bosnia report
New Series No. 1 November - December 1997
Call to Indict General Janvier

International Association for the Prevention of Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes (AICG)

Application for amendment of the indictment dated 16 November 1995 against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, to extend it to General Bernard Janvier for complicity in the crimes committed in the region of Srebrenica in July 1995

The AICG, domiciled c/o Mrs Sylvaine Walker, Le Chalet, 76119 Varengeville-sur- Mer, France, whose stated aim is to contribute to the 'prevention of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes' (Article 2 of its articles of association), on the basis of Article 7 of the statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and in accordance with Article 18 thereof, hereby requests the Prosecutor of ICTY to amend the indictment dated 16 November 1995 against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic (Case no. IT-95-18) to extend it to General Bernard Janvier, domiciled c/o Ministère de la Défense, 14 rue Saint-Dominique, 75700 Paris, for:

individual criminal responsibility (as defined by Article 7 of the ICTY's statute) for the grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, violations of the laws or customs of war, the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the safe area of Srebrenica in July 1995, on the basis of his actions and decisions in July 1995, when the safe area of Srebrenica fell to military forces nominally commanded by the self-proclaimed authorities of Pale.

The purpose of the AICG's application is to establish the extent of the UNPROFOR commanding officer's responsibility for the perpetration of these crimes. The amendment requested is not unprecedented: the indictment against Tihomir Blaskic was amended by the Prosecutor, as was the indictment for the massacre of patients, casualties and refugees in Vukovar Hospital to include an additional defendant: Slavko Dokmanovic.

Summary of the facts

The evidence against General Janvier arises from the facts stated in the above- mentioned indictment of 16 November 1995, as follows:

a) grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,

b) violations of the laws or customs of war,

c) crime of genocide,

d) crimes against humanity,

(Articles 2-5 of the ICTY's statute), committed against the population of the town of Srebrenica in July 1995.

It has already been established that these facts are covered by international criminal law. The facts concerning the region of Srebrenica established by the Prosecutor of the ICTY formed the basis for an arrest warrant issued by the Prosecutor on counts a) to d) above against several Bosnian citizens of Serb nationality, including General Ratko MÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ ladic, head of the military forces of the self-proclaimed authorities of the so-called 'Republika Srpska', and Radovan Karadzic, the latter's 'elected President' (cf. the ICTY's indictment dated 16 November 1995 against Mladic and Karadzic and the general indictment dated 25 July 1995 against Mladic and Karadzic).

Facts concerning General Janvier's individual criminal responsibility

The AICG alleges that General Bernard Janvier was responsible for repeatedly and systematically impeding the necessary assistance to protect both the safe area of Srebrenica and the populations present there since 1992. The chronological details relevant from the viewpoint of criminal responsibility are presented below.

1. On 24 May 1995 General Janvier pleaded with the United Nations Security Council for abandonment of the 'safe areas' in the east of Bosnia-Herzegovina. He recommended withdrawal of the blue berets from these enclaves and declared that he was opposed to dissuasive air strikes (AFP dispatch 30934, October 1995; Florence Hartmann, 'Chronologie d'une négligence criminelle: le génocide de Srebrenica', published in L'Ex-Yougoslavie en Europe, de la faillite des démocraties au processus de paix, L'Harmattan, Paris 1977).

2. In a confidential letter dated 29 May 1995, General Janvier ordered General Rupert Smith to cease requesting close air support from NATO. He clarified his instructions in another letter dated 31 May 1995, writing that 'the use of force must be avoided' and that 'fulfilling the mandate is secondary to the safety of UN personnel'. The latter statement represents a perversion of the UN mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina as defined by Security Council resolutions (Directive 2/95, according to Brigadier Van der Wind, 'Rapport gebasseerd op de debriefing Srebrenica', Assen, 4 October 1995, p. 16).

