Serbia apologises to Srebrenica massacre victims

SERBIA’S parliament apologised to the Bosnian Muslim victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre yesterday, ending years of denial, in a move seen as an important step on Belgrade’s road to Europe.

The parliament voted by 127 out of 250 seats in the House in favour of a text condemning the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 people and issuing an apology to the victims.

The resolution voted in the early hours of Wednesday, however, stopped short of using the word genocide, although it referred to an International Court of Justice decision which does use the term. “The parliament of Serbia strongly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica in July 1995, as determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling.”

The lawmakers also formally extended “their condolences and an apology to the families of the victims because not everything possible was done to prevent the tragedy”.

Human rights activists and observers hailed the apology, which ends years of denial by Serbian politicians about the scale of the killings, but in Bosnia survivors slammed it as meaningless because it avoids the word genocide.

“This resolution means nothing to us and we will not accept it. We will hail a resolution . . . that mentions the term genocide,” Sabra Kolenovic from the survivors’ group Mothers of Srebrenica said. She dismissed the vote as a “political game” by Belgrade.

A European Commission spokesman welcomed the resolution as “an important step forward... very important for Serbia and for the whole region”.

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