Bosnian presidency condemns attack on Serbian leader

Bosnian government slams attack on Serbian leader who came to 20th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide to pay respect of victims

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Bosnian tripartite presidency condemned the protests and the stone-throwing incident aimed at Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic - an ex-nationalist who now defines himself as a new pro-EU reformist - who allegedly had said that “For one Serbian, we will kill 100 Muslims” during the war in Bosnia.

The condemnation came in response to the protests Vucic faced during the ceremony of the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

Bosnia's presidency stated that Vucic came to Srebrenica in the "spirit of reconciliation and intending to pay respect to the victims, while apologising to "all foreign delegations" over the incident.

The Mayor of Srebrenica, Camil Durakovic, also condemned the attack on the Serbian leader as "the work of sick minds who abused this solemn event."

Vucic returned to Belgrade after the commemoration of Srebrenica, telling reporters that he was not hurt by a stone that hit him in the mouth and that only his glasses were broken in the attack.

"I regret that some did not recognise our sincere intention to build a sincere friendship between Serbs and Bosniaks (Muslims)," he said.

Vucic also added "My hand remains outstretched (to Bosnian Muslims) and I will continue with my policy of reconciliation" between the two Balkan nations.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in his statement that “By deciding to bow to the victims, Serbia’s prime minister behaved like a statesman,” adding “This is another negative consequence of politicising this subject that has brought new divisions and hatreds instead of reconciliation.”

"It is an attack not only against Vucic but against all of Serbia and its policy of peace and regional cooperation."

Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs Nebojsa Stefanovic said that the attack on Vucic should be interpreted as an assassination attempt on Serbian Pink television. “This is a scandalous attack and I can say it can be seen as an assassination attempt,” he said.

EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini expressed solidarity with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic through a post on her Twitter page reading:

Thousands of people poured into Potocari, Srebrenica on Saturday to attend the 20th year anniversary commemoration service of the genocide and for the collective burial of the remains of the 136 newly identified victims.

World leaders pays tribute to Srebrenica victims

Around 50,000 people including dozens of dignitaries gathered in Srebrenica for the memorial services on Saturday.

As well as Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia President Theodor Meron, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz, Croatian Prime Minister Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, and a US delegation led by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were also in Memorial Centre.

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said that the tragedy of Srebrenica does not erase what was etched on the faces of the families of the victims.

“I wish that I could say that the genocide which occurred here made the world realize the curse of hate and the folly of division.”

Eliasson also stressed that the UN forces have failed to protect the victims and this is going to bother humanity forever, it shook UN profoundly and strongly influenced the work of the world organisation.

Speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the attack that killed 8,000 "sons, husbands and fathers" saying that in accordance to the teachings of the Qur'an, a man who kills one person has killed all mankind.

"We need to support peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina means peace in the Balkans, Europe and around the world.”

He said that the tragedy must be recognised that the international community failed to prevent genocide, and if it is not united could once again find itself in such the situations.

Davutoglu also stressed that people once again and always say, “never again”, but massacres still happen. In order to fulfil the promise of “never again”, people need to create a spirit of peace, solidarity, but most importantly, the spirit of human dignity.

Former US president Bill Clinto,n who was leading with US delegation, also spoke at the Memorial Centre Potocari in Srebrenica.

He reminded the audience that his work here and later in Kosovo was one of the most important things that he had done in his term in office. He said that he is aggrieved that it has taken so long to achieve to stop this violence.

He also stressed that he is glad that the peace was holding, stating that it was really what the world owed to the victims of the war.

Clinton additionally thanked Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s for his arrival in Potocari. “I want to thank the prime minister of Serbia for having the courage to come here today and I think it is important that we acknowledge that.”

He begged others to not to let this monument of innocent men and boys be turned by Bosnians into a holy place where people can come and find their country's future, a place of unity, democracy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also paid tribute to the Srebrenica victims saying that, “On that day, whatever pain you experienced there, believe me, we felt the same thing from here in our hearts.”

“Today, without forgetting the past, we are responsible for building a future with peace... where similar tragedies are not seen,” he added.

US President Barack Obama said in his statement that, “As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords, we recall that the tragedy of Srebrenica helped mobilise the international community to halt the slaughter of civilians, and to finally end the war. Today the United States stands committed to joining with our Balkan partners to continue helping heal the wounds of the past. May we together honour the victims of Srebrenica and their loved ones by building a future in which all the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Balkans live together in peace.”

Troops under the command of Ratko Mladic, attacked on 6 July 1995 a protected zone of Srebrenica where they encountered weak resistance from Dutch UNPROFOR soldiers due to political disagreement with the UN.

The UN was indecisive and denied to use air support, without which it was impossible to stop the Serbian forces.

The tragedy followed the fall of Srebrenica on July 11, despite the Dutch soldiers’ presence Mladic's forces surrendered all Bosnians who tried to hide at the base in Potocari.

The massive liquidation of the captured Bosniaks began on 13 July, and more than 23,000 women and children were expelled.

The Srebrenica area was completely ethnically cleansed.

The crime of the ethnic cleansing qualifies as a genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide of 1948.

After the fall of Srebrenica, 8,372 Bosniaks and one Croat, Rudolf Hren, were reported missing.

So far investigators have found and identified and buried remains of 6,241 victims in the Potocari.

The 136 most recently identified victims were laid to rest on the 20th year anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

The ICMP says 407 remaining grave sites are related to the Srebrenica genocide.

TRTWorld and agencies