June 12, 2015 – Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia introduced a new resolution on Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.Res. 310, marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide. The resolution has 28 co-sponsors, 14 Republicans and 14 Democrats, many of who are members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) in the U.S. Congress. The HFAC, chaired by Republican Ed Royce of California is a standing committee in the United States House of Representatives that deals with legislation and issues regarding the foreign affairs of the United States.
“The Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) is extremely grateful to Congressman Smith and his staff, as well as all members of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, including all friends and supporters of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the United States Congress who have co-sponsored this important resolution. The United States continues to be Bosnia and Herzegovina’s greatest friend and ally and ACBH expresses its deepest respect and gratitude for the U.S.’s recognition and affirmation of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica,” stated ACBH President, Mirzeta Hadzikadic.
In a press release issued by the U.S. Helsinki Commission which is chaired by Congressman Smith, he states that “The thousands of innocents who were brutally slaughtered at Srebrenica deserve our remembrance of the tragedy for what it was: genocide. The international community must ensure the perpetrators are held accountable for their actions, and study the lessons of Srebrenica with the aim of preventing future atrocities, particularly in current conflicts in the Central African Republic, Burundi, and Syria. In addition, we must continue to uphold the right of all people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the Balkans today-no matter their ethnic or religious background-to enjoy the benefits of democracy, the rule of law, and economic opportunity.”
ACBH calls on all friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina to support this resolution and immediately contact their congressional representative and ask them to become a co-sponsor of H.Res. 310. “Thank you to all Bosnian Americans and friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina who have already called and written to their respective members of Congress to support this resolution. Recognizing the genocide that occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina is especially meaningful given that genocide denial and the revision of history is still rampant.” Stated ACBH Executive Director, Ajla Delkic.
H.Res. 310 concluded with the following main acknowledgements and recommendations:
That the House:
(1) affirms that the policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing as implemented by Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 meet the terms defining the crime of genocide in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;
(2) condemns statements that deny or question that the massacre at Srebrenica constituted a genocide;
(3) urges the Atrocities Prvenetion Board, a U.S. interagency committee established by ythe Administration in 2012 to study the lessons of Srebrenica and issue informed guidance on how to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, paying particular regard to troubled countries including but not limited to Syria, the Central African Republic and Burundi
(4) encourages the United States to maintain and reaffirm its policy of supporting the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, peace and stability in southeasern Europe as a whole, and the right of all people living in the region, regardless of national, racial, ethnic or religious background, to return to their homes and enjoy the benefits of democratic institutions, the rule of law and economic opportunity, as well as to know the fate of missing relatives and friends;
(5) recognizes the achievement of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) in accounting for those missing in conflicts or natural disasters around the world and believes that the ICMP deserves justified recognition for its assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its relevant institutions in accounting for approximately for approximately ninety percent of those reported missing after the Srebrenica massacre and seventy percent of those reported missing during the whole of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina
(6) welcomes the arrest and transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of all persons indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, particularly those of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, which has helped strengthen peace and encouraged reconciliation between the countries of the region and their citizens;
(7) asserts that its in the national interest of the United States that those individuals that are responsible for these crimes and breaches should continue to be held accountable for their actions, and that the work of the ICTY therefore warrants continued support until all trials and appeals have been completed; and
(8) honors the thousands of innocent people killed and executed at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 1995, along with all individuals who were victimized during the conflict and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, as well as foreign nationals, including United States citizens, and those individuals in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries of the region who risked and in some cases lost their lives during their brave defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and advocacy of respect for ethnic identity without discrimination.
To contact your member of Congress and ask them to support H.Res. 310 by becoming a co-sponsor, please click here: Contact Your Representative.
To read the entire resolution, please click here: H.Res. 310