Srebrenica Massacre: Cameron pledges £1.2mn to memorial fund

Reuters / Dado Ruvic
Prime Minister David Cameron will reveal a further £1.2 million spending for the commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre, in which 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed when Serbian forces stormed the city.

The donation to Remembering Srebrenica will be announced on Monday as a week of memorial services begin across the country.

Cameron will say the extra funding will ensure “the events of that day are not forgotten.

The victims were supposedly in a zone protected by UN troops, but Dutch forces were unable to stop the Serbian soldiers. The attack was led by General Ratko Mladic who is now on trial for genocide in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

The US and UK governments reportedly had prior information about the approaching Serbian attack on Srebrenica, but chose not to share it with the Dutch. The two nations had also decided, along with France, in May of that year not to continue with airstrikes against the Serbs.

The funding will be used to educate British students on the atrocities, Cameron will say, including educational trips to Bosnia.

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The genocide that took place in Srebrenica 20 years ago is a stark reminder of the intolerance that exists in the world and why we must do all we can to confront it,” Cameron will say.

This funding will help to raise awareness of the victims and their families and ensure the events of that day are not forgotten. It also sends an important message to our communities, who have a part to play in ensuring we build a lasting legacy of inclusiveness,” he will add.

The donation comes as a motion at the UN is due to vote on whether the massacre should be referred to as ‘genocide’. On July 4, Serbia asked Russia to veto the motion, which is due to be tabled next week.

A state TV channel reported that pro-Russian President Tomislav Nikolic has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin “pleading” for a Russian “no” in the UN council resolution.

Some senior British Conservative Party politicians have said the party is haunted by the lack of action on Srebrenica.

“[Former Prime Minister Sir John] Major’s government effectively colluded with and rewarded the Serb perpetrators of genocide, and I believe many Tories, including the prime minister, do feel an acute sense of shame over that record,” Marko Attila Hoare, a historian of the former Yugoslavia at Kingston University, told the Guardian.

Guilt needs to be a constructive emotion. The money for Srebrenica commemoration is useful but what would be even more useful is a further shift in British and European policy on Bosnia today – or at the very least, a recognition that Srebrenica was not an isolated incident and that we need to talk about a broader campaign of genocide in wartime Bosnia and the lasting consequences of that strategy today,” Balkan analyst at the University of York Jasmin Mujanovic also told the newspaper.