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U.S. Criticizes Bosnian Serb Lawmakers For Revoking Report On Srebrenica Atrocity

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik

The United States has criticized a move by lawmakers in Bosnia-Herzegovina's predominantly Serbian entity to annul a report acknowledging that Bosnian Serb forces violated humanitarian law by killing thousands of Muslim Bosniaks.

In a statement late on August 15, the U.S. State Department said the lawmakers were attempting to "deny history" by revoking the report by a previous Republika Srpska government, which concluded that Bosnian Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica during the country's 1992-95 war.

The department said the Republika Srpska's adoption of the 2004 report on the Srebrenica massacre had been an important reconciliation step.

"The August 14 session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly is a step in the wrong direction," the department said.

"Attempts to reject or amend the report on Srebrenica are part of wider efforts to revise the facts of the past war, to deny history, and to politicize tragedy. It is in the interest of the citizens of Republika Srpska to reverse the trend of revering convicted war criminals as heroes, and to ensure their crimes continue to be publicly rejected."

The vote on August 14 to revoke the 2004 report was initiated by Bosnian Serb leader President Milorad Dodik and was widely seen as an attempt to boost his campaign ahead of general elections in October.

Dodik, an advocate of the Serbian region's secession from Bosnia, has rejected rulings by war crimes courts, which have determined that the Srebrenica atrocity was a genocide.

While acknowledging that a crime occurred, Dodik says the numbers of those killed was exaggerated in the 2004 report and it should have included Serbian victims.

The parliament concluded that a new independent international commission should be formed to determine the damages suffered by all peoples in the Srebrenica region.

Based on reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL's Balkan Service

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