Russia urges punishment for Srebrenica perpetrators | News | DW | 10.07.2015
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Russia urges punishment for Srebrenica perpetrators

Moscow has called for people responsible for Srebrenica massacre to face justice "as soon as possible." The statement comes only days after the Kremlin vetoed a UN resolution condemning the murdering of 8,000 Muslims.

Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday that Moscow would "continue doing everything possible" to improve harmony between different ethnic and religious group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in all of the Balkans.

It has also called for guilty parties in 1995 Srebrenica massacre, when Bosnian Serb forces executed thousands of Bosniak men and boys, to answer for their crimes.

"We strongly advocate that all persons who participated in these and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina should face justice and be punished as soon as possible," the foreign ministry said in statement.

British resolution blocked

On Wednesday, Moscow blocked a Srebrenica resolution proposed by the UK, claiming it would have created divisions in the Balkans. The document was supported by 10 UN Security Council members, including the US, France, and Spain, while four countries, including China, abstained from the vote.

Russia was the only country to vote against the resolution, which called the Srebrenica tragedy "genocide," using its veto power in the Security Council.

The British proposal was time to coincide with June 11, the 20th anniversary of the massacre.

Russia prevented 'stigmatization'

Belgrade hailed Russia's move, with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic saying the veto had prevented "stigmatization of the entire Serbian people as genocidal." At the same time, Milorad Dodik, who represents Bosnian Serbs, called the British proposal "humiliating."

Kremlin also claimed that the document unfairly singled out Bosnian Serbs for war crimes, without taking into the account that Serbs and Croats also suffered during the Yugoslavian wars.

"From the start, this project was extremely politicized, one-sided, unbalanced," Russian Foreign Ministry representative Igor Kalabuhov told reporters Friday, adding that the proposal was aimed to aggravate situation in Bosnia.

Calling for 'chaos'

Serbian authorities on Friday banned several public gatherings related to the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica, citing safety concerns.

Among them was a symbolic gesture by liberal Serbian groups, where thousands of people would lie down in front of the country's parliament in Belgrade, symbolizing Srebrenica victims.

However, ultranationalist groups have threatened to disrupt the event. In response, the police decided to ban gatherings of both nationalist and liberal camps.

"There were many irresponsible statements calling for intolerance and chaos. Police finds safety of citizens to be important and we will not allow chaos on the streets of any city, including Belgrade," Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Friday.

Stefanovic also indicated that it was still not clear whether Serbian Prime Minister Vucic would attend the Srebrenica commemorations at the site of the massacre on Saturday. While the former ultranationalist Vucic had declared he was to represent Serbia at the event, Stefanovic on Friday warned of the alleged security threats from the Muslim extremist groups.

dj/kms (AP, Reuters, Beta, Interfax, dpa)