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Hasan Nuhanovic, working as an interpreter for the UN in 1995.
I DID TRY TO SUE THE UN BUT MY LAWER DID NOT FIND A LEGAL VENUE...
When I started to publicly expose the UN for its shameful role in Srebrenica I had many problems with its administration. They threatened several times that I would be fired if I continue talking publicly about the events – they said I was being disloyal to my employer, the UN. I have had very difficult time where I was constantly being threatened that my contract would be terminated.
The UN, in my opinion, did not intend to issue a report on Srebrenica and it was only after a lot of lobbying and public campaigning that we, myself with assistance with several individuals, including Ms. Bianca Jagger, for example, finally managed to exert enough pressure on the UN so that they finally published the Srebrenica Report in the autumn of 1999 – more than four years after the events. However, in my book I give a detailed analysis of the UN Report which, in the great part, was heavily edited and adjusted to protect the interest of the UN, as an organization, and of a number of internationals, UN employees and others, involved.
Was there any kind of excuse from the UN afterwards?
The UN never apologized to me. I have never been contacted by any UN official with regard to this matter. On behalf of the Organizational Board put together to commemorate 11 July I wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General - every year. We asked the UN to lower the flag on 11 July in front of its main building in New York. We never even received any answer to our letter.
The UN did not apologize in general until the launch of the UN Srebrenica Report. However, the information that the UN included in the report does not correspond to the reality of events which occurred in July 1995 – and especially when it comes to the events inside and around the UN Dutchbat compound in Potocari. For example – of some 155 pages in total the UN report covers the Potocari situation on half a page only. Basically, the complicity of the UN in the expulsion of the Bosniak refugees who were on the base was left out completely.
Now that there is going to be a stub srama, what could the impact of such a monument be? How could it influence the relation between the mothers of Srebrenica and the UN?
I have, from the very beginning, insisted that we should recreate certain events and of certain items which existed in Potocari in July 1995. For example, the tapes which the UN Dutchbat set up in order to expel the refugees from the compound, the flag of the UN and the Kingdom of the Netherlands which flew on the tallest building on the base. The stub strama, in the shape that has been presented to me, would, indeed, recreate the image of the UN presence and its role in the critical events in Potocari.
You tried to sue the UN separately from the Hagedorn case. What do you accuse them of particularly?
I did try to sue the UN but my lawyer did not yet find a legal venue through which that would be realized. However, I managed to file a suit against the state of the Netherlands and the accusation that I have put forward against the Dutch is, more or less, the same as the accusation that I would put against the UN. I would define it as complicity in a war crime – which was qualified as genocide by both the ICTY and ICJ. However, my lawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, decided that I should place a claim against the state of the Netherlands for gross negligence.
Hasan Nuhanovic worked as a interpreter for the U.N. His father Ibro was one of three representatives of the 30,000 refugees inside and outside the base in Potocari who took part with Dutch senior officers in supposed "negotiations" with Ratko Mladić. Hasan Nuhanovic played an important part in establishing the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial at Potočari where the remains of many of the identified victims have been interred. A journalist once nicknamed him the “Elie Wiesel of Bosnia". He has written a chronology of the events at Srebrenica: „Under the UN Flag“, in which he examines the responsibility and guilt of members of the international community.