Russia kills UN resolution calling Srebrenica massacre genocide

The vote was 10 countries in favour, Russia casting a veto, and four abstentions — China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela.

 

Russia vetoed a UN resolution Wednesday that would have condemned the 1995 massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica during the Bosnian war as a “crime of genocide.”

 

Singling out the Bosnian Serbs for a war crime would create greater division in the Balkans, the Russians said.

 

Two international courts have called the slaughter by Bosnian Serbs of 8,000 Muslim men and boys genocide. The victims had sought refuge at what was supposed to be a U.N.-protected site.

 

But Russia’s UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, objected to focusing solely on Srebrenica, calling the resolution “confrontational and politically motivated” and stressing that Bosnian Serbs and Croats had also suffered during the 1992-95 war that killed at least 100,000 people.

 

Britain drafted the resolution to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre on Tuesday, but the vote was delayed to address Russian concerns.

 

The defeated resolution states that acceptance of “the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation” and “condemns denial of this genocide as hindering efforts towards reconciliation.”

 

Britain’s U.N. deputy ambassador Peter Wilson stressed that the resolution “did not point fingers of blame, score political points nor seek to reopen political divisions.” It also didn’t link the crimes at Srebrenica to the Serb people and recognized there were victims on all sides, he said.

 

The vote was 10 countries in favour, Russia casting a veto, and four abstentions — China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela.

 

Leaders of the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia, who have close religious and cultural ties to Russia, have lobbied President Vladimir Putin to vote “no.’

 

Serbia’s pro-Russian President Tomislav Nikolic said Russia’s veto “not only prevented the throwing of guilt against the whole Serbian nation, trying to show it as genocidal, but it also proved that Russia is a real and sincere friend.”

 

Wilson said Britain was “outraged” by Russia’s veto.

 

“Russia’s actions tarnish the memory of all those who died in the Srebrenica genocide,” he said. “Russia will have to justify its behaviour to the families of over 8,000 people murdered in the worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War.”

 

Bosnians reacted bitterly to the veto.

 

“This is a defeat of justice,” said Camil Durakovic, the mayor of Srebrenica. “The world has lost. The world — and especially Serbia — will have to face the truth sooner or later,” he said.

 

Fadila Efendic, a Srebrenica woman who lost her son and husband in the Srebrenica massacre, called the veto “another humiliation of the victims.”

 

“Today’s vote mattered,” said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who was a 24-year-old journalist in Bosnia at the time of the Srebrenica massacre. “It mattered hugely to the families of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

 

Russia’s veto is heartbreaking for those families, and it is a further stain on this council’s record.”

 

Russia’s Churkin began his speech before the vote asking for a minute of silence in memory of the victims of Srebrenica and everyone in the Security Council stood, many bowing their heads.

 

Instead of Srebrenica, he said the council should commemorate, later this year, the 20th anniversary of the 1995 peace agreement, signed in Dayton, Ohio that ended the Bosnian war and make every effort to normalize relations in the Balkans.“Our vote against . . . will, however, not mean that we are deaf to the suffering of victims of Srebrenica and other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Churkin said.

Original Post
Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
“Today’s vote mattered,” said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who was a 24-year-old journalist in Bosnia at the time of the Srebrenica massacre. “It mattered hugely to the families of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

 

Russia’s veto is heartbreaking for those families, and it is a further stain on this council’s record.”

 

Russia kills UN resolution calling Srebrenica massacre genocide, By: Edith M. Lederer The Associated Press, Published on Wed Jul 08 2015, Source

While indeed Russia's veto is unwelcome, Samantha Power must remember the times she extended the US_of_A's veto on similar matters.

Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
The vote was 10 countries in favour, Russia casting a veto, and four abstentions — China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela.

 

Russia kills UN resolution calling Srebrenica massacre genocide, By: Edith M. Lederer The Associated Press, Published on Wed Jul 08 2015, Source

Until the United Nations procedures are changed to include countries like India, Brazil South Africa, etc., in the Security Council and remove the veto option, the UN will continue with the same process.

Srebrenica ceremony: Crowd chases Serbian PM as more victims buried

, Updated 3:35 PM ET, Sat July 11, 2015, Source

 

 

Story highlights

  • Serbia's Prime Minister fled after being chased by angry memorial visitors
  • Thousands mark 20 years since Bosnian Serb army killed 7,000 at Srebrenica
  • More than 100 sets of newly found remains laid to rest

Srebrenica ceremony: Crowd chases Serbian PM as more victims buried

, Updated 3:35 PM ET, Sat July 11, 2015, Source

 

Srebrenica, Bosnia Herzegovina (CNN)

 

Outrage erupted at Saturday's commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, as a shouting crowd threw bottles and rocks at Serbia's Prime Minister, forcing him to flee.

