Srebrenica Mothers request meeting with Biden: We believe you'll stand with BiH

NEWS 20.03.202322:05 0 komentara
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Representatives of the Srebrenica victim associations addressed a letter to US President Joe Biden, asking to meet him to address “the renewed and persistent threats against Srebrenica Genocide survivors as well as against Bosnia's stability.” The Mothers of Srebrenica and other survivors are negatively impacted every day by hate speech, the glorification of war criminals, the discriminatory prohibition of memorials to the victims, and other forms of discrimination in Bosnia's Serb-majority entity Republika Srpska, which are in direct violation of Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the letter warned. It also pointed at the support of Russia to the separatist forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pročitaj više

“There are a number of atrocity sites that were part of the Srebrenica Genocide where the Mothers have been prohibited from placing any sort of memorial. The warehouse in Kravica, for example, where Bosnian Muslims were murdered in July 1995, was recently renovated by local Serb officials, damaging evidence at the crime scene. But the Mothers have not been allowed to put up a memorial plaque at the site. Similarly, the Pilica Cultural Centre, which was also an execution site, has been repurposed as a polling place, while the survivors have not been allowed to place any memorial at the site. The atrocities committed at these sites are documented, for example, in the Mladic Judgement, and were part of his conviction for genocide,” reads the letter signed by the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association Munira Subasic and professor David Pettigrew, a member of the Steering Committee of the Yale university Genocide Studies Program, on behalf of the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves.

The signatories also warned about the presence of glorification of war criminals in the country.

“While the Mothers are prohibited from installing a simple plaque at these sites, murals and statues glorifying war criminals continue to proliferate across Republika Srpska,” they emphasised, mentioning the examples of murals to Ratko Mladic and Draza Mihailovic as well as the statues to the ‘Serb fighters’ in many towns across the entity and the plaque to Mladic on the Vraca Hill above Sarajevo.

They also reminded of the recent celebration of the unconstitutional ‘Day of Republika Srpska’.

“On January 9, 2023, Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska, presided over the celebration of ‘Republika Srpska Day’, which had been ruled unconstitutional by Bosnia’s highest court. The celebration included a highly militarized parade in East Sarajevo, along with nationalist and Islamophobic rhetoric that re-traumatized the citizens of Sarajevo and genocide survivors.”

The letter notes that the images of the uniformed police carrying automatic weapons struck fear in the heart of genocide survivors as “these were the very forces that carried out atrocities in the early 1990s in the name of Republika Srpska, atrocities that have been judged to be crimes against humanity and genocide.” It also stressed that the parade was attended by Ivica Dacic, a Serbian official who had worked with Slobodan Milosevic, who “launched aggression in the region in the 90s.”

“The ‘Republika Srpska Day’ parade was, moreover, the paroxysm of the glorification of the war criminals and the celebration of the genocide in Republika Srpska. At this event, none other than Vladimir Putin was awarded the Order of the Republic of Srpska by President Dodik. This is unacceptable and should be a matter of the greatest concern for the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union. Mr. Dodik expresses support for Russia and speaks of secession at every opportunity. Survivors deserve to be protected from such psychological harm caused by threats of further attacks.”

The note also warned about the nationalist goals of some ethnic groups.

“Now, Mr. President, the Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat nationalists have formed an alliance to exclude pro-Bosnian parties from power. Their action has the consequence of once again isolating and endangering Bosniaks. Two former high Representatives have warned recently that these nationalist forces are using political means to achieve their war aims from the 1990s, and this time with the support of the Russian Federation.”


The signatories of the letter believe that the human rights of the genocide survivors is crucial for the country's future.

“We feel it is crucial that we meet with you to discuss the current crisis and ask for your public support for the human rights of the survivors, including the right to memorialization and to protection from the retraumatization caused by hate speech, genocide denial, and the glorification of war criminals. The respect for human rights and the protection of survivors is crucial for the future of Bosnia.”

They also stressed that America has always stood with Bosnia in the past so they believe President Biden will stand with Bosnia now, “against the separatist who would divide our country and against the Russian Federation that supports their goals.”

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