In the park between the buildings of the Presidency of Serbia and the Belgrade City Hall, the citizens have expressed their respect for victims of genocide by lighting candles. The gathering was attended by US Ambassador Kyle Scott, Norwegian Ambassador Arne Sannes Bjornstad, German Ambassador Thomas Schieb, Italian Ambassador Carlo Lo Cascio, representatives of several organisations and public figures.
YIHR representatives have spread a banner stating: ‘Too Young to Remember, Determined Not to Forget’.
Marko Milosavljević of YIHR said that: “the atmosphere of noise, shouting and disrespect for human life and victims’ dignity is caused by the denial of genocide and the relativisation of the crime in Srebrenica”.
“In spite of that, we have gathered to show the policy of respect for human losses. Unfortunately, we are witnessing that we are the only country in the world responsible for not preventing genocide while knowing that it would happen. For this reason, there are people standing for years, ready to step forward in front of this noise and shouting and say we are sorry for those human losses”, said Milosavljević.
Simo Spasić from the Association of Kidnapped and Murdered in Kosovo and Metohija and representatives of the anti-vaccination Association of citizens ‘Right of Choice’ came to the park, too. Some of them were wearing T-shirts with the print of Ratko Mladić, convicted for genocide in Srebrenica, and T-shirts with the map of Kosovo. The police prevented them from interrupting YIHR’s gathering. They were shouting insults at the participants, as well as at journalists who came to report from the event.
YIHR’s action is part of marking of the 24th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide organised by several non-governmental organisations, including Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia and Helsinki Human Rights Committee.
The commemoration of Srebrenica victims killed during the attack of Serbian forces on Srebrenica in July 1995 was held today in the Potočari Memorial Centre. In addition to 6610 victims that already have their graves in Potočari, another 33 Srebrenica victims were buried today. The youngest victim buried today is Osman Cvrk who was 16 at the time. The oldest victim is 81 years old Šaha Cvrk. She was killed together with her son. None of the Serbian officials attended today’s commemoration.
24 years ago, the forces of the Republic of Srpska Army entered Srebrenica, Muslim (Bosniak) enclave in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, formally under UN protection. According to the judgments passed by the Hague Tribunal, around 8000 Muslim men and boys were killed after their entry. In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague passed a judgment qualifying the massacre in Srebrenica as genocide.
The resolutions on Srebrenica, confirming such judgment, were made by the parliaments of the EU countries, Canada, USA and Australia. In January 2009, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to recognise July 11 as the Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide.
In memory of the killed Bosniaks, a Memorial Centre was built in Potočari near Srebrenica. It was officially opened by former US president Bill Clinton on September 20, 2003. 6610 victims have been buried in the graveyard of the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Centre to date, while more than 1000 citizens of Srebrenica are still missing.
UN’s International Criminal Court for former Yugoslavia passed the only judgment on genocide committed in the Balkans – in the case of Srebrenica. Still, since the democratic changes until today, no Serbian prime Minister or President has admitted that the genocide took place in Srebrenica. This is also not written in the Declaration adopted by the National Assembly, although it makes a reference to the judgment of the International Court of Justice.