SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia’s top international official on Friday called for denial of genocide in the Balkan country as Europe’s only post-World War II genocide to deny scope for a 1995 genocide by Bosnian Serbs. Denied the scope of the massacre.
The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court of the former Yugoslavia declared the Bosnian Serb killings of over 8,000 Bosnians in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War as genocide. But Bosnian Serb officials and neighboring Serbia have refused to accept the designation.
Bosnia’s outgoing head of the Office of the High Representative, or OHR, Valentin Inzko, on Friday made changes to the country’s criminal code, introducing up to five years in prison for denial of genocide and glorifying war criminals, including naming streets is included. After them public institutions.
“Hate speech, the glorification of war criminals and revisionism or the outright denial of genocide and war crimes prevents society from dealing with their collective past, constitutes new humiliation of victims and their loved ones, while perpetuating injustice and interracial relations.” reduces,” Inzco the Austrian diplomat said in a statement. “All this causes frustration, makes society chronically ill, and prevents the emergence of the much needed reconciliation.”
As the apex international body overseeing the implementation of Bosnia’s 1992–95 peace agreement that ended the war, the OHR has the authority to make decisions or dismiss officials who are concerned about the post-war ethnic balance and conflict between Bosniaks. Undermining reconciliation efforts, who are mostly Muslims, Bosnian Serbs and Croats.
Inzko said he decided to use his powers after waiting years for Bosnian politicians to act. He cited the Bosnian Serb Assembly’s refusal to withdraw the decorations awarded to three convicted war criminals.
“The situation has gotten worse and is now getting out of hand,” he said, warning that a lack of acceptance was “sowing the seeds” for new conflicts. “Therefore, I believe that it is now necessary to regulate this matter with a legal solution.”
The massacre in Srebrenica occurred in July 1995 after Bosnian Serbs took control of the eastern enclave. They killed Bosniak men and boys and dumped their remains in mass graves, which were later dug up and re-buried to cover the crime. The remains of the victims are still being traced and identified.
Bosniak politicians and relatives of the victims applauded Inzko’s decision, which was swiftly rejected by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodi, who is a member of the Bosnian multi-ethnic presidency and the top politician in the Serb unit called Republika Srpska. Dodi दी threatened to initiate the process of “disintegration” of Bosnia, the Clix news portal reported.
“Republika Srpska rejected it, the genocide did not happen, Serbs should never accept it,” he said.
Dodi has repeatedly criticized the OHR and the West for being biased against Serbs in Bosnia. The UN Security Council on Thursday rejected a resolution tabled by Serbia’s allies Russia and China that would have immediately taken away the OHR’s powers in Bosnia.
Both Bosnian Serbs and Serbia, who supported Bosnian Serbs during the war, have called the genocide a crime, refusing to acknowledge that it was genocide.
Bosnian Serbs honor their wartime leader Radovan Karadzik and military commander Ratko Mladi as heroes, although both have been convicted of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment by a tribunal based in The Hague. Murals featuring Mladi and Karadज़i can be seen in several towns of Republika Srpska, the name of a Serb entity in Bosnia.
Inzaco said his decision was aimed not at nations but at individuals. He stressed that by recognizing the guilt of individuals, people can free themselves from the burdens of the past and move on to a more promising future.
In the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, the prosecutor’s office said it would monitor any statements by individuals or groups and act in accordance with legal changes.
Kada Hotik, on behalf of the mothers of the Serebrenica group for the relatives of the victims, said such a law should have been brought earlier.
“I welcome the decision anyway,” she said. “Without acceptance, there is no forgiveness, and I will not forgive unless someone begs for forgiveness.”
The US Embassy in Bosnia called Inzco’s move “a starting point for more substantive debate and steps by local actors for practical implementation”.
“We should underline that the genocide in Srebrenica is not a matter of debate, but a historical fact,” the embassy said in a statement. “It is truly time to turn to a future based on peace and mutual trust.”
The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe Dunja Mijatovic also welcomed the action of the High Representative.
“We must defend the truth, promote reconciliation and educate future generations,” Mijatovich tweeted.
Inzco is stepping down on 1 August, following his resignation in May after 12 years in office. He will be replaced by Christian Schmidt of Germany.
“My conscience dictates that I have no right to end my term while convicted war criminals are being glorified,” Inzaco said.