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20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide: Prosecutor Serge Brammertz pays tribute to the victims

Office of the Prosecutor | | The Hague |

Today, the Day of Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide was held in Potočari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide. At the invitation of survivors and victims, Prosecutor Serge Brammertz attended the commemoration to pay his respects to the victims and address those in attendance.

Prosecutor Brammertz opened his remarks by noting that Srebrenica “is a permanent reminder of the immense suffering humans can inflict on one another.”

He emphasized that the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has repeatedly proved beyond reasonable doubt important facts about the Srebrenica Genocide. He stressed, “A group of men abused their power and authority to destroy the Bosnian Muslim community of Eastern Bosnia,” and further emphasized, “Genocide in Srebrenica was the result of a deliberate plan designed at the very highest leadership levels.

Turning to denial of the Srebrenica Genocide, the Prosecutor remarked, “To respect the past, the victims and survivors, we must call Srebrenica by its name: Genocide. To build the future, we must speak out with one voice when it is denied.

Prosecutor Brammertz emphasized that by appearing as witnesses in trials at the ICTY, the victims of Srebrenica had played a vital role in the justice process. He said, “Without the victims, justice would not have been possible. Your courage and your determination are an example for all of us.

The Prosecutor further underscored that the work was not done. He called upon “the international community to continue to support the accountability process.” He also stressed the need to “continue the search for the missing persons” and to “provide victims with the necessary support, including compensation.

Prosecutor Brammertz concluded his address in Potočari today by speaking about reconciliation. He remarked that “accepting the truth is the first step to reconciliation,” and added, “When there is ignorance, we must respond with education. And when there is denial, we must respond with affirmation”.

The OTP indicted 20 individuals for crimes committed in Srebrenica. 14 have been convicted, while proceedings are ongoing against four. The trial of Radovan Karadžić is projected to be completed by December 2015, while the trial of Ratko Mladić is projected to be completed by November 2017.