News 11 Jul 12

Belgrade Women Honour Srebrenica Victims

Close to hundred people gathered on the central square of the Serbian capital in order to pay homage to those killed in Srebrenica in 1995.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade
 Photo by Beta

A performance called “We will never forget the genocide in Srebrenica” was organized on Tuesday evening by the Serbian NGO Women in Black.

“We believe that it is the responsibility of all of us, the civil society, to never end our struggle for the victims' rights, to continue building monuments to those who suffered and to advocate for July 11 to be marked as an international day of  genocide remembrance,” said Stasa Zajovic, the director of Women in Black.

Zajovic has expessed her regrets that there have not been any official commemoration in Serbia related to the war crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995, where more than 7,000 people were killed by the Bosnian Serb army.

During the gathering on the main city square, Trg Republike, the testimonies of the families of the Srebrenica victims were broadcast.

Photo by Beta

“We are aware that it was not the fault of the ordinary people in Serbia.  The perpetrators were not the Serbs that we lived with. The perpetrators were Chetniks. This is why we wish to call out to all those people to condemn the crime committed, and to tell them the truth – the truth of the families of the victims,” said one of the women from Srebrenica.

The gathered women carried in silence the list of names of 8,372 people who were killed in Srebrenica and its surroundings.

They also condemned the recent statements by Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic that the killings in Srebrenica were not genocide.

Belgrade’s Helsinki Committee says that in Serbia there currently is a widespread denial of the atrocities committed by Serbs during the war, including the genocide in Srebrenica.

Photo by Beta

They warned that the media are partly responsible for this, citing a case of a book on Srebrenica published by a Serbian news magazine, which the NGO describes as a rewriting of history.

The book argues that, alongside Bosnian Serb foces, Bosniaks are also to blame for the “fall of Srebrenica”. The book is on sale in Serbia and Republika Srpska but it is banned in Bosnia because of its content.

The Helsinki Committee also requested the new Parliament to adopt a law that would make genocide denial an offence.

“The events in the1990s and their interpretation [in Serbia and Repubika Srpska] still remain a major obstacle to the normalization of the relations between Serbia and Bosnia.”

“Milosevic’s regime left a strong painful legacy. However, the new democratic governments have failed to achieve even the minimal consensus necessary for the evaluation and objective overcoming of the recent past,” reads a public letter by Sonja Biserko, Head of the Helsinki Committee.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.

The Indictment Against Ratko Mladic

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002 and 2010, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic: From Promising Officer to Bloodstained Warlord

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

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