President Gatti Santana participates in Commemoration Ceremony marking the Thirtieth Anniversary of crimes in Ahmići

The Hague
President Gatti Santana at the Ahmici Commemoration Ceremony
President Gatti Santana at the Ahmici Commemoration Ceremony

Yesterday, the President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), Judge Graciela Gatti Santana, participated in an official Commemoration Ceremony marking the Thirtieth Anniversary of crimes committed in Ahmići, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

President Gatti Santana delivered remarks at the Commemoration Ceremony, alongside a number of dignitaries and representatives of victims’ associations, and afterwards paid her respects to the victims of the crimes by laying flowers in their honour.

During her remarks, President Gatti Santana reflected on the terrible atrocities that occurred in Ahmići three decades ago and noted that they were the subject of cases tried before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which held that these acts constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The President emphasised the importance of accepting what has been judicially established, especially “when forces of denial and revisionism threaten to undermine the truth”. But despite such dangerous phenomena, she said, “the events of 16 April can never be erased; they will remain part of history and must not be forgotten. And although it is painful to acknowledge and confront the past, doing so is necessary in order to move forward and build a better future, together. We owe this to the next generations.”

Regarding the part played by the Mechanism in this context, President Gatti Santana offered reassurance that “the Mechanism will continue to preserve and promote the ICTY’s legacy, to protect victims and witnesses, and to make sure that their voices continue to be heard”.

In closing, the President praised the local community for its strength and resilience, sharing that she was humbled by the “incredible courage” shown by the survivors, and highlighting their critical role in allowing the ICTY and local courts to deliver justice.

This was the President’s second visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina since assuming office on 1 July 2022.