[Used with Permission from Srebrenica Genocide Blog.]
Those who survived Srebrenica genocide and vicious attacks against them “described mortar shells that produced a strange smoke, one that spread out slowly.”
Survivors testified that some people then began to hallucinate and act irrationally, killing themselves or their friends. Human Rights Watch believed the chemical used was B-Z, a non-lethal agent that incapacitates people.
B-Z is a chemical the army of the former Yugoslavia possessed. (Source: Federation of American Scientists) At that time, the evidence remained “inconclusive” due to inability of Human Rights Watch to properly test the samples.
However, in 1995, a team of the U.S. Defense Department experts interviewed a number of Srebrenica survivors in the summer of 1996, and concluded that their accounts supported allegations of the use of chemical incapacitants. The conclusion was deemed highly significant by the department. This information was sent up the chain of command. In late 1996, the U.S. intelligence community had information that chemical weapons may have been used in Srebrenica. A large investigation, which included physical sampling, was undertaken in late 1996 or early 1997 by the U.S. Government. The results of this investigation are not known to us.
One official told Human Rights Watch in December 1996 that ”we do not see an advantage in declassifying those documents relating to chemical weapons use in Bosnia. We have spoken with people and received assurances that other channels are being pursued that we believe would be more effective and achieve a more favorable outcome than simply publicizing theme.” That is where it’s been left. (Source: The 1998 U.S. Congressional Hearing on Srebrenica Genocide)
In 2006 opening statements, the U.N. Prosecutor McCloskey stated that “criminal orders in war are as a rule issued verbally”, and that a few exceptions existed to the rule. One of the most striking ones is a report sent on 21 July 1995 by Serb General Zdravko Tolimir from Zepa to General Radomir Miletic, acting Chief of General Staff of the VRS (Bosnian Serb Army). Tolimir is asking for help to crush some Bosnian Army strongholds, expressing his view that “the best way to do it would be to use chemical weapons”. In the same report, Chemical Tolimir goes even further,proposing strikes against refugee columns leaving Zepa, because that would “force the Muslim fighters to surrender quickly”, in his opinion. (Source: SENSE Tribunal, 2006.)
The total Yugoslav chemical weapons arsenal contained sarin, mustard gas, BZ, and the tear gases CN and CS (all in large quantities), together with quite traditional products such as phosgene, chlorine picric acid, cyanogen chloride, adamsite, lewisite, and other materials, often only in laboratory quantities. (Source: Federation of American Scientists)
Used with Permission from Srebrenica Genocide Blog.