Kosovo’s parliament has adopted a resolution condemning the 1995 massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces, which has been declared a genocide by a UN war crimes court.
The resolution, initiated by the Vakat coalition of parties representing the Bosnian minority in Kosovo, was approved by 89 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament. None voted against.
The Srpska Lista party of Kosovo’s ethnic Serbian minority boycotted the debate on the resolution and did not take part in the vote.
On July 11, 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed by Bosnian Serb forces near the eastern town of Srebrenica — the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.
The episode came toward the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian War pitting Bosnian Serbs against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats that claimed some 100,000 lives.
Both the wartime Bosnian Serb army commander, Ratko Mladic, and former political leader Radovan Karadzic were subsequently sentenced to life in prison by the UN war crimes court in the Netherlands for genocide in Srebrenica.
Kosovo itself was the scene of a bloody conflict in the 1990s, when Serbia was forced to cede control over its province after a U.S.-led NATO campaign ended Belgrade’s crackdown against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian separatists. More than 10,000 people died in the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008, which Belgrade does not recognize.
Bahri Shabani of the Vakat coalition said the resolution would help the victims of the massacre obtain justice.
“That would help not only the victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina but also the victims in Kosovo not to be forgotten,” he said.
“Such a resolution and the memorial day of the genocide in Srebrenica are a lesson for future generations and a reconciliation effort for nations,” he added.
Kosovar Prime Minister Abin Kurti said parliament’s official condemnation of the genocide “needs to be indisputable so that it won’t happen again.”
Srpska Lista said in a statement to the media that its lawmakers, by “demonstratively leaving the assembly session refused to give legitimacy to the intention of the Kosovo institutions to label the Serbian people genocidal.”
“The resolution unilaterally, without any basis, attacks the Serbian people, the Serbian state, and threatens interethnic relations, and does not say a single word about the criminal suffering of Serbs, whether in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, or Kosovo,” Srpska Lista said.