UNSC Members Must Recognise Srebrenica Genocide, Work For Prevention

By Together Against Genocide [TAG], Wednesday, July 08 2015
Together Against Genocide is deeply disappointed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) failure to agree a resolution commemorating and recognising the Srebrenica massacre as genocide.  TAG deplores Russia’s use of its veto to deny findings unanimously determined by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2004 (and by the International Court of Justice in 2007). This failure is deeply hurtful to the survivors of this genocide.

The Srebrenica massacre of July 1995 saw the murder of more than 8000 Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces during the Bosnian War. In April 1993, UNSC resolution 819 declared Srebrenica a safe zone for citizens trapped in war-torn Bosnia. As part of the terms of the resolution, the entire city was to be free from any armed attack and any Bosnian Serb units were told to immediately withdraw from the areas surrounding the city. However, on 11th July 1995, under the command of Ratko Mladic, Serb forces entered the safe zone and targeted Bosnian Muslim men and boys- the 8000 dead were dumped into pits.

It was unanimously recognised by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2004 (and by the International Court of Justice in 2007) that the massacre constituted genocide- the intended destruction, in whole or part, of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. This is a crime under international law.

For over a decade, international authorities have recognised the Srebrenica genocide. For the UNSC to consider Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide is a systemic failure on their part and sets a deeply worrying precedent for future mass atrocities in other regions. Given that the international judicial authorities have long since recognised the Srebrenica massacre as genocide, Russia and those states that abstained from voting must also. This latest failure serves as another example of the inadequacy of the UNSC when faced with state-sponsored atrocities.

In conclusion, TAG urges Russia, China and those non-permanent members of the UN Security Council who abstained in today’s vote to recognise the Srebrenica massacre as genocide and thus work towards prevention globally.