The discussion in the Serbian parliament of a resolution on Srebrenica has continued into the early evening. The text of the resolution condemns the massacre committed in Srebrenica but does not explictly call it a genocide, a matter that has caused significant controversy both within Serbia and abroad.
Serbian Parliamentary Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic announced yesterday that the resolution would be put to a vote in the parliament on Tuesday.
In an interview with daily Blic, the speaker said that the text of the resolution could not be changed, noting that MPs could not propose amendments but could discuss the text. She acknowledged that there was a dispute as to whether the Srebrenica massacre should be called a crime or genocide.
“This resolution text cannot be modified. There are two possibilities – either to vote on the present text, or for it to be withdrawn and a new document drafted,” the daily quoted Djukic-Dejanovic as saying.
The declaration can be adopted by simple majority vote. This means that it could be adopted with 64 votes if only 126 MPs are present, but it would require 126 votes in the event that all the 250 MPs participate in the voting.
The declaration will almost certainly get votes from the ruling Democratic Party, G17 Plus, the Socialist Party of Serbia, Party of United Pensioners of Serbia, the Vojvodina Hungarians Alliance, SVM, the League of Vojvodina Social Democrats, LSV, and the two independent MPs Vladan Batic and Jovan Damjanovic. This means that 120 votes in favour have likely been secured.
It is very likely that the Serbian Radical Party will vote against the resolution, while the Serb Progressive Party, SNS, also in opposition, has said it will make its final decision ahead of the parliament session on Tuesday.
Serbia's President Boris Tadic launched an initiative for the adoption of a parliamentary resolution on January 13, claiming that Serbia had a moral obligation to adopt a measure condemning the Srebrenica crimes. But at the same time, he supported the idea of a separate resolution condemning war crimes committed against Serbs, noting that in this way parliament would avoid allocating "collective guilt".
Srebrenica has become a byword for genocide and a symbol of the horror of Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Around 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were executed by Bosnian Serb forces after they overran the UN-protected enclave in July 1995.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution in January 2009 and called on all European states to do the same and recognise July 11, the date of the start of the Srebrenica massacre, as "a day of commemoration throughout the EU”.
Some politicians in Serbia are fiercely opposed to any resolution on Srebenica, and others have different views on what to call the crime that was committed in July 1995 in the eastern Bosnian town.
Some, like the Liberal Democratic Party, LDP, and the Coalition List for Sandzak, support a strongly worded resolution that includes the term genocide.
The chief mufti in Sandzak, Muamer Zukorlic, said that the Islamic community would not accept the Srebrenica resolution if the word “genocide” was not clearly stated in it.
“They say that it is the same thing—a crime and genocide. If it is all the same, then write genocide. What is the problem?” Fonet news agency quoted Zukorlic as saying.
The text of the resolution reportedly says that parliament condemns in the strongest terms the crime that took place in Srebrenica, in a manner determined by the ruling of the International Court of Justice, broadcaster B92 reported last week after seeing a copy.
The first part of the draft reportedly expresses condolences and apologies to the victims’ families.
Also, the declaration’s text says that the Parliament condemns all social and political processes and phenomena which lead to the false idea that social and national goals can be achieved by using armed force and physical violence against members of other nations and religions, B92 reported.
According to a survey carried out in January for the National Council for Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal on a sample of 1,000 respondents, a declaration condemning the massacre received the support of 20.6 per cent of those queried, while 46.2 per cent preferred the adoption of a single resolution that would condemn all crimes in the former Yugoslavia..
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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.