Tuesday’s session of the Bosnian Serb Parliament at which lawmakers discussed whether to reject the 2004 Srebrenica report is "a step in the wrong direction," the US State Department said in a Wednesday press release.
“Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy,” the press release said.
The controversial session of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (RS), the Parliament of the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous entity in the country, was initiated by RS President Milorad Dodik and his Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD).
They dispute the report the RS Government adopted in 2004, while Dodik’s political opponents in the RS were in power. The RS Government had commissioned a team of experts to put it together. It details the massacres in the Srebrenica area between July 10 and July 19, 1995.
Within this period, the Army of Republika Srpska and Bosnian Serb paramilitary forces committed what would later often be referred to as the worst crime on European soil since WWII. They overran the eastern Bosnian enclave and rounded up the town’s Muslim Bosniaks, separated men from women and little children and systematically executed some 8,000 men and boys.
The bodies of the victims were dumped into numerous mass graves in the area. Forensic experts excavate them and identify the bones through DNA analysis before returning the bodies to the families every year. They then rebury them in a yearly ceremony on July 11 at the Memorial Centre’s cemetery.
Two international courts, The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice ruled that the massacre was an act of genocide, and the US State Department reminded of this on Wednesday.
“The Republika Srpska Government’s adoption of the 2004 report on the Srebrenica genocide was an important step in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reconciliation and in facing the difficult facts of the past,” the press release said.
“Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy,” it said.
The US State Department said it was in the interest of citizens of the RS to “reverse the trend of revering convicted war criminals as heroes, and to ensure their crimes continue to be publicly rejected.”
The United States remain “fully committed” to assisting Bosnia’s authorities at all government levels in prosecuting those responsible for wartime crimes against any ethnic group and the denial of “established facts of prior wars will in no way advance these objectives or assist the country’s citizens,” it said.
“The horrific war of the 1990s reminds us that we must strive for a stable and prosperous future for the benefit of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion. The United States continues to firmly support peace, stability, and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the press release said.