The message from many of today's officials is: we recognize our victims, but not yours. Your war criminals are our heroes. This rhetoric of division insults the victims, invites conflict, and will lead only to isolation and stagnation – the IRMICT Prosecutor Serge Brammertz pointed out in a message on the final day of the campaign "Together Against the Denial Virus"
Today, we commemorate the Srebrenica genocide.
We remember the victims and pay homage to the survivors. We honour the strength and resilience of the women of Srebrenica, who bore the brunt of the destruction. And in recognition of their suffering, we affirm the true facts of the genocide.
The fact is that in July 1995, thousands of men and boys were murdered. That tens of thousands of vulnerable women, children and elderly were terrorized, abused and forced from their homes.
There was a deliberate plan to commit genocide. A few men, entrusted with great responsibility, betrayed that trust and abused their rank, their authority and their power, and they destroyed a community.
Reconciliation, healing and—ultimately—sustainable peace in the region depend on acceptance of the facts. Unfortunately, denial of crimes and non-acceptance of the established facts are alarmingly widespread throughout the region.
The genocide is denied. Ethnic cleansing is denied. The individual guilt of leaders sentenced by the ICTY is denied.
The message from many of today's officials and leaders is: we recognize our victims, but not yours. Your war criminals are our heroes.
This rhetoric of division insults the victims, invites conflict, and will lead only to isolation and stagnation.
Civil society must remain at, the core of local efforts that promote justice, education, acceptance of the past and reconciliation.
But they cannot overcome the challenges alone. All of us have a role to play in bringing the denial of crimes and the glorification of convicted war criminals to a halt.
Today, we remember.
And in that spirit, for a better future, we must speak out with one voice when the genocide is denied and those responsible are glorified.