A UN resolution on Srebrenica rekindles tensions

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By Creative Media News

  • UN set to designate July 11 as Srebrenica genocide remembrance day
  • Serbia’s Vucic fights resolution, cites provocation, potential destabilization
  • Resolution condemns genocide denial, excludes mention of Serbian population

We anticipate that the United Nations will adopt a resolution on Wednesday designating July 11 as an international day of remembrance for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has vowed to “fight until the last moment” in opposition to the initiative, notably alienating Serb leaders.

Vucic’s lobbying efforts against its adoption in New York, according to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UNGA), had deferred the vote.

Over a dozen countries, including Ireland, the United States, France, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, and Chile, have supported the resolution, which Germany and Rwanda launched.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague rendered a verdict in 2004 classifying the atrocities carried out by Serb forces in Srebrenica in July 1995 as genocide. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) affirmed this ruling in 2007.

The ICTY declared, “The Tribunal has established beyond a reasonable doubt that the commission of genocide resulted in the murder of 7,000 to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims.”

The ICTY has rendered eight guilty verdicts regarding the genocide that occurred against Bosniaks in Srebrenica.

Prior to this, the United Nations established designated days to observe genocides: 2004 for the Rwandan genocide and 2005 to commemorate the Holocaust.

In 2015, the United Kingdom introduced a resolution to the United Nations Security Council in remembrance of the Srebrenica genocide; however, Russia vetoed the resolution, preventing its adoption.

The following explains why the vote on a United Nations resolution has exacerbated tensions with Bosnia and Serbia:

What does the United Nations resolution say?

The resolution condemns denials of the Srebrenica genocide and actions that exalt those convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The resolution urges member states to safeguard the facts in their educational systems.

It requests that the secretary-general create an outreach program with preparations and activities for the 2025 anniversary.

The document makes no mention of the Serbian population or the Serb-controlled entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska.

What is the significance of this United Nations resolution?

Last month, Azir Osmanovic, a curator at the Srebrenica Memorial Center and survivor of the Srebrenica genocide, delivered an address elucidating the significance of the resolution.

He described his harrowing childhood in Srebrenica throughout the war: “Unfortunately, our struggle is not yet complete. Every day, we face pervasive and merciless historical revisionism, genocide denial, and the threat of renewed violence.

International recognition of the Srebrenica genocide as a universal tragedy would aid in permanently stemming this tide and, by way of worldwide consciousness, guarantee that no other community, regardless of location, is compelled to endure the same fate as us.

In what manner have Serb authorities responded?

Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska and a steadfast denier of the Srebrenica genocide, claimed that the resolution is a collection of “provocations from Bosniak politicians and their Western sponsors” whose “goal is to Satanize the Serb people.”

He stated on X, “We Serbs maintain that no genocide occurred, and we reject all resolutions and platforms.” We should categorically disregard any conjecture regarding that.

Additionally, he stated on Russian 24-TV that Bosnia “could very well perish as a single nation.” He noted that adopting the resolution by the United Nations would “only serve to complicate relations in Bosnia to complete dysfunction.”

Dodik’s SNSD party recently organized a rally in Banja Luka, Bosnia, which attracted thousands of individuals. Several Serbian officials, including Ana Brnabic, the speaker of the Serbian parliament, witnessed the event.

President Vucic has expressed concern that the ratification of the non-binding resolution could lead to demands for war reparations.

He stated on Instagram that the resolution would “open a Pandora’s box” and be “a political decision that will result in the rekindling of old wounds, the creation of new divisions, and instability in the region.”

He uploaded photographs from New York as he wrote about his meetings with permanent representatives of the United Nations, including those from Russia and the United Arab Emirates, and his lobbying efforts against “the hypocrisy of the resolution’s proponents.

He wrote that discussions with over 120 permanent representatives of the UN would follow the formation of a group at the Serbian Permanent Delegation to the UN to address the issue.

What are the consequences of the resolution for Republika Srpska?

Davor Gjenero, a political analyst from Croatia, said that “fear” exists in Republika Srpska and Serbia for excellent reasons.

“The approval of the resolution may initiate a sequence of events that may culminate in the rescission of the Dayton peace accord and the organizations it established—the Federation and Republika Srpska,” he explained.

“The issue of recognition of the results of genocide’ is indeed a valid concern, and the combination of international conditions and Dodik’s irrational strategy of intensifying secessionism could potentially result in the withdrawal of Dayton and the dissolution of both organizations.”

“Working thoughtfully and patiently at the United Nations could be crucial.”

In what ways does the resolution impact Serbia?

If the resolution were to pass, Nevenka Tromp, an East European studies lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, warned that Bosnia “could sue Serbia again for genocide.”

In 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rendered a decision stating that the available evidence was insufficient to establish Serbia’s culpability for the genocide; however, it did conclude that the country failed to prevent its occurrence.

Trump asserts that Bosnia may now find a third friendly nation with which to file a new lawsuit.

This was not typical in the past, but The Gambia filed a genocide lawsuit against Myanmar against the Rohingya in 2019. On behalf of Gaza, South Africa recently initiated legal proceedings against Israel on charges of genocide.

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Trump stated, “Serbia is following all of this with great apprehension because this development means the story of genocide responsibility for the state of Serbia is not over.” “Kosovo could now initiate legal proceedings against Serbia on charges of genocide committed in the 1990s on its territory.”

“Indeed, the question of war reparations may inevitably arise.” Bosnia and Kosovo as a state, as well as the survivors of the genocide and the victims’ families, could seek war reparations through Serbian courts.

Why does the political leadership of Serbia dispute the genocide at Srebrenica?

Former ICTY prosecutor Peter McCloskey informed Al Jazeera: “The Republic of Srpska and Serbia lacks the moral fortitude and strength to acknowledge the truth that the ICTY criminal convictions for Srebrenica established.”

“In an era where mass media and the internet have the ability to obscure the truth, certain governments have opted for a cowardly course of action by disavowing established facts and disseminating propaganda on a global scale in an effort to appease the fearful and enraged citizens of their home nations, who are susceptible to such egregious deceit.”

Rather than establishing a position of authority based on falsehoods and untruths, these nations would be better off reflecting inward, much like Germany did following World War II, and confronting the atrocities that their policies inflicted upon the people of the former Yugoslavia.” Establishing leadership on a shaky and challenging foundation is a common occurrence, making the United Nations resolution that acknowledges the Srebrenica genocide and denounces its denial all the more significant.

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