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According to Human Rights Watch, the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party then "launched an aggressive campaign to prove that Muslims had committed crimes against thousands of Serbs in the area" ; a campaign they observed "was intended to diminish the significance of the July 1995 crime." In a July 6, 2005 press briefing, a spokesperson for the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor noted that the number of Serbs in the region that Serbian authorities claimed to have been killed increased from 1,400 to 3,500; a figure the ICTY stated "just does not reflect the reality." To illustrate the inflation of casualty figures, this same press briefing listed several accounts from before the controversy of the time. They were: * The Republika Srpska's Commission for War Crimes, which placed the number of Serb victims in the municipalities of Bratunac, Srebrenica and Skelani at 995, of which 520 in Bratunac and 475 in Srebrenica. * The book "The Chronicle of Our Graves" by Milivoje Ivanisevic (the president of the Belgrade Centre for Investigating Crimes Committed against the Serbs), in which he estimates the number of people killed to be around 1,200. * A book published by the RS Ministry of Interior ("For the Honorable Cross and Golden Freedom") where the number of Serb victims for the Bratunac-Srebrenica-Skelani region is set at 641.These claims have been disputed on two major counts. For one, the accuracy of the cited numbers is challenged. The ICTY noted, for example, that although Ivanisevic's book estimated around that 1,200 Serbs were killed, personal details were only available for 624 victims. Secondly, the validity of labeling some of the casualties in question as "victims" is contested: studies that have focused on the breakdown of Serb casualties between civilians and soldiers have found that the latter composed a significant majority. This would be in line with the nature of the conflict in question: Serb casualties died in raids by Bosniak forces on outlying villages that were used as military outposts for attacks on Srebrenica (many of which had a Bosniak majority prior to the war, but were ethnically cleansed in 1992). A good example of the situation lies in the village of Kravica. Attacked by Bosniak forces on Orthodox Christmas day, January 7, 1993, Serb sources (such as the above-mentioned book by Milivoje Ivanisevic) claimed that the villages 353 inhabitants were "virtually completely destroyed". In fact, the VRS' own internal records of the time indicated that only 46 Serbs had died in the Kravica attack: 35 soldiers and 11 civilians. Despite this, the event is still frequently cited in Serbia as the key example of heinous crimes committed by Bosniak forces around Srebrenica.The latest figures regarding Serb casualties in the region come from the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center, a non-partisan institution consisting of a multiethnic staff. The RDC's extensive analysis of casualty data found that Serb casualties in the Bratunac municipality amounted to 119 civilians and 424 soldiers. The investigation further established that of 383 Serb victims buried in the Bratunac military cemetery, 139 (or more than one third of the total) had fought and died in a different region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite this, the buried at the military cemetery are presented as having been killed as the result of actions taken by ARBiH units from Srebrenica.According to Serb sources, casualties and losses during the period prior to the creation of the safe area gave rise to Serb demands for revenge against the Bosniaks based in Srebrenica. The ARBiH raids are thus presented as a key motivating factor for the genocide that occurred in July, 1995. This view is echoed by various international sources, such as the 2002 report commissioned by the Dutch government on events leading to the fall of Srebrenica. However, these sources often cite misleading figures for the number of Serb casualties in the region. The previously mentioned Dutch report, for instance, claims that the raid on Kravica resulted in the total annihilation of its populace; a claim that, as was mentioned above, has been shown to be false. Many consider that such insinuations about the motivations for the Srebrenica massacre are merely revisionist attempts to justify the genocide that ensued. To quote the report to the UN Secretary-General on the Fall of Srebrenica: Even though this accusation is often repeated by international sources, there is no credible evidence to support it… The Serbs repeatedly exaggerated the extent of the raids out of Srebrenica as a pretext for the prosecution of a central war aim: to create a geographically contiguous and ethnically pure territory along the Drina, while freeing their troops to fight in other parts of the country. The extent to which this pretext was accepted at face value by international actors and observers reflected the prism of 'moral equivalency' through which the conflict in Bosnia was viewed by too many for too long.
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