President Danilo Turk has provided this a statement to ex Bosnian ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey for press conference at UN. Thay will read it at the conference on July 11 at 3:00 pm.
Srebrenica was a scene of a terrible crime. And like Guernica three generations ago, Srebrenica has become a symbol of evil in our generation. I am not using the word Â»evilÂ« lightly. Crimes and atrocities are committed in every war. But some of the crimes committed during war are so henious and unique that they cannot be described only with reference to their criminal essence, their systematicity or their scale. The crime of Srebrenica is beyond these descriptions. It was characterized by its cynical planning, its political calculation,. its inhuman execution and sadism demonstrated in the killing of thousands of unarmed men and boys. Therefore, describing the crime of Srebrenica as evil is no exaggeration. Even the International Court of Justice, known for its prudence and restraint, has established that the crime of Srebrenica was genocide.
The July 1995 killing of an estimated 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, by the army of the Republika Srpska and a Serbian paramilitary unit known as the Scorpions, was declared a genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Srebrenica was a UN-declared safe area, protected by UN peacekeepers. But that did not prevent the massacre. A press conference will be held to discuss the tragic event and legal issues.
WHO: Ambassador Christian Wenaweser of the Principality of Lichtenstein
WHEN: Friday, July 11, 2008, 3 pm
Srebrenica begs many questions. Why was this crime not prevented? Could more have been done for the prevention of genocide and if so, what were the reasons for inaction? Has the international community â€“ unintentionally â€“ stepped into the trap of acquiescence of the perverse political logic which inspired the preparation, planning and execution of this genocide? How much has been done to unveil the whole truth about Srebrenica? What still needs to be done and how should the international community help the relatives of the victims to rebuild their lives?
Some of the fundamental questions of prevention of genocide have received very unsatisfactory, even disturbing answers. Yes, the international community is still unprepared for an effective action to prevent genocide. The efforts of the past years, especially those by the UN Secretary-General, were valiant but not sufficiently supported. The World is not better off now than it was before Srebrenica. The credibility of the UN, damaged at Srebrenica, is not fully recovered. All this is disturbing.
Yet there are many things that can and should be done. Some of them relate to Srebrenica directly. There should be no rewriting of history. Ratko MladiÄ‡ and Radovan KaraÄ‘iÄ‡ must be brought to justice. Impunity must not prevail. This is necessary for the sake of justice, but also in order to prevent the venomous effect of evil to spread. The European Union must be fully cognizant of these postulates in its management of the Union’s enlargement.
Prenention of genocide should be put higher on the agenda of the UN Security Council. The Council should not wait until atrocities are legally established as Â»genocideÂ«. It should take stock of its own experience with the early symptoms of genocide and determine the types of action it considers appropriate. Effective prevention should render the use of the heavily loaded term Â»genocideÂ« unnecessary. Obviously, no two situations are exactly the same. But Srebrenica teches us that preparations for genocide are ascertainable early enough and that the consequences of inaction far outweigh the risks of timely prevention.
Let us learn something from the past mistakes. Let us not forget the victims of Srebrenica. Let the UN do what the World expects from it.
Ljubljana, 10 July 2008
President of Slovenia