War crimes judge will inspect Bosnian 'mass grave'
Monday 15 January 1996
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.
- 1 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 5 New Tricks: Dennis Waterman to leave the show after a decade of crime-solving
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Ice Bucket Challenge: US firefighter Tony Grider dies after participating in charity craze near power lines
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...