Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic’s denial of genocide in Srebrenica sparked criticism by international and domestic authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Friday.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle on Thursday, Brnabic said that the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 was “a hideous crime, it was a war crime”, disputing the term genocide applied to Srebrenica.
“Genocide is when you are … killing the entire population, the women, children and this was not that case,” Brnabic said.
In his statement for BiH’s local media on Friday, the Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Bruce G. Berton, said that judgments of international courts regarding genocide in Srebrenica must be respected.
“The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice were very clear after hearing all the arguments. Genocide happened in Srebrenica,” Berton said, adding that every negation of this fact is an attempt to change the history.
“Negation of genocide complicates the process of reconciliation and causes unnecessary tensions between neighboring countries. No one benefits from it,” Berton concluded.
BiH’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic in his statement said that “truth must always be sought in real facts”, emphasizing that the ICTY in a number of court cases that were legally finalized found that in July 1995 genocide was committed against the Bosniak population in Srebrenica.
“Historical facts can never be erased. Truth is just one and it says that genocide was committed in Srebrenica,” Zvizdic stated.
Zvizdic emphasized that “it is shocking that, by uncivilized denial of genocide, Serbia tries to relativize the planned killings of over 8,000 innocent civilians”, adding that by the negation of genocide, Serbia is denying the international law and ICTY’s judgments.
“Historical facts will never again be interpreted according to the order or wishes of Belgrade, nor will the project of denying genocide, revision of historical facts or equalization of victims and criminals succeed,” Zvizdic said.
He ended the statement by saying that the genocide committed should be a reason to think about past mistakes and that it is not possible to build a modern and prosperous Serbia without facing the past.
Srebrenica, a city located in eastern BiH, was a UN-protected Muslim enclave when it was overrun in July, 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces. Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed there. So far, 6,610 victims were buried at the Memorial Center in Srebrenica, Xinhua reports.