War crimes judge will inspect Bosnian 'mass grave'


Defence Correspondent



Judge Richard Goldstone, head of the International War Crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, is due to visit Bosnia this month, following reports of the existence of a huge mass grave in a mine in the north-west.

His arrival may help to reveal the scale of war crimes in Bosnia, which is still shrouded in mystery. Nato has said it will not intervene. "Investigating mass graves is not part of my job. Establishing an environment in which others can do their job is part of my job," Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of Nato's peace implementation force (I-For), said yesterday.

"Nato is not mandated to go into an area where there may or may not be graves", said Colonel James Ellery, director of public information for I-For. "When the relevant authorities - the war crimes tribunal - decide the time is right to go in, they will do that. If they need assistance from I-For to get there, they will request it." Nato said it had not received requests from the war crimes tribunal, or other organisations, to help escort investigators.

The UN, which controls an international civilian police force, may conduct preliminary investigations into allegations of mass graves, an official said, but would go no further. Antonio Pedauye, the UN co-ordinator, said the exhumation of graves would require forensic expertise available only to the tribunal.

"I would separate [human rights] from mass graves, serious violations of international law under the Geneva convention - that is up to the tribunal and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]," he said."The UN is here to act on violations of human rights now and in the future."

One Red Cross spokesman, Pierre Gauthier, declaimed any ICRC responsibility for the investigation of mass graves. "We have not the mandate to dig up mass graves, we have not the know-how and we have not the enforcement," he said.

Reporters were able to visit the open-cast mine at Ljubija without hindrance from Serb soldiers but found little to confirm allegations. Although British Nato troops responsible for the area where the alleged mass grave may be have been passing information to the representative of the war crimes tribunal, they had received no request for help yesterday, Col Ellery said.

"We just don't have the manpower", said Col Ellery. "The manpower is sufficient for the allocated tasks". These include supervising the withdrawal of the former warring sides from a "zone of separation" either side of the boundary between the two "entities" in Bosnia.

Given the scale of "ethnic cleansing" in northern and eastern Bosnia, many of the allegations are probably true. But proof will only come when the tribunal experts come in and dig. The same is true for three alleged mass graves near Srebrenica, the Muslim enclave that fell to Serb forces in July.

More than 2,000 people from Srebrenica are still missing, six months after the enclave fell to the Bosnian Serbs. The US has spy satellite photos of several sites near Srebrenica suspected of housing the remains of those missing. Serb police guard the area, and journalists attempting to visit one suspected grave were arrested and held for several hours by Serb forces last week.

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam