Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Serbia / Srebrenica Massacre

War Crimes: Is Serbia's Srebrenica Apology Genuine?
By Robert Marquand
Christian Science Monitor, March 31, 2010
"A resolution of apology by the Serbian parliament yesterday for the 1995 Srebrenica civilian massacre is seen by many in Belgrade as a landmark in the Balkan nation's often bitter attempt to deal with the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II. But outside Serbia, the apology-resolution, which passed by two votes, was seen by several Balkan analysts as too little too late, and more of a sop to the European Union in hopes of speeding up Serbia's integration with Europe at a time of financial woes. The resolution stopped short of calling the murder of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslims who were fleeing a 'UN safe area' a genocide, saying, 'The parliament of Serbia strongly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica in July 1995,' and extends 'condolences and an apology to the families of the victims because not everything was done to prevent the tragedy.' Belgrade has long been divided over
confronting the role it played in Srebrenica -- with often-abject denials from Serb officials and mainstream media outlets, even as evidence mounted at The Hague Yugoslav tribunal of the significant assistance given to Bosnian Serb generals and paramilitary groups by Belgrade, including an incriminating video showing executions, which was made public five years ago. At the same time, many liberal Serb intellectuals and peace groups fought to establish the facts; on the 10th anniversary of the massacre, current Serb Prime Minister Boris Tadic visited the grave site. Yet as recently as early March, Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Bosnian Serbs, essentially denied the massacre took place in his opening statements at The Hague, where he is on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity. ... In a region that famously produces more history than it can consume, Serb nationalists in the parliament called the resolution a 'shame' and said it would permanently stain the name of Serbia in world opinion. Comment on the more liberal radio B92 ran in the other direction. 'Condemning the crime against the Bosniaks of Srebrenica, while paying respect to the innocent victims and offering condolences to their families, will lift the burden off future generations,' stated analyst Nada Kolundzija. [...]"

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