Bosnians say Serbia apology lacking massacre term 'insult'

In 2009, a European Parliament resolution condemned the Srebrenica massacre as genocide and called on the region to commemorate its July anniversary.

Bosnians say Serbia apology lacking massacre term 'insult'

Serbia will reopen one of the darkest chapters in its recent past this week when parliament starts debating whether to apologise for the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.

"The Srebrenica resolution is necessary to discuss in parliament because with this Serbia wants to demonstrate our desire to move to regional reconciliation and demonstrate good neighbourly relations among the countries in the region," Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic told Reuters last week.

The draft resolution expresses sympathy for victims and apologises for not doing enough to prevent the massacre, carried out by Bosnian Serbs and Serbian paramilitaries, "although it does not call the killings genocide."

It will be debated on Tuesday and voting could be the same day. The text also urges other former Yugoslav countries to pass resolutions condemning crimes against Serbs.

A few months before the end of the war that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia, Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic killed about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica, which had been besieged and overrun.

The EU has made the capture and extradition of Mladic to the United Nations war crimes tribunal a condition for progress in Belgrade's accession bid. He is believed hiding in Serbia.

In 2009, a European Parliament resolution condemned the Srebrenica massacre as genocide and called on the region to commemorate its July anniversary.

The Serbian text is likely to pass as it is backed by the ruling coalition.

"EU amnesty"

A Serbian apology would be little comfort for Bosnian Muslims like Ilijas Pilav, a Sarajevo surgeon who survived the July 1995 attack by escaping through the woods. Along with thousands of other Muslim men and boys, he had trekked for six days and nights through wilderness before reaching safety.

"This was an experience that no words can describe," he told Reuters. "It has left deep traces on the rest of my life and no amount of time and no political declaration can ease those memories."

Pilav said a Serbian parliament resolution that does not call the crime genocide would only add insult to injury.

"It only deepens the feeling of the humiliation, contempt and anger," he said. "Nobody can bring back the dead but those alive shouldn't be humiliated either."

He said the resolution was a dishonest way for the European Union to "amnesty Serbia for its wartime role and show it has become an eligible partner".

Many deputies and ordinary Serbs would prefer to highlight Serb war suffering.

"We started the madness," said Milan Pajevic, a former foreign policy advisor to the Serbian government. "It is shameful, really shameful. We have to express sorrow for the crimes done by the people coming from Serbia, and then, only then, could we expect others to say they feel sorry."


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Mart 2010, 16:42

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