June 16, 2024

UN to vote on declaring Srebrenica genocide memorial day

The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday on establishing an annual day of remembrance for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, despite furious opposition from Bosnian Serbs and Serbia.

The resolution written by Germany and Rwanda — countries synonymous with 20th century genocides — would make July 11 International Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide.

Serbia’s government says an attempt is underway to blame Serbians in general and President Aleksandar Vucic said he would be at the United Nations to “fight with all my strength and heart” in opposition to the initiative.

Serbian Foreign Minister Marko Djuric promised to “protect our country and our people from a long-term stigma.”

Bosnian Serb forces captured Srebrenica — a UN-protected enclave at the time — on July 11, 1995, a few months before the end of Bosnia’s bloody civil war, which saw approximately 100,000 people killed.

In the following days, Bosnian Serb forces killed around 8,000 Muslim men and teenagers — a crime described as a genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice.

The incident is considered the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.

In addition to establishing the memorial day, the draft resolution condemns “any denial” of the genocide and urges UN member countries to “preserve the established facts.”

In a letter from Germany and Rwanda to the rest of the United Nations, the vote was described as a “crucial opportunity to unite in honoring the victims and acknowledging the pivotal role played by international courts.”

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