Media Contact: Shelly Han
WASHINGTON – Responding to a statement by Serbia’s newly elected President, Tomislav Nikolic, denying the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the Helsinki Commission expressed his indignation at the offense given to the memory of the victims, and his concern at the destabilizing effect of Nikolic’s remarks.
“I condemn President Nikolic’s denial that genocide took placed in Srebrenica in 1995,” said Chairman Smith. “I’ve been to Srebrenica and seen some of the coffins of those killed laid out for burial, and met some of the mothers and surviving family – it was a heart-rending experience. President Nikolic’s genocide denial insults the dead and their families, and it defies international legal judgments based on well-known and documented fact. For a head of state to do such a thing is reprehensible and, if he were to persevere in defying the decisions of the established legal authority that genocide did indeed take place, it could quickly erase the progress in reconciliation we have seen in recent years. I support a Euro-Atlantic future for Serbia, but not at the expense of the most basic standards of decency for heads of state.”
Chairman Smith was the author of H.Res. 199 (109th Cong.), which was passed on June 27, 2005, stating the sense of the House of Representatives that “the policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing as implemented by Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 meet the terms defining the crime of genocide in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” In 1995 the University of Sarajevo presented Chairman Smith the “Srebrenica 1995” Award in recognition of his contribution to resistance against genocide.