 

It was a heated moment in an otherwise solemn event where world dignitaries and thousands of others gathered to remember the largest single atrocity in Europe since World War II -- the slaughter of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys by a Bosnian Serb army 20 years ago.

 

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic tried to join other politicians paying respects at the Srebrenica graveyard, where more than 100 newly found remains are to be buried with 6,000 other massacre victims.

 

As he walked to the site, people hissed and yelled, unprepared to accept an official from a country that once directed the Bosnian Serbs militants.

 

"Takbir!" a man in the crowd shouted. "Allahu akbar!" ("God is great") the crowd responded repeatedly, gradually getting louder.

 

As Vucic made his way into the graveyard, people tossed rocks and bottles at him. His dark-suited security staff rushed him up the graveyard's steep hill, among the victims' gravestones.

 

At the top, the staff ushered him into his car as objects continued to fly, and a driver hurriedly spirited him away.

 

The scene came days after Russia, a Serbia ally, vetoed a U.N. Security

 

Council measure that would have labeled the massacre as genocide.

Vucic returned to Belgrade, where he told reporters that a stone hit him in the mouth, but that he was OK.

 

"I regret that some people haven't recognized my sincere intention to build friendship between Serbian and Bosniak people," he said. "... I still give my hand to the Bosniak people. I will continue with that ... and always be ready to work together to overcome problems."

 

Vucic's presence Saturday earned a statement of empathy from the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who attended the commemoration.

 

Earlier, Mogherini and other dignitaries, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, spoke of how the massacre -- begun 20 years ago to the day -- should serve as a lesson to the world.

 

For Europe, Srebrenica is a painful reminder of a continent not having acted quickly enough to stem the bloodshed.

 

"In Srebrenica, Europe is faced with its shame," Mogherini said.

 

"Europe failed to stand up to the promise of our founding fathers and to the dreams of their grandsons: no more war in Europe, no more murders in the name of race or the nation. No more genocides."

The massacre

Starting on July 11, 1995, for three days, ethnic Serb forces gunned down Muslim boys and men in and around Srebrenica. The sight of their broken bodies dumped into mass graves, belongings lining roadsides, and carnage strewn across fields forced the world's eyes onto a broader campaign of ethnic cleansing.

 

This came toward the end of the Bosnian war, in which the Bosnian Serb army -- largely ethnic Serbs who once served in the Yugoslav army -- fought to carve out its own territory within Bosnia following Yugoslavia's breakup. The extended slaughter of civilians, including children, women and old men in Bosnia-Herzegovina, eventually claimed around 100,000 Muslim lives.

 

Prior to Srebrenica, the United Nations had warned for months that the Bosnian Serbs were poised to move again, with ruthless consequences for Muslim civilians.

 

"That awful act finally stirred all the members of NATO to support the military intervention that was clearly necessary," Clinton said in his address Saturday.

 

Weeks after Srebrenica, NATO jets bombed Bosnian Serb positions for two weeks in Operation Deliberate Force. The Serbs quickly surrendered, and months later both sides signed an accord worked out in Dayton, Ohio, establishing a peace that has lasted since.

 

But the bodies of the dead were barely covered as they sat in various spots, and searchers still work to recover and identify them.

136 more buried Saturday

While crowds strolled Saturday between obelisk-shaped grave markers covering the memorial site, some paused to read inscriptions or pray.

 

Freshly dug graves gaped at passersby, waiting for newly found bodies to fill them as part of the commemoration. Coffins wrapped in smooth, green cloth lay in rows up and down a path.

 

"Today, loved ones and total strangers from all over the world come here, and they can see that 6,000 men and boys are buried with more coming today," Clinton said. When he attended the site's inauguration in 2003, only 600 had been buried.

 

Srebrenica's mayor said 136 victims would find a final resting place Saturday, two decades after their killing.

 

There will be many funerals to come.

Monument against cruelty

The Srebrenica memorial cemetery has become an international monument against a repeat of such carnage.

 

"We owe the people that sacrificed their lives here," Clinton said.

The world must work to live up to the mission, Clinton said, as many people are still being killed over their ethnicity.

 

The war crimes led to the prosecution of former Serbian leaders in international courts. But many are not yet satisfied that justice has been done completely.

 

"Those who perpetrated that massacre must be brought to justice," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement. "And we must remember Srebrenica's victims and all the victims of the war -- not just today but every day."

Russian U.N. veto

But old resentments galvanized by war have a way of hanging on.

 

Parties to massacre, and their allies, sometimes object to the killings being called genocide, and with Russia's veto this week, the United Nations was unable this week to muster the support in the Security Council to lend that term to the ethnic carnage in Srebrenica.

