Serbia apologise for Srebrenica massacre
Resolution condemned by Bosnian Muslims as not going far enough
Wednesday 31 March 2010
The Serbian parliament last night passed resolution apologising for the 1995 massacre by Bosnian Serbs of 8,000 unarmed Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica.
A bitterly debated draft of the declaration, opposed by Serb nationalists and condemned by Bosnian Muslims for not going far enough, extends condolences to the victims' families and the survivors of the single worst atrocity in Europe since the end of World War II. The wording condemns the massacre and apologises for Belgrade's failure to do more to prevent the killings, which were carried out by the Bosnian Serb Army and Serbian paramilitaries.
The Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic had urged the move saying it was necessary as "Serbia wants to demonstrate the desire to move to regional reconciliation and show good neighbourly relations among the countries in the region".
However, in a concession to Serb nationalists, the wording put to parliament crucially fell short of describing the atrocity as a genocide, using the terms "crime" and "tragedy" instead. The term genocide is used both by the International Court of Justice, the European Parliament and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
"They (the MPs) shouldn't have bothered to adopt it (the resolution) with such a text," international law professor Vojin Dimitrijevic said. Many Serbs still live in denial that war crimes were committed in their name by their next of kin in the wars of the 1990s.
"The resolution in such a form does not mean a thing for us," said Hajra Catic, head of Women of Srebrenica, the Bosnia-based body representing families of massacre victims.
"Crimes were committed all over Bosnia, but it was genocide in Srebrenica; that is what happened," she said.
Ms Catic lost her husband Junuz, her son Nino and another 10 male members of her extended family in the aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica.
The Serb apology comes at a time when the Balkan nation is pushing hard to join the European Union. One of the political preconditions for accession is the arrest of the remaining author of the massacre, the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.
Despite the capture and arrest in 2008 of the Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who is now on trial for war crimes in The Hague, Mladic remains in hiding and is still hailed by many Serbs as a hero. The parliamentary resolution calls for his arrest and urges the Bosnian Serb authorities to do everything they can to apprehend him.
Mladic's forces overran the UN-protected Muslim enclave in July 1995, separating men and boys from their families, who were allowed to leave. The men were summarily executed in nearby woods and buried in unmarked graves. Not all bodies have yet been recovered; that process continues, as does the painful task of identification.
Serb nationalists called the declaration "shameful" and tantamount to an admission of collective responsibility. "Serbia will sign its own guilt with this declaration", Slobodan Samardzic, a nationalist member, told the debate. "Why do you want to put a mark on the future generations that they will never wash away?" Velimir Ilic, another parliamentarian, asked.
In January 2009 the European Parliamnet called on all EU states to recognise 11 July, the date of the start of the massacre, as "a day of commemoration throughout the EU".
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...