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Serbian parliament votes on Srebrenica massacre

March 31, 2010

Serbian lawmakers have passed a landmark resolution condemning the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, but the move won't go far enough for many of the victims' families.

A Muslim woman mourns at a Srebrenica memorial site
Srebrenica was the scene of a massacre in 1995Image: picture-alliance/ dpa

The Serbian Parliament has passed a landmark resolution condemning the massacre of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims which took place near the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

The declaration, which was finally voted on early Wednesday morning, was passed by a tiny majority.

The adoption of the text by 127 of the 173 lawmakers present in the 250-seat assembly ends years of denial by Serbian politicians about the scale of the killings.

The resolution apologizes to families of the victims of the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II but stopped short of describing the killings as an act of genocide.

The text of the declaration states "The parliament of Serbia strongly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica in July 1995, as determined by the International Court of Justice ruling."

Srebrenica massacre was "genocide" says UN

Serbian nationalists have heatedly argued against the passing of the resolution, saying that the massacre was no different from atrocities committed against Serbs during the Bosnian war.

However, the Srebrenica massacre is the only episode in Bosnia's 1992-95 war to have been ruled as genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The resolution is a start in helping Serbia distance itself from the past and move closer to the European Union.

Photo of uniformed Ratko Mladic in 1995
Mladic is wanted by the UN's ICC for crimes against humanityImage: AP

It also called for the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the UN war crimes court's most wanted fugitive, who was in charge of the Bosnian Serb troops who overran the UN protected enclave in July 1995.

He is believed to be hiding in Serbia despite a genocide indictment by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Serbia remains reluctant to arrest him, although this is a key condition for a closer relationship with the EU.

It took the Serbian parliament thirteen hours to rule on the resolution.

Editor:Matt Hermann