News 12 Jul 10

Bosnian Serb Leader Denies Srebrenica Was Genocide

Milorad Dodik, the leader of Bosnia’s Serb dominated part, said Monday that the July 1995 massacre of over 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys by Serb troops was not a genocide, slamming foreign officials who attended the commemoration of the crime a day earlier.

Dodik said that Bosnia’s Serb dominated part Republika Srpska “never denied that crimes happened in Srebrenica… but it opposes attempts to qualify that crime as genocide”.

Dodik was addressing up to 2,000 people who gathered in Bratunac, near Srebrenica, to commemorate over 3,200 Serbs, mainly soldiers, killed by Bosniak troops in eastern Bosnia during the country’s 1992-95 war.

The ceremony was held a day after up to 60,000 mourners, including numerous international dignitaries, gathered in Srebrenica to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the massacre there and bury 775 newly identified victims whose remains had been exhumed from numerous mass graves found in the area.

Srebrenica is the only episode of Bosnia's war to have been ruled a genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal and the International Court of Justice, both based in The Hague.

Foreign dignitaries who attended the commemoration Srebrenica on Sunday included French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Serbian President Boris Tadic.

Dodik slammed top international envoy to Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, for saying in Srebrenica that people who question genocide in Srebrenica are “not part of our civilization.”

“I noticed that he was standing next to Erdogan who denies… genocide committed against Armenians” in Turkey in 1915, he said.

Following the ceremony in Bratunac, a group of hardliners dressed in T-shirts with photos of General Ratko Mladic, who led Bosnian Serb troops involved in the Srebrenica killings, unveiled big banners with the words “(Boris) Tadic is not Serbia” and “(Republika) Srpska is not genocidal”.

Serbia has for years denied the scale of the crime. However, under the leadership of pro-European Tadic, Serbia passed a resolution in March condemning the massacre and apologizing to the victims to the dismay of those Bosnian Serbs who continue to deny that what happened in Srebrenica constituted genocide and to question the number of people killed.

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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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