18th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide: NPWJ calls for justice and redress to be achieved

10 Jul, 2013 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome – New York, 10 July 2013

Eighteen years ago, Bosnian Serb forces under the command of General Ratko Mladić and with the support of Radovan Karadnic executed more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys and forced another 25,000 women, children and elderly people to leave their homes and their town. The massacre was found to constitute genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 2004, a finding reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice in 2007. The people of Srebrenica are still living under the shadow of this horrific day: the identification of individual victims is still ongoing, leaving many families still uncertain as to the fate of their loved ones.

Statement by Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“We commemorate those killed during the Srebrenica massacre and their surviving loved-ones, many of whom are continuing victims of ethnic cleansing by Serb forces. No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty stand in solidarity with the victims and continue to call for justice for this horrific event, which stands out among the several horrors that were inflicted on civilians during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

“While Serbia has acknowledged the crimes and finally sent Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić to The Hague for trial, the ICTY seems to have lost the plot entirely. At the end of last year, despite overwhelming evidence of murder, inhumane acts, forced displacement and persecution in Srebrenica by Republika Srpska forces he aided, supported and supplied, former Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav Army Momcilo Perisic was acquitted by the Appeals Chamber under some new and unlikely theory of liability that flies in the face of well established jurisprudence. At the end of May this year, the Trial Chamber followed suit and acquitted Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic, despite overwhelming evidence that they had established, supported and controlled some of the most notorious criminal units that committed massive, widespread and systematic atrocities against civilians in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. As Judge Picard described in her dissent to the Stanisic and Simatovic decision, this brings us back to a very “dark place”.

“The time has come for common sense and legal reason to prevail in The Hague. If the Appeals Chambers perseveres in this madness and decides to send Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic or godforbid Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić back to Belgrade as heroes, the ICTY will have succeeded in doing what the execution squads and excavators at Srebrenica and the snipers and artillery at Sarajevo were never able to achieve: to re-write and give judicial imprint to an odious revisionist version of history in which the crimes never happened and the victims simply do not matter.

“Today is a day to honour the memory of those who were killed and the ongoing struggle of their families to rebuild their lives as survivors. Eighteen years later, their fight to achieve justice and redress is certainly not over, and NPWJ and NRPTT stand at their side, with central message that those responsible for the crimes committed at Srebrenica must be brought to justice.”

For further information, contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-2-548 39 12 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-2-548-3915.