The Bosniak-American Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAACBH) would like to commemorate the Siege of Sarajevo that lasted from April 6, 1992 to February 29, 1996, during the war of aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B-H). The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. It is estimated that during the siege, of the more than 12,000 people killed and 50,000 wounded, 85 percent were civilians. The Siege of Sarajevo not only marked the start of the war of aggression, but also the beginning of genocide and ethnic cleansing throughout B-H.
In 2003 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted the first commander of the Republika Srpska para-military force and former Yugoslav People’s Army Sarajevo-Romanija Corps, Stanislav Galic, for the crimes against humanity committed during the Siege of Sarajevo. In 2007, Dragomir Milosevic, the Serb general who replaced Galic as commander, was found guilty by ICTY as well.
The residents of the capital city of Sarajevo have historically lived in tolerance and diversity; in a city where Christianity, Islam and Judaism flourished side by side for centuries. Unfortunately, Sarajevo was the object of aggressor’s siege whose goal was to destroy its multiethnic fabric and eliminate any semblance of religious and cultural cohabitation. Today, we remember the heroic perseverance that Sarajevo endured in its fight to maintain the spirit of peace and coexistence during the four years of its siege.
In order to prevent genocide in the future and in solidarity with the April Genocide Prevention Month (a worldwide movement commemorating past genocides and campaigning for an end to mass atrocities), BAACBH is remembering victims of genocide and honoring the survivors. In paying tribute to this day, BAACBH pledges to advocate for justice, peace, and democracy because it believes that to rebuild the bonds of humanity, it is imperative that those responsible for genocide and ethnic cleansing be brought to justice. The struggle to seek justice for the victims of genocide must continue.
BAACBH strongly encourages the United States and the international community to re-commit its efforts in the campaign against genocide and to bring to justice indicted war criminals, especially the fugitive Ratko Mladic. It is essential that justice prevail, because only justice can help bring some closure to victims’ families and the survivors.