Russia signals rejection of Srebrenica resolution

Russia slams the UK-authored UN resolution on 20th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia, one of the permanent members of UN Security Council, slammed a UK-drafted UN resolution on the Srebrenica genocide on Tuesday as “divisive.”

Petr Iliichev, Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, stressed that the UK’s draft was divisive and only provided perspective of wrongdoings carried out by the Bosnian Serbs.

Iliichev told to reporters the report "focuses on only one aspect," adding "it was only one part of the conflict."

The UK, another permanent members of UNSC, is drafted a resolution in the UN to honour the victims of the massacre by suggesting July 11 be a memorial day for the incidents of 1995, marking the 20th anniversary.

The draft which was also seen on Tuesday by the Associated Press, "condemns in the strongest terms the genocide in Srebrenica."

The UNSC is expected to adopt the resolution on Tuesday, days before the 20th anniversary of the genocide.

The Bosnian War between 1992-1995 left more than 200,000 people - mostly Muslim Bosniaks - dead.

In the last year of the war, 8,372 Bosniak civilians, including children and the elderly, were massacred by Serb forces in Srebrenica, which was then a UN-protected enclave.

In accordance with the Dayton Accords, Bosnia-Herzegovina was established as a country divided into two semi-independent entities - the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation.

Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, recently told Bosnian-Serb television he intended to ask Russia, the Serb’s historical ally, to use its Security Council veto to prevent the resolution being adopted.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, an ex-nationalist who defines himself as a new pro-EU reformist, has said he is ready to attend memorial ceremonies marking the Srebrenica anniversary, but he refused to call it a "genocide."

Instead of the term “genocide,” he preferred the statement "big horrific crime" that took place in Srebrenica.

Russia, which has close ties to Serbia, wrote an appeal against the draft resolution on Tuesday, which does not mention either Srebrenica or genocide, AP reported.

According to the Russian-authored resolution, Russia "condemns in the strongest terms the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia against persons of various ethnic and religious backgrounds."

Iliichev said, the Russian draft is "more general, more reconciling."

The Bosnian Serb leaders will also ask Russia to take the resolution issue in particular with the use of the word "genocide" to describe the massacre, AFP reported.

Mladen Ivanic, the Serb chairman of rotating presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling the resolution "anti-Serb because it fails to mention in any way the Serb victims of the Srebrenica region."

Matthew Rycroft, the British Ambassador to the UN, said the resolution "will commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, and those who suffered on all sides in the war."

Rycroft also added that draft resolution will "encourage further steps towards reconciliation" and "affirm our determination to prevent genocide."

Rycroft stated that "the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide is a moment to pause and reflect on the lessons learned of the darkest moments in UN history and commit to making 'Never Again' a reality."

TRTWorld and agencies