Bosnian Serb leader denies scope of Srebrenica massacre

The leader of Bosnia's Serbs called on Tuesday for a government report that acknowledged the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 to be revoked, triggering possible new tensions in the war-scarred Balkan state.

Milorad Dodik spoke at a parliamentary session of the autonomous Bosnian Serb republic, demanding that the legislature revoke the 2004 report compiled by a previous government which acknowledged the massacre — the worst carnage in Europe since World War II. He said the report is biased and does not mention Serb victims.

Dodik, who advocates that Bosnian Serb territories should split and join Serbia, has always rejected rulings by the U.N. war crimes court that genocide was committed in Srebrenica. He accused "some Western states" and rival Bosnian Muslims of staging the massacre.

"The Srebrenica crime is a staged tragedy with an aim to satanize the Serbs," Dodik said without elaborating.

He called for the forming of an "unbiased" international investigation into the Srebrenica massacre "in order to stop manipulation with the victims."

Srebrenica survivors were outraged.

"Dodik's initiative is shameful and inhumane toward the victims," said Sehida Abdurahmanovic, a member of the Mothers of Srebrenica rights association. "Genocide was confirmed in Srebrenica. We cannot allow that someone changes the number of victims for something that is definite. We are again returning to the facts that we thought were confirmed."

Bosnian Serbs overran the majority Muslim town on July 11, 1995, rounding up Srebrenica's Muslims and killing more than 8,000 men and boys.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic over the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities of the 1992-95 war.

Although the international court has labeled the Srebrenica killings as genocide, Serbs have never admitted that their troops committed the ultimate crime and nationalist politicians have viewed Mladic and Karadzic as heroes.

It is widely believed that Dodik's reopening of the debate over Srebrenica is intended to secure the support of hard-line Bosnian Serbs ahead of the Oct. 7 general election. Dodik has had the support of Russia for his separatist stands.


Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade, Serbia, and Radul Radovanovic from Srebrenica, Bosnia.