WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday said Bosnia’s autonomous Serb-dominated region was attempting to deny history by revoking a report that concluded that Bosnian Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslims in and around Srebrenica during the country’s 1992-95 war.
FILE PHOTO – A rosary is placed on a tombstone at the Memorial Center Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina July 11, 2015. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic
The U.S. State Department said adoption by the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) government of the 2004 report on the Srebrenica genocide had been an important reconciliation step.
“The August 14 session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly is a step in the wrong direction,” a State Department statement said.
“Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy. It is in the interest of the citizens of Republika Srpska to reverse the trend of revering convicted war criminals as heroes, and to ensure their crimes continue to be publicly rejected.”
A vote on Tuesday by lawmakers in Bosnia’s Serb Republic to revoke the 2004 report was initiated by the region’s nationalist President Milorad Dodik, and some analysts say it is the latest issue used by Serb ruling parties to mobilize voters around the nationalist agenda ahead of elections in October.
Dodik, an advocate of the Serb region’s secession from Bosnia, has always rejected rulings by two war crimes courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and The International Court of Justice, that the Srebrenica atrocity qualified as genocide.
Though acknowledging a crime occurred, Dodik says the numbers of those killed had been exaggerated in the 2004 report and it should have included Serb victims.
The parliament concluded that a new independent international commission should be formed to determine the damages suffered by all peoples in the Srebrenica region.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom;Editing by Cynthia Osterman