RS apology for Srebrenica massacre

Here is my translation of the apology issued by the government of Republika Srpska, the Serb entity in Bosnia and Hercegovina, for the massacre in Srebrenica in 1995. The text was published by the best Balkan news site, B92 vesti, on 10 November 2004. Note to journalists, researchers and others – my translation is not an official translation, and should not be considered reliable for documentary purposes:

1. The Government of Republika Srpska has familiarized itself with and accepted the Report of the Commission for the investigation of the events around Srebrenica from 10 to 19 July 1995.
2. The Report clearly demonstrates that in the area of Srebrenica in July 1995, crimes of great measure were committed with gross violations of international humanitarian law.
3. We affirm that Republika Srpska has shown resolve to confront the truth about events from the recent tragic conflict on the territory of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
4. The Government of Republika Srpska considers that the Report will assist in revealing the fate of a large number of missing persons listed in the Decision of the Chamber for Human Rights of Bosnia and Hercegovina, and also of others not listed in the Decision.
5. The work of the Commission is a historic act and as such is subject to the judgment of history. The formation of the Commission and its work are evidence of the maturity of the institutions of Republika Srpska and the Serbian people.
6. The Government of Republika Srpska offers its condolences with pain to the relatives of the victims of Srebrenica, with sincere sorrow and apology for the tragedy which befell them.
7. The Government of Republika Srpska intends to take decisive steps in order to bring to justice all people who have committed war crimes. No crime, no matter who committed it, can remain unpunished.
8. The Report with its appendices represents a good basis for action by the responsible agencies (especially agencies of prosecution and judicial organs at all levels of government) for further investigation, documentation and prosecution of crimes.
9. The responsible agencies of the Government of Republika Srpska will continue their activity in the further gathering of evidence which will help in the full revelation of the fate of missing persons.
10. The Government of Republika Srpska requests that exhumation and identification of missing persons be carried out as soon as possible, because without that it is not possible to complete this process.
11. The methodology and manner of work of the Commission should serve as a model for further investigation of crimes committed on this territory, without regard to who committed them, when or where.
12. A complete understanding of the events in and around Srebrenica is only possible after a full accounting of the historical context.
13. The Government of Republika Srpska considers that the work of the Commission and its result will contribute to the building of a climate of confidence in Bosnia and Hercegovina and in the greater region.
14. The Government of Republika Srpska expresses its respect for the work of the Chamber for Human Rights and its successor, with a sincere intent to carry out the requirements of humanitarian law, and with the recommendation that the results of this Report be accepted.
15. The Government of Republika Srpska offers its sincere recognition to the members of the Commission for their courage, decisiveness, their conscientious and human relations which they have shown in their work.

Kofi Annan called the apology a "courageous act," but I am inclined to agree with the lucid Tobias K. Vogel, who wrote, "It is a strange moral universe in which admitting a crime that everyone else knows you committed - and admitting it nine years later and under massive pressure, and without any attempt to actually punish anyone for it - is considered a 'courageous act,' but I guess for UN standards it is."

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