Serbia president apologizes for Srebrenica massacre



Published — Thursday 25 April 2013

Last update 29 April 2013 7:46 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Bosnia-Hercegovina: Serbia’s nationalist President Tomislav Nikolic on Thursday personally apologized for the first time for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims, but stopped short of calling it genocide.
“I kneel and ask for forgiveness for Serbia for the crime committed in Srebrenica,” Nikolic said of the slaughter, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
“I apologize for the crimes committed by any individual in the name of our state and our people,” he said in an interview to be aired on Bosnian national television, parts of which have been released on You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c-iF9Li8tY).
After being elected last May, Nikolic caused a stir in the region by refusing to acknowledge that the massacre in the Bosnian enclave — in which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces — was a genocide, despite it being ruled as such by two international courts.
Nikolic at the time said “there was no genocide in Srebrenica.”
Munira Subasic, president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, which groups families of the victims, said she was “not convinced” of Nikolic’s sincerity.
“We do not need someone to kneel and ask for forgiveness. We want to hear the Serbian president and Serbia say the word genocide,” Munira Subasic told AFP.
“Only then we will believe that it is a sincere gesture,” she said.
“We need Serbia to accept rulings by the international courts,” said Subasic, whose husband and son were killed in Srebrenica massacre.
Until five years ago Nikolic was a top official of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party, which has denied that Serb forces committed crimes during the Balkans wars of the 1990s.
Its leader Vojislav Seselj is currently on trial for war crimes before The Hague-based UN International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Nikolic’s apology came a few days after a member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency Bakir Izetbegovic had indirectly urged him to acknowledge Srebrenica massacre as genocide.
“In order to go forward, we need to stop for a moment and look back to ... what has happened in Srebrenica. We ask this truth to be recognized and words to be chosen when talking about it ... and to respect the decisions of the international courts,” Izetbegovic said after meeting Nikolic in Belgrade earlier this week.
While this marks Nikolic’s first apology on Srebrenica, Serbia has in the past expressed regret over the deaths.
In 2010 the Serbian parliament passed an historic declaration condemning the Srebrenica massacre in a gesture ending years of denial by Serbian politicians about the scale of the killings, but Nikolic at the time did not support the move.
Nikolic’s predecessor Boris Tadic also apologized to Srebrenica victims during a commemoration event in 2005.
Both the ICTY and the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice, have found that the Srebrenica massacre was a genocide.
Bosnian Serb wartime political and military leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are currently on trial on genocide charges before the ICTY for their role in Srebrenica massacre.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to genocide charges for masterminding the massacre and all other charges against them over the Bosnian war that left around 100,000 people dead.
So far 38 former Bosnian Serb military or police officials have been convicted, including some for genocide, for their role in the Srebrenica killings, both by the ICTY and Bosnia’s own war crimes court.
In the past 17 years, the remains of 5,650 victims have been buried, but the search goes on.
rus-an/ks/fb

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
A policeman was killed in an anti-terror operation on Friday in the western city of Taif, according to the interior ministry. An exchange of fire resulted in the death of the policeman after a raid to arrest a wanted person, state news agency SPA quo...
RIYADH: Customs authorities at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 52,850 Xanax capsules into the country.The drug, an anti-depressant, banned in the Kingdom, was found hidden under the clo...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that two men face trial for allegedly insulting the late King Abdullah.Quoting reliable sources, a local online publication said that King Salman has also barred Mohsin Al-Awaji and Ab...

Stay Connected

Facebook