BOSNIAN SERB GOVERNMENT ADMITS SREBRENICA GENOCIDE
November 11, 2004
Bosnian Serb authorities have apologised for the first time to relatives of around 8,000 Bosniaks killed by Serb forces in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which is Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.
"The Government of Republika Srpska sympathises with the pain of relatives of the Srebrenica victims and expresses sincere regrets and apologies over the tragedy which has happened to them," a Government statement said.
The Bosnian Serb Government accepted last month an internal report by a special investigative commission acknowledging that almost 8,000 Muslims were killed in the massacre.
The massacre occurred in the final stages of Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
The report marked the first time Bosnian Serb authorities have admitted the scale of the massacre after its troops overran the UN-protected enclave.
Serb authorities had previously downplayed the slaughter, which is classed as an act of genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague.
However, the report's toll of up to 8,000 victims is in line with independent estimates.
Bosniak men and boys were separated from the women and murdered over several days after Serb forces swept through the eastern region.
So far more than 6,000 bodies have been exhumed from mass graves near Srebrenica.
Republika Srpska is the Serb-run entity, which along with the Bosniak-Croat Federation, makes up post-war Bosnia.
Srebrenica was a predominantly Bosniak town before the war but it is now part of Republika Srpska.
The Bosnian Serb Government also says it is committed to bring to justice those responsible for the massacre, a key demand of the international community and the relatives of the victims.
"The Republika Srpska government is committed and is undertaking decisive steps to bring to justice all those who committed war crimes," the Government said.
The UN war crimes tribunal has indicted Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, for genocide for their alleged roles in the massacre.
Although the war ended nine years ago the two still remain at large, hiding somewhere in the former Yugoslavia where they are still regarded as heroes by their hardline supporters.
keywords: Srebrenica Genocide, Srebrenica Massacre, Bosnian Serb Government, Final Srebrenica Report, Bosniaks, Bosnian Muslims, Bosnia-Herzegovina