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Bosnian Serbs Reopen Srebrenica Probes

The question of responsibility for the greatest atrocity of the Yugoslav wars remains open in the minds of some Serbs.

8 February 2019

A prominent Bosniak politician in Bosnia’s Serb entity has attacked the government’s move to re-investigate two of the bloodiest episodes in the wars of the 1990s.

 

The government of Republika Srpska said yesterday it was establishing panels to re-examine the number of victims of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995 and of the siege of Sarajevo, Reuters reports.

 

The move to create the panels “is on the verge of implementing the phase of genocide denial, which includes denying and minimizing the crimes that took place, glorifying war criminals and offending the victims,” said Ramiz Salkic, the Bosniak vice president of Republika Srpska, Bosnian broadcaster N1 reports.

 

Bosniaks, most of whom are Muslims, were the chief victims of the Bosnian wars in which an estimated 100,000 people died. Many Bosniaks were forced out of what is now the overwhelmingly Serb Republika Srpska.

 

The killing of about 8,000 Bosniak men and boys by Serb forces in Srebrenica in July 1995 constituted the worst atrocity of the war.

 

Monument to the Srebrenica Massacre. Image via flickr/Kathleen Franklin.

 

Milorad Dodic, the leading Serb politician in Bosnia who initiated the panels, has rejected rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice that the massacres amounted to genocide. He also believes the number of Serbs killed in Sarajevo during the war was underestimated, Reuters says.

 

In August, the Bosnian Serb parliament annulled a report which accepted the role of Serb forces in the Srebrenica atrocity, and ordered the government to draw up a new one, Balkan Insight reports.

 

Gideon Greif, the Israeli historian tapped to head the Srebrenica panel, told regional broadcaster RTRS there can be only one truth about the matter.

 

“The aim of the commission is to establish the truth which can be only one, and it is the commission’s moral obligation to be loyal to facts, the truth and the victims. The others will never accept anything because they’re living on a completely different world,” Greif said, as quoted by N1.

 

Greif is a professor of Jewish and Israeli history at the University of Texas and a specialist in the Nazi Holocaust.

 

Raphael Israeli, an emeritus professor at the Hebrew University and author of numerous books and articles on Islamic radicalism, will chair the panel charged with re-examining Serb casualties in Sarajevo.

 

 

  • International and regional courts have sentenced 45 people for involvement in the Srebrenica massacres to a total of more than 700 years behind bars, N1 says.

 

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer
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