Leader of Bosnian Serbs Calls for Srebrenica Truth Commission
March 26, 2015
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Milorad Dodik, president of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is calling for a new international truth commission for the Srebrenica massacre. Dodik views what happened in Srebrenica as a “huge crime” that has resulted in “a big political problem.” According to him, propaganda has wrongly portrayed all Serbs as the murderers in the massacre. In Dodik’s mind, the Srebrenica killings were “an act of cowardice” contrary to the knightly way in which Serbs always had carried themselves.
Dodik’s push for a new international truth commission for Srebrenica is interesting, given his history of denying that the Srebrenica massacre by Bosnian Serbs was genocide, even though international and Bosnian courts ruled it as such.
Yet what is even more interesting than Dodik’s apparent change of heart as to the severity of what happened in Srebrenica many years ago, is the reaction of victims’ groups to the possibility of yet another commission. Such groups argue that court verdicts have already well established what occurred in Srebrenica, questioning why a new commission needs to be created to go over the facts yet again. Hajra Catic, president of the Women of Srebrenica association, thinks that Dodik is just trying to rewrite the history of Srebrenica, as he is displeased with what commissions have established.
These developments lead me to question whether truth commissions are always valuable for a society that has suffered such massive abuses. While truth, as an ideal, may be something quite valuable and worth pursuing, we must consider the effects that reliving experiences has on victims and their families. Perhaps survivors and families involved with Srebrenica are tired of going through the trauma of what they experienced and would rather have the digging stop. Moreover, how valuable would another truth commission be when so many court verdicts, in addition to a former commission, have already well-established the facts of what occurred? Is Dodik seeking to establish a new truth commission for the betterment of the survivors and their families, or is it a political attempt to grab the media’s attention, as some critics believe it to be? Not only does Dodik’s push for a new truth commission bring up questions about the intrinsic value of yet another commission, but it also brings into light how politics and state interests may be involved in decisions to establish and support them.
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