Outgoing United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein condemned a decision by the Bosnian Serb parliament to revoke a 2004 report on the Srebrenica massacre and called on lawmakers to reconsider the move which he said will damage reconciliation."The High Commissioner warns that the revocation will only serve to feed into the divisive, nationalistic rhetoric ahead of the general elections in October, and will disrupt any attempts to work towards reconciliation," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said on Friday, as reported by Reuters.
Lawmakers in Bosnia's autonomous Serb-dominated region asked the regional government on Tuesday to revoke a 2004 report which concluded that Bosnian Serb forces killed about 8,000 Muslims in and around Srebrenica during the country's 1992-95 war.
The vote was initiated by Serb Republic nationalist President Milorad Dodik, and some analysts say it is the latest issue used by Serb ruling parties to mobilize voters around the nationalist agenda ahead of elections in October.
Bosnia's Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic condemned Dodik's latest request as a "pre-election move" aimed at diverting public attention away from other issues. "No one, not a single institution in Bosnia could detract from the rulings of international courts," Zvizdic was quoted as saying by Bosnia's Fena news agency.
More than two decades after Bosnia's 1992-1995 war ended, splitting the country into two ethnically-based regions, the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation, ethnic tensions remain high, halting progress towards membership of NATO and the European Union.
Serbs in Bosnia and neighboring Serbia reject rulings by two war crimes courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice, that the atrocity qualified as genocide.
Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. The U.N. Security Council had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by General Ratko Mladic, who now faces genocide charges at The Hague, overran the U.N. zone.
The Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing about 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone. Some 15,000 Srebrenica people fled into the surrounding mountains but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests. Hundreds of Bosniak families are still searching for missing people as a large number of victims were thrown into mass graves around the country during the Bosnian War. A total of 8,400 people remain missing since the war's end, according to the Institute for Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.