Serbian Activist Criticizes Intellectual Elite's Silence on Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

Prominent Serbian activist criticizes intellectual elite's silence on upcoming UN resolution to commemorate Srebrenica genocide, as Serbia and Bosnian Serb leaders actively campaign against it, sparking intense regional tensions.

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Salman Akhtar
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Serbian Activist Criticizes Intellectual Elite's Silence on Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

Serbian Activist Criticizes Intellectual Elite's Silence on Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

On April 21, 2024, Nataša Kandić, a prominent Serbian human rights activist, strongly criticized Serbia's intellectual elite for their silence regarding the upcoming United Nations resolution on the Srebrenica genocide. Kandić urged the intellectuals to call on President Aleksandar Vučić to stop his "embarrassing fight" against the resolution, which seeks to commemorate the victims of the 1995 massacre.

The draft UN resolution, proposed by Germany and Rwanda and co-sponsored by the United States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries, aims to declare July 11 as the International Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. The massacre, where Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, is considered Europe's worst atrocity since World War II and has been classified as genocide by international courts.

Why this matters: The upcoming UN resolution on the Srebrenica genocide has sparked intense debates and political tensions in the region, with Serbia and Bosnian Serb leaders actively campaigning against it. The resolution's adoption could have significant implications for regional reconciliation efforts and the acknowledgment of the genocide by the international community.

Serbia's President Vučić has expressed concern over the resolution, arguing that the issue was illegally moved from the Security Council to the UN General Assembly and stating that Serbia will object to the resolution. Vučić fears that the resolution may form a basis for Bosnia to demand war reparations from Serbia, the Bosnian Serbs' wartime ally.

The Serbian government, represented by Ambassador Djuric, strongly opposes the resolution, claiming that it aims to deepen divisions within Bosnia and Herzegovina and that there was no prior regional consultation on the matter. Djuric argued that the resolution is being pushed for geopolitical motives by countries opposed to Serbia's views and that it would not be a matter of reverence for the victims but rather a way to deepen problems in the region.

Bosnian Serb lawmakers recently adopted a report denying that the Srebrenica killings constituted genocide, sparking protests by thousands of Serbs against the UN resolution. Milorad Dodik, the nationalist president of Bosnia's Serb Republic, called the Srebrenica killings a "crime but not a genocide."

In a recent meeting with James O'Brien, the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the US State Department, President Vučić acknowledged disagreements on issues related to Kosovo and Srebrenica. He thanked O'Brien for recognizing the importance of the Community of Serb Municipalities, which Pristina has ignored for over 11 years, and argued that Pristina has not implemented the Brussels Agreement, while Serbia has.

As the vote on the UN resolution approaches in early May, Nataša Kandić's criticism highlights the growing tensions and divisions within Serbian society regarding the Srebrenica genocide. The silence of Serbia's intellectual elite on this critical issue has drawn condemnation from human rights activists who believe that acknowledging the genocide is crucial for regional reconciliation and justice for the victims.

Key Takeaways

  • Serbian activist Nataša Kandić criticized Serbia's elite for silence on Srebrenica resolution.
  • UN resolution aims to declare July 11 as International Day of Remembrance for Srebrenica victims.
  • Serbia and Bosnian Serb leaders actively campaign against the resolution, fearing war reparations.
  • Bosnian Serb lawmakers deny Srebrenica killings were genocide, sparking protests against UN resolution.
  • Tensions and divisions within Serbia over acknowledging Srebrenica genocide for regional reconciliation.