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Srebrenica Mothers Name and Shame Senior UN Officials

Relatives of those killed at Srebrenica have lodged an official complaint with the Tribunal prosecutor accusing top UN officials with complicity in the 1995 massacre.

On Friday (February 4) "The Mothers of Srebrenica and the Podrinja Association" filed a criminal complaint with the ICTY Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, against senior United Nations officials and others "for the role they played in the fall and genocidal massacre at Srebrenica" in July 1995.

Among those named were former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, under-secretary for peacekeeping in Bosnia and current UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, UN Special Representative in Bosnia at the time, Yasushi Akashi, UNProFor commander, General Bernard Janvier, fellow senior UNProFor officers, General Rupert Smith and Herv Gobilliard, Dutch Minister of Defence, Joris Voorhoeve, senior Dutch officer in Bosnia, Brigadier General Kees Nicolai, Dutch Battalion commander in Srebrenica, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Karremans, and peace negotiators, Thorvald Stoltenberg, Carl Bildt and David Owen. Also named as their subordinates" were Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic.

"We're here to say that these men, these UN officials, maybe they did not actually kill the people of Srebrenica themselves but without their behaviour, Srebrenica would never have happened," Professor Francis Boyle, lawyer for the Mothers of Srebrenica and Podrinja, told reporters.

The complaint accuses those named of offences under articles 2 to 5 of the ICTY statute - grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, violations of the laws and customs of war, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The complaint, Boyle said, "establishes a sufficient basis to proceed toward the investigation and indictment of the above-named United Nations officials and their subordinates by the Prosecutor."

Boyle said Del Ponte had promised to study the complaint and visit Bosnia at the invitation of the group.

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