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Fred Knubel, Director of Public Information
For Use Upon Receipt: Tuesday, May 14, 1996

Columbia's Tobenkin Prize Awarded to Rohde

David Rohde of The Christian Science Monitor has won the 1996 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for articles exposing the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

The award was presented by Dean Joan Konner of the Journalism School at a ceremony Tuesday, May 14, at the school. First awarded in 1961, the prize is named for the longtime reporter for The New York Herald Tribune who died in 1959.

Mr. Rohde's on-site reporting of the massacre, which he brought to public light, prompted intensive media coverage of the largest massacre in Europe since the Holocaust. It also won him the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.

Last August Mr. Rohde became the first Westerner to freely inspect one of the grave sites near the former U.N. "safe area" of Srebrenica after it fell to the Bosnian Serb forces in July. Pursuing tales of unprecedented mass executions of Muslims with only a faxed copy of a satellite photo released by the Clinton Administration to go by, he was able to locate the graves and collect the first on-site evidence of mass executions. For the next few months, he searched dozens of villages and refugee camps in northeastern Bosnia until he had found nine credible survivors of the executions and persuaded them to reveal for the first time the scope of the massacres and the role of Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic in overseeing them.

Through further reporting in Croatia and the Netherlands, Rohde investigated why U.N. commanders failed to protect the safe area and why Dutch peacekeepers destroyed evidence of executions. He also exposed U.S. failure to turn over all intelligence on the massacres to the War Crimes Tribunal. In late October, after entering Bosnian Serb territory to check the locations of more suspected mass grave sites, he was arrested at gunpoint as he was about to photograph human bones at one of the sites. He was jailed for 10 days and threatened with an espionage charge. Only after protest by U.S. officials was he released.

A 1990 graduate of Brown University, Mr. Rohde joined the Monitor in 1994. He worked as a roving national news reporter for six months, filing stories from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. He became East Europe correspondent based in Sarajevo and Zagreb in November 1994. Earlier he worked for a year as a suburban correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer. His overseas reporting experience includes interviewing political dissidents and covering May Day celebrations in Cuba for the Monitor in 1992, covering the re-election of President Hafez al-Assad in Syria for The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in 1991, and covering the failed Soviet coup in the Baltic republics for The New York Times and The Associated Press in 1991.