On July 11, 2013, ACBH together with honorable speakers, H.E. Ambassador Thomas Miller (U.S. Ambassador to BiH 1999-2001) and Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), H.E. Adnan Hadrovic, Minister-Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of BiH to the U.S. and Mr. Robert Hand, Policy Advisor at the U.S. Helsinki Commission, commemorated the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide on Capitol Hill. They addressed an audience of distinguished guests, U.S. Department of State officials, Congressional staff members, local NGO representatives, media and friends of BiH.
ACBH Executive Director, Ms. Ajla Delkic delivered the opening remarks and thanked Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) for his unwavering support of BiH over the years. Ambassador Miller informed the audience of the work of the ICMP, which uses DNA testing and forensics to identify the remains of those who went missing. Thus far, ICMP has identified 90% of those who went missing in Srebrenica and has put the missing on the political and international agenda. Because it provides indisputable facts, "ICMP helps combat genocide denial" stated Ambassador Miller.
H.E., Mr. Hadrovic asserted that commemorating events such as Srebrenica helps inform different generations about what occurred because as he warned, through silence, we become accomplices. Lastly, Mr. Hand stated that while what happened in Srebrenica was shocking, it was not at all surprising and that if the international community had intervened on time, it could have been prevented.
"I am glad we commemorate Srebrenica each year rather than every 10, 15 or 20 years as with other historical events, because the underlying issues do remain current, evident in the continued denial or the downplaying of the genocide. Bosnia survived a conflict – that is history thank goodness – but work remains to overcome the artificial separatism, outdated nationalism and political self-enrichment that hold it back today and deny the people of Bosnia the future in Europe they truly deserve. That is why Bosnia today, as in 1995, is not just a country but a cause, and a cause worth fighting for in the U.S. Congress and in U.S. foreign policy. We owe that to those who perished 18 years ago in Srebrenica" stated Mr. Hand.