Two decades of the crime in Srebrenica

On the occasion of 11 July – Commemoration of genocide in Srebrenica, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) pays respect to victims and reminds that this terrible crime, even after 20 years, has not seen its epilogue when it comes to satisfaction of justice for these victims. Srebrenica is a moral and political issue of all post-Yugoslav societies, but also a reminder of the fact that the region is facing its war past in a slow, harsh and insufficient manner.

Genocide in Srebrenica represents an example of the largest crime committed on European territory after World War II, when members of Bosnian Serbs Army, from 11 to 19 July 1995, systematically executed at least 7,800 unarmed Bosniaks, age 14 to 70. Crimes committed in July 1995 in Srebrenica were a subject of nine trials before the International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

Unfortunately, the United Nations Resolution on Srebrenica was not adopted even and it would have the important weight in relation to the necessity of strong conviction of this crime. It was not adopted due to the veto submitted by Russia, while Russia itself also referred to that crime as war crime and serious violation of human rights and freedoms. The dispute was over the term genocide, which was obvious in this war crime, as determined by the International court of Justice and the Hague Tribunal.

Post-Yugoslav societies, especially the institutions, are obliged to remind of all war crimes which occurred to innocent civilians, on the territory of former Yugoslavia during the period 1991 and 2001, and to work on the development of culture of remembrance and respect, acknowledgement and compassion with all victims, through quality international cooperation, so that the crimes committed would not be forgotten, but also to make sure that they do not occur ever again. Civil society organisations from Montenegro and region have been insisting on that for years, which also formed, so far, the largest regional coalition advocating the establishment of RECOM, which represents a major contribution in the process of facing the past within the region.

CCE will continue with the activities in the area of fostering of culture of remembrance, individually or as reference organisation of Coalition for RECOM for Montenegro. CCE assesses that it is crucial for all actors in the society to contribute to the process of facing the past, which implies the determining of the entire truth, no matter how painful it is, then to insist on trials to perpetrators, as well as on providing the just compensation to victims and their families.

Tamara Milaš, programme associate at the CCE and spokesperson for the Coalition REKOM in Montenegro