On the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the only declared genocide in Europe since World War II, Iran’s Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has blasted Europe for failing to meet its duties to prevent the tragedy.
In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Zarif paid tribute to the victims of the execution in July 1995 of thousands of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) by posting the snapshot of an article titled, “Srebrenica massacre: Dutch peacekeepers party responsible, court rules”.
“25 yrs ago today, #SrebrenicaGenocide began as Europe failed to uphold its basic duties. Quarter of a century later Europe is plagued by same ineptitude,” he wrote.
The top Iranian diplomat also denounced the UN inaction regarding the slaughter, saying, “The failure of the @UN to take any action at the time—to forever haunt the world body—should remain a lesson for the present.”
On July 11, 1995, Srebrenica fell to Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic.
Srebrenica’s Muslim population fled the town, which had been declared a UN “safe haven” for civilians, and rushed to the UN compound where its peacekeepers were supposed to protect them.
The Dutch peacekeepers, however, handed over the base to Serbian troops, who separated out men and boys for execution and sent the women and girls elsewhere to a territory under their control.
In less than two weeks, the Serbian forces systematically murdered more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys and dumped their bodies in numerous mass graves in an attempt to hide their crime.
Almost 7,000 of those killed have been found and identified, but some 1,000 others are still missing.
The United Nations’ war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague has established that the killings constituted genocide. It also convicted Mladic and his political mentor Radovan Karadzic of genocide and other war crimes in Srebrenica.
The massacre shamed the international community as it occurred while UN peacekeepers stood by fecklessly and NATO refused to intervene.
“Human conscience will never forget such a heinous crime that ought not to be repeated, but which, unfortunately, is being repeated over and over again in various parts of the world – the most recent being the frequent bouts of genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine by the Myanmar army and Buddhist militias,” Tehran-based daily Kayhan International wrote on Sunday.