Bosnian Serb leader wants official report into Srebrenica massacre revoked
Milorad Dodik, with election looming, says 2004 report is biased with 'an aim to satanize the Serbs'
The leader of Bosnia's Serbs on Tuesday called for a government report that acknowledged the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 to be revoked, triggering possible new tensions in the war-scarred Balkan state.
Milorad Dodik spoke at a parliamentary session of the autonomous Bosnian Serb republic, demanding that the legislature revoke the 2004 report compiled by a previous government which acknowledged the massacre — the worst carnage in Europe since the Second World War. He said the report is biased and does not mention Serb victims.
Dodik, who advocates that Bosnian Serb territories should split and join Serbia, has always rejected rulings by the UN war crimes court that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. He accused "some Western states" and rival Bosnian Muslims of staging the massacre.
"The Srebrenica crime is a staged tragedy with an aim to satanize the Serbs," Dodik said without elaborating.
He called for the forming of an "unbiased" international investigation into the Srebrenica massacre "in order to stop manipulation with the victims."
The European Union said in a statement that it rejects any denial "or misinterpretation of the genocide in Srebrenica."
"We call upon all political leaders and others in positions of authority in [Bosnia-Herzegovina] to lead the way in honouring victims and promoting reconciliation," the EU office in Sarajevo said.
Bosnian Serbs overran the majority Muslim town on July 11, 1995, rounding up Srebrenica's Muslims and killing more than 8,000 men and boys.
The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic over the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities of the 1992-95 war.
Although the international court has labelled the Srebrenica killings as genocide, Serbs have never admitted that their troops committed the ultimate crime and nationalist politicians have viewed Mladic and Karadzic as heroes.
It is widely believed that Dodik's reopening of the debate over Srebrenica is intended to secure the support of hard-line Bosnian Serbs ahead of the Oct. 7 general election. Dodik has had the support of Russia for his separatist stands.
Belgrade political analyst Bosko Jaksic said Dodik's initiative is "a cheap, irresponsible and dangerous provocation."
"It's clear that it will provoke and add to the tensions in chronically unstable Bosnia," Jaksic said. "Mr. Dodik belongs to politicians in the region who are thinking that by aggressively promoting nationalism they can stay in power."