Church Bells Ring in Serbian Orthodox Churches Ahead of Srebrenica Resolution Vote


Bells will toll at noon in temples of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) for prayers, a blessing from the patriarch, concerning the anticipated vote on the Srebrenica Resolution. The Raška-Prizren Eparchy confirmed for KoSSev that the bells of both churches and monasteries of the Eparchy will ring at noon.

„His Holiness calls upon the entire Serbian Orthodox people to unite in prayer for justice and peace for all nations, especially those with whom we share centuries of common history with biblical faith in our hearts and on our lips: ‘The Lord our God is alive. Our soul will also live!’,“ the SPC stated.

On the other hand, the SPC emphasized that these are „completely false and unjust accusations faced in the United Nations Organization.“

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will vote today on a resolution declaring July 11 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide, condemning genocide denial and the glorification of war criminals.

The session, scheduled for today, was postponed once earlier this month.

In 2010, the Serbian Parliament adopted a declaration condemning the crimes in Srebrenica, with the then-radicals leaving the parliamentary chamber before the vote.

According to the International Court of Justice ruling in The Hague in February 2007, the Srebrenica massacre was confirmed as genocide, with soldiers and officers of the army and police of Republika Srpska identified as the direct perpetrators of the mass murder of more than 8,000 Bosniaks. The ruling also established that the authorities of Serbia neither participated in nor incited genocide.

Two presidents of Serbia to date, including the current Aleksandar Vučić, have attended memorials at the Potočari Memorial Center, while several representatives of Serbia have also attended commemorative events within the EU in New York.

Current Minister of Foreign Affairs Marko Đurić recalled these facts during an emergency session of the UN Security Council held at the request of Russia at the beginning of May.

Ahead of today’s session, the Government of Montenegro submitted a total of two amendments to the resolution on the Srebrenica genocide, which were accepted.

For months, the Resolution has been a consistent topic in the media, especially in the pro-government media. At the center of this media narrative is a message that aims to depict the Serbian people as genocidal on the international stage. It is portrayed as a crucial issue for the survival of the Serbian nation, an attack by the West against Serbia and the Serbian people, and support for Serbia’s struggle, or President Vučić. Additionally, it suggests that today will reveal „who the friends of Serbia are.“

In line with this narrative, Vučić has invoked the motto of Vidovdan, which, in the motifs of folk songs is associated with the famous message that „on Vidovdan, everything is seen,“ and that the Battle of Kosovo will show who is „faithful (brave to respond in the battle) and who is not“.

However, although not as visible in the broader public of Serbia, which is informed via national media outlets and tabloids, several experts in international diplomacy, law, and political science have pointed out that despite the sensitive and painful issue of Srebrenica, the Draft Resolution itself does not blame either Serbia or the Serbian people. They argue that the issue is being exploited in the media solely for alleged domestic use and that such exploitation achieves a counterproductive effect, primarily on the image of the Serbian people.

Moreover, several experts have pointed out a previous trend of historical revisionism before the initiative for the Resolution.

Today, the media released the final draft of the Resolution, which we publish below:

„Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,

Recalling Security Council resolution 819 of 16 April 1993 declaring Srebrenica a safe area, resolution 827 of 25 May 1993 concerning the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia („ICTY“), and resolution 1966 of 22 December 2010 concerning the establishment of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals,

Recalling further all judgments of the ICTY, and in particular eight that contain guilty verdicts for the crime of genocide against Bosnian Muslims committed at Srebrenica in 1995, most notably ICTY Appeals Chamber judgment of 19 April 2004 (The Prosecutor vs. Krstic), International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals’ Appeals Chamber judgment of 8 June 2021 (The Prosecutor vs. Mladic), International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals’ Appeals Chamber judgment of 20 March 2019 (The Prosecutor vs. Karadzic), as well as the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 26 February 2007 which determined that the acts committed in Srebrenica constitute acts of genocide,

Reaffirming its strong opposition to impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, or other violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and emphasizing in this context the responsibility of States to end impunity and, to that end, to thoroughly investigate and prosecute, in accordance with their relevant international legal obligations and their domestic law, persons responsible for such acts, in order to avoid their recurrence and to seek sustainable peace, justice, truth, and reconciliation, for which the participation of victims and survivors as well as their family members is central,

Welcoming the important progress made by international courts in recent years with respect to the fight against impunity and in ensuring accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes achieved through the international criminal justice system,

Recognizes in this regard the particular contribution of the ICTY and emphasizes the importance of the international community being prepared to take collective action through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, and on a case-by-case basis to further ensure accountability for and the prevention of genocide.

Taking note of the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect; and noting the importance of regular briefings on human rights and international humanitarian law violations as well as on hate speech and incitement in raising early awareness of potential genocide.

Also noting that the prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other international crimes in national justice systems, including the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the ICTY as well as the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, remains central to the process of national reconciliation and trust-building and to the restoration and maintenance of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and further recognizing that strong regional cooperation between national prosecutors’ offices is essential in fostering peace, justice, truth and reconciliation among countries in the region,

Noting that 2025 will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, in which at least 8,372 lives were lost, thousands were displaced, and families and communities were devastated,

1. Decides to designate 11 July as the International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica to be observed annually;

2. Condemns without reservation any denial of the Srebrenica Genocide as a historical event, and urges Member States to preserve the established facts, including through their educational systems by developing appropriate programs, also in remembrance, towards preventing denial and distortion, and occurrence of genocides in the future;

3. Also condemns without reservation actions that glorify those convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by international courts, including those responsible for the Srebrenica Genocide;

4. Emphasizes the importance of completing the process of finding and identifying the remaining victims of the Srebrenica Genocide and according them dignified burial and calls for the continued prosecution of those perpetrators of the Srebrenica Genocide that have yet to face justice;

5. Urges all States to fully adhere to their obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as applicable, and customary international law on genocide prevention and punishment with due regard to relevant ICJ decisions,

6. Requests the Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme entitled „The Srebrenica Genocide and the United Nations“, starting its activities with preparations for the 30th anniversary in 2025, and further requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and civil society organizations for appropriate observance,

7. Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations, and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and other relevant stakeholders to observe the International Day, including special observances and activities in memory and honor of the victims of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica, as well as appropriate education and public awareness- raising activities.“

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