Somber Day for Srebrenica at the United Nations

April 9, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – On April 10, 2013, the President of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Vuk Jeremic has scheduled to hold a debate at the United Nations (UN) on international justice and reconciliation. ACBH has called upon the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan E. Rice to reiterate that any efforts to distort the truth and deny the Bosnian Genocide as well as the legitimacy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will not help the peace and reconciliation process in the Southeast Europe region.

Critics of the scheduled debate are worried that Mr. Jeremic will use the event to denounce the ICTY, a UN court that has indicted more than 90 Serbs for the crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia. On April 4, 2013, ACBH attended an event at The Brookings Institution where Judge Theodor Meron, President of the ICTY stated that he will not attend the UN event because “Not only the ICTY, but 3 tribunals have all declined. It is not a [debate] in which my participation would make any significant contribution to the norms which I hold dear.”

ACBH finds that the selection of retired Canadian General, Lewis MacKenzie as one of the debate panelists is deeply disturbing and offensive particularly to Bosnian women victims of rape, who thanks to their testimonies at the ICTY helped make rape a war crime under international law. General MacKenzie is not only infamous for disputing the ICTY ruling on the Srebrenica Genocide but he has also been accused by the Bosnian military prosecutor Mustafa Bisic of frequenting a rape camp near Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, a public denier of the Srebrenica Genocide will also participate in the event confirming that the panel is designed to discredit the ICTY and only serve the narrow interests of Vuk Jeremic’s political agenda.

On April 16, 1993 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 819 declaring the Srebrenica enclave a “safe zone” but the failure of the UN to protect it ultimately led to genocide. In response to the crimes that were being committed, the UN established the ICTY in order to prosecute serious crimes committed during the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

On April 10, 1994, NATO warplanes for the first time in its 45 year history commenced offensive military action by attacking Serb command posts in Bosnia’s Drina valley region due to the continued Serb attacks on the safe zone of Gorazde.

The White House issued a statement on the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide where President Obama affirmed that “The United States rejects efforts to distort the scope of this atrocity, rationalize the motivations behind it, blame the victims, and deny the indisputable fact that it was genocide. The United States stands with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and grieves again for the loss of so many loved ones. Our hearts and deepest sympathies are with them, and we pledge our enduring commitment to support their aspirations for a better tomorrow.”

Any efforts to distort the truth and deny the Bosnian Genocide are an attack on humanity. ACBH is grateful for the friendship and support of the American people and the United States Government and urges the international community to continue pursuing justice for victim of genocide and mass atrocities.