Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has insinuated he will attend the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina to pay tribute to the thousands of innocent Muslims who have lost their lives.
Speaking at a press conference in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Friday, Vucic recognised the tragic events of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war in Srebrenica and the role played by Army of Republika Srpska in the killings of 8,000 Muslims.
"As prime minister of Serbia, I am ready to bow my head to the innocent victims of Srebrenica to show you what kind of relationship we have, so that the 99.99 percent of Serbs who have not participated in such a crime could walk with their heads up wherever in the world they are located. If the Bosnians want, I will be ready to honor the Muslims and Bosnian victims of Srebrenica," Vucic said.
Vucic’s comments follow the arrest of the Bosnian former commander of Srebrenica, Naser Oric, on June 10, at the Thonex-Vallard crossing between Switzerland and France by Swiss police.
The former commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina 8th Operational Group (Srebrenica) was arrested based on a warrant issued by Interpol Serbia in February 2014.
In addition to Oric, international arrest warrants were also issued for the arrest of wartime chief of the police station in Srebrenica - Hakija Meholjic - and three other members of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s army.
Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor's Office holds Oric and the four Bosniaks responsible for killing nine civilians of Serbian nationality in the villages of Zalazje and Donji Potocari, in the Srebrenica area, on July 12, 1992.
Commander Oric was indicted by the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for alleged crimes against Serbs but was acquitted of all charges in 2008, a ruling that angered the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia, who see the tribunal as biased against them.
According to Reuters, the official Camil Durakovic, mayor of the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, said he was with Oric at the time of his arrest because both were to attend a series of events in Geneva to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in which 8,372 Muslim men, women and children were killed.
The arrest of Oric led the Serbian president to cancel his officially scheduled visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.
The Srebrenica genocide, widely viewed as the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two, was the culmination of a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the forces of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic aimed at carving out a Serbian state from ethnically mixed Bosnia.
On July 11, the commemorative ceremony for the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to attract 50,000 people from around the world, including the attendance of world leaders.