Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Radio Deutsche Welle that the Srebrenica massacre was a war crime, not genocide.
“It was a horrendous crime. A war crime. I am not proud of it. It was not done in the name of the Serbian people and Serbia cannot be collectively blamed for what happened there,” she said, adding that genocide means killing an entire population which, according to her, was not the case in Srebrenica.
On July 11, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica and rounded up the town’s Muslim Bosniaks, separated men from women and small children and systematically executed some 8,000 men and boys.
The bodies of the victims were buried in a large number of mass graves. Forensic experts excavated them and identified the bones through DNA analysis before returning the bodies to the families for interment at the Memorial Centre’s cemetery.
The International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice later ruled that the massacre was an act of genocide.
International and regional courts have sentenced 45 people for what happened in Srebrenica to a total of more than 700 years behind bars.
Brnabic said Serbia is the best possible example in the region in terms of attitude towards war criminals.
“You can’t deny everything that Serbia has done in regard to war crimes since 2000. Far more has been done in the past 18 years than in all the other countries of the region,” Brnabic said.
She added that she is absolutely proud of how Serbia treated problems from the past. Asked about the fact that convicted war criminals are being treated like heroes and role models, the prime minister said she does not support that.
She said that the convicted war criminals who have been rehabilitated in public in Serbia had served their sentences and had been released. “Do you want us to imprison them somewhere in Serbia so that no one ever sees their face again,” she asked.
“Serbia has done its part but I would warn everyone not to look only at Serbia but to look at what other countries in the region are doing,” Brnabic said.