Serbia lawmakers debate resolution condemning 1995 Srebrenica massacre

BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia’s legislators clashed Tuesday over whether to condemn the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, illustrating the divisions that still persist over the country’s war-torn past.

BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia’s legislators clashed Tuesday over whether to condemn the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica, illustrating the divisions that still persist over the country’s war-torn past.

Serbia’s pro-western authorities have put forward a declaration that offers sympathy and apology to the victims, saying it would promote reconciliation in the region and help Serbia’s efforts to become a member of the European Union.

“The National Assembly of Serbia harshly condemns the crime committed against the Bosniak residents of Srebrenica in July 1995 … expressing condolences and apology to the victims’ families because not all was done to prevent this tragedy,” the proposed declaration says.

The legislators were expected to vote on it later Tuesday.

The declaration, however, met with strong opposition from Serbian nationalists, who called it “shameful” and “unjust.” They insisted fewer people were killed in Srebrenica and denied Western accusations of mass executions.

“Serbia will sign its own guilt with this declaration,” said Slobodan Samardzic, a nationalist deputy.

Velimir Ilic, another opposition lawmaker, asked: “Why do you want to put a mark on the future generations that they will never wash away?”

In Sarajevo, Bosniak victims also said they were unhappy with the declaration because it failed to call the killings a genocide, in accordance with rulings by international courts.

“Genocide was committed,” said Sabra Mujic, whose husband was killed in Srebrenica. “As long as we are alive, we will pass on to the future generations that it was genocide.”

The execution of Srebrenica’s men and boys by Bosnian Serb troops was Europe’s worst carnage since World War II. It has become a symbol of the atrocities of the Balkan wars.

EU officials have told leaders in Belgrade that they need to clearly distance themselves from the wartime policies of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, if they want Serbia to move closer to EU membership.

Serbia also must arrest ex-Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic who was charged with genocide by a U.N. court for orchestrating the Srebrenica massacre.

The parliamentary declaration on Srebrenica calls for the arrest of Mladic and urges authorities to do all they can to find him.

Meanwhile, former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic is being prosecuted by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for allegedly masterminding Serb atrocities throughout the Bosnian war, including the Srebrenica massacre.

Karadzic has refused to enter a plea, but insists he is innocent of charges that he ordered atrocities, including the shelling and sniping campaign that killed thousands of civilians in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and the executions in Srebrenica.

In 2009, a European Parliament resolution condemned the Srebrenica massacre as genocide and called on the region to commemorate its July anniversary. The Hague-based International Court of Justice also has ruled that genocide was committed in Srebrenica, and that Serbia had not done enough to prevent it.

Pro-Western officials said the parliamentary declaration was a chance to clear Serbia’s name for future generations.

“Let us close the door of the tragic past and open the door to the future,” said Nada Kolundzija, of the governing pro-Western coalition. “We need to say that Serbia does not stand behind those who committed those crimes.”

———

Associated Press writer Aida Cerkez-Robinson contributed to this report from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer College (Contributed photo)
RDC tuitions to go up 7%

Tuition increase the maximum allowed under provincial rules

This unicorn was stolen from the small community of Delia, northeast of Drumheller on Friday and was recovered, with its bronze horn broken off, on Saturday. RCMP are looking for information on the suspects.
(Photo from RCMP)
Unicorn statue stolen from Delia recovered

Statue found with horn broken off in field about 15 km from Delia

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man whose manslaughter sentence was rejected by judge has new lawyer

Judge rejected proposed seven-year sentence for manslaughter in connection with 2019 homicide

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Liberals to release federal budget with eye on managing crisis, post-pandemic growth

OTTAWA — The federal government will this afternoon unveil its spending plans… Continue reading

Patches are seen on the arm and shoulder of a corrections officer in the segregation unit at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Correctional Service Canada says three inmates at Fraser Valley Institution recently tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Drumheller Institution inmate dies in custody

Inmate’s April 15 death under investigation

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

VICTORIA — The University of Victoria says the head coach of its… Continue reading

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announces proposed new legislation to protect Alberta’s mountains and watershed from coal mining at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021. A group of 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging the provincial government to rethink its plans for expanding coal-mining in the Rocky Mountains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta scientists urge adoption of bill that would protect against coal mining

EDMONTON — Some 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging… Continue reading

A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging virus variants

Ontario and Quebec imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions on Monday amid growing… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
LaGrange: Feedback needed to refine curriculum

As the Minister of Education my role has been guided by a… Continue reading

In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Will Japanese Olympians be vaccinated ahead of the public?

TOKYO — The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with… Continue reading

PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, greets Bayern's Lucas Hernandez at the end of the Champions League, second leg, quarterfinal soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PSG, Bayern the big names missing from Super League plan

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The plan for the new Super League soccer competition… Continue reading

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Marion Cotillard, left, and Brad Pitt appear in a scene from "Allied." (Daniel Smith/Paramount Pictures via AP)
Leo Carax’s ‘Annette’ to open Cannes Film Festival

Leo Carax’s “Annette,” starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, will open the… Continue reading

From left, Producer Doug Mitchell, actor Chris Hemsworth and director George Miller attend at a press conference to announce the new "Mad Max" film at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, Monday, April 19, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
‘Mad Max’ prequel shot in Outback to be released in 2023

SYDNEY, Australia — A prequel to the “Mad Max” movie franchise starring… Continue reading

Most Read