Serbian Leaders Continue to Deny Srebrenica Genocide Amid UN Resolution Controversy

Serbian leaders deny Srebrenica genocide, hindering reconciliation efforts in the Balkans, as UN resolution to commemorate victims faces fierce opposition.

Israel Ojoko
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Serbian Leaders Continue to Deny Srebrenica Genocide Amid UN Resolution Controversy

Serbian Leaders Continue to Deny Srebrenica Genocide Amid UN Resolution Controversy

In the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly's discussion of a draft resolution on the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik have intensified their rhetoric denying the atrocities.

The resolution, set to be debated on May 2, seeks to designate July 11 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Genocide Committed in Srebrenica.

Vučić criticized the resolution, calling it a "deeply divisive topic" that takes the Balkan peoples "back to the past." He questioned the motives of countries like Germany and the United States in pushing for its passage, arguing that it would ignite additional conflicts rather than promote future cooperation and economic progress. Vučić accused these nations of hypocrisy, stating that they tell Serbia not to look into the past but then take them back 25-30 years when it suits their interests.

Meanwhile, Dodik claimed that more Serbs were killed in Sarajevo during the siege than there were victims in Srebrenica, asserting that "nothing genocidal happened in Srebrenica." He accused Bosnian Muslims of trying to create a "myth" about the genocide and said that Serbs in Republika Srpska would not accept living with them under conditions where they are labeled in a "disgraceful way."

Why this matters: The Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces, remains a contentious issue in the Balkans. The denial of the genocide by Serbian leaders hinders reconciliation efforts and perpetuates divisions in the region.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić also weighed in on the controversy, criticizing North Macedonia's decision to co-sponsor the resolution. Dačić called the move "presumptuous" and "insolent," questioning why there are no resolutions for other genocides against Serbs and other groups. He stated that Serbia finds it "unacceptable that Muslims are the only victims of the war."

The resolution has faced further opposition from Serbian Parliament Speaker Ana Brnabić, who argued that it breaches the Dayton Peace Agreement and Bosnia and Herzegovina's constitution. Brnabić warned that the resolution could undermine stability in the Balkans and the UN Charter, as the issue should be addressed by the UN Security Council rather than the General Assembly.

The ongoing denial of the Srebrenica genocide by Serbian leaders Vučić and Dodik, along with the strong reactions to the UN resolution, highlight the deep divisions that persist in the Balkans. As Murat Tahirović, president of the Association of Genocide Victims and Witnesses, stated, the resolution is "simply an act of civilization that would show respect for the victims." The international community's efforts to commemorate the genocide and combat denial face significant challenges in the face of entrenched nationalist narratives and political interests.

Key Takeaways

  • Serbia's leaders deny Srebrenica genocide, opposing UN resolution to commemorate it.
  • Vučić and Dodik claim resolution is divisive and accuse West of hypocrisy.
  • Dodik falsely claims more Serbs killed in Sarajevo than Srebrenica victims.
  • Denial hinders reconciliation, perpetuates divisions in Balkans, per article.
  • Serbia's parliament, foreign minister also oppose resolution, citing Dayton Accords.