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General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Srebrenica Genocide, Designates International Day of Reflection

Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Serbia, attends the General Assembly meeting on the culture of peace.| UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Serbia, attends the General Assembly meeting on the culture of peace.| UN Photo/Evan Schneider

By: ATN News

United Nations: The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution designating July 11 as the “International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica,” a move that has stirred significant debate and dissent among member states. The resolution, aimed at commemorating the massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces, was passed with 84 votes in favor, 19 against, and 68 abstentions.

The resolution, documented as A/78/L.67/Rev.1, condemns the denial of the Srebrenica genocide and actions that glorify individuals convicted of war crimes. It also requests the Secretary-General to initiate an outreach program titled “The Srebrenica Genocide and the United Nations,” preparing for activities marking the 30th anniversary in 2025.

Divergent Views on the Resolution

Germany, the primary sponsor of the resolution, emphasized the importance of acknowledging historical truths to prevent future atrocities. The German representative, introducing the draft, asserted that the resolution was not targeted at any specific nation but rather at the perpetrators of the genocide. She urged the Assembly to consider the message that would be sent to future generations by failing to commemorate the victims.

Serbia’s President, Aleksandar Vučić, vehemently opposed the resolution, describing it as highly politicized. He argued that individual accountability for the genocide had already been established through legal processes and that the resolution would not foster reconciliation in the Balkans. Vučić further criticized the resolution for exacerbating regional tensions and failing to acknowledge the broader historical context, including atrocities against Serbs during the World Wars.

China also voted against the resolution, citing its potential to deepen divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Chinese delegate called for a more inclusive approach to fostering reconciliation in the region.

Abstentions and Concerns Over Politicization

Several countries, including Namibia, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, abstained from voting, expressing concerns about the resolution’s timing and the perceived politicization of the drafting process. Namibia’s representative highlighted the need for a comprehensive and honest discussion about genocide globally, while the UAE noted the fragile peace in the Balkans and the potential destabilizing impact of the resolution.

Critics also included Cuba and Egypt, which objected to the resolution’s negotiation process and the selective application of international law. They argued that geopolitical ambitions should not undermine regional security and sovereignty.

Support and Parallel Drawings

Despite the controversies, some countries voiced strong support for the resolution. Iran and Indonesia drew parallels between the Srebrenica genocide and ongoing conflicts, such as in Palestine. They emphasized the international community’s responsibility to learn from past genocides to prevent current and future atrocities.

Montenegro, a co-sponsor of the resolution, highlighted its efforts to ensure the resolution emphasized individual accountability rather than labeling entire communities as genocidal.

Post-Vote Reactions

Following the vote, President Vučić reiterated his opposition, pointing out that the resolution did not achieve unanimous support, thereby questioning its legitimacy. He thanked those who voted against the resolution and expressed concern over its divisive nature.

Russia also condemned the resolution, accusing its sponsors of exploiting the Assembly to further political agendas and undermine the Dayton Agreement, which ended the Bosnian War.

The adoption of the resolution marks a significant moment in the UN’s efforts to address historical genocides. However, the deep divisions it has exposed underscore the challenges of achieving consensus on sensitive issues of historical memory and justice. As the international community moves forward, the debate over the Srebrenica genocide resolution highlights the ongoing struggle to balance commemoration with reconciliation.


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