January 17, 2009
July 11th as a Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide throughout the European Union (EU)

European Parliament adopts Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

The European Parliament has overwhelmingly adopted a resolution (by 556 to nine, with 22 abstentions) proclaiming the 11th of July a Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide throughout the European Union (EU).

After the fall of Srebrenica on July 11th 1995, Bosnian Serb forces, commanded by General Ratko Mladic, and paramilitary units rapidly executed more than 8000 Bosniak (Muslim) men, boys, and elderly, who had sought safety in the area. Moreover, approximately 25000 people were forcibly deported in a UN-assited ethnic cleansing.

The victims’ bodies were first buried in mass graves, then dug out with bulldozers and moved to smaller graves. Remains can be scattered in several locations, and are not released for burial until two-thirds of the body have been recovered.

The European Parliament resolution called the Srebrenica Genocide “the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of WWII.” The assembly called it “a symbol of the international community’s impotence to intervene and protect civilians.”

“Proclaiming July 11 as a day of remembrance for the Srebrenica genocide should be a step in the right direction for reconciliation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region,” European Commissioner for Foreign Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said in support of the initiative.

“The EP stresses that reconciliation is an important part of the European integration process, a process in which the religious communities, the media and the education system play a significant role”, the Parliament added, noting that bringing to justice those responsible for the massacres is an important step towards peace and stability in the region.

“In view of the fact that General Ratko Mladic is still at large almost 14 years after the tragic events, Parliament also demands that further efforts be made to bring the remaining fugitives to justice, stressing that bringing to justice those responsible for the massacres in and around Srebrenica is an important step towards peace and stability in the region,” the European Parliament said.

Members of the European Parliament said additional measures must be taken to find and arrest those responsible, including the former Bosnian Serb leader General Ratko Mladic.

“What happened in Srebrenica in July 1995 is the worst single atrocity that Europe has experienced since World War II,” said Bosnia’s High Representative Miroslav Lajcak in his statement, welcoming the EU resolution. “By commemorating the victims of the genocide, we can help reduce the pain of those still waiting to hear what exactly happened to their relatives killed in Srebrenica and elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The resolution was drafted following a meeting between European Parliament President Diana Wallis, who is from the liberal and democratic grouping, and members of the Association of Mothers from Srebrenica and Zepa. Wallis and Jelko Kacin, a Slovenian delegate and the rapporteur on Serbia, attended the commemoration organized in Srebrenica last year.

Explaining the Resolution, Kacin said that “we must build Srebrenica in our common historical memory.” He said the resolution was not intended for the past, “although it speaks about the dead”, but is relevant to “the living and their better future.”

Editor’s Note: In 2007, Jelko Kacin issued the following statement, which we would like to share with you:

“Anybody who kills a single human being commits a crime, but those who commit genocide represent an international and political challenge.”
  1. Owen
    January 18, 2009 at 12:46 am

    In the text (below) we see in the preamble to the Resolution – adopted by an overwhelming majority of Members – a number of statements of fact which hopefully will now see any apologist or denier who tries to argue the case for any different version of reality simply laughed out of court.

    However it’s important to note that this is just a Resolution of the Parliament, which calls on the Council of Ministers and the European Commission to commemorate the anniversary by supporting the Parliament’s recognition of 11 July as a day for commemoration of the genocide all over the EU and calling on all the countries of the western Balkans to do the same.

    The Resolution isn’t binding on the Council and the Commission but with the sort of overwhelming support it has received it makes it a bit more difficult for the Council and the Commission to allow leeway to nations applying for membership to get away with pretending that things didn’t happen or they weren’t responsible for sheltering perpetrators.

    Dodik has – surprise, surprise – denounced the Resolution as “incorrect and uncceptable.”

