Victims' association head: Genocide denial final stage of aggressor's strategy

NEWS 20.06.2019 14:11
Source: Fena

Denial of genocide might be the final stage of aggressor's war strategy because they never accepted what they had done, said Kada Hotic, representative of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves, organiser of a two-day conference on genocide and Holocaust denial, which commenced in Sarajevo on Thursday.

“Until they accept and recognise and until they condemn crimes, reconciliation won't happen. And I want to be the citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, without being divided in separate ranks. I wish all peoples lived together. To have a ground for living together. Denial of genocide makes it impossible,” said Hotic.

She conveyed a message to the youth “to remember” and “to fight against such evil, whenever they feel someone wants to bring people into this position.”

The fourth international conference ‘Stop Genocide and Holocaust Denial’ brought together the victims’ associations as well as former judges and prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, historians, genocide investigators, journalists and other experts.

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Eli Tauber, the Head of Bosnia's Jewish Community, emphasised that the importance of this conference mirrors in the attempt of “the good and positive people” in the world to present the true nature of the events that some keep denying.

“I will speak in this conference a bit more about the holocaust that happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as an example of the proportions of genocide, the genocide that is disproportional to a small people that used to live in Europe. What happened here can be compared to what happened afterwards in terms of genocide. It is important to broaden our views on the monstrous event such as genocide, one well-thought event which years later leads to the situation where we can't openly speak about it,” said Tauber.

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Serge Brammertz, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, warned addressing the conference that continuous denial of crimes and glorifying of war criminals are present in the region.

“This situation cannot be tolerated anymore. The denial of crimes and glorification of war criminals must be stopped. I firmly believe that today, there is no more important task ahead of us.”

Chief Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gordana Tadic, said the state prosecutors have issued 800 war crime indictments since 2003 and that over 2,600 years in prison verdicts have been handed down.

In April 1993 the UN had declared the besieged enclave of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica a safe zone under the UN protection. However, in July 1995 the Dutch battalion failed to prevent the town's capture by the Bosnian Serb forces and the massacre that followed.

More than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in the genocide committed in the days after 11 July 1995, and so far the remains of more than 6,600 have been found and buried.

The International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice later ruled that the massacre was an act of genocide.

International and regional courts have sentenced 45 people for what happened in Srebrenica to a total of more than 700 years behind bars. Those who the ICTY sentenced to life imprisonment are Ljubisa Beara, Zdravko Tolimir, and Vujadin Popovic. But the most well known alleged masterminds of what happened in Srebrenica are former Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadzic and ex Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, and both have been sentenced for it but have appealed.

To date, Bosnian Serb leadership have never recognised the Srebrenica massacre as an act of genocide.