CoE Commissioner outraged by nationalist outbursts in Bosnia on Christmas Eve

NEWS 08.01.2020 19:30
Source: Fena

The silence in the face of these and similar hateful crimes committed in the past have emboldened nationalists and expanded the platform for those who deny the Srebrenica genocide and other war crimes committed against Bosniaks while vilifying the victims, Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic said on the occasion of nationalist outbursts which took place Tuesday, in Srebrenica, Visegrad and other east-Bosnian towns, for Orthodox Christmas.

“I am dismayed by the latest provocation by hatemongers in Srebrenica, Višegrad and Bratunac, who drove in convoys through these cities and the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial, ostensibly in celebration of Orthodox Christmas, while loudly playing songs that glorify war criminals accompanied by celebratory gunfire. These incidents are repeating every year and the political leadership of Republika Srpska is not condemning them, while the law enforcement agencies remain silent. In addition, there is total impunity for perpetrators of criminal behaviour,” Mijatovic wrote on her Facebook page.

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Videos showing a controversial celebration of Christmas Eve in several east Bosnian towns, with groups of people singing nationalist songs as they marched the streets, became viral on social networks and sparked strong reactions among Bosniak returnees in that area.

The Human Rights Commissioner called on state and the authorities in the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity to understand the seriousness of the situation and take concrete measures. As a matter of urgency, she said, the authorities must prosecute effectively those who incite hatred and take a strong stance against the current public discourse which sows divisions, humiliation and fear instead of promoting reconciliation.

“It is outrageous that 25 years after the Srebrenica genocide, there are still authorities in the region that permit and condone such criminal behaviours, and who fail to act to ensure the protection of all the people in their jurisdiction, including returnees,” she concluded.