    “European Parliament
    12 January 2009

    European Parliament resolution on Srebrenica

    The European Parliament,

    — having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2005 on ‘The Balkans: 10 years after Srebrenica’,

    — having regard to the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina signed on 16 June 2008 and the prospect of EU membership held out to all the countries of the western Balkans at the EU summit in Thessaloniki in 2003,

    — having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas in July 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which was at that time an isolated enclave proclaimed a Protected Zone by a United Nations Security Council Resolution of 16 April 1993, fell into the hands of the Serbian militias led by General Ratko Mladic and under the direction of the then President of the Republika Srpska, Radovan Karadzic,

    B. whereas, during several days of carnage after the fall of Srebrenica, more than 8000 Muslim men and boys, who had sought safety in this area under the protection of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), were summarily executed by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Mladic and by paramilitary units, including Serbian irregular police units which had entered Bosnian territory from Serbia; whereas nearly 25 000 women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported, making this event the biggest war crime to take place in Europe since the end of the
    Second World War,

    C. whereas this tragedy, declared an act of genocide by the ICTY, took place in a UN-proclaimed safe haven, and therefore stands as a symbol of the impotence of the international community to intervene in the conflict and protect the civilian population,

    D. having regard to the multiple violations of the Geneva Conventions perpetrated by Bosnian Serb troops against Srebrenica’s civilian population, including deportations of thousands of women, children and elderly people and the rape of a large number of women,

    E. whereas in spite of the enormous efforts made to date to discover and exhume mass and individual graves and identify the bodies of the victims, the searches conducted until now do not permit a complete reconstruction of the events in and around Srebrenica,

    F. whereas there cannot be real peace without justice and whereas full and unrestricted cooperation with the ICTY remains a basic requirement for further continuation of the process of integration into the EU for the countries of the western Balkans,

    G. whereas General Radislav Krstic of the Bosnian Serb army is the first person found guilty by the ICTY of aiding and abetting the Srebrenica genocide, but whereas the most prominent indicted person,
    Ratko Mladic, is still at large almost fourteen years after the tragic events, and whereas it is to be welcomed that Radovan Karadzic now has been transferred to the ICTY,

    H. whereas the institutionalisation of a day of remembrance is the best means of paying tribute to the victims of the massacres and sending a clear message to future generations,

    1. Commemorates and honours all the victims of the atrocities during the wars in the former Yugoslavia; expresses its condolences to and solidarity with the families of the victims, many of whom are living without final confirmation of the fate of their fathers, sons, husbands or brothers; recognises that this continuing pain is aggravated by the failure to bring those responsible for these acts to justice;

    2. Calls on the Council and Commission to commemorate appropriately the anniversary of the Srebrenica-Potoèari act of genocide by supporting the European Parliament’s recognition of 11 July as the day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide all over the EU and to call on all the countries of the western Balkans to do the same;

    3. Calls for further efforts to bring the remaining fugitives to justice, expresses its full support for the valuable and difficult work of the ICTY and stresses that bringing to justice those responsible for the massacres in and around Srebrenica is an important step towards peace and stability in the region;

    4. Stresses the importance of reconciliation as part of the European integration process; emphasises the important role of religious communities, the media and the education system in this process, so that civilians of all ethnicities may overcome the tensions of the past and begin a peaceful and sincere coexistence in the interests of enduring peace, stability and economic growth; urges all countries to make further efforts to come to terms with a difficult and troubled past;

    5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its entities, and the governments and parliaments of the countries of the western Balkans.”

  2. Owen
    January 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

    It will be interesting to see whether Lewis MacKenzie, Noam Chomsky, Diana Johnstone or any of the other prominent deniers / apologists / minimisers are prepared to offer public comments on the affirmative tone of the Resolution.

  3. shaina
    February 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Owen, I’m not sure if any resolution will cause any of the most ardent deniers, be they on the extreme left or the extreme right, to have a “change of heart”; after all there are still people, albeit a very small minority by now-but still active on the internet, who, despite all the evidence still maintain that what happened in Srebrenica was simply a “battle” or the execution of a “few” p.o.w.
    So, I can’t imagine a resolution to change that sort of mindset.

    However, I do think that the resolution is important, in particular because The resolution shows that acknowledging that what occured in Srebrenica was an act of genocide and that fact has not only been affirmed by the court, but also by the overwelming majority of the European body.

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