Why UN Srebrenica resolution is important for Ukraine

Friday, 24 May 2024 —

On 23 May at 12:00, all Orthodox Church bells were ringing across Serbia to prevent the adoption of an "anti-Serb" UN resolution later that day.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić urgently flew to the UN meeting, having previously publicly prayed for the resolution to fail.

Large Serbian rallies took place not only in Serbia but also in the neighbouring countries, including Montenegro, to pressure the governments not to support the resolution.

Read more about what is so special about this resolution and what consequences its adoption may bear in the article by Volodymyr Tsybulnyk, the interim Chargé d'Affaires of Ukraine in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2018) – Serbia was reminded of genocide: consequences of UN Srebrenica resolution.


On 23 May, the UN General Assembly finally adopted a resolution establishing July 11 as the "International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica."

In July 1995, in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, the forces of the Republika Srpska (now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina) under the command of war criminal Ratko Mladić carried out the mass murder of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men.

Subsequently, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the UN International Court recognised the Srebrenica massacre as genocide.

Thus, the resolution adopted yesterday unequivocally condemns actions that glorify individuals convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, including those responsible for the genocide in Srebrenica.

At the same time, the resolution emphasises the importance of completing the process of searching for and identifying the remaining victims of the Srebrenica genocide and providing them with a dignified burial, as well as calls for the continuation of criminal prosecution of all those guilty of this genocide.

84 UN member states (including Ukraine) voted for this resolution, 19 voted against, 68 abstained and 23 did not participate.

The coalition of countries that voted against recognition, mobilised by the Serbian president, is quite vivid. It mainly includes countries with significant human rights issues: Belarus, Cuba, China, North Korea, Nicaragua, Russia. Hungary, a friendly country to Serbia, predictably supported Serbia.

Perhaps if the current Serbian government were not turning a blind eye (at the very least) to the massive rehabilitation of Ratko Mladić and other war criminals, there would be no need for this resolution.

It is enough to remember that on 18 April, Republika Srpska parliament adopted a report denying genocide in Srebrenica.

But there remains an interesting question: why was the vote in the General Assembly set to be held this year, not the next to commemorate 30th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, which would make sense?

This decision appears to be an element of consolidated political pressure from Western countries on Serbian leaders.

The West got tired of financing infrastructure projects of Vučić, who expands cooperation with China, refuses to support the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), does not join anti-Russian sanctions, maintains close relations with Putin and does not want progress in normalising relations with Kosovo.

And yet, these actions are carried out under the guise of slogans about continuing Eurointegration.

As we can see, the EU and the US are moving towards a more concrete and tougher policy aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the Western Balkans, limiting Russian influence in the region.

The decision taken is important for Ukraine as well. The UN resolution creates conditions for an effective fight against genocide and punishment for its commission.

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