International organizations in Bosnia have strongly condemned top Bosnian Serb officials for denying genocide in Srebrenica and glorifying convicted war criminals, describing such actions as “unacceptable in a democratic society”.
“A public official who denies genocide…not only insults the memory of those who were murdered, but also actively undermines the rule of law,” said a joint statement issued by a number of international organizations active in Bosnia.
“Publicly awarding those who conceived, directed or facilitated genocide also undermines the authority of the judiciary,” the statement added.
The statement was signed by the office of the international community’s High Representative to Bosnia, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations resident coordinator in the country, as well as by the EU peacekeepers and NATO headquarters in Sarajevo.
The condemnation of the genocide denial was apparently issued in response to recent statements by the prime minister of Bosnia’s Serb dominated part Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, who has repeatedly said that the 1995 murder of over 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys in Srebrenica was not a genocide.
In his most recent statement, given only a day after commemorations of the 15th anniversary of the crime in the eastern Bosnian town, Dodik said that Republika Srpska “never denied that crimes happened in Srebrenica… but it opposes attempts to qualify that crime as genocide”.
Also, the strongest Bosnian Serb opposition party, the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), decorated its founder, Radovan Karadzic, a day before the 15th anniversary of the genocide committed in Srebrenica by troops under his command.
Srebrenica is the only episode of Bosnia’s war to have been ruled a genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal and the International Court of Justice, both based in The Hague.
Karadzic is currently standing trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal for his role in crimes committed during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, most notably for genocide in Srebrenica.