Parliament of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska passes resolution denying Srebrenica genocide

Parliament of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska passes resolution denying Srebrenica genocide
More than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in the Srebrenica massacre. / OHR
By bne IntelliNews April 19, 2024

The parliament of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska (NSRS) adopted on April 18 a resolution denying the Srebrenica genocide with the support of all Serb parties. The resolution was adopted by the entity’s government a few years earlier.

In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) men and boys were killed in Srebrenica during the bloody 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The genocide was officially recognised by the International Court for Former Yugoslavia and international community.

“The term genocide is not correct. This qualification cannot be accepted and NSRS is rejecting it,” the resolution reads.

Milorad Dodik, the separatist president of Republika Srpska, said on April 18 that the massacre in Srebrenica was a mistake by the Serb army but not genocide.

“The operation of the RS army in July 1995 in Srebrenica was a mistake. A mistake that has caused a huge crime. This is the moment when, on behalf of Republika Srpska, I want to express my special piety to all victims and their families. It was a crime at the end of the war after fatigue, hatred, suffering and of revenge, but it was not a genocide,” Dodik said at a rally after parliament’s resolution.

Denying the Srebrenica genocide is a crime according to Bosnia’s state-level legislation.

The country comprises two autonomous entities – the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska – and three constituent peoples – the Bosniaks, the Serbs and the Croats. Each entity has its own institutions and there are also state-level bodies.

Dodik called the rally again the planned adoption by the UN of a resolution on Srebrenica genocide.

He also said that the Bosnian state “a mistake that should not have existed” and that the entity will not start a war but if the UN passes the resolution the Serb people will go and spend the day in Srebrenica “to show that it is ours and that we are not ashamed of it”.

“Republika Srpska does not belong to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Bosnia & Herzegovina was supposed to belong to Republika Srpska,” Dodik said.

He also accused the international community of destroying what was supposed to be.

The US embassy in Bosnia responded to Dodik’s latest moves, saying he was the main cause for Bosnia’s political crisis.

“It is quite clear to anyone paying attention to events in BiH who is the cause of BiH’s current political crisis and who is exacerbating tensions in the country. It is not the international community. It is local political leaders, particularly Mr. Dodik, who is devoting a lot of time and energy to deflecting blame onto others for his own failings. We doubt anyone who has paid close attention to the politics of this country for the last 15 years would be so naive as to believe him,” the embassy said in a statement on April 18.

On the same day, the state-level parliament rejected request by Dodik’s SNSD party to declare “null and void, illicit and legally non-binding” the decisions of international community’s high representative Christian Schmidt and to oblige the state-level institutions not to apply them.

A few weeks earlier, Schmidt used his Bonn powers to impose technical changes to the state electoral law. On April 18, he said he would cancel these amendments if Bosnian politicians agree on changes to the electoral law. However, if they fail, his amendments will stay in force.

Bosnia's state-level ruling coalition will try to reach an agreement on electoral law changes and adopt them by next Friday.