BiH’s Presidency Chairman accuses Bosniaks of Construction of Myth about Srebrenica

April 14, 2019 8:00 AM

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik on Friday accused the country’s Muslim community and the wider world of propagating a “myth” in viewing the 1995 killings in Srebrenica as genocide.

“Every people needs a myth — and the Bosnians didn’t have any. They tried to construct the myth of Srebrenica. It is a false myth — this myth doesn’t exist,” Dodik told broadcaster RTRS.

Srebrenica genocide, slaying of more than 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) boys and men, perpetrated by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica, a town in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in July 1995. In addition to the killings, more than 20,000 civilians were expelled from the area—a process known as ethnic cleansing.

The massacre, which was the worst episode of mass murder within Europe since World War II, helped galvanize the West to press for a cease-fire that ended three years of warfare on Bosnia’s territory (see Bosnian conflict). However, it left deep emotional scars on survivors and created enduring obstacles to political reconciliation among Bosnia’s ethnic groups.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia—established before the massacre to scrutinize ongoing military conduct—concluded that the killings at Srebrenica, compounded by the mass expulsion of Bosniak civilians, amounted to genocide.

International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals  has in March this year found Mr. Karadžić individually criminally responsible through his participation in joint criminal enterprises to: (i) permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory in municipalities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina between October 1991 and 30 November 1995 (“Overarching JCE”); (ii) spread terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo through a campaign of sniping and shelling from late May 1992 until October 1995 (“Sarajevo JCE”); (iii) eliminate the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 (“Srebrenica JCE”); and (iv) take United Nations personnel hostage in order to compel the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to abstain from conducting air strikes against Bosnian Serb targets from 25 May to 18 June 1995 (“Hostages JCE”). The Trial Chamber also found Mr. Karadžić responsible as a superior in relation to certain crimes committed by his subordinates in Srebrenica in 1995.

The Appeals Chamber reversed, in part, Judges Joensen and de Prada dissenting, Mr. Karadžić’s convictions related to the Overarching JCE to the extent that they are based on certain Scheduled Incidents. The Appeals Chamber unanimously dismissed all other aspects of Mr. Karadžić’s appeal and affirmed his remaining convictions pursuant to Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the ICTY Statute for genocide, persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, and other inhumane acts (forcible transfer) as crimes against humanity, as well as for murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians, and hostage-taking as violations of the laws or customs of war, in relation to his participation in the Overarching JCE, the Sarajevo JCE, the Srebrenica JCE, and the Hostages JCE.

 

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