Montenegro and its Bosniak community marked the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide by saying that the country has still not fully faced up to its past, and naming one of the streets in the capital after a Bosnian war hero.
An NGO forum of Bosniaks and Muslims, the Parliament of Montenegro and the Alliance of World War II Veterans and Antifascists organized a commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide in Podgorica’s Pobrezje Memorial Park, which is dedicated to the victims of the Yugoslav wars, on Wednesday.
Rifat Rastoder, Montenegro’s deputy speaker, said that he was pleased that the capital Podgorica had supported the initiative to name one of the streets next to Pobrezje after Srdjan Aleksic, a Bosnian Serb who lost his life in 1993 while trying to protect a Bosniak.
He recalled, however, that there were still war criminals across the region who have yet to be brought to justice.
The Bosniak Party of Montenegro also issued a public statement on Wednesday, expressing sympathy with the families of more than 7,000 people who were killed in Srebrenica in July 1995, as “the systematically planned and conducted genocide of the Bosniaks“ neared its end.
The party said that Montenegro had not done enough to punish the perpetrators and those who ordered the war crimes which occurred on its territory.
Over 10 percent of Montenegro’s population is comprised of Bosniaks and Muslims. After the Bosnian war broke out, some of them suffered from intimidation and torture.
According to the NGO Human Rights Action, in 1992, at least 66 Bosniak refugees who came to Montenegro were deported by the Montenegrin police to Republika Srpska, where most of them were executed.
In April this year, the court acquitted seven former policemen and Yugoslav Army officers of charges of inhuman treatment, torture and systematic assault on ethnic Bosniaks and Muslims during the Bosnian war, in an attempt to frighten them and forcibly expel them from their villages in the Bukovica area, in northern Montenegro.
“The deportation of Bosniak refugees, and the ethnic cleansing of the Bukovica area in Montenegro’s Pljevlja municipality, are representative of the atmosphere of criminality and terror which prevailed during the 1990s in this region,” reads the Bosniak Party’s statement.
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.
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.
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.
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.