Russia Vetoes UN Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

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July 8th, 2015

translated and amalgamated by: Joaquin Flores

Denis Dzidic, Balkan Insight : Russia voted down a UN 

Security Council resolution marking the 20th anniversary of 

the Srebrenica massacres, calling it anti-Serb and saying it would increase tensions in Bosnia.

The resolution condemning the 1995 Srebrenica massacres as genocide failed to pass on Wednesday after Serbia’s ally Russia, which has a Security Council veto, voted against it.

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said the resolution was “confrontational and politically motivated”.

Churkin

Churkin said that it only blamed the Serbs for atrocities during the 1992-95 war and would cause more divisions in Bosnian society.

“Given that there is no consensus on this issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina… adopting this resolution would be counterproductive and lead to greater tension in the region,” he said.

Both Serbia and Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska deny that the killing of 7,000 men and boys from Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces 20 years ago was genocide, despite the rulings of several international and Bosnian courts.

But Matthew Rycroft, the UN ambassador from Britain, which proposed the resolution, insisted that it “does not accuse the Serbs as a people, instead it calls for reconciliation”.

“The problem in our difference of opinion is whether this crime amounted to genocide. That is not a verdict of the Security Council, but a definition from judgements from both the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,” said Rycroft.

“To call it anything else would hinder not help reconciliation,” he added.

China, Nigeria, Angola and Venezuela abstained in the vote and the remaining 10 members of the Security Council voted for the resolution.

After the vote, the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who was a reporter in Bosnia at the time of the massacres, called Russia’s veto “heartbreaking” for the families of those who were killed.

“When I heard about the crimes I said: ‘No.’ When I heard of Russia’s plan to veto this, I had the same reaction. Why would Russia vote to deny recognition of the Srebrenica genocide?” she asked.

But Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in a statement that this was an important day for Serbs.

“Not only because it prevented a stain being put on the whole Serbian nation in an attempt to declare a genocide, but because today Russia has shown and proved that it is a true and honest friend,” Nikolic said.

Nikolic

The resolution has sparked weeks of political recriminations ahead of the Srebrenica anniversary.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday that he had “personally received guarantees” from Russia that the text condemning the genocide of Bosniaks would not be adopted.

Russia, which is currently locked in conflict with the West over Ukraine, had proposed an alternative resolution which did not mention genocide or Srebrenica, but instead condemned crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war in general.

Despite the row over the resolution however, Vucic has said that “if conditions are met”, he will represent Serbia in Srebrenica on July 11 at the 20th anniversary commemoration of the massacres.

Telegraf.rs reports:  Anti-Serb Srebrenica resolution prepared by the United Kingdom, discussed yesterday in the Security Council, was met by “fierce” opposition from Russia and China. First, Moscow has threatened a veto, then Beijing has obtained a postponement of the session.

The diplomatic war of the great powers flared up even during the early morning in New York, and as reported by news agencies, the atmosphere on the eve of the Security Council resembled a poker game in which the Member States by the minute “raised.”

Journalist Erol Avdović UN says that representatives of the major “watch over the barrel.”

“It was like a poker game where you look when someone will blink. Officially Moscow has threatened a veto. Sergei Lavrov directly called London and threatened to prevent voting, however, the British were determined to proceed with the resolution. The Russians did not expect such a determination from the English and then into the game jumped the Chinese” – said Adovic.

Lavrov

Beijing has categorically asked for postponement due to inappropriate text of the resolution.

China considers that the proposed text does not support the reconciliation in the region and that there is no agreement on it by all peoples in BiH, has been notified from the Chinese diplomatic missions in New York.

In this way, for now, prevented criminal attempt by Britain that only the Serbs are branded as a genocidal nation.

International law expert Miodrag Zivkovic said to Informer that it is now clear that Serbia has powerful friends among the great powers. This, says Zivkovic, the best possible foreign policy news that happen to Serbia, writes Informer.

Support from China shows that this superpower is our strategic partner. This also strengthens the alliance between China and Russia, and this is apparently the deal: that Russia is less exposed. We certainly favor having such powerful protectors and we look forward to this in the future – says Zivkovic.

Former Serbian Ambassador to BiH Ninoslav Stojadinovic believes that the unique position of Russia and China concerning the resolution on Srebrenica shows that things in the world that will never be the same as a year or two ago.

The world will at least be bipolar, and the United States, Russia, the EU and China will have everything to negotiate. One superpower will never again decide on everything, such as has been the case since the dissolution of the Soviet Union – Stojadinovic explains, adding that the resolution was actually a perfidious attempt by Great Britain itself to present Republika Srpska as genocidal, and therefore disbanded, to create a unitary BiH.

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