Nderitu: Everyone in BiH deserves a future in which there is no space for denial of genocide

NEW YORK, April 3 (FENA) – The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderita, welcomed the amendments to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina that the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, imposed at the end of last month, which stipulate that “no person who has been convicted by any international or domestic court of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes may stand as candidate for elections or hold any elective, appointive or other office”.

The Special Adviser recognizes the importance of this step as contributing to strengthening trust-building in the country both in institutions and among communities impacted by the denial of genocide and related crimes, and to advance inter-communal healing.

The Special Adviser also notes the recent Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Justice and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, enabling the criminal records of Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens and people born on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina who have been convicted by the international tribunals of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are registered in the country’s criminal records.

The Special Adviser considers this as an important step to affirm the recognition of the rulings of the international tribunals and counter revisionism, denial, and the glorification of war criminals.

Special Adviser Nderitu stressed the importance of addressing the legacy of the past, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

”Only by promoting the understanding of the past through truth-seeking and accountability, and addressing the root causes and the continued impact of such violence on the society, can sustainable peace be achieved. Glorification of convicted war criminals and other perpetrators of such crimes, which has been normalized and continues to occur with impunity, does precisely the opposite: it deepens divisions, fear, mistrust, and hate,” stated the UN Special Adviser.

She said that everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina deserves a future in which there is no space for denial of genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity, and the glorification of those who have committed such crimes.

”Countering these patterns requires active efforts and determination from a range of actors across the country, from the top political leadership to the community level. The voice of those who acknowledge the crimes committed in the past and the suffering they caused must be stronger than the voice of those who deny them. Many civil society actors have for decades undertaken remarkable work in that regard, but this is primarily the responsibility of authorities and institutions, at all levels, to build a peaceful and inclusive society,” emphasized the Special Adviser.