Seven Belgrade based human rights organisations issued a joint statement saying that President Tomislav Nikolic’s claims that the crimes committed in Srebrenica were not genocide offended the victims and their families.
Reactions came after Nikolic’s interview for the Italian newspaper “Corriere della Sera” in which he said that although horrible crimes took place at Srebrenica, these could not be classed as genocide.
“Serbia was never involved in the crimes at Srebrenica. The crimes were committed by individual perpetrators whose nationality happened to be Serb. The Serbian parliament condemned these horrible crimes, but genocide was not mentioned. I never heard anyone in Serbia calling it by that name [genocide in Srebrenica], which meant I didn’t either”, Nikolic said.
In the joint statement, the human rights NGOs accused the president of populism, adding that he had offended the Serbian people, as well.
“His message impacts not just the victims and neighbouring countries," the statement read, adding that Nikolic's message at home is that Serbian nationality means one can deny the facts established by the rulings of international courts.
"It [his statement] also conveys a message that others who have a different stance are not Serbs,“ the statement read.