16 July 2015

UNSC fails to pass resolution condemning as genocide the crimes committed at Srebrenica in 1995

On 8 July 2015, the Security Council failed to pass a resolution – with 10 votes in favour, four abstentions (Angola, China, Nigeria and Venezuela) and the Russian Federation voting against – strongly condemning as genocide the crimes committed at Srebrenica, as established by judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice and all other proven war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The draft resolution  would have further agreed that ‘acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation’.

Senior UN officials stressed that the horror of the genocidal massacre at Srebrenica continued to haunt the UN 20 years after over 8000 ethnic Bosnian Muslim men and boys were slaughtered during a week of preventable brutality – the largest such massacre on European soil since the UN’s founding. The lessons learned from those ‘unspeakable’ days in July 1995 still echo throughout the UN, according to UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson who, along with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urged better efforts aimed at prevention and greater cohesion among the international community. ‘We gather in humility and regret to recognize the failure of the United Nations and the international community to prevent this tragedy’, Mr. Eliasson told the 15-member Council ahead of a vote, marking the 20th anniversary of the tragic events at Srebrenica. ‘The United Nations has acknowledged its responsibility for failing to protect the people who sought shelter and relief in Srebrenica.’

Peacekeeping missions nowadays continue to face similar challenges such as ‘paralyzing divisions among Member States and lack of political and material support’. The UN and the UNSC would in the future increasingly have ‘a central role to play’ in strengthening prevention efforts, enforcing the responsibility to protect those in danger and enforcing the right of all people to live in ‘peace and dignity’. ‘The world looks to us here at the United Nations and to the UN Security Council and expects us to uphold that right and to meet those aspirations’, Mr. Eliasson declared. ‘That is our shared responsibility today. And it is how we can best pay homage to the victims of Srebrenica.’

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Source: UN News Centre | UN officials recall 'horror' of Srebrenica as Security Council fails to adopt measure condemning massacre
Source: UN News Centre | At Srebrenica memorial, UN Deputy Secretary-General urges action against future atrocities

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