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Bosnian Serb Lawmakers Reject 2004 Srebrenica Report, Call For New Probe

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik addresses the entity parliament in Banja Luka on August 14.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik addresses the entity parliament in Banja Luka on August 14.

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Lawmakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina's predominantly Serbian entity have voted to annul a report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre that acknowledged Bosnian Serb forces violated humanitarian law by killing thousands of Muslim Bosniaks.

The National Assembly in Republika Srpska on August 14 rejected the 2004 report that was compiled by a previous Republika Srpska government and a special commission. Lawmakers maintained that report was biased.

The assembly in Banja Luka also called for the entity's current government to revoke the report and form a new, international investigatory commission.

It said such a commission was needed to objectively and impartially determine the suffering of all peoples in the Srebrenica area during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The move was criticized by Bosniak lawmakers and politicians as an attempt to "rewrite history."

The special session of the assembly on August 14 was initiated by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who was in the opposition when the 2004 report was put together.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to boost his campaign ahead of general elections in October.

Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serb forces who overran the town of Srebrenica in July 1995, as the 40-month Bosnian war drew to its end. It was the worst mass killing in Europe since the end of World War II.

In 2007, the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled that the killings constituted genocide.

Dodik, who is now Republika Srpska's president, disputed that on August 14, telling the lawmakers, "The Srebrenica crime is a staged tragedy with an aim to satanize the Serbs."

He claimed that the 2004 report contained "false data," alleging that the number of people executed was manipulated.

"Many of the buried were killed in fighting and on that list [of buried victims] there are people still alive," he said.

Fahrudin Radoncic, leader of Bosnia's Union for a Better Future (SBB), said that "denying the genocide which happened in Srebrenica is a totally unacceptable moral and political act and another attempt by Milorad Dodik to insult the victims and rewrite history."

Sadik Ahmetovic, a lawmaker in Bosnia's state parliament, called on the international community's Office of the High Representative, Bosnia's representatives to the Council of Europe, and Bosnia's presidency to react to the decision by the Republika Srpska assembly.

"It is your duty and obligation to do everything in your power to do something for Srebrenica now, when genocide enters its final phase: complete denial," Ahmetovic said.

The UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is also based in The Hague, has sentenced Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic over the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities committed by Bosnian Serb forces during the war.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and Balkan Insight