Budapest exhibition examines Srebrenica massacre

BUDAPEST, June 25 (Reuters Life!) - Brutal evidence recording how Serb forces killed thousands of Muslim men at Srebrenica in July 1995 comes to light in the shocking minute detail of a staged exhumation site at a new exhibition in Budapest.

The Open Society Archives (OSA), an archival laboratory working under Budapest’s Central European University, has staged a show on the notorious Srebrenica massacre using the grim documentation accumulated over the past 15 years during criminal and forensic investigations.

The exhibition opened on June 2 and runs until July 2.

Walking on grass, with police ribbons cordoning off part of the room, visitors see the records and photos displayed on a large X-shaped white cross, as if marking an as yet unopened mass grave.

The exhibit shows records collected during the exhumation of mass graves, videos, photos, and the testimonies of survivors who tell of the thousands of Muslim men and boys killed after their U.N.-protected “safe area” zone fell into the hands of Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic.

“The main goal of the exhibition is to present ..the facts on the ground,” said Csaba Szilagyi, human rights archivist and curator of the exhibition.

“We wanted to give a concrete answer to the question who did what to whom because we believe that without clarifying these things we cannot really talk about the other aspects of the Srebrenica story.”

Szilagyi said the exhibition focused primarily on the investigation into what he says was clearly “the worst massacre on European soil since the Holocaust.”

The exhibition contains aerial images produced by U.S. spy satellites of the area in those few days after July 11, 1995.

“What was unfolding in those days in July ... was recorded by these spy satellites. Except that the military analysts were not trained to analyze the images from the point of view of atrocities,” Szilagyi said.

“You can see the bus convoys that were taking the refugees, to the Bosnian controlled territories... groups of prisoners at various points in the region on soccer fields, in school yards... and the analysis of these aerial images did not happen until early August.”

“What really shocks me is that everyone including the Americans, western Europeans and here the Hungarians were just watching the events but nobody did anything, nobody made any action against such a horrible thing,” Hungarian visitor Ferenc Takacs said.


The organizers of the Budapest exhibition on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre say the book of Srebrenica cannot be closed until Bosnian Serb army leader Mladic is brought to justice.

Szilagyi and his colleagues from eight countries, including Croatia and Serbia, have issued a communique calling on “all decent human beings not to rest until the individual who can be held chiefly responsible for the mass murders is brought face to face with his judges.”

Earlier this month, seven former Bosnian Serb military leaders were convicted and sentenced to up to life in prison for war crimes related to the Srebrenica massacre by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The Chamber said it had identified at least 5,336 people who were killed after the fall of UN enclave Srebrenica in July 1995, but said the total could be almost 8,000.

The Srebrenica massacre is part of indictments against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, whose trial is still ongoing and Mladic who remains a fugitive.

Sladjana Lazic, 27, a Serbian graduate student studying in Norway who visited the exhibition said she believed Serbia had yet to come to terms with what happened in Srebrenica.

“Not only on the official level, but on the level of regular everyday life and regular everyday citizens, I don’t think that Serbia has dealt with this,” she said.

Reporting by Krisztina Than, editing by Paul Casciato