The President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Judge Theodor Meron, delivered today remarks at the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, held at the Potočari Memorial in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and paid his respect to its victims and their families.
In his address, President Meron referred to the ICTY’s appeal judgement in the case of Radislav Krstić, the first ICTY judgement to recognise the crimes committed at Srebrenica as genocide. President Meron read from the judgment ‘Those who devise and implement genocide seek to deprive humanity of the manifold richness its nationalities, races, ethnicities and religions provide. This is a crime against all of humankind, its harm being felt not only by the group targeted for destruction, but by all of humanity’. President Meron underlined that this judgement, along with scores of others rendered by the ICTY, is a testament to the international community’s commitment to accountability and the rule of law.
President Meron also stressed that court rulings alone cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted by crimes such as those at Srebrenica. He went on to commend the contribution of members of the communities most impacted by the genocide in Srebrenica, who have done so much, since the terrible events of 1995, to help others move forward, whilst at the same time ensuring that the past is never forgotten.
The ICTY is the first international criminal tribunal to enter convictions for genocide in Europe. In April 2004, the ICTY Appeals Chamber determined for the first time, in the proceedings against Radislav Krstić, that genocide was committed in Srebrenica in 1995, with the execution of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys following the take-over of the town by Bosnian-Serb troops. In total, 20 individuals have been indicted by the ICTY in relation to the events in Srebrenica and to date, proceedings have been completed against 15 accused.