Candlelit vigil outside Leinster House marks anniversary of massacre

 

ABOUT 40 people, including members of the Bosnian community, held a candlelit vigil outside Leinster House yesterday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

Those attending held a minute’s silence to coincide with the burial of some 775 victims at yesterday’s annual commemoration ceremony in Potocari, Srebrenica.

Many of the 1,500 Bosnians living in Ireland travel to the enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia every July to remember the 8,000 or more Muslim men and boys slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a motion will be presented before the Dáil in the autumn seeking the approval of the stabilisation and association agreement between the EU and Serbia. The agreement is the first step toward EU membership for Serbia, but all member states must first ratify the proposal in their national parliament.

Ministers attending a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in June received a positive assessment from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia regarding Serbia’s co-operation with the court.

Of all those indicted for war crimes, only Gen Ratko Mladic and former political leader of the Serb entity in Croatia, Goran Hadzic, have not faced justice since the court’s establishment in 1993.

Kurt Bassuener of the Democratisation Policy Council, based in Sarajevo, has called on Irish parliamentarians to consider whether ratifying the agreement with Serbia would “serve the cause of justice”. The capture of Mladic, who is held jointly responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, should remain a necessity if Serbia wants a preliminary deal toward EU membership, said Mr Bassuener.

It is widely suspected Mladic was protected in Serbia by the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, and went into hiding after the former Serbian president’s arrest in 2001.

“If the agreement is ratified by the EU member states, it would reduce the leverage the union has on Belgrade,” said Bassuener.