May 20. 2024. 11:54

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Bosnian Serb MPs adopt a report denying the Srebrenica genocide

Bosnian Serb lawmakers on Thursday (18 April) adopted a report denying that the killing of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war constituted genocide, and thousands of Serbs later protested against a United Nation’s resolution to commemorate the atrocity.

The massacre in 1995, which happened in the week after the UN safe zone of Srebrenica was attacked by Bosnian Serb forces, was seen as Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two, and international courts have ruled it constituted genocide.

The parliamentary step came as Serbia and Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic campaign against a resolution to commemorate the Srebrenica genocide that is being debated in the United Nations and should be voted on in the General Assembly in early May.

After the vote in the Serb Republic’s parliament, thousands of people from across the region joined a protest against the resolution organised by the ruling coalition in the Serb Republic’s de facto capital of Banja Luka.

Milorad Dodik, the region´s nationalist president, said that the Bosnian Serb army operation in Srebrenica was a “big mistake”.

“It was a crime but it was not a genocide,” Dodik told supporters who were applauding and waving Serb flags. He called on Muslim Bosniaks to pull back their support for the resolution, saying that otherwise the Serbs will not live with them in the same state.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić said last week that Serbia will fight against the UN resolution which would put blame on Serbs, fearing it may form a basis for Bosnia to demand war reparations from Serbia, the Bosnian Serbs´ wartime ally.

The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) established in a series of verdicts over the past two decades that the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica constituted genocide.

The International Court of Justice confirmed in 2007 such a declaration, stating in addition that Serbia failed to prevent the genocide from occurring.

The draft UN resolution, initiated by Germany, Rwanda and co-sponsored by the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries, calls for 11 July to be an official International Day of Remembrance of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

It also calls for the condemnation of any denial of the genocide in Srebrenica.

The men, most of them unarmed, were executed while trying to escape the eastern enclave after it fell into hands of the Bosnian Serb forces on 11 July 1995. They were killed en masse and their remains were dug out years later from primary and secondary mass graves.

The Serb forces were commanded by General Ratko Mladić, who was jailed for life in 2017 after being convicted by the ICTY of genocide and crimes against humanity for orchestrating massacres and ethnic cleansing during Bosnia’s war.

A 2021 report by a group of foreign experts, commissioned by the Serb Republic government, concluded however that crimes took place at Srebrenica but not genocide, halving the number of the dead and saying most of the dead men were killed in combat.

Read more with Euractiv

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