#Srebrenica2019 - 25th anniversary

Date: 
Saturday, July 11, 2020 - 09:45

The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide was the July 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War.

 

The killings were perpetrated by units of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of Ratko Mladić. The Scorpions, a paramilitary unit from Serbia, who had been part of the Serbian Interior Ministry until 1991, also participated in the massacre.

In April 1993 the United Nations (UN) had declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica—in the Drina Valley of northeastern Bosnia—a "safe area" under UN protection.

However, the UN failed to both demilitarise the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) within Srebrenica and force the withdrawal of the VRS surrounding Srebrenica.

UNPROFOR's 370 Dutchbat soldiers in Srebrenica did not prevent the town's capture by the VRS—nor the subsequent massacre.

In 2004, in a unanimous ruling on the case of Prosecutor v. Krstić, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), located in The Hague, ruled that the massacre of the enclave's male inhabitants constituted genocide, a crime under international law.

The ruling was also upheld by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2007.

The forcible transfer and abuse, of between 25,000 and 30,000 Bosniak women, children and elderly which accompanied the massacre was found to constitute genocide, when accompanied with the killings and separation of the men.[

In 2005, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations described the mass murder as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War.

In a message to the tenth anniversary commemoration of the massacre, he wrote that, while blame lay "first and foremost with those who planned and carried out the massacre and those who assisted and harboured them", the UN had "made serious errors of judgement, rooted in a philosophy of impartiality", describing Srebrenica as a tragedy that would haunt the history of the UN forever.

 

Read article by:

Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and former Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe representative on freedom of the media.

Srebrenica genocide: a mirror for all Europeans
 

 

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