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Peaceful manner of Srebrenica observances applauded by UN mission

Peaceful manner of Srebrenica observances applauded by UN mission

Following ceremonies to mark the sixth anniversary of the tragic massacre of civilians in Srebrenica, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) today expressed its "deep satisfaction" with the peaceful and respectful manner in which the observances were conducted.

In a statement released at the Mission's headquarters in Sarajevo, UNMIBH said the country had witnessed "a victory for peace, tolerance and reconciliation. Today's events represent one more step to begin turning some of the darkest pages of this country's history."

The ceremony included the Srebrenica Commemoration and the laying of a marker stone for the Potacari Memorial and Cemetery, six years after thousands of innocent civilians seeking refuge in Srebrenica, a UN-designated safe area, were murdered, and thousands of others forcibly relocated as a result of the policy of ethnic cleansing. It was one of the worst civilian massacres in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

In its statement, UNMIBH affirmed its support for the speedy arrest of all war criminals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and rejected the "dangerous culture" of collective guilt that leads to further cycles of intolerance.

"Individuals, not entire ethnic or religious groups must answer for barbaric crimes committed," the statement said. "Until the guilty are punished, the innocent cannot be absolved."