WE DON'T WANT SERB MAYOR WHO DENIES GENOCIDE
MOSTAR -- Local elections in the eastern Bosnian municipality of Srebrenica should be held without any special exceptions in relation to the rest of the country, the US ambassador to Sarajevo, Patrick Moon, said during his visit to the town on Friday.
According to the Dnevni Avaz newspaper, his statement prompted anger and strong reactions from survivors of 1995's Srebrenica massacre who warned that the consequences of the genocide would be legalised by the next municipal elections.
In the previous municipal elections held in 2008, an exception was made and all people originating from Srebrenica were allowed to vote regardless of whether they had permanent residence in the municipality or not. In the forthcoming election only people with permanent residence will be allowed to vote.
Ambassador Moon said he did not expect changes to electoral legislation regarding Srebrenica, but noted that whoever the next mayor might be they would have to ensure that the massacre was not forgotten.
Representatives of the massacre victims expressed their indignation at the ambassador's statement and refused to visit the Memorial Centre with him. Hatidza Mehmedovic of the Mothers of Srebrenica association said that if election legislation was not changed no ambassador should ever come to Srebrenica again.
"You were our hope and we trusted you! We still want you to do something for the people who are buried here and for their families. Should we allow an advocate of the policy that denies the genocide to be our mayor?" Mehmedovic said.
Other representatives of this association warned that Bosniaks would start leaving their homes unless the many displaced people from Srebrenica were allowed to vote. They called on international High Representative Valentin Inzko and Bosniak political leaders Sulejman Tihic and Zlatko Lagumdzija to state their position on the matter.
Bosnian Serb troops massacred over 8,000 captured Bosniak civilians in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995, the single worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War.