 

On Thursday, the European Parliament criticized the vote. "MEPs (parliamentarians) regret that the U.N. Security Council failed to pass a resolution commemorating the genocide and call for acceleration of war crimes prosecution at international and domestic level," it said in a statement.

 

Two U.N. judicial bodies, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice, both recognize the massacre as genocide and have condemned Serbia's ethnic cleansing campaign as "the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War."

'Insults stated against Serbia'

Serbia, which is interested in joining the European Union, bristled at the criticism from Brussels.

 

"... The insults stated against Serbia regarding Srebrenica could in no way lead to a better future," its foreign ministry said in a statement.

 

And when Clinton and representatives of European Union countries took their places in front of the white pylon grave markers that stretch across the Srebrenica memorial cemetery, in neighboring Serbia there reportedly were no official commemorations, as these were canceled.

 

A group of protesters were expected to lie down in front of the Serbian national assembly building in Belgrade to honor the dead.

 

Last edited by Demerara_Guy

WATCH: Serbian PM pelted with stones, chased out of Srebrenica memorial

Tens of thousands gather in eastern Bosnia & Herzegovina to mark the 20th anniversary of Europe's only genocide since the Holocaust; Serbian minister calls incident 'an assassination attempt.'

By and Reuters | Jul. 11, 2015 | 3:49 PM, Source

 

Anger boiled over Saturday at a massive commemoration of the slaughter of Bosnia Muslims at Srebrenica 20 years ago as people pelted Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic with stones, water bottles and other objects. An aide said the prime minister was hit in the face with a rock.

 

Vucic's associate, Suzana Vasiljevic, told The Associated Press that his glasses were broken when he was struck in the face with a stone. Vasiljevic said she was behind Vucic when "masses broke the fences and turned against us."

 

Tens of thousands came to mark the 20th anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since the Holocaust — the slaughter of 8,000 Muslims from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica — with foreign dignitaries urging the international community not to allow such atrocities to happen again and to call the crime "genocide."

 

Vucic, once an ultra-nationalist, came to represent his country at the commemoration in an apparent gesture of reconciliation. He left the ceremony after coming under attack.

 

Serbia's foreign minister, Ivica Dacic, said that the attack on Vucic was an attack on Serbia. "By deciding to bow to the victims, Serbia's prime minister behaved like a statesman," Ivica Dacic said in a statement. "This is another negative consequence of politicizing this subject that has brought new divisions and hatreds instead of reconciliation."

 

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic described the incident as "an assassination attempt," accusing neighbor Bosnia of failing to "create even the minimal conditions for the safety of the prime minister."

 

As Vucic entered the cemetery to lay flowers, thousands booed and whistled. Someone threw a shoe at him, others threw stones, water bottles and other objects. Vucic and his guards then were forced to run through a crowd that rushed them. Vucic's guards tried to protect him with bags, umbrellas and their raised arms.

 

A few people carried banners with his own wartime quote: "For every killed Serb, we will kill 100 Bosniaks."

 

Serbia and Bosnian Serbs deny the killings were genocide, and claim that the death toll has been exaggerated.

 

Dozens of foreign dignitaries — including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Britain's Princess Anne and Jordan's Queen Noor — came for the ceremony mourning the 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb troops. The crime was later defined as genocide by two international courts.

 

"I grieve that it took us so long to unify ... to stop this violence," said former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was in office at the time of the massacre and whose administration led the NATO airstrikes against Serb positions. This ended the Bosnian war and the U.S. brokered a peace agreement.

 

During the 1992-95 war, the United Nations declared Srebrenica a safe haven for civilians. But on July 11, 1995, Serb troops overran the Muslim enclave. Some 15,000 men tried to flee through the woods toward government-held territory while others joined the town's women and children in seeking refuge at the base of the Dutch U.N. troops.

 

The outnumbered Dutch troops could only watch as Serb soldiers rounded up about 2,000 men for killing and later hunted down and killed another 6,000 men in the woods.

 

The United Nations admitted its failure to protect the town's people and on Saturday, Bert Koenders, foreign minister of Netherland said that "the Dutch government shares responsibility" and that the U.N. must strengthen United Nations missions in the future.

 

"Nobody can undo what happened here but we mourn with you," Koenders added.

 

The 1992-95 war in Bosnia, pitting Christian Orthodox Serbs against Bosnian Muslims and Croatian Catholics, left more than 100,000 people dead and millions homeless. The Serbs, who wanted to remain in the Serb-led Yugoslavia, fought against the secession of Bosnia and Croatia from the former federation.

 

So far, remains of some 7,000 victims have been excavated from 93 graves or collected from 314 surface locations and identified through DNA technology.

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