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Mothers' Complaint 'Unrealistic'

The prosecutor's office has dismissed accusations of complicity levelled against senior UN and international community officials over the Srebrenica massacre.

The OTP reported last week that it would not be taking seriously a complaint by the organisation, "Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinje", that senior officials from the UN and the international community "sacrificed" the people of Srebrenica in 1995 (see Tribunal Update No. 162).

The Deputy Prosecutor, Graham Blewitt, said, "Some common sense has to be exercised here."

"To suggest the UN in its role as peace-maker in the former Yugoslavia, and particularly in Bosnia, had motives which would amount to crimes is unrealistic."

The "Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinje" had called for two UN Secretary-Generals, Boutros-Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan, and 15 high officials from the international community as well as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to be investigated in connection with the fall of Srebrenica.

Lawyers representing the women also claim that witnesses sought by the Tribunal are among 400 refugees the Dutch authorities are planning to deport back to Srebrenica. When asked to confirm this, Blewitt said "we do have witnesses in the Netherlands, as in other European states."

Arrangements exist to grant those witnesses special treatment to ensure they are not repatriated if repatriation would expose them to danger, said Blewitt. He was not aware though that any witnesses in Holland were going to be forcefully repatriated, but stressed the OTP would intervene if this was the case.

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