Borrell and Várhelyi on 29th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide: Leaders must reject divisive rhetoric

Borrell and Várhelyi on 29th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide: Leaders must reject divisive rhetoric

BRUSSELS – The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi, issued a joint statement on 29th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, calling the tragic event “one of the darkest moments in modern European history.”

“It is our duty to honour the memory of the more than 8,300 boys and men who were systematically murdered in the hills around Srebrenica. We call on leaders to reject the rhetoric of division and act with truth, justice, trust and dialogue. Healing the wounds of the past requires acknowledging and teaching historical facts, honouring and remembering the victims, identifying those still missing and bringing all perpetrators to justice. This is essential to addressing the roots of hatred that led to genocide,” Borrell and Várhelyi stressed.

The joint statement also stressed the need to build bridges and promote reconciliation and that the genocide should not be denied.

“We must build bridges towards reconciliation together. There is no place among us for those who deny the genocide, try to rewrite history and glorify war criminals,” they stressed.

Furthermore, Borrell and Várhelyi expressed their strong support for the process of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into the EU.

In March 2024, the European Council decided to open EU accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a key opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina to advance reforms aimed at strengthening democracy, prosperity and security for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and bringing the country closer to EU membership. We reiterate our unequivocal commitment to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EU as a single, united and sovereign country,” EU officials stressed.

The annual commemorative ceremonies began on Monday, July 8, with a 100-kilometer march to Srebrenica. The participants of the “March for Peace” arrived in Potočari on July 10 and are today participating in the mass funeral at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center cemetery, where the remains of 14 other victims of the genocide will be buried.

The resolution on the Srebrenica genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 23 May 2024. 11 July was thus established as the International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb armed forces.