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Russia Draws Flak Over Srebrenica Vote

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Afzal Khan MEP, S&D group spokesperson on Bosnia-Herzegovina, said it is disappointing that the UN has failed to pass a resolution commemorating Srebrenica….reports Asian Lite News. Russia vetoed the UN resolution. Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said “the draft provided by the UK turned out to be not constructive, confrontational and politically motivated. It contained distortions, as the result of which the blame for the past is basically placed on one people”

Logo
Logo commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide

Labour MEPs and the Socialist & Democrat Group in the European Parliament passed a joint resolution in parliament commemorating the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

The passing of the resolution coincides with the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica, where the killing of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 by Bosnian Serb troops was the worst massacre in Europe since World War Two. The resolution condemns the genocide in Srebrenica and reiterates the EU’s commitment to helping Bosnia-Herzegovina moving closer to becoming an EU member.

Speaking about the motion in the European Parliament Afzal Khan, S&D group spokesperson on Bosnia-Herzegovina, said: “This week we are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. We honour the memory of the victims and pay tribute to the fortitude of their families in seeking justice. It shames the world that it failed to protect innocent civilians.

“It is disappointing that the UN has failed to pass a resolution commemorating Srebrenica, especially because the International Court of Justice, the UN´s main judicial organ, has confirmed that the crimes committed were genocide.

“We must learn the lessons of the past and renew our determination never to let forces of prejudice, hatred and evil go unchecked. So while we commemorate the past, we must also keep our eyes firmly on the future of Bosnia. Continuing on the European path is the best way to reconcile with the tragedies of the past.

Afzal Khan MEP with relatives of the victims of Srebrenica massacre
Afzal Khan MEP with relatives of the victims of Srebrenica massacre

“While its neighbours have progressed quickly on their road to European integration, Bosnia has been held back by aspects of the Dayton Agreement. This agreement may have bought peace but it now hinders Bosnia’s ability to move forward in any meaningful way. We have a moral duty to help Bosnia, so it reforms and moves closer to the European family of Nations and eventual EU membership.

“The leaders of Bosnia should work together to make the country a safe and prosperous place. For this will be the lasting tribute to Srebrenica’s victims.”

The UN resolution was vetoed by Russia.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said before the UNSC vote that “the draft provided by the UK turned out to be not constructive, confrontational and politically motivated. It contained distortions, as the result of which the blame for the past is basically placed on one people”, Xinhua reported.

A mother prays at the memorial for Srebrenica victims
A mother prays at the memorial for Srebrenica victims

The Srebrenica massacre occurred when the army of Republika Srpska killed more than 8,000 people, mostly men and boys, in the town of Srebrenica, Bosnia, over two nights beginning on July 11 1995. The massacre is considered the worst crime committed on European soil since the end of World War II. The massacre has weighed particularly heavily on the United Nations conscience because UN peacekeepers had designated the town of Srebrenica as a “safe area” before the massacre occurred.

Gianni Pittella, President of the S&D Group said: “Srebrenica represents an indelible stain on the history of the European institutions. We have a moral obligation to ensure truth and justice for the victims – we cannot accept that the people responsible for the massacre are still at liberty. In Bosnia we cannot accept half-truths. Without justice there is no reconciliation. Europe has a moral duty to accompany Bosnia beyond the Dayton Agreement, offering the country a clear prospect of integration: only through justice and European integration can Bosnia finally move forward.”

 

Russia’s UN stance

The UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on the Srebrenica massacre as Russia voted against it. The draft resolution being put to a vote said: “Acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation” on which the disagreement is considered to exist.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said before the vote that “the draft provided by the UK turned out to be not constructive, confrontational and politically motivated. It contained distortions, as the result of which the blame for the past is basically placed on one people”, Xinhua reported.

The Srebrenica massacre occurred when the army of Republika Srpska killed more than 8,000 people, mostly men and boys, in the town of Srebrenica, Bosnia, over two nights beginning on July 11 1995. The massacre is considered the worst crime committed on European soil since the end of World War II.

The massacre has weighed particularly heavily on the United Nations conscience because UN peacekeepers had designated the town of Srebrenica as a “safe area” before the massacre occurred.

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