3. During the final offensive against Srebrenica, which began on 6 July 1995 and involved eight to twelve thousand men, General Janvier failed to order air sup- port on his own initiative and then refused the request by the Dutch battalion, thereby violating Article 1 of the Convention of 9 December 1948 obliging him to take action to prevent an act of genocide. To our knowledge, at least five re- quests for close air support were refused or blocked by General Janvier or his subordinates:

  • 6 July, afternoon: refused by General Nicolai;

  • 8 July, 15.00 hours: refused by General Nicolai;

  • 10 July, 19.00 hours: refused by General Janvier;

  • 10 July, 22.00 hours: target location postponed until the following morning;

  • 11 July, 8.00 hours: blocked in Tuzla due to incorrect form (cf. David Rohde, A Safe Area: Srebrenica, Europe's Worst Massacre since the Second World War, Si- mon and Schuster, London 1977, p. 403, n. 10).

    Other unsuccessful requests for air support are mentioned in various sources. For instance, Frank Westerman, in NRC Handelsblad, 25 August 1996, and Florence Hartmann, op. cit., refer to a request for close air support by Lieutenant- Colonel Ton Karremans on 9 July. Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, in Srebrenica, Record of a War Crime, Penguin, London 1996, p. 16, mention another request by Karremans on 10 July at 9.00 hours. See also The Independent, 30 October 1995, and Le Nouvel Observateur, 11-17 July 1996.

    4. On 10 July 1995, General Janvier informed UNPROFOR that he had just had a telephone conversation with a Bosnian Serb general, Zdravko Tolimir, who had assured him that he had no intention of taking Srebrenica. General Janvier stated that he accepted General Tolimir's word and immediately went to bed without making enquiries among the UN troops on the ground about the truth of General Tolimir's statement and without ordering any air surveillance, despite the fact that the enclave was being systematically shelled. Such behaviour is called desertion of one's post in any army in the world and was equivalent, in thÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ e specific circumstances of the attack on the enclave, to facilitating the Serbian offensive (David Rohde, op. cit. p.125; Bart Rijs and Frank Westerman, Het zwartste scenario, Atlas, Amsterdam 1997, p.155; New York Times, 29 October 1995).

    5. On 10 July, in reply to urgings by the officers of his general staff to intervene, General Janvier said: 'Messieurs, vous n'avez donc pas compris que je dois être débarrassé de ces enclaves?' ['Gentlemen, don't you understand that I must be rid of these enclaves?'] (The Independent, 30 October 1995, Die Tageszeitung, 1 November 1995, Le Nouvel Observateur, 16-22 November 1995).

    6. On 2 June 1995, well before the final offensive against Srebrenica began, UN military observers (UNMOs) wrote a confidential report on the presence in the region of Srebrenica (in Bratunac) of the militia led by Zeljko Raznatovic, known as 'Arkan', responsible for many of the worst massacres in Bosnia since 1992, stating that these militiamen were evil enough to 'cleanse an enclave' and emphasizing the probability of an offensive in the near future. On 8 July, while President Alija Izetbegovic was appealing to President Clinton, Mr Major, President Chirac and Chancellor Kohl to prevent the 'genocide of the civilian population', the UNMOs were writing that 'a way must be found to prevent a general massacre'. Their report was transmitted to UNPROFOR's headquarters in Zagreb. On 10 July they repeated their warning: 'If this continues, a massacre is possible.' Given the atrocities and massacres perpetrated by Serbian troops against the non-Serb civilian populations of Bosnia since 1992, of which General Janvier must have been aware, the fate of the civilians in the enclave was predictable if it fell into the hands of these troops, as demonstrated in the UNMOs' warnings, duly communicated to General Janvier, who ignored them (La Croix, 9 and 10 July 1996).

    7. The UNMOs in the Srebrenica enclave made daily reports to their HQ in Zagreb on the progress of the Serbian attack in the 'safe area'. Telephone conversations intercepted in June 1995 by UNPROFOR intelligence officers revealed the organization of the final offensive against Srebrenica, in concert with the Serbian army, and the arrival of troops and weapons from Serbia. Trucks full of ammunition and petrol were crossing the River Drina, which separates Bosnia from Serbia, on pontoon bridges erected at night. It is inconceivable that General Janvier did not have access to this information, which made the real intention of the Serbian troops to take the town predictable and clearly contradicted the assurances given on the telephone to General Janvier by General Tolimir, whom the commander-in-chief of UNPROFOR decided to take at his word. As early as the start of May 1995, General Rupert Smith, commanding UNPROFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina, passed on to his superior, General Janvier, information obtained by his European and American intelligence officers indicating that General Mladic's troops were preparing a major offensive against the 'Muslim' enclaves in eastern Bosnia for June (Hartmann, op. cit.).

