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Heartbroken mom sees son shot on TV

Published Jun 4, 2005


By Samir Krilic

Nura Alispahic said on Friday that she turned on the TV to watch the news - and was shocked to see a gruesome video of the execution of her teenage son Azmir and five other Muslim men from Srebrenica executed by Serb forces in July 1995.

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"I saw with my own eyes when these animals killed my son. He was only 16. No one can understand how I feel," she said, still in shock and in tears.

Bosnian TV broadcast the amateur footage, apparently made by Serb troops, on its late-evening news on Wednesday night. It showed six civilians taken from a truck, hands tied behind their backs and lined up on a hillside. Four were shot in the back. Two others were ordered to carry the bodies into a nearby barn, where they, too, were killed.

"I saw him. He was second in the row. They were pushing him," his mother said.

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"He turns, and I see him and it was my Azmir.

"Seconds later, they shoot him. He falls," said Alispahic, 60, sitting beside her daughter Magbula in their room in a refugee camp near the northern town of Tuzla.

Her other son, Admir, also was killed during the war. He was wounded in Srebrenica and evacuated to Tuzla. But shortly after he was released from the hospital, was killed during the shelling of the town.

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As many as 8 000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in 1995 in Europe's worst mass killing since World War 2.

The footage was first shown on Wednesday at the UN war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands. The prosecution introduced the film in the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, indicted for his alleged role in atrocities during the Balkan wars.

UN prosecutors contend the killings were carried out by the Serb paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions on a mountain near the wartime Bosnian Serb capital, Pale.

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The Scorpions allegedly were under orders from Serbian police in Belgrade, and the link could directly tie Milosevic with the crimes committed in Bosnia.

Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor for the UN war crimes tribunal, said in Sarajevo yesterday her court had more video of the Srebrenica killings.

"I have other video material but as you know, it is public only when we can provide it in the court during the trials. At the next trial, we will be able to show such material," she said after meeting representatives of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association.

Azmir's body was found buried in a mass grave in 1999 by the Bosnian Federation Commission for the Search of Missing Persons. He was identified and reburied in 2003 at the Memorial Cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica.

Police in neighbouring Serbia-Montenegro have arrested at least eight men they say are shown in the video killing of Azmir and other Muslim prisoners from Srebrenica, said Rasim Ljajic, head of the Serbia-Montenegro government body in charge of cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal, in Belgrade.

Munira Subasic, a representative of the Association of Mothers of Srebrenica, said in Sarajevo that the other victim recognised by his mother from the footage was 17-year-old Safet Fejzic, but she was too shocked to speak to the press.

She said the group would push to see the entire two-hour-long video of the killings.

"Maybe someone else can recognise their next of kin as well."

Subasic added they would also ask that the entire video be broadcast worldwide.

"It is very important to show to the world the crimes committed here. Such genocide cannot and must not be unpunished."

Squeezing her shaking hands, Nura Alispahic recalled the last time she saw Azmir.

"Serbs were entering Srebrenica, and Azmir came back to give me a kiss before he fled," she said, sobbing.

"I had a feeling then that I would never see him again."

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