July 11, 2013 – Washington, D.C. – The Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH) marks the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide with grief and sorrow and stands in solidarity with all of those who lost loved ones and continue to seek justice and accountability.
On July 11, 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, a declared United Nations safe haven, fell to the Serb military forces led by General Ratko Mladic, an indicted war criminal who is currently on trial at the ICTY in The Hague. The fall of Srebrenica marks the final act of brutal ethnic cleansing and genocide in BiH, where more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were slaughtered within a five day period.
ACBH is committed to preserving the memory of those who suffered and perished in Srebrenica and we thank our friends and colleagues in the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of State for helping us combat genocide denial and efforts to rewrite history. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, and a longstanding friend of BiH and Bosnian Americans introduced House Resolution 199 in 2005, which was unanimously passed in U.S. Congress, and which states 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." ACBH also applauds Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), member of the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, for calling on the United Nations to properly recognize the Srebrenica Genocide by declaring July 11th as the Srebrenica Remembrance Day. Lastly, ACBH applauds Secretary of State John Kerry who on behalf of President Obama and the American people stands by the citizens of BiH and recently stated that "we applaud those who continue to seek justice for the victims and work to ensure that all citizens have the right to return and to live peacefully in their pre-war homes. We reject efforts to rewrite or manipulate history, deny the genocide, or negate Bosnia and Herzegovina's multiethnic character."
As the surviving relatives and neighbors gather along with diplomats and members of the international community to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, let us not forget that justice must prevail, and that the truth must be told in order to prevent atrocities such as this one from ever happening again in BiH, or anywhere else in the world.
ACBH is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of Bosnian Americans and works to improve relations between the United States and BiH. ACBH advocates for a democratic, multiethnic, and indivisible BiH with a primary goal of advancing the integration of BiH into the EU and NATO.