Croatian president makes controversial statements on Srebrenica genocide

‘Not every victim is the same,’ says President Zoran Milanovic

Mustafa Talha Öztürk   | 09.12.2021
Croatian president makes controversial statements on Srebrenica genocide



Croatia's president said the genocides in Srebrenica and Jasenovac are not the same because Jews and Serbs were systematically killed for several years in the Ustase-run concentration camp in Jasenovac, Croatia during World War II. 

Zoran Milanovic said that worse events took place in history, and a new name other than “genocide” should be found for the Srebrenica events.

"Srebrenica is not the same as the Holocaust, it is not the same as Jasenovac,'' Milanovic said, speaking to the press in the city of Komija on the Croatian island of Vis.

"I say yes, but then for some more serious crimes, we have to invent another name. I respect other people's sacrifices, but not everything is the same. If everything is genocide, we will have to find another name for what the Nazis and the German machinery did to the Jews in the Second World War. It is the Holocaust, but it is also genocide. Not every victim is the same, it is relativization,'' he said, answering a question on whether he considered Srebrenica a genocide.

The social democrat took the presidency in Croatia with the election in 2020.

The chairman of the Bosniak Ethnic Minority Council in Croatia, Armin Hodzic, said at a press conference that Milanovic has crossed the line of civilization that no one should cross with his statements about the Srebrenica genocide.

"Milanovic has an innate prejudice against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bosnians,” said Hodzic.

Established in 1941, the Jasenovac camp saw an estimated 100,000 Serbs, Jews, Roma and others murdered by the Ustase regime of Croatian fascist leader Ante Pavelic.

During World War II, the Nazis carried out a genocide against the Jews. Most of the Jews in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany were sent to concentration camps. About 6 million Jews died on trains and in the camps.

- Srebrenica genocide

In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked the town of Srebrenica, despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops.

The Serb forces were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

In the spring of 1993, the UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area.” However, troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic – who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide ­– overran the UN zone.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing some 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone.

About 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.

The bodies of victims have been found in 570 places in the country.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that a genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide as well as persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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