United Nations: UN votes for commemoration day for Srebrenica genocide

United Nations: UN votes for commemoration day for Srebrenica genocide

In fact, commemorative days are decided unanimously at the UN. But there is resistance to a decision negotiated by Germany. Serbia’s president accuses Berlin of “moral lessons”.

On July 11, the 1995 Srebrenica genocide will be commemorated worldwide. The United Nations General Assembly in New York voted in favor of a draft resolution for a “day of reflection and remembrance” despite a number of votes against and abstentions.

The text, which was largely drafted by Germany and Rwanda, is intended to help remember the genocide of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims. “Our initiative is about honoring the memory of the victims and supporting the survivors who continue to live with the scars of this fateful time,” said German UN Ambassador Antje Leendertse. Serbia and Russia criticized Germany’s role in drafting the text.

The resolution condemns “unreservedly any denial of the Srebrenica genocide as a historical event” and actions that glorify those “who have been convicted by international courts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide”. The day will be officially celebrated for the first time in 2025. 84 UN members voted in favor of the text, including almost all Balkan states. The result was below expectations. The vote was – unusually for decisions on commemoration days that are usually unanimous – 19 against. In addition to Serbia, China and Russia, Hungary also voted against the text. 68 countries abstained. The Serbian government had expressed dissatisfaction with the text and argued that the resolution would divide the region and create a hierarchy among the victims of the war.

Serbia’s president criticizes Germany

President Aleksandar Vucic took the microphone before the vote: “It is difficult to speak to Germany, which represents the most powerful country in Europe and feels unequivocally entitled to give moral lessons to all who disagree.” He accused Berlin of having “kept the work on the resolution secret.” The decision would open wounds and cause chaos in the Balkans. “Why didn’t these people start talking about the genocide that their country committed?” asked Vucic, referring to the Holocaust.

In her speech, Ambassador Leendertse spoke out against “false allegations”: “This resolution is not directed against anyone – not against Serbia, a valued member of this organization. If anything, it is directed against perpetrators of genocide.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, also spoke of an “important step towards promoting the culture of remembrance and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the region.”

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia emphasized Germany’s past as an aggressor in two world wars, the Holocaust, and the genocide of the Herero and Nama in what is now Namibia at the beginning of the 20th century by the German Reich: “We are convinced that Germany has no moral authority to even mention the term genocide to describe anything other than its own cruel crimes,” said Nebenzia.

Genocidal character of the massacre legally established

On July 11 and the following days, 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, mostly men and male youths, fell victim to the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian war. Women, girls and children were deported in buses to the front line in the area controlled by the Bosnian army. Judgments by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have legally established the genocidal nature of the Srebrenica massacre.

The then political leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, and the commander of the so-called Bosnian Serb Army (BSA), Ratko Mladic, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the ICTY. In Serbia under President Vucic and in the Serbian part of Bosnia, the Republika Srpska, under its President Milorad Dodik, the denial of the Srebrenica genocide and the heroization of the perpetrators is, to a certain extent, state policy. Vucic argues that the UN resolution condemns the “Serbian people” collectively – but it does not even mention Serbia by name.

Source: Stern

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