DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

15 October, 2009


Serbs "should have the guts to apologize for the things that were done against those who are not Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps, a new page can be opened if they apologize." - Haris Silajdzic

Member of the Presidential Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haris Silajdzic, arrived in Turkey to hold official talks. Appeared as an on-air guest at TRT TURK, Silajdzic said Serbs must apologize to Bosniaks for the genocide they committed in order to open a new page.

After the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1992-1995, Dayton Peace Accords has brought stability to the region, albeit slightly, but the problems are not over. Only 8 percent of Bosniaks and Croats were able to return their homes after the war. Also, Bosnian Serbs did not abandon their separatist demands.

The European Parliament in January proclaimed the date a day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, calling on countries across the continent to support the move.

But the atrocity was not officially commemorated in Bosnia with Serbs who want more autonomy, by separating from the Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"Dream of big Serbia"

Haris Silajdzic said the separation discourse of Bosnian Serbs increases unrest in Bosnia a little more each day.

"As Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and others, we want to live together with our citizens. All citizens are free, all citizens are equal," he said.

Highlighted that Serbs do not give up on the dream of "big Serbia", Silajdzic warned the Serbian leaders against provocative attitudes.

"An ethnic cleansing happened in Bosnia. The only recognized genocide was committed here", said Silajdzic and added that an apology from Serbs for genocide may become a driving force for reconciliation in the country.

Silajdzic said "They should have the guts to apologize for the things that were done against those who are not Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Perhaps, a new page can be opened if they apologize."


During the 1992-95 Bosnian war, the United Nations declared Srebrenica a U.N.-protected safe area for civilians. A number Bosnians flocked there for protection. But in July 1995, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic overran the enclave. The outnumbered U.N. troops never fired a shot. They watched as Mladic's troops rounded up the population of Srebrenica and took the men away for execution.

Men and boys among the 50,000 Muslim refugees from nearby towns and villages sheltering in Srebrenica tried to escape through the woods after the town fell but most were hunted down, detained and executed by the Serb forces.

So far some 3,200 Srebrenica victims have been buried at the memorial cemetery. Forensic experts from the International Commission on Missing Persons said they have identified 6,186 of those killed in the atrocity.

In 1995, about 15,000 men tried to escape the slaughter by fleeing over the mountains toward the safe town of Tuzla. They were hunted along their 65-mile (100-kilometer) walk; those caught were killed. At the time, Serb TV filmed the hunt and the footage was later used at the court as evidence. Many times it was aired on TV throughout the region. One section shows an elderly man, Ramo Osmanovic, caught by Serb soldiers and forced to call his son, Nermin - 16 years old at the time — to come out from the forest and surrender. The boy obeyed.

Bosnian Serbs sought to cover up the massacre by reburying the remains of victims using bulldozers, which caused body parts to become separated. So, DNA analysis is the only tool for identification.

The UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague indicted Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and fugitive Ratko Mladic for war crimes.

"Thanks for Turkey"

Stressed that Turkey has done its best for Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war and after the war, Silajdzic expressed the gratitude to feel this support. Later, Turkish President Abdullah Gul met with Silajdzic on Monday. The closed-door meeting took place at the Hilton Hotel in the central province of Kayseri.

Silajdzic said that Turkey was an important part of the international community, and they held regular talks with Turkish authorities.

President Gul, on his part, said "we attach importance to territorial integrity and political unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we support its inclusion in the Europe-Atlantic organizations."

President Gul also extended Turkey's support to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

EU and U.S. diplomats brought together Bosnian politicians last Thursday.

Serb side leader, Milorad Dodik, cited many times that they wanted to separate, collapsing the Balkan country and his remarks triggered a new political crisis.

The leaders agreed to meet again on 20 October, according to local media reports.

The European Commission's annual report on Bosnia's progress in EU membership talks is to be published on Wednesday.

Credits: Originally appeared in WorldBulletin, 12 Oct 2009. [we fixed minor spelling issues]