Four months after outraging people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Balkans, Serbia President Tomislav Nikolic is again denying the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, this time in a statement to an Italian newspaper.
"Genocide did not take place in Srebrenica," he told the newspaper, Corriere della Sera. "This is about individual guilt of members of the Serb people. The Serbian parliament condemned this crime, but did not say it was genocide. No Serb recognizes that genocide took place in Srebrenica, and I am no different."
Nikolic was roundly decried when he made similar statements in June, shortly after taking office, in an interview on Montenegrin state television. The uproar was so great that most heads of state in the region declined to attend his inauguration ceremony later that month.
The killing of 8,000 civilians was declared genocide by the International Court of Justice and the UN. Several Bosnian Serbs were convicted in war crimes court for their roles in the deaths. It's been called the worst crime on European soil since World War II.
Dinko Gruhonjic, president of the Civic Vojvodina NGO, predicted that Nikolic's repeated interpretation of Srebrenica will cause difficulty in the region.
"It will lead to other states in the region, primarily Croatia and Bosnia, perceiving us as a state that has regressed into the 1990s and as a state that is headed by a 'duke' who, despite his lip service in the election campaign, has not changed since 1992, when he was named a Chetnik duke," Gruhonjic told SETimes.