Bosnian Serbs issue apology for massacre
by Associated Press
The Bosnian Serb government issued an apology yesterday for the 1995 massacre of 7,800 Muslim civilians in Srebrenica, saying it ‘shares the pain’ of the victims' families. The apology came after the government reviewed a Bosnian Serb commission's final report on the worst massacre of civilians in Europe since World War II. The government session was last month, but the conclusions were not made public until yesterday.
'The report makes it clear that enormous crimes were committed in the area of Srebrenica in July 1995,’ the Bosnian Serb government said. ‘The Bosnian Serb Government shares the pain of the families of the Srebrenica victims, is truly sorry and apologizes for the tragedy.’
Although Bosnian Serbs have long been blamed for the massacre, it was not until this past June - following the Srebrenica commission's preliminary report - that Serb officials acknowledged that their security forces carried out the slaughter.
The commission's final report has not yet been made public, although the government has revealed some of its conclusions. Officials have said the report acknowledges that the mass murder of 7,800 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces was planned.
The Bosnian Serb government said it was determined to 'face the truth about the recent tragic conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina’ and 'take decisive steps to force all persons who committed war crimes to face justice.’
Several Bosnian Serbs have been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for their roles in the Srebrenica killings. Those who were tried at the tribunal either surrendered or were arrested by NATO peacekeepers. None was apprehended by the Bosnian Serb government. Most of the 20 fugitives still sought on war crimes charges are presumed to be hiding in the Bosnian Serb territory.
Associated Press, Banja Luka, 11 November 2004