The UN creates a day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, castigated by the Serbs – Libération

The UN creates a day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, castigated by the Serbs – Libération
The UN creates a day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, castigated by the Serbs – Libération

The resolution, decried by Serbian nationalists, received 84 votes for, 19 against and 68 abstentions this Thursday, May 23.

The UN General Assembly created this Thursday, May 23, an International Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the anger of Belgrade and the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, who still refuse to recognize it. The resolution, prepared by Germany and Rwanda, two countries marked by other genocides in the 20th century, received 84 votes for, 19 against and 68 abstentions.

“This resolution seeks to encourage reconciliation, today and for the future,” justified the German ambassador Ante Leendertse, insisting on the role of the UN in ensuring that the crimes of the past are not repeated. This vote is, “for survivors, further proof that we are not alone in our mission to preserve the truth,” Almasa Salihovic, spokesperson for the city’s Memorial Center, stressed in Srebrenica. “We need to send this message that we can live together, but sometimes we have to accept the more bitter sides of history, which is that genocide was committed in the name of one people against another people. We have to accept this so that this society can heal,” she insisted.

On July 11, 1995, a few months before the end of the intercommunal conflict that had raged in Bosnia for three years, Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Ratko Mladic took the town of Srebrenica. In the following days, around 8,000 Muslim men and teenagers were executed. The massacre, the worst killing perpetrated in Europe since the Second World War, was described as genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It is therefore a “do” indisputable, support the supporters of the resolution.

Which, however, remains contested. “There was no genocide,” Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik hammered this Thursday from Srebrenica, warning the international community in advance that he would reject the resolution. “We are telling you right now that we will not accept it. It will not be included in school curricula and we will not commemorate July 11.”

A bulwark against “persistent revisionism”

One year before the 30th anniversary of the massacre, the resolution therefore proclaims July 11 “International day of reflection and commemoration of the genocide committed in Srebrenica in 1995”. The text also condemns “without reservation any denial of the historicity of the genocide committed in Srebrenica” And “acts that glorify those who have been found guilty” of these crimes. This resolution is “all the more important given the persistent revisionism […] and hate speech” of certain political leaders in the region, commented the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who traveled to New York, denounced a resolution “highly political”. She “will open old wounds and cause political havoc, not only in our region, but also here,” at the UN, he said, ensuring that he paid tribute to “all victims of the conflicts in Bosnia, Serbs and Bosniaks”. The authors of the text wanted “stigmatize the Serbian people, they have not succeeded, they will never succeed”, he added, wrapped in the Serbian flag, calling into question the legitimacy of a vote having received fewer votes in favor than the total of votes against and abstentions.

If all the countries of the former Yugoslavia, with the exception of Serbia, voted in favor, many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America abstained. The European Union, for its part, exposed its divisions, with Hungary voting against, and several of its members abstaining, such as Greece, Cyprus, and Slovakia. In this tense context, the EU had stressed before the vote that “anyone who tries to question [le génocide de Srebrenica] has no place in Europe.

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