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  • Centre for Socio-Political Research of the Republic of Srpska

    Press Release on the Adoption of the Report of the Independent International Commission on the Suffering of All Peoples in the Srebrenica Region 1992-1995 by the National Assembly of Republika Srpska

    18. April 2024.

    Genuine reconciliation involves scientifically and professionally established facts that are consistent with all narratives within a specific conflict, ensuring that the recognition of the suffering of one group and side in the conflict does not negate or diminish the suffering of other parties involved. The path to reconciliation includes creating space for facts, fostering dialogue, and acknowledging the complex identities and experiences within the specific conflict. This process must be comprehensive, enabling collective memory that integrates, rather than divides and disintegrates. This is especially important in conflicts such as the Bosnian Civil War of the 1990s, which was directly determined by the Genocide against Serbs in the NDH.

    Unfortunately, the unilateral and unlawfully conducted initiative to adopt the Srebrenica Genocide Resolution at the UN General Assembly is contrary to all the aforementioned. The mentioned Resolution, unlawfully and unconstitutionally submitted to the UN General Assembly without the decision of the tripartite Presidency of BiH, represents a significant violation of constitutional competencies. This violation not only undermines the legal and procedural foundations of managing post-Dayton BiH but also disputes the legitimacy of the Resolution itself in the eyes of responsible domestic and international observers. Such actions can only lead to a deeper constitutional crisis and further undermine the structure of BiH, established by the Dayton Peace Agreement which stopped the tragic civil war.

    Furthermore, such destructive and irresponsible action can only exacerbate existing ethnic tensions and contribute to greater political instability. Each member of the Presidency represents one of the three constituent peoples of BiH – Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats, and their collective decision-making ensures that all national perspectives are considered in international affairs, which is a key element for maintaining peace and stability post-Dayton Peace Agreement. Any deviation from these norms must be treated with the utmost seriousness, to prevent undermining peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. This is particularly mandated by the tragic experience of the illegal outvoting of Serbian elected national deputies by their Muslim and Croat colleagues in the Assembly of SRBiH in the autumn of 1991. Even then, it was about violating the Constitution of SRBiH and bypassing Serbs as a constituent people. The most tragic aspect of this event is the fact that Muslim and Croat national deputies were aware at that time that their unconstitutional actions were leading directly to a civil war.

    The leadership of Republika Srpska carries a special responsibility today because it was formed on January 9, 1992, as a Serbian “Never Again” to another genocide. Therefore, its decision six years ago to establish two independent international commissions on the suffering of Serbs in Sarajevo and all peoples in central Podrinje represents an act of political courage and responsibility. It has been repeatedly noted that all members of both commissions had absolute autonomy and freedom in researching and writing their chapters in the reports. They collectively formed the unified texts of their commission’s reports, and all members of each commission signed the reports. Simultaneously, the Government of Republika Srpska immediately committed to accepting all facts and conclusions reached by the commissions in their research. Because of this, it acknowledged each of the two reports in its sessions after they were written.

    The Report of the Independent International Commission on the Suffering of All Peoples in the Srebrenica Region from 1992–1995 was prepared by 10 members of the commission, who are also top global experts in their fields of expertise. After it was presented at a government session by the Commission President Gideon Greif, the leadership of Republika Srpska, led by President Dodik at a public conference, acknowledged that the Report contains many unpleasant facts about crimes committed by Serbs, but it is essential to finally understand what really happened during the war in that area. It was concluded that we must confront unpleasant facts from the past, just as we must learn the extent and nature of the suffering of the Serbian population in the central Podrinje area.

    By establishing the mentioned commission and confirming the Report, the political leadership of Republika Srpska has made an exceptionally important civilizational act, as it has enabled the scientific and professional determination of facts about the extent and circumstances of the suffering of Serbs and Muslims/Bosniaks during the war period in that area. This is a unique example of paying respect to all victims in the new countries formed from the dissolution of Yugoslavia, calling for all who suffered to be equally respected and appealing for all perpetrators to be prosecuted. The importance of establishing this commission is evidenced by the fact that the report practically does not deny the mass execution of the largest group of captured members of the Muslim 28th Division in July 1995 in central Podrinje. Simultaneously, the government firmly maintains the commission’s conclusion that this mass crime cannot be qualified as genocide according to the repeatedly confirmed definition of genocide by the United Nations from 1948. This conclusion aligns with the views of leading global experts and authorities such as Yehuda Bauer, Efraim Zurof, William Schabas, or Prisca Nyambe. Representatives of the political leadership of Republika Srpska have repeatedly made it clear that no one denies the mass crime that occurred in July 1995, but they share the view of the mentioned commission and experts that it, according to the United Nations definition, cannot be qualified as genocide.

    The decision of the leadership of Republika Srpska for the National Assembly of Republika Srpska to adopt the Report of the Independent International Commission on the Suffering of All Peoples in the Srebrenica Region 1992-1995 represents a continuity in the fight for civilizational values, for scientifically and professionally established facts, and respect for all victims from a people who have experienced unprecedented suffering and genocide during the NDH. The struggle for this political platform and position in today’s geopolitical conditions is extremely complex, but it will ultimately pay off. In the end, the leadership of Republika Srpska, respecting the reasons for the existence of Republika Srpska and the consequences of the tragic history of Serbs in this area, has an obligation to find and secure all necessary solutions for the biological and civilizational survival of Serbs in this region.