    8. On 9 July, when several of the Dutch blue berets' observation posts had already fallen into the hands of Serbian troops, Lieutenant-Colonel Karremans asked for close air support for the third time. He was again unsuccessful - General Janvier and Yasushi Akashi replied that General Mladic did not want to conquer the enclave but only to 'neutralize' it (Hartmann, op. cit. p. 118).

    9. On 10 July, while the population was starting to flee, NATO was preparing its pilots for a sortie, which was again refused by General Janvier, against the advice of his fellow officers, justifying his decision by saying: 'if someone asks why we didn't intervene, we can always say that it was too dangerous for our troops'. The wording of his reply clearly suggests that the reality was quite different (Frank Westerman, NRC Handelsblad, 29 May 1996).

    10.ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ On 11 July at six hours, about sixty NATO aircraft were in the sky above Bosnia waiting to intervene. In mid morning, General Mladic's troops advanced further towards the centre of Srebrenica and fired on the refugee camp in Potocari. At 12.30 hours, General Janvier asked NATO for a 'limited operation' just against the 'artillery pieces firing on the blue berets'. Two hours later, F16 fighter-bombers targeted two Serbian tanks but missed. The Serbs threatened to shell the 25,000 refugees crammed into Potocari and to execute their UN hostages if the air strikes continued. The strikes were suspended at the request of the Dutch Defence Minister. Meanwhile, Srebenica fell into the hands of the Serbian troops, who moved into the whole of the enclave. On 16 July, the UN mission in Tuzla wrote in a confidential report: 'it took seventy-two hours for the Bosnian Serbs to hunt down, deport and probably kill the entire population of Srebenica'. The former UNHCR representative in former Yugoslavia, Jose Maria Mendiluce, declared: 'We knew what was going to happen in Srebrenica. Mladic was going to be more merciless than ever to get revenge for his setbacks. Only a fool couldn't have seen it coming, or someone very badly informed. I don't know whether General Janvier is a fool or very badly informed, but he is an accessory to this genocide' (main sources: Hartmann, op. cit.; Frank Westerman, NRC Handelsblad, 29 May 1996).

    11. The UN representatives in Zagreb received numerous warnings and extensive information about the massacres on a daily basis from 12 July onwards, not only from the Bosnian government army and Prime Minister, but also from UN military observers, the Dutch battalion major and telephone calls intercepted by the intelligence services of the countries whose troops were serving in UNPROFOR (Die Tageszeitung, 21 and 30 October 1995; Le Nouvel Observateur, 16-22 November 1995). This information indicated that the Dutch battalion was incapable of defending the population and also included alarming facts about large numbers of men being murdered, the separation of men and women by Serbian soldiers in Potocari, buses disappearing with their human cargoes and 4,000 men 'disappearing' on 13 July. The Bosnian civilian and military authorities and the UN military observers warned that the displacement of civilians by the Serbian attackers indicated the likelihood of massacres. Photographs were taken by spy satellites before, during and after the massacre. In addition, the genocide was observed 'live' by the CIA. A senior American official, close to President Clinton, who watched the pictures in the CIA observation room, stated that he had immediately informed Washington 'and all the US's partners'. Despite this flood of information, establishing the fate of the population of Srebrenica beyond any doubt, General Janvier did not take any measures to protect it effectively (La Croix, 9 and 10 July 1996).

    12. Finally, according to officers from various NATO member states, General Jan- vier, as a French officer, was kept informed of the preparations for the attack on Srebrenica by his government (Die Tageszeitung, 30 October 1995).

    General Janvier's extended powers and his obligation to take action against the genocide

    Throughout all the events described above, General Bernard Janvier therefore failed to comply with the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (9 December 1948), which obliges prevention of the crime of genocide. This Convention is considered 'part of international customary law', according to the report presented by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 3 May 1993 (S/25704, paragraph 45). Moreover, since the crime of genocide perpetrated in Srebrenica was a continuation of the genocide perpetrated against the Bosnians since 1992, as acknowledged in the indictment issued by the ICTY against Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic on 25 July 1995, General Bernard Janvier was undoubtÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ edly obliged to prevent this crime.

