Serbian PM to go to Srebrenica for massacre anniversary
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia said Tuesday he would attend the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Srebrenica massacre this weekend in a bid to forge reconciliation, AFP reports.
"It is time to show that we are ready for reconciliation and that we are ready to bow our head before other peoples' victims," Vucic told reporters.
"That is why the Serbian government tonight decided that as prime minister, I would represent the Republic of Serbia in Srebrenica on July 11," he said.
Nearly 8,000 Muslim boys and men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces after Srebrenica was overrun on July 11, 1995.
"I will go proudly and represent Serbia... which is able to admit that some individuals committed crimes," Vucic said.
"These people have names. We condemn each one of these horrible crimes and will sentence each of these criminals," he promised.
The killing occurred shortly before the end of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, which claimed some 100,000 lives.
It was the worst massacre to occur on European soil since World War II.
Serbian and Bosnian Serb politicians have long denied the scale of the killing, although two international tribunals have described the bloodshed as genocide.
In 2005, then Serbian president Boris Tadic attended ceremonies marking the massacre's 10th anniversary, becoming the first leader from his country to visit the site.
In 2010 the Serbian parliament move condemned the massacre, and three years later Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic issued a personal apology.
However, all Serbian leaders -- including Vucic, a former ultranationalist-turned-pro-European-- have persistently refused to describe the massacre as genocide.
Belgrade is upset with a British attempt to have the UN Security Council pass a resolution which says recognition of genocide "is a prerequisite for reconciliation."
The Security Council pushed back a vote on the motion until Wednesday after Russia threatened to wield its veto.
Vucic said he had received "guarantees" from Russian leaders that a resolution that would be "accusatory" towards Serbia would be blocked.
Ties between Bosnia and Serbia have been fragile since the war, during which Belgrade backed Bosnian Serb forces. Last month Vucic said he wanted to improve relations with Sarajevo.