EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS THE RESOLUTION ON SREBRENICA

The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana, Slovenia, has issued the following press release regarding the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica which was discussed today, 15 January 2009, by the European Parliament (EP) at its plenary session in Strasbourg:

At its first plenary session this year which took place today, 15. January 2009 in Strasbourg, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the Resolution on Srebrenica with which EP calls EU Member States as well as the West Balkan countries to mark 11. July as the day of mourning for the victims of genocide in Srebrenica. The Resolution, which was submitted by all EP political groups, especially stresses the need to remember and pay appropriate respect to all the victims of crimes committed during the Balkan war.

The Resolution was adopted exactly three months after the delegation of the "Mothers of Enclaves of Srebrenica and Žepa Association" handed over the proposal for the Resolution on Srebrenica to Vice-President of the European Parliament Mrs. Diana Wallis from ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) in the presence of the Slovenian MEP Jelko Kacin (Liberal Democracy of Slovenia/ALDE). Mrs. Diana Wallis attended the commemoration ceremony in Potočari (Srebrenica) last year together with the Slovenian MEP Jelko Kacin. The submission of the proposal for the Resolution to the EP was also attended by Dr. Mustafa Cerić, Grand Mufti of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MEP Jelko Kacin explained the proposal for the Resolution among other by the following statement: "Srebrenica also means the concealment of killings and the destruction of mass graves. Srebrenica must be engraved into our historical memory and built into the foundations of EU enlargement to the West Balkan areas. We may not conform to discriminatory and exclusive stereotypes of individual nations and we have to fight against collective guilt. Those responsible for the genocide in Srebrenica have to go to the Hague Tribunal and to prison, while we have to help build and promote a European future for Srebrenica, its people and the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would like to thank the conference of presidents who unanimously supported the proposal to invite a group of young Bosniaks and Serbs from Srebrenica every year to a study visit to the European Parliament, in order to provide them a stressless environment to discuss, plan and build a common and brighter future for Srebrenica and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole. This Resolution is not intended for the past. Although it also speaks about the dead, it is intended for those who still live and for their better future."

The IFIMES International Institute welcomes the adoption of the Resolution and hopes that the countries of the West Balkans will also respond appropriately and mark 11 July as the day of mourning for the victims of genocide in Srebrenica. Mothers of Srebrenica, who lost their dearest in the war, are aware that the future of the West Balkans depends on truth, justice and reconciliation. They want a stable and secure environment for the future generations and hope that such crimes will never be repeated.

The IFIMES International Institute warns that domestic politicians in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other West Balkan countries should not be allowed use the adoption of the Resolution on Srebrenica in order to gain political points. Instead they should use this opportunity to make another step forward to establish the so much needed reconciliation in the West Balkans .

As the adopted Resolution states the genocide in Srebrenica was committed in July 1995 when the Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladić, who was under the direct influence of the then president of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadžić, killed over 8.000 Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks), mostly men and boys, and deported almost 25.000 women, children and the elderly. This was the largest war crime committed in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

The European Parliament is the only EU institution which directly represents the citizens of Member States. Therefore it is of even greater importance that the Resolution was adopted with the support of all deputy groups, which sets a special seal to the Year of Intercultural Dialogue which has just ended.

Ljubljana, 15 January 2009


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