BRUSSELS – It is our shared duty to forever remember the genocide in Srebrenica, said EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, and EU Commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi in a joint statement ahead of the commemoration marking the 26th anniversary of the 1995 genocide in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
“We honor their memory, and of all victims and those still missing. We share the grief of their families and of those who survived, whose lives have been impacted forever”, they said.
Borell and Várhelyi added that Europe has also not forgotten its own responsibility for not being able to prevent the Srebrenica genocide, “one of the worst crimes in Europe’s modern history”.
“Srebrenica painfully reminds us all of the need to stand up firmly and decisively for peace, human dignity, and all the values which underpin our Union. Serving justice and building a better society are the best ways of remembering those who were systematically and deliberately murdered. This is a necessary step to work for a better common future for all Europeans”, the top EU officials stressed.
The two underlined that there can be no impunity, “genocide is genocide, be it in Srebrenica or elsewhere.
“International courts, domestic courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the neighboring countries need to continue providing justice for all victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as well as for their family members. Peace can only be built upon justice”, Borell and Várhelyi stated.
They urged leaders in the Western Balkans to lead by example in acknowledging what happened, honoring the victims and genuinely promoting reconciliation by confronting the roots of hatred that led to the genocide.
“There is no place in Europe for genocide denial, revisionism and glorification of war criminals, which contradict the most fundamental European values. Attempts to rewrite history are unacceptable”, said the statement.
Borell and Várhelyi explained that the EU has been a project aimed at overcoming the tragedies of the past from its beginning.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina’s future lies in this common project. We remain strongly committed to supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina in establishing a society anchored in pluralism, justice and human dignity and to build a future together in which conflicts and atrocities are no longer conceivable”, their statement concluded.