nothing to block the Serb advance,and even disabled or hid their weapons rather than allow desperateBosnian defenders to use them for protection. NATO likewise did nothing as the "safe zone" was bombarded and overrun. Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic called on the UN to ensure that civilians are safely evacuated from the enclave, and to use forceif unarmed civilians are attacked. "That is the minimum that theUnited Nations can do for those who have endured unbelievable thingsfor the last three years in Zepa," he said. UN representatives who attempted to accompany civilians fleeingSrebrenica last week had their vehicles stolen by Serb forces; Dutchpeacekeepers reported standing by helplessley as Serb militiamenexecuted unarmed men wearing civilian clothes. Sebrenica survivorsreport witnessing mass executions, and trenches filled with hundredsof bodies. On BBC this morning, Silajdzic blamed high-level UN officials whoblocked forceful action to protect Srebrenica for those crimes, aswell as Serbs who committed them. U.N. human rights envoy Tadeusz Mazowiecki accused Serb nationalistsof "barbarism" in Srebrenica. "We are without the slightest news of 7,000 residents of the enclave," he told the French newspaper LeMonde. "We are sure that a number of them have been summarilyexecuted by the Serbs. For the others, we fear the worst. "The witnesses we interviewed were clearly credible. One refugee toldus he had seen a Serb militiaman walking around one village in theenclave with a head and the limbs of a woman in his arms.... "There is lots of horrible testimony which will all be passed on tothe International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague." As in Srebrenica, Serb nationalist leaders offered to expel Muslimwomen and children from Zepa, but detain the men as "prisoners."Serb forces have blocked all attempts for aid workers to visit theSrebrenica men supposedly taken prisoner. The fall of Zepa came on the same day that UN-establishedwar-crimes tribunal formally indicted Serb nationalist politicalleader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The crimes include "atrocities perpetrated against the civilianpopulation throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, [and] the sniping campaignagainst civilians in Sarajevo." According to a joint indictment againstthe two, Serb troops under their orders "unlawfully fired on civiliangatherings that were of no military significance in order to kill,terrorize and demoralize the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat civilianpopulation.'' Twenty-one other Bosnian Serbs were indicted for war crimes atprison camps, where inmates were beaten, starved, tortured, andmurdered. Among those charged: Goran Jelesic, who referred tohimself as the "Serb Adolf." Those named are unlikely to ever be brought into custody or standtrial. Zepa's fall also comes on the same day a vote is expected in theU.S. Senate on lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia. Serbs overran Zepa a few days after an emergency internationalconference called after Srebrenica was seized. The conference issueda warning to Serb nationalists that they faced serious consequencesif they attacked the third "protected zone" of Gorazde. However, nomention was made of Zepa; the international community decidedto write off the town -- and its 16,000 inhabitants -- as lost,despite a UN Security Council vote pledging to protect it. Gorazde is the sole remaining Bosnian enclave between the Serbianborder and Sarajevo. The London conference on Bosnia made no mention of continuedSerb attacks on other "safe areas." Sarajevo has been shelled daily,despite a NATO ultimatum threatening any heavy weapons around the city with airstrikes. And, the world community has done nothingas Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia launched a major attack around thenorthwestern enclave of Bihac last week. They seized more than20 square miles of territory Sunday and sent thousands of civiliansfleeing. More-heavily-armed UN troops moving into the Sarajevo area have orders only to fire if Serbs attack UN personnel or vehicles; theywill do nothing about the daily shooting and shelling of unarmed civilians in the city. --The Bosnia Action Coalition (Mass./NH) (email: