Pulitzer Prize for captured reporter

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The Independent Online


Boston - David Rohde, a reporter on the Christian Science Monitor, who was captured and held by Bosnian Serbs last autumn after uncovering suspected mass graves, won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting yesterday.

Mr Rohde was the first Western journalist to visit and collect evidence from the graves, where human rights officials believe more than 3,000 Muslims were massacred and buried following the fall of the UN "safe haven" of Srebrenica to Bosnian Serbs in July 1995.

While taking pictures of human bones at one suspected grave site, he was arrested by Serb guards and charged with falsifying documents, facing a jail term for "criminal espionage charges".

After his capture became a central issue in the Balkan peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, Bosnian Serb authorities confirmed they were holding Mr Rohde. The US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, intervened and Rohde was released after 10 days.

On his return to Boston, where the Monitor is published, Rohde wrote that two mass graves he visited were exactly as described by witnesses who said they survived executions outside Srebrenica. "The layout was exactly like they said it was, and I found the graves. Everything matches," Rohde told Reuters in November.

"It was just like a regular field but one big, wide area had been dug up and filled back in again. On top of that, scattered across that were shoes, shirts and eyeglasses. And there was a separate pile of a hundred jackets - no bullets in the jackets, no indications of any fights in the area," he said.

Rohde, 28, was on assignment in Tuzla yesterday, researching a book about the massacre, and could not be reached for comment. In a press release, he said he was "happy to get the truth out about the Srebrenica massacre". Last week, he went back to the graves and filed a story which said the sites had been tampered with.