by Shelby Vcelka
Impunity Watch Desk Reporter, Europe
UN Security Council held a session last Wednesday on a resolution that would have condemned the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 as a “crime of genocide.” The text of the resolution stated that the “acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation.” Of the fifteen members of the Security Council, four members abstained from the vote, while ten voted in favor. Only Russia voted against the resolution. The resolution’s failure to pass marks a new low in international politics and relations among the Western powers.
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb troops in the worst massacre since the Second Word War. The victims were shot and buried in a mass grave after Serbian forces overran a safe zone watched by Dutch United Nations peacekeepers during the final months of the Bosnian War.
The Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, described the resolution as “counter productive, confrontational and politically motivated.” He claimed that the resolution blamed the Bosnian Serbs for atrocities that were committed by all parties involved in the conflict. The resolution would further “doom the region to tension,” Mr. Churkin claimed, as Serbia was opposed to the motion. Russia and Serbia have close political ties.
Prior to the vote, the United States, Russia, and Britain attempted to come to a compromise on the language of the text. The American ambassador, Samantha Power, stated that the writers of the draft attempted to tackle many of Russia’s concerns, but Russia spurned the definition of genocide offered by the resolution. The vote had been pushed back a day to address other issues Russia had, but to no avail.
Serbia, who does not have a seat on the Security Council, has denied the allegations that the massacre was a “genocide,” and asked ally Russia to block the resolution. The denial is in spite of a UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague and other international courts recognizing the event as a genocide. Serbia admits that a “grave crime” was committed as it created closer ties with the West, but refuses to call acknowledge the legal definition of genocide.
For more information, please see–
BBC– Russia vetoes UN move to call Srebrenica ‘genocide’— 08 July 2015
Business Insider–Russia blocks U.N. condemnation of Srebrenica as a genocide— 08 July 2015
DW.com– Russia blocks UN resolution condemning Srebrenica ‘genocide’— 08 July 2015
New York Times– Russia Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling Srebrenica Massacre ‘Crime of Genocide’— 08 July 2015
The Telegraph– Russia blocks UN resolution condemning Srebrenica massacre as genocide— 08 July 2015