News / Europe

Serbia's Parliament Apologizes for Srebrenica Massacre

Serbia's parliament has apologized for the massacre of 8,000 Muslims by Bosnian-Serb forces in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995.  But, the declaration does not directly call the crime "genocide", as survivors had demanded.

After 13 hours of debate Serbia's parliament adopted a resolution condemning Europe's worst massacre since World War II.

Two-thirds of the lawmakers voted for a declaration that analysts said ends years of denial by Serbian politicians about the scale of the killings.

About  8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian-Serb forces overran the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995.  The atrocity happened during the Balkan conflict that led to the break up of Yugoslavia.  

The text of the resolution says, "The parliament of Serbia strongly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian-Muslim population of Srebrenica in July, 1995."

Lawmakers also expressed "their condolences and an apology to the families of the victims because not everything possible was done to prevent the tragedy."

The parliamentary leader of the ruling coalition's Democratic Party, Nada Kolundzija, said the resolution marks a new chapter for Serbia.

She says with this resolution Serbia's parliament recognizes "terrible things have happened in Srebrenica" and that her country does not support  those who committed the crime.  The lawmaker calls the declaration "a milestone on Serbia's road to the construction of a modern European society".

But survivors of the Srebrenica massacre have condemned the resolution, saying it does not describe the killings as genocide.

Nationalists outside the parliament building protested the resolution, while inside several legislators expressed their reservations about the declaration.  Some Serbs say they are angry about the apology because it does not mention crimes committed against Serbs.

Those critics include Tomislav Nikolic, who leads the Serbian Progressive Party. He suggests the resolution was needed for Serbia's integration into the European Union.  But Nikolic says the ruling coalition wants the parliament "to declare the whole nation guilty".  He says "Nations do not commit crimes, individuals do."

The resolution is seen as another step towards Serbia's EU membership.  The country has extradited former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to the Netherlands-based U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia.  But war-time commander Ratko Mladic, whose forces were involved in the massacre, remains at large.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told VOA Serbia will extradite Mladic "as soon as he is found" to the U.N. Tribunal in The Hague.   

Jeremic said he does not know yet when that will happen, but made clear he wants him to be captured soon. "If I knew how to answer this question, he would not have been at large.  But what can I say that in the context of the cooperation with [the Tribunal in] The Hague, the government of Serbia is going to continue [the search] doing its utmost," he said.

Ironically, among those supporting the Srebrenica resolution were the Socialists of former president Slobodan Milosevic, who was indicted by the The Hague Tribunal for his alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacre.  He died before he could be sentenced.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs