CAIRO - Denying Europe's worst atrocity, newly elected rightwinger Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic has angered Bosnian Muslims, claiming that no genocide took place in Srebrencia in contradiction to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal.
There was no genocide in Srebrenica, Nikolic said on Montenegrin television, The Guardian reported on Saturday, June 2.
In Srebrenica, grave war crimes were committed by some Serbs who should be found, prosecuted and punished.
It is very difficult to indict someone and prove before a court that an event qualifies as genocide.
Srebrenica was a UN-protected Muslim enclave until July 11, 1995, when it was overrun by Serb forces.
More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves.
The Srebrenica massacre has been termed genocide by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal.
The former Serbian general Ratko Mladic is on trial in The Hague accused of genocide in Srebrenica.
Mladic's mentor, Milosevic, the architect of the Balkan wars, died in detention in 2006, a few months before a verdict in his trial for genocide and other war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
The Bosnian Serbs' wartime political leader, Radovan Karadzic, is also on trial in The Hague accused of genocide.
Nikolic also said that he would not attend the annual commemoration of the Srebrenica massacre in July.
"Don't always ask the Serbian president if he is going to Srebrenica," he said in the interview.
"My predecessor was there and paid tribute. Why should every president do the same?"
The Muslim chairman of Bosnia's tripartite presidency criticized Nikolic for playing down the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
"The denial of genocide in Srebrenica ... will not pave the way for co-operation and reconciliation in the region, but on the contrary may cause fresh misunderstandings and tensions, Bakir Izetbegovic said.
"By giving such statements Nikolic has clearly demonstrated that he is still not ready to face the truth about the events that took place in our recent past."
The Serbian President comments also drew ire from European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
A spokeswoman for the EU's foreign policy chief said Ashton's office was trying to clarify Nikolic's statement.
"But would like to remind everyone that Srebrenica has been confirmed as genocide by both the ICTY and the ICJ, she said.
Furthermore, she confirmed that Srebrenica was confirmed as the worst genocide in European history.
Srebrenica was the largest massacre in Europe since World War Two, a crime against all of humankind," she said.
We should never forget and it should never be allowed to happen again.