Statement by Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on Bosnia-Herzegovina

Statement by Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on Bosnia-Herzegovina

23 February 2023

United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu expressed her concern over continuous incidents of revisionism concerning atrocity crimes perpetrated during the 1992-1995 conflict, including denial of the Srebrenica genocide. In particular, she raised concern over recent such incidents reported following a decision to amend the Law on the Center for the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. She reiterated the concerns she expressed during her two visits to the country in 2021 and 2022, noting that genocide denial and the glorification of war criminals continues to present a serious challenge to reconciliation efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina. “The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia determined conclusively that a Genocide was committed in Srebrenica. Denial of the genocide is an affront to international law and justice and to the dignity of the victims and survivors whose loved ones were killed simply because of who they were”, the Special Adviser stressed.

The Special Adviser also acknowledged the tireless efforts of survivors and other civil society actors in Bosnia-Herzegovina, who are working every day to tackle the denial of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and to promote sustainable peace and reconciliation across the country. “I was honoured to visit the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial last year for the 27th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, where I met with victims and survivors who have dedicated their lives to ensure accountability for the crimes committed, to preserve the memory and honour the victims. In particular, I attended the conference organized by the Mothers of Srebrenica and commend their courage and resilience in seeking truth, justice and nonrecurrence. I also met with civil society actors who are promoting awareness raising and education to ensure that new generations learn from this tragic history. Such initiatives exist across Bosnia-Herzegovina and I have been encouraged to see several of them in my visits to the country, in particular to meet the people behind them, who are working tirelessly to promote a future where division, hate and denial has no place. I encourage all actors, political, religious and community leaders in particular, to support such initiatives and to lead by example, and to use their voices to promote constructive dialogue based on trust, respect and dignity.

The Special Adviser recalled the Policy Paper entitled, Combating Holocaust and Genocide Denial: Protecting Survivors, Preserving Memory, and Promoting Prevention, launched by the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect in 2022, noting that it provides a framework for addressing genocide denial with targeted guidance and recommendations for governments, the United Nations system, and other relevant actors, including social media companies.

Alice Wairimu Nderitu
UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

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