April 26, 2024

The National Assembly of RS adopted conclusions that deny genocide.

Denying the genocide in Srebrenica, relativizing war crimes, and using insulting messages and hate speech are the messages that have been coming from the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska (RS) recently.

An announcement that the draft Resolution on the genocide committed in Srebrenica will be on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on May 2 was followed by statements by RS officials denying that the genocide took place.

On 18 April, the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (NSRS) unanimously adopted the Final Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiring on the Sufferings of All Peoples in the Srebrenica Region between 1992 to 1995, which was formed by the Government of RS. It includes 12 conclusions stating that the term genocide is incorrect and cannot be accepted.

A rally “Srpska Calls You” was held at Trg Krajine in Banja Luka, where several thousand people from RS and Serbia gathered. Photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as Ratko Mladić, who was convicted of genocide in Srebrenica, could be seen at the rally.

The President of RS, Milorad Dodik, has repeatedly denied the genocide in Srebrenica in recent days. “It was a crime at the end of the war after fatigue, hatred and suffering, revenge, but it was not genocide,” said Dodik at a rally held in Banja Luka. 

The president of the NPS party, Darko Banjac, also gave a speech in which he denied the genocide in Srebrenica and called the ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to the UN, Zlatko Lagumdžija, a “Big Muslim”. He also called the European Union (EU) a “fag,” insulted the LGBTI community, and glorified Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He said he was sorry that “Russia’s special operation” did not extend to other Nazis and fascists, alluding to Germany, which supported the UN Resolution on the genocide committed in Srebrenica.

The NSRS adopted a report denying genocide

In the report conclusions adopted by the NSRS it was stated that they permanently reject the term genocide “bearing in mind that the minimum number of members of Muslim forces or prisoners of war, captured and executed is between 1,500 and 2,000, and the maximum number is up to 3,000”. 

The International Court in The Hague found that Bosnian Serb forces executed between seven and eight thousand captured Bosnian men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995, that the killings were the result of a well-planned and coordinated operation, and that they were carried out with genocidal intent. 

“You are trying to impose by force to say that it happened, but it didn’t (…) The Serbian people did not commit genocide. I feel sorry for all the Muslim victims, but you are very mistaken. You are creating a rift between us,” said Dodik at the NSRS session. During his speech before parliamentarians, he made a number of unfounded claims and downplayed the number of those killed in Srebrenica.

The MPs from the PDP, SDS, Lista za pravdu i red (List for Justice and Order), who spoke in the NSRS before the report was adopted, expressed their respect for all the victims, but in their presentations, they mostly talked about the suffering of the Serbs and stated that they do not agree to be called a “genocidal nation”.

Srđan Mazalica from the SNSD said that the “genocide qualification” “was not the fruit of the Bosniak public, but that it was born in the circles of Western embassies that wanted to wash themselves and their country”.

Nebojša Vukanović, an MP from the List for Justice and Order, said that “what happened in Srebrenica was a terrible crime”, and Petko Rankić, a member of the Socialist Party, said that “it was not genocide, but it was a crime”.

Genocide denial is a criminal offence

The president of the commission that presented the report, Gideon Greif, said recently on the Tanjug television show that “the terrible crime that happened in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 cannot be qualified as genocide in any way”. He also said that “the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica in the UN will not bring anyone anything good”.

“The genocide in Srebrenica did not happen, and if it had happened, this topic would not have been imposed this much,” said Dodik in a statement on April 15, which was released after he announced the “Srpska Calls You” rally.

Dodik again denied genocide on April 16, saying that “in order for someone to commit genocide, there must be an intention to biologically destroy an ethnic group. And that did not happen in Srebrenica”.

In a separate statement from April 16, Banja Luka Mayor Draško Stanivuković, announcing his arrival at the “Srpska Calls You” rally, said that “genocide did not happen in Srebrenica”. “We are not the people they want to mark and label us as,” he said.

The Hague Tribunal, the Court of BiH, and courts in Serbia and Croatia have so far sentenced a total of 54 people to five life sentences and 781 years in prison for genocide, crimes against humanity and other crimes in Srebrenica during July 1995, Detektor states in its analyses. 

According to the amendments to the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina imposed by the High Representative Valentin Inzko in 2021, it is banned in Bosnia and Herzegovina to justify or minimize the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in a way that could incite violence or hatred directed against a certain group of people.

Denial of a crime is an attempt to claim that a crime did not occur, to deny factually established events, or to dispute the intent of committing a crime, and this criminal offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term between six months and five years.

The biggest denier of the genocide in Srebrenica, according to the Srebrenica Memorial Centre’s research from last year, was Milorad Dodik, who in 2023 denied the genocide as many as 11 times in different ways. 

What is contained in the Resolution on the genocide in Srebrenica

Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Denis Bećirović and member of the Presidency of BiH Željko Komšić have been at UN headquarters in New York since April 17 regarding the UN General Assembly’s draft Resolution on the genocide committed in Srebrenica. The resolution was supported by the United States of America, Italy, France, Germany, Albania, Chile, Finland, Ireland, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Rwanda, Slovenia, Turkey and North Macedonia.

If the resolution is adopted, July 11 will become the International Day of Remembrance of the Genocide in Srebrenica.

According to Klix, the conclusions of the Resolution condemn without reservation any denial of the Srebrenica Genocide and actions that glorify those convicted of war crimes. It urges member states to preserve the established historical facts and educate future generations in order to prevent revisionism and future genocides.

Author: Selma Fukelj

This article was originally produced for and published by Media Centar. It has been re-published here with permission.