Views and opinions 01 Apr 10

Resolution on Srebrenica? No thanks, it's not needed.

Maybe I am the only one, but I believe that no resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica is needed. Not in Serbia, nor in Bosnia nor anywhere else. What we need are trials and facing up to the past – not only on the part of the Balkans but by the whole international community.

Nidzara Ahmetasevic

I have at least two strong arguments for that. The first is that the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not committed during seven days in July 1995 in Srebrenica. I know the ruling of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, from 2007 says exactly that, but that decision is, unfortunately, more about politics than justice.

The same decision did not find Serbia responsible for the actions of the Bosnian Serb army, VRS, or that genocide was committed from 1992 all over Bosnia, where over three-and-a-half years more than 100,000 people, mostly Bosniaks, were tortured in camps, expelled, raped and killed.

The international community was not ready to recognise that genocide was taking place back in 1992. It just stood aside, watching what was going on. They called it “ethnic cleansing” or, to use the favourite propaganda phrase of Belgrade, a civil war. Had they used the word genocide, it would have obliged them to react. It was easier not to, and to wait more than 10 years and issue a murky court decision and a resolution that means nothing in the end.

My second argument is that this resolution is just a piece of paper until those responsible, not only Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, are put in jail. I refer to every perpetuator of the crimes committed in Visegrad, Sarajevo, Foca, Nevesinje, Mostar, Prijedor, Bijeljina… I could go on until almost every town and village in Bosnia and Herzegovina was mentioned.

Instead of wasting time on commenting what Serbia has done or not done, Bosnia should concentrate on the prosecution of the perpetrators of genocide, not only in Srebrenica, and on those who supported them, including the politicians, academics and journalists. Until today, not one indictment in Bosnia has been raised for genocide committed anywhere but in Srebrenica in 1995.

Serbia should do the same. That would be truly facing the past. Then other things would come about – a normal life, finally.  As for the international community, they have to face up to what they have not done – and not repeat that ever again.

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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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