25 years on, remembering Srebrenica


Srebrenica stands as a stark reminder that there are evil people prepared to kill without conscience or mercy if the world stands aside, National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken said ten years ago, marking the massacre’s 15th anniversary. With those words, he recalled the murder of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in broad daylight in Europe, at an event organized by the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

For a time, the stain of Srebrenica on the collective conscience of Western democracies translated into policy change and action, notes Brookings analyst Molly Montgomery. In 1999, NATO forces bombed military targets in Yugoslavia to force an end to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Ad hoc tribunals to try crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda made way for the International Criminal Court. U.N. member states adopted the “Responsibility to Protect,” taking it upon themselves to individually and collectively prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.

Tomorrow’s 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide should spur a recommitment to human rights as a key element of U.S. foreign policy, she argues. RTWT

NED President Carl Gershman reminded attendees at the 15th anniversary that the Balkans needs international attention, recognizing the work of NED grantees in the Balkans, and emphasizing the importance of communicating to people ‘on the front lines’ of this struggle for democracy that ‘the world is watching and that they are not alone.’

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