BFF-76 Bosnian Serb leader denies scale of Srebrenica massacre

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BOSNIA-SERBS-SREBRENICA-GENOCIDE

Bosnian Serb leader denies scale of Srebrenica massacre

SARAJEVO, Aug 14, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik on
Tuesday called for a government report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre to be
annulled, in a provocative move that could raise ethnic tensions ahead of
October elections.

Compiled by a previous government, the 2004 report marked Bosnian Serbs’
first official acknowledgement of the scale of the massacre, in which some
8,000 Muslims were killed in the worst atrocity on European soil since World
War II.

On Tuesday, Dodik, the ultra-nationalist president of Bosnia’s Serb-run
entity Republika Srpska (RS), urged MPs there to overturn the report, calling
it “biased and untrue.”

He has refused to describe the mass killing by Bosnian Serb forces as a
genocide, despite two international courts ruling it as such.

Dodik said the report, which contained the names of 7,806 victims, “is not
relevant, is very selective, untrue, unproved, biased, distorts facts,
creating a fake picture about the events in and around Srebrenica,” according
to Bosnia’s Fena news agency.

Dodik, who is running to be a member of Bosnia’s central tripartite
presidency in October 7 elections, also called for “an international
commission” to make “the final report on Srebrenica”.

Bosnian Serbs have long downplayed the scale of the Srebrenica massacre,
which saw Bosnian Serb forces summarily execute thousands of Muslim men and
boys over several days.

Dodik previously called for the report to be revised when he was prime
minister of RS in 2010, claiming it was made “under pressure” from the
international community.

On Tuesday, Bosnia’s Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic condemned Dodik’s latest
request as a “pre-election move” aimed at diverting public attention away
from other issues.

“No one, not a single institution in Bosnia could detract from the rulings
of international courts,” Zvizdic was quoted as saying by Fena.

The Srebrenica massacre is the only episode of Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war to
have been ruled as genocide by two international courts, the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) and the UN war crimes tribunal.

The war claimed some 100,000 lives and left the Balkan country split into
two semi-autonomous entities: the Serbs’ Republika Srpska and the Muslim-
Croat Federation. Each has its own government, president and parliament.

Dodik, known for incendiary rhetoric, was sanctioned by the US in 2017 for
threatening the peace accord that ended the war by pushing to celebrate a
controversial Serb-focused holiday.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2257 hrs