|'Women of Srebrenica' delegation meets Tony Lloyd MP, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs|
by Zlatko Dizdarevic
Tony Lloyd: Please tell me what you want to achieve in Britain, what you want to ask of us.
Almasa Alic: We want the truth. We want the mass graves exhumed, so the people in them can be identified. We also want the locations of the camps where people are still being held - these camps still exist. We want to go back to Srebreni- ca. The Coalition [for an Integral and Democratic Bosnia-Herzegovina] won the elections, we have the right to go back.
Hasan Nuhanovic (interpreter for Dutch Bat during the fall of Srebrenica): We are trying to find out the truth about what happened. We in a way blame Western governments for the fall of Srebrenica. Because the soldiers there were Dutch, we contacted the Dutch government and asked them to ask the Serbs at the highest level what happened to our loved ones. We have received some answers, but nothing satisfactory. They promised to send the Dutch ambassador to Republika Srpska to ask the fate of our 10,000 missing, but the last letter that came from them said there is not much they can do as the Dutch government. The International Committee of the Red Cross has the responsibility. But the ICRC has done nothing so far to find them. They have put out three lists of names of those who are missing, but this is nothing, it is just a sheaf of paper.
We are asking people of influence in the UK to put pressure on Republika Srpska. There were three members of the SAS in Srebrenica during its fall. They had the power to call for air strikes separate from the United Nations. Also we know that General Rupert Smith had two meetings with Mladic two days after the fall of Srebrenica, when 10,000 people were missing, their fate unknown. Rupert Smith should explain what he said to Mladic at those meetings. He had a chance to save lives. He should have asked what was happening to those missing people.
Kada Pasic: We ask that the war criminals be arrested, and we demand to be allowed to return to Srebrenica. The world should take responsibility and feel ashamed. They stood by and watched while our loved ones were slaughtered.
Tony Lloyd: I understand your demand for certainty, for the truth of the situation to be brought out. But I don't want to make any empty promises. As for how the UK can help in the process of helping you find out the truth, and also where pressure can be brought to bear in relation to discovering the mass graves, I will take this up with the Red Cross. We haven't had that discussion with the Red Cross, about limitations on what they can do.
Kada Pasic: Two years after Dayton was signed, the Serbs continue to block everything - from exhumation of the mass graves to the right of refugees to return.
Tony Lloyd: There has been a change of government in Britain. We will put a lot more effort and activity into our policy towards your country. We are also finding a tougher resolve from the Americans now.
Dayton is the agreement. We insist on having the Dayton agreement implemented. I was recently in Belgrade and in Banja Luka. The message we gave out there was that we are demanding to see co-operation.
The recent local election results should be properly implemented. We will insist on the election result in Srebrenica being respected by everybody.
We want to see much more done to allow refugees to return to their homes. This also means Serbs returning to their homes in the Federation. But people like you are of course entitled to return. This has got to be the future.
Kada Pasic: But the Serbs say one thing and do another.
Tony Lloyd: In order to make sure that Dayton is implemented, there will be an international presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina for some time to come. We will do what we can to ensure that the price for non-implementation of Dayton is so high that they will have to implement it. We can't turn the clock back, but we can insist on the letter of Dayton.
The UK has given a lot of support to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. We believe the tribunal has to be made to work, in order that those most guilty be brought to justice. Karadzic and Mladic are among those we want to see before the tribunal.
Kada Pasic: They are not only at liberty right now in Republika Srpska, they are running the whole show there.
Tony Lloyd: We're trying to make it increasingly impossible for them to run the show. We intend to see them at The Hague.
Hasan Nuhanovic: In order to have a future, we have to solve the past. I spoke to some investigators from The Hague. They told me it might take a year to arrest Karadzic and Mladic, after which they would be in jail for a year waiting to be put on trial. The trial itself would take one or two years. They might say something that would help us find information about our missing ones, but we are not ready to wait for two or three years.