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UN SG Antonio Guterres to Mark Srebrenica Genocide

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at the UN Headquarters press conference on 4 February 2020 (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres UN 4 February 2020 WPP photo

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at the UN Headquarters press conference on 4 February 2020 (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric at the UN Headquarters press conference on 4 February 2020 (Photo by Erol Avdović, Webpublicapress)

By  Erol Avdović (WebPublicaPress – WPP) UNITED NATIONS – The Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres confirmed he will be traveling this summer to Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the central commemoration to mark 25th anniversary of genocide in Srebrenica. Mr. Guterres said UN is also in contact with the Bosnian authorities regarding that trip.

Answering to WPP question what would be his message to the region in which hate speech still prevail and reconciliation is very slow, and what he is going to do regarding Srebrenica this year the Secretary General confirmed he will be going to Bosnia to participate on 11th July this year planned state manifestation.

 

UN should remember

 

By the end of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 11th July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces entered to small town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia and, overwhelmed the UN battalion of (Dutch) peacekeepers stationed there. In 1993 UN had declared Srebrenica “safe havens”, to be disarmed and protected by international peacekeeping forces. But the city was taken by Serbian forces, and in only couple of days more then 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by them.

“I think it’s very important to go to symbolically show exactly a very strong commitment to the need for Srebrenica never to be repeated and the conditions that led to Srebrenica never to be repeated,” Mr. Guterres said.

In October 1999, then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a Special report on Srebrenica that included an apology for UN’s mistakes in Bosnian war. Annan said that the crime inSrebrenica would haunt the body forever. He also said “that Bosnia was as much a moral cause as a military conflict.”

Asked to comment on genocide deniers and the proposal for a new law to be adopted in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the similar laws that are long existing in Europe to legally punish those who are negating genocide and hate crimes, UN Secretary General said it is “absolutely clear that accountability for genocide is essential.”

He also said the existence of special courts like International Criminal Tribunal for war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia (ICTY) proved to be necessary.

“it’s very important to support it and to allow it to work as effectively as possible, exactly for crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide not to go unpunished,” Mr. Guterres said.

ICTY indicted Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander, General Ratko Mladic for genocide in Srebrenica and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by them and others during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995). The ICTY indicted totally 161 persons of crimes committed during conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

 

Bosnia still in limbo

 

Mr. Guterres also said UN is watching with “a lot of concern, the evolution in Bosnia and

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres UN 4 February 2020 WPP photo

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres UN 4 February 2020 WPP photo

Herzegovina.”

“We believe it is absolutely essential to move into a true reconciliation, and to fight hate speech is one of our priorities,” UN chief said.

“And from our perspective Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country that needs a lot of support of international community in order to be able to overcome the fact that its dysfunctional political situation is remaining and is helping to fuel these kind of divisions” Secretary General told WPP.

He suggested the European future is alternative for Bosnia and the region

“It’s important that international community be attentive and be supportive to the countries of the region in order to allow them to address the divisions that still exist and allow them to move positively into the process of European integration, if that is the will of their people.”

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