Re: Language of the Motion on “Srebrenica Remembrance Day, July 11”

To Whom It May Concern:

The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB), representing more than 350,000 Bosniaks, including more than 50,000 Canadian Bosniaks, reiterates its full support for the Hon. Brian Masse’s motion on “Srebrenica Remembrance Day, July 11”:

That, in the opinion of the House, the day of July 11 should be recognized as Srebrenica Remembrance Day and the week of July 11 as Bosnia and Herzegovina Tribute week in memorial of the Srebrenica Massacre of July of 1995, in which more than 8,000 Bosniak civilians were executed under the policy of ethnic cleansing, the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War, and 30,000 others were expelled from their homes by Serbian forces.

The current version of the motion being considered by the Canadian Parliament has several serious omissions which compromise the validity and purpose of the motion:

“That, in the opinion of the House, the government shall declare the day of July 11th as Srebrenica Remembrance Day in memorial of the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, in which more than 7,000 Bosnian civilians were executed and 25,000 others expelled from their homes by Bosnian Serb forces under a policy of ethnic cleansing.”

CNAB respectfully points out several serious omissions in the motion above:

a) There were more than 8,000 lives lost in Srebrenica in July of 1995. These figures were confirmed by local authorities as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the U.S. House Resolution 199.
b) Bosnia & Herzegovina Tribute week is missing. It is important that we pay respect to all the victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and celebrate Bosnian statehood.
c) Current motion replaces ‘Serbian forces’ with ‘Bosnian Serb’ which is contrary to proven facts, from the ICJ ruling against Serbia/Montenegro to corpus delicti at the ICTY – having Serbia’s documents that contain a statement given by Slobodan Milosevic (which reads): “We control over 72 percent of territory in B&H” (“to many others” this is not understood – does it mean ‘and’ many others?). It is imperative that we recognize the active involvement of Serbian troops in the genocide.
d) An error in description of ‘Bosniak civilians’ as “Bosnian civilians”. The victims of the Srebrenica genocide were ethnic Bosniaks , a constitutionally recognized ethnicity, whereas Bosnian signifies only a regional affiliation to Bosnia.
e) Removes the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War. It is a well known fact that the systemic murder of more than 8,000 Bosniaks in a short period of time was the worst atrocity since the Second World War and should be recognized as such.

Furthermore, CNAB strongly urges the Parliament to use the term genocide instead of massacre wherever possible. The use of the term genocide is consistent with the ICTY’s ruling on Srebrenica in several war crimes cases as well as the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Serbia and Montenegro where it has been clearly classified as a genocide as described under the  United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG)

For any further information, please feel free to contact me. 

Mr. Haris Alibasic, MPA
President of the Congress of North American Bosniaks