EU Condemns Serbian President’s Denial of Genocide in Srebrenica

Posted June 4th, 2012 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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The European Union has rejected comments by Serbia's new president that the 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Bosnia-Herzegovina's eastern town of Srebrenica was not a genocide.

A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the statement by President Tomislav Nikolic, saying the massacre in Srebrenica was genocide and the European Union strongly rejects any intention to rewrite history.

Mr. Nikolic told Montenegro television in an interview on Friday the killing of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys was a war crime committed by some Serbs who should be found and brought before justice. But he said there was no genocide.

The president, who was sworn in a day earlier, also said he does not plan to visit Srebrenica and condemn the crime because his predecessor has done that.

Mr. Nikolic was a long-time member of the Serbian Radical Party, whose founder Vojislav Seselj is being tried by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The new president, once staunchly anti-Western, now says he wants to lead Serbia into the European Union. But he says he will never recognize the statehood of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that became independent in 2008.

In his first address to lawmakers, he said he wants Serbia with two doors, to the East and to the West.

Mr. Nikolic visited Russia soon after he was elected in the May 20 runoff vote, but his first official foreign trip will be to Brussels later this month.

During the Bosnian ethnic conflict, Srebrenica was a United Nations-protected enclave in eastern Bosnia. Bosnian Serb forces overran the town in July 1995 and forced Muslims into nearby areas where they separated men from women and summarily executed them. Mass graves were later discovered in the area.