Theater of Cruelty

Holocaust director supports Bosnia investigation

Odd-Bjørn Fure at the Holocaust Center supports the demand for an investigation into Norway's role in Bosnia. Dutch investigations confirm that Norwegian officer stayed on holiday in Norway when Srebrenica fell, in contrast to allegations of pressure in VG.


- Yes, I support the demand for an investigation of Norway's role in Bosnia, says history professor Odd-Bjørn Fure, director of the Holocaust Center in Villa Grande on Bygdøy (Center for Studies of the Holocaust and the Position of Religious Minorities in Norway).

The history professor tells Ny Tid that this case is central to both the center's and his personal field of interest.

- The ethnic cleansing and massacres in Bosnia, and not least the massacre in Srebrenica, are the most extensive collapse of civilization in Europe after the Second World War. When such a catastrophe occurred, it is a very timely requirement that the role that Norwegian representatives played in these incidents be subjected to a thorough investigation, Fure believes.

Morgenbladet's editor Alf van der Hagen wrote in last week's editorial that he supported such an investigation of Norway's role in the Bosnia war. The demand for an investigation was first put forward by Balkan expert Svein Mønnesland and philosophy professor Arne Johan Vetlesen after an article in Ny Tid from 29 July. Ny Tid has revealed that the Dutch soldiers in Srebrenica were under the command of the Norwegian officer Hagrup Haukland, and that the Dutch investigation of the Srebrenica massacre thought that it was "unfortunate" that Thorvald Stoltenberg became a peace mediator in Bosnia.

Critical to Stoltenberg

Fure has gladly read philosophy professor Arne Johan Vetlesen's post in Ny Tid, and shares his views and criticism of, among others, Thorvald Stoltenberg. That Stoltenberg tells Ny Tid that he does not regret anything from his time as UN envoy to Bosnia, Fure comments in the following way:

- When we know the catastrophic outcome of what happened in Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia, I think it is problematic that he does not make a critical verification of his own actions. I am puzzled and critical of the entire international regime's handling of ethnic cleansing and massacres in Bosnia, says the director of the Holocaust Center, referring to the UN and the EU.

If there is an investigation into Norway's role in Bosnia – also SV's parliamentary representative and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Bjørn Jacobsen, has supported this demand – it will hardly be unnatural to take a closer look at Colonel Hagrup Haukland's handling of the Serbian attack on Srebrenica.


Hagrup Haukland was commander of the UN forces in the northeastern sector of Bosnia in 1995, and thus commanded the Dutch soldiers in Srebrenica. When Ny Tid revealed that the Dutch investigation report – which otherwise led to the government's resignation in the Netherlands in 2002 – criticized Hagrup Haukland for having been on holiday while Srebrenica fell and the massacre of around 7500 Muslim men took place, the Norwegian officer rejected the criticism.

The Dutch report indicates that Hagrup Haukland went on holiday to Norway on June 25, and did not return to headquarters until July 15, despite the fact that his deputy commander, Colonel Charles Brantz, called him on July 9 to talk about the critical situation.

By July 11, the entire UN-declared "safe zone" had fallen into Serbian hands, and the massacre began.

To Ny Tid, however, Hagrup Haukland said that the Dutch investigation was wrong, and that he returned to the headquarters in Tuzla immediately when he was informed of the attack on Srebrenica, without being able to say what date he returned on. To VG he was more specific; here he claimed that he "returned immediately" around 10 July.

The evidence

Ny Tid has this week checked this with the author of the Dutch investigation report, Dr. Dick Schoonoord.

He has reviewed the written material on which the Investigation Commission is sitting, and provides the following evidence that Hagrup Haukland was not back in Tuzla until July 15:

a) In a report from a meeting on July 12 at the sector management in Tuzla, where Colonel Brantz and Brigadier General Sead Delic were present, it is stated that Hagrup Haukland will return to Tuzla on Friday 14 July.

b) Brantz's diaries show that Brantz twice called Hagrup Haukland in Norway on July 9. Both times, Brantz explained to the Norwegian colonel about the critical situation in Srebrenica, without this making Hagrup Haukland particularly concerned.

c) July 14, Brantz writes in his diary that he received a message from Zagreb that Hagrup Haukland was planning to return to Tuzla the following day, after which Brantz comments in his diary that the Norwegian officer apparently did not have any hurry. On July 15, Brantz writes that Hagrup Haukland returned to the headquarters at around 12.00 pm. XNUMX noon and took over command of the UN forces again.

d) According to the documents of the Investigation Commission, the first written order signed by Hagrup Haukland after his return to Tuzla was dated July 16.

Raised doubt

With this documentation, Schoonoord believes it is beyond doubt that Hagrup Haukland did not actually return to Tuzla until July 15, despite Brantz calling him twice on July 9 and explaining to him about the critical situation in Srebrenica.

- Haukland's presence would have been very desirable on 12 and 13 July when women and children (from Srebrenica) were transported in buses to the air base at Tuzla. But again, Haukland's presence had made no difference (to the situation in Srebrenica) when the series of events developed after July 6, says Schoonoord, who points out that no one in the UN system or the international community was able to do anything about The fall of Srebrenica and the massacre of Muslim men and boys.

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