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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs