‘That genocide was committed in Srebrenica is not a matter of opinion, it is a historical fact,’ says the Council of Europe rights chief
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic demanded on Tuesday that July 11 be designated as an official International Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.
Mijatovic’s remarks came in a written and video statement on the 28th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Serb forces in 1995.
“That a genocide was committed in Srebrenica is not a matter of opinion, it is a historical fact, legally established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice, and domestic courts,” said Mijatovic.
According to her, many people are unaware of the genocide, and some even deny it.
“This is an insult to the victims and a serious threat to justice and peace in the region. This culture of genocide denial must be eradicated.
“In the face of widespread denial of the Srebrenica genocide, it is high time for the international community to stop looking the other way. Establishing a day of remembrance would show that the international community stands on the side of the truth and in solidarity with the survivors and families of the victims,” said Mijatovic.
In July 1995, Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.
The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic — who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide — overran the UN zone.
Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys in a single day on July 11.
About 15,000 Srebrenicans fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.
The bodies of the victims of the genocide were found in 570 different parts of the country.
In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.
On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination, and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.