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President of the Republic of Srpska addresses at the international scientific conference “Srebrenica, Reality and Manipulation” 

The President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović addressed at the international scientific conference “Srebrenica, Reality and Manipulation” in Banja Luka today.

The President of the Republic of Srpska pointed out that it is necessary to observe the events in Srebrenica and its wider surroundings from 1992 to 1995 as a whole since it is the only possible way to create a contextually clear and objective picture of the war events in that area from July 1995.

“It is important that we approach every topic freely and seriously, and especially those topics that have produced many processes or long lasting consequences”, said the President Cvijanović.

The President of the Republic added that in the last 24 years, many people wrote and spoke about Srebrenica and the events from July 1995.

“If we type the word “Srebrenica” on the web browser, we shall primarily be offered by texts and articles about the sufferings of Bosniaks, about court proceedings and crimes convictions against Bosniaks, as well as photographs of the Memorial Centre in Potočari. These sufferings were severe and every crime deserves a sentence, just as every victim deserves respect”, said the President of Srpska.

“Unfortunately, there are accepted and unaccepted, recognised and unrecognised victims in the case of Srebrenica, thus, an uninformed investigator could conclude that before July 11, 1995, the peace prevailed in that area and that before that day there was not even a single bullet fired”, it was pointed out by the President of the Republic of Srpska.

“It is not enough that it is known in the Republic of Srpska that such an interpretation is incomplete, inaccurate, malicious and planned, unless we struggle to make the truth come out of our borders. Therefore, every event is important, as well as this conference. We should gather intellectuals and seek interlocutors who are interested in hearing what happened in the territory of Srebrenica in the period between 1992 and 1995”, said the President Cvijanović.

The President of the Republic of Srpska highlighted that it was not the purpose of this conference, nor any other discussion on Srebrenica, to deny the crimes committed by certain members of the Serb people, but at the same time no one should expect that a malicious construction aimed at proclaiming the Republic of Srpska or its people genocidal, the people who have been faced with real attempts of extermination for several times in the past.

“What is needed is that the events in Srebrenica, as well as in its wider surroundings, from 1992 to 1995, are viewed as a whole since this is the only possible way to create a contextually clear and objective picture of the war events in that area in ​​July 1995”, said the President of the Republic.

“This means that the war crimes against Serbs in Kravica, Skelani, Zalazje and other places around Srebrenica, which were committed by members of the 28th Division of the so-called Army of BiH under the command of Naser Orić must also be taken into account”, explained the President of the Republic of Srpska.

“The role of international actors in Srebrenica must also be taken into account, beginning with the fact that this city was declared as a demilitarised zone in 1993, in which the Dutch UNPROFOR battalion was stationed with the task of disarming the Muslim units, but they have never done that.

On the contrary, they allowed them to consolidate within the demilitarised zone, to attack the surrounding Serb villages, to perform monstrous crimes against the Serb population, and then to safely return to a zone within which, formally, they should not even exist as an armed formation”, said the President Cvijanović.

The President of the Republic of Srpska emphasized that testimonies of some Srebrenica Bosniaks, such as Ibran Mustafić and Hakija Meholjić, cannot be ignored, who claim that during the war conflict, Alija Izetbegović several times spoke about the plan to sacrifice Srebrenica and its Bosniaks, so that NATO got legitimacy for military intervention to the Republic of Srpska.

“It is also interesting that the thesis “preventing the new Srebrenica” was often used as an excuse for the intervention of the Western powers, not only for the Republic of Srpska and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but also for countries such as Iraq and Libya. Srebrenica, therefore, served as a boundless justification for military interventions around the world, and was used with the intent to end this issue, and that any rational debate on events in Srebrenica should be pre-proclaimed for the relativisation of crimes, insulting victims, denying genocide and the like”, said the President of Srpska.

The President of the Republic of Srpska assessed that from this discussion, the international or state jurisdiction context should not be omitted when it comes to the war crimes.

“In order to establish the truth about the war events in Srebrenica and its wider surroundings, the Government of the Republic of Srpska has established the International Commission for Investigating the Sufferings of all Peoples in the Srebrenica Region in the Period from 1992 to 1995”, said the President Cvijanović.

The President of Srpska said that the basic task of this commission, composed of experts from several countries, is to establish the complete truth, taking into account all available evidence and relevant facts about developments in this area throughout the war.

“The reactions to the formation of this commission in Sarajevo, as well as in the part of the international community, were such that it could be concluded that it is not in the interest of many people to come to the truth about Srebrenica nor to discuss the topic on the basis of available facts, saying that this represents a step backward in the process of reconciliation in BiH”, said the President Cvijanović.

The President of the Republic of Srpska assessed that this was an unreasonable position, since every normal person would have thought that the establishment of the truth would contribute most to the process of reconciliation, but also to the fair trial of all perpetrators of war crimes, regardless of the nationality or uniform they were wearing.

“For Srebrenica crimes committed against Bosniaks, many people are sentenced to multiple years of imprisonment, while nobody has been convicted of crimes against Serb victims in the Srebrenica region, so that the victims’ families did not receive justice either before the international or even before domestic courts even 24 years after the end of the war.

Even the 28th Division Commander Naser Orić has been liberated of responsibilities, for which there is evidence that he is guilty, not only by the command responsibility for which Serb commanders were tried, but also by his personal role in war crimes against the Serb civilians”, it was stressed by the President of Srpska.

The President Cvijanović said that she therefore wants to point out that what constitutes a real backward step in the process of reconciliation is not the work of the commission, it is not the establishment of truth or conference like this one, but it is the fact that war crimes courts do not treat all victims or all criminals equally.

“Although discouraging, it must motivate us to testify, speak and write even more strongly, and in this way we should promote the truth about the war and the sufferings of all people, so that politically motivated court judgments would not be the basis for actions against the Republic of Srpska the next day, which has enthusiastically been done so far”, said the President Cvijanović.

With this message, the President of the Republic of Srpska welcomed all the participants of the conference and thanked all the participants and organisers of this conference, wishing them a successful work.