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British Ambassador statement on Srebrenica Commemoration

Statement by the British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Nigel Casey who will represent the UK Government at the 18th Anniversary of Srebrenica.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigel Casey, in the Potocari Memorial Room

Ambassador Casey said:

On 11 July I will be in Srebrenica, representing the UK Government at the annual commemoration. This year will see the burial of over 400 further individual victims, who have been identified in the last 12 months thanks to the painstaking work of the International Commission for Missing Persons. It will, as always, be an emotional occasion, as the families of these victims have their first chance to say a proper farewell to their loved ones, 18 years after they were killed. And it will be a painful moment for all of us to reflect on the terrible events which took place in Srebrenica in July 1995, and to remember the victims of that act of genocide and of the many other appalling crimes committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This year, for the first time, a major public event to mark the 11 July anniversary will also be held in London. Thanks to the non-governmental ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ initiative, which is supported by the UK Government, a commemorative event will be held at Lancaster House on the evening of 11 July. Our Foreign Minister William Hague and other leaders from our major political parties will address the event, along with survivors of the genocide. This event will be an important new part of our contribution to ensuring that the knowledge of what happened here is never forgotten, and is passed on to those born after the event. It will be followed by educational visits to Srebrenica by local government leaders in the UK. Like other appalling crimes committed on the soil of this country during the 1992-95 war and before, Srebrenica carries lessons for all of us today, in showing where unchecked hatred and extremism can lead.

Keeping alive the memory of what happened in Srebrenica is as important now as it has ever been, especially when there are people who continue to try to downplay the enormity of the crime committed there, and to contest the findings of the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that it constituted an act of genocide. That is why the UK Government has been a leading supporter, financially and politically, of the work of the ICTY and of the War Crimes Division of the BiH State Court in bringing those accused of responsibility for Srebrenica to face justice. It is why we have been a leading supporter of the International Commission for Missing Persons, whose pioneering use of DNA analysis has enabled the successful identification of the great majority of the victims. And it is why we have supported the creation of the Potocari Memorial Centre, including through the assistance the Imperial War Museum has provided to create the exhibition and the film which is shown there. This kind of support will continue in future years, so that the individuals responsible are brought to justice, and the memory of what happened is preserved.

Published 11 July 2013