Austrian parliament adopts resolution on Srebrenica genocide

Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency (AA)

Resolution declares July 11 a day of mourning for the victims, condemns public denial of genocide

Austria’s parliament unanimously adopted a resolution Wednesday on the genocide in Srebrenica which honors the Bosniaks who were killed in the town on July 11, 1995.

The resolution asks Austrian authorities to continue actively supporting the commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide together with other members of the European Union.

The adoption of the resolution came after Austrian Justice Minister Alma Zadic’s official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week.

The text of the resolution states that it is being adopted on the occasion of the 27th commemoration of the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Srebrenica, which was declared a protected zone by the UN Security Council Resolution of April 16, 1993.

”Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic and based on the order of the then president of (the Bosnia and Herzegovina entity) Republika Srpska occupied and subdued this city. During the next few days, massacres were carried out under the command of General Mladic in which Bosnian Serb soldiers, paramilitary units and irregular police units took part,” it said.

The resolution recalled that over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys who sought protection from the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) were killed.

“At the same time, approximately 30,000 women, children and elderly (people) were forcibly expelled in a major ethnic cleansing operation. Thus, this event became the most serious war crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War,” said the resolution.

The text of the resolution further states that all these “tragic events in Srebrenica” have left the survivors with “trauma and deep emotional scars.”

The Austrian lawmakers further said that a resolution of the European Parliament had made July 11 the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Srebrenica.

“In order to ensure a peaceful future and successful coexistence, it is necessary that all political representatives – whether in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also around the world – face the darkest chapters of history and acknowledge the past. Commemorating the genocide in Srebrenica and solidarity with the victims are key for a better future for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as for strengthening historical awareness that such terrible crimes must never be repeated,” the resolution concluded.

– Srebrenica genocide

In July 1995, Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic — who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide — overran the UN zone.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys in a single day on July 11.

About 15,000 Srebrenicans fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

-AA

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