In July 1995, near the end of the Yugoslav civil war, Bosnian-Serb troops overran the town of Srebrenica, a United Nations-designated protected area packed with tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims who had sought shelter there. The troops rounded up the population, deported the women and youngest children, and then systematically massacred all males over the age of 15.
The 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". And that is what happened in Srebrenica, according to a report issued in 2004 by the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica. Later that year, the government of Republika Srpska, an autonomous region within Bosnia and Herzegovina, issued an official apology.
But on August 14, 2018, the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, headed by ultra-nationalist President Milorad Dodik, rejected the 2004 report, calling it biased and untrue, and claiming that many of the nearly 8,400 victims are still alive.
“The Republika Srpska Government’s adoption of the 2004 report on the Srebrenica genocide was an important step in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s reconciliation and in facing the difficult facts of the past,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a written statement.
“The August 14 session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly is a step in the wrong direction. Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy. It is in the interest of the citizens of Republika Srpska to reverse the trend of revering convicted war criminals as heroes, and to ensure their crimes continue to be publicly rejected,” she said.
“The United States remains fully committed to assisting authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the state, entity, and cantonal levels, to investigate and prosecute individuals responsible for crimes against all ethnic groups. The denial of established facts of prior wars will in no way advance these objectives or assist the country’s citizens,” she said.“The United States continues to firmly support peace, stability, and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”