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Social Networks To Remove Content That Denies Srebrenica Genocide

Mourners gather at the memorial center for the victims of Srebrenica ahead of the 26th commemoration last month.
Mourners gather at the memorial center for the victims of Srebrenica ahead of the 26th commemoration last month.

BELGRADE -- Twitter and Google have confirmed to RFE/RL that they will be removing content denying Bosnia-Herzegovina's Srebrenica genocide from their social platforms.

The confirmation came on August 11 in relation to a request by the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada (IRGC) addressed to technology giants Twitter and Google, asking them to ban the denial of the Srebrenica genocide on their platforms.

Twitter and Google-owned YouTube said they responded to the IRGC that the companies have a clear hate-speech policy.

Following an inquiry by RFE/RL asking for further details in connection to the IRGC request, Twitter and YouTube told RFE/RL's Balkan Service that the companies had "a clearly established policy" that prohibits all hate speech.

Google, the owner of the YouTube video platform, says it will remove all content that violates its rigorous rules on the dissemination of hate speech.

"We have clear and established hate-speech policies that prohibit content that minimizes or denies a well-documented violent event, including the Srebrenica genocide. If the content is found to violate these policies, we will remove it," a YouTube spokesman told RFE/RL.

RFE/RL received a similar a similar message from Twitter.

On July 11, 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed by Bosnian Serb forces near the eastern town of Srebrenica -- the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.

The massacre has been deemed a genocide by various verdicts of both the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Emir Ramic, the director of the IRGC, told RFE/RL that the organization kept records of the content on social networks.

They have confirmed that most posts insulting the victims of the Srebrenica genocide originate in Serbia, but that some also came from Russia, France, and other countries.

The IRGC has not yet received answers to the request it sent to these social networks on July 30, but Ramic said he hopes for a positive response.

Both wartime Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic and former political leader Radovan Karadzic were sentenced to life in prison by the UN war crimes court in the Netherlands for genocide in Srebrenica.

Serbian officials deny that Serbian forces committed genocide. For the government in Serbia, this is a "terrible crime," as President Aleksandar Vucic put it in a speech at the UN Security Council on June 8.