Srebrenica remembered: UN establishes day of remembrance

The UN General Assembly voted on Thursday to establish July 11th as the “International Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide.” The resolution, backed by Germany and Rwanda, passed with 84 votes in favor, but faced strong opposition from Bosnia and Serbia (19 against, 68 abstentions).

Bosnian Serb forces captured Srebrenica, a UN-protected zone, in July 1995 and subsequently killed around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys. The atrocity, classified as genocide by international courts, remains the worst single event in Europe since World War II.

German Ambassador Antje Leendertse emphasized the resolution’s aim to promote “reconciliation, in the present and for the future.” However, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic warned it would “open old wounds” and “stigmatize Serbian people.” Despite his disapproval, Vucic acknowledged all victims of the Bosnian conflict.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik went further, denying the genocide ever happened and refusing to acknowledge the UN resolution.

The vote received support from most former Yugoslav republics except Serbia. Church bells tolled in protest across Serbia, while the Serbian Orthodox Church called for unity in the face of “untrue and unjust accusations.”

The resolution promotes remembrance, condemning any denial of the genocide and urging member states to preserve established facts. Germany and Rwanda, in a letter to other UN members, described the vote as a “crucial opportunity.”

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