    General Bernard Janvier, appointed chief of the United Nations Protection Force for former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR) on 1 March 1995, was in command during the period concerned. His duties ceased in January 1996 with the end of UNPROFOR's and the Rapid Reaction Force's mission and he joined the contingent of French army officers in reserve.

    From the moment that he accepted his post, General Janvier disposed of powers never previously granted to the commanding officer of any force under a UN mandate.

    1. Greater authority over all the UN military forces deployed in former Yugoslavia.

    2. The right to request close air support for these forces directly from the regional NATO organization. His predecessors, including General Jean Cot, were refused this right. Previously only the UN Secretary-General's personal representative, Yasushi Akashi, had this right, which was granted to General Janvier when he took up his post by Boutros Boutros-Ghali. This extension of General Janvier's military powers was immediately operational both in terms of NATO and the blue berets deployed on the ground.

    3. The right to request any additional resources necessary for the optimum accomplishment of his mission, both from the United Nations Security Council and from UN member states on a national basis.

    It follows that General Bernard Janvier had all the legal and technical resources necessary to accomplish his mission, and that he did not use the above-mentioned powers to prevent the genocide perpetrated in the region of Srebrenica.

    Should General Janvier, in his defence, use the argument that he did not order air support because of the hostages (UNPROFOR soldiers) held by the Serbs, this is contradicted by the chronology of military action. No hostages were taken until 8 July (Dutch blue berets), but the attack on Srebrenica began on 5 July in the evening with the firing of six missiles, followed by shelling by mortar, heavy artillery and tanks. On 6 July, before dawn, the Serbian infantry launched its final assault. General Janvier waited until 12.05 hours on 11 July before asking NATO for a 'limited operation'. Moreover, the hostage argument is not sufficient to justify the absence of military action.

    Further investigation

    The AICG may ask the Tribunal to investigate other parties responsible for the perpetration of these crimes.

    It may also ask the Tribunal to carry out investigations of the role played, according to Yasushi Akashi (letter to Kofi Annan dated 19 June 1995, No. Z 1020) and certain press sources (Die Tageszeitung, 1 November 1995), by the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac, in the non-use of air strikes.

    Finally, as the AICG is continuing its own investigations, this application may be updated.

    Otherwise, the AICG refers to the exhibits appended to this petition and is at the Tribunal's disposal to provide any further information that it may require for its examination of the facts.

    Sylvaine Walker Jean-Franklin Narot-Narodetzki
    President Secretary
    Paris 30 October 1997


    1. Akashi message to UN HQ, 19 June 1995 (re discussion with Milosevic).

    2. UN checklist, 9 July 1995 (part of request for air support).

    3. Release authority for air support request, 11 July 1995 (with limitations added by General Janvier).

    4. Chronology of air attacks, 11 July 1995 (Blue Sword Crisis Action Team, three pages).


    - Die Tageszeitung, 21 and 30 October, 1 November 1997

    - Florence Hartmann, 'Chronologie d'une n‚gligence criminelle:le g‚nocide de Srebrenica', in L'Ex-Yougoslavie en Europe, de la faillite des d‚mocraties au processus de paix, L'Harmattan, Paris 1997

    - Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, Srebrenica, Record of a War Crime, Penguin, London 1996

    - ICTY, Basic Documents, 1995

    - ICTY, Rules of Procedure and EvÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ idence, 25 July 1995

    - ICTY, Yearbook, 1995

    - La Croix, 9 and 10 July 1996

    - Le Nouvel Observateur, 16-22 November 1995 and 11-17 July 1996

    - Bart Rijs and Frank Westerman, Het zwartste scenario, Atlas, Amsterdam 1997

    - David Rohde, A Safe Area: Srebrenica, Europe's Worst Massacre since the Second World War, Simon and Schuster, London 1997

    - The Independent, 30 October 1995

    - The New York Times, 29 October 1995

    - Brigadier Van der Wind, 'Rapport gebasseerd op de debriefing Srebrenica', Assen, 4 October 1995

    Frank Westerman, report in NRC Handelsblad, 29 May 1995

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