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UN: Annan Says Lessons of Srebrenica Still Being Learned

  • Robert McMahon

United Nations, 11 July 2000 (RFE/RL) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan greeted the five-year anniversary today of the Srebrenica massacre by warning that the main accused killers remain at large. Annan released a statement saying the lesson of Srebrenica is that evil must be confronted with strong resistance rather than compromise and expediency.

He expressed concern that this lesson is unlearned because some of those indicted for leading the massacre have not been apprehended.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague indicted Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic in 1995 for involvement in the massacre of Bosnian Muslims. A UN investigation last year said searchers found bodies of about 2,500 men and boys in mass graves. Officials said that thousands more still are missing.

Annan was the undersecretary-general responsible for peacekeeping at the time and has admitted to errors and misjudgments. In his statement today, he expressed remorse to the survivors of the massacre victims.

Last week, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said in a statement in connection with the Srebrenica anniversary that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is ultimately responsible for "a seemingly endless list" of war crimes in the Balkans. Council President Lord Russell-Johnston called Srebrenica "the most horrific single act of crime in Europe for half a century."

He said that the criminal tribunal properly charged Serbs Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic with direct complicity for Srebrenica. But, he said, Milosevic ultimately was behind Srebrenica and numerous other slaughters.