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International Officials Denounce Bosnian Serb Srebrenica Report - 2002-09-04

The top international official in Bosnia has denounced a report by the Bosnian Serb government that claims far fewer Muslims were killed in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica in 1995 than was commonly reported.

The official in charge of Bosnia's post-war development, British politician Paddy Ashdown, has termed the report by the Bosnian Serb government "tendentious, preposterous and inflammatory."

In statements on Wednesday, women who survived the Srebrenica massacre also expressed outrage over the Bosnian Serb report, saying they have not imagined the killing of sons and husbands.

A U.N. Tribunal spokesman described the Serb report as an outrageous attempt to counter facts established in war crime trials. Srebrenica has been called the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

The U.N. War Crimes Tribunal and other organizations have said up to 8,000 Muslim civilians, many old men and boys, were killed in Srebrenica. The report, which was issued Tuesday, says only about 2,000 Muslim soldiers died in battle when Serb forces captured Srebrenica.

Before the 1995 massacre, Srebrenica was part of an enclave in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina the United Nations had declared a "safe haven."

The U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague has already sentenced a Bosnian Serb officer, Radislav Krstic, to a record 46 years in prison for his role in the genocide. NATO forces are now looking for former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadic and his wartime military adviser, General Ratko Mladic, for their involvement in the atrocities.