Várhelyi: Europe has not forgotten what happened in Srebrenica

Oliver Varhelyi; Photo: European Union

BRUSSELS – Europe has not forgotten what happened in Srebrenica and our own responsibility for not being able to prevent and stop the genocide said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi during the European Parliament debate Commemorating the 25th anniversary of events in Srebrenica.

He underlined that in Srebrenica Europe failed and they are faced with that shame.

“Indeed, the Srebrenica genocide remains an open wound at the heart of Europe. It continues to haunt us. It continues to remind us of our shared responsibility to prevent genocide from ever happening again. It is therefore our duty to remember Srebrenica forever,” Várhelyi said.

Enlargement Commissioner told that it is also a duty to ensure accountability.

“Justice must be served, and all those responsible for the massacre must face the consequences of their actions. 25 years on, it is more urgent than ever to end impunity for the perpetrators of war crimes,” he said.

According to Várhelyi the massacre in Srebrenica was recognised as an act of genocide by two different international courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia in 2004 and the International Court of Justice in 2006.

“These established facts about what happened in Srebrenica, need to be acknowledged. Any attempts at denial and revisionism are unacceptable,” he said.

He stressed that political leaders have a great responsibility in that regard.

“They need to choose the truth, justice and cooperation over fear and hate to overcome the tragic legacies of the past and build a brighter and prosperous future for the next generations. The leaders of the region must take full ownership and lead by example,” said Várhelyi adding that the European Commission continues to uphold these values in its relations with all of the Western Balkans countries.

Tonino Picula: The massacre in Srebrenica is genocide

During the European Parliament debate Commemorating Srebrenica, the Croatian member of the European Parliament Tonino Picula emphasized the need to fight genocide denial and protect victims from exploitation for daily political purposes.

“Yes, the massacre in Srebrenica is genocide and that is how it should be called. But over time, our obligation to protect victims and their families from programmed oblivion directed by political engineering will only strengthen,” Picula said.

He assessed that only the defense of the truth about the past opens a better future for generations to come.

“We owe a clear perspective of BiH’s membership in the EU to the victims of Srebrenica, but also to young people who will, I believe, live in peace and prosperity united in diversity as citizens of the European Union,” Picula concluded.