11 July 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the largest atrocity on European soil since the founding of the United Nations. This year will also mark the closing of the doors of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a tribunal established by the United Nations to prosecute those persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
On this day, we remember and honour the thousands of men and boys who were slaughtered, and express our solidarity with the families and friends of those whose lives were taken.
The terrible events that occurred at Srebrenica in July 1995 are historical facts and have been documented extensively. Both the ICTY and the International Court of Justice have concluded that the acts committed at Srebrenica constituted genocide. The ICTY has determined the criminal responsibility of different individuals for the Srebrenica massacre and has convicted them of genocide.
To help prevent future such atrocities, we must look honestly at the past, and acknowledge that these crimes occurred and our roles in allowing them to occur. The international community, and in particular the United Nations, has accepted its share of responsibility with respect to the tragedy at Srebrenica and has worked hard to learn from the lessons of its failures.
The difficult task of building trust to allow for full reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina lies with the people of the country’s various communities. To build a better and common future, the tragedies of the past must be recognized by those communities. The United Nations is fully committed to supporting efforts towards non-repetition and reconciliation, in order to achieve sustainable peace, justice and dignity for all.