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Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

Letter from Prof. David Pettigrew to Canadian Parliament

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: February 15, 2010  

Letter of Prof. David Pettigrew for Canadian Parliament

Dear Honorable Members of the House of Commons:

I would like to express my support for Motion M – 416 to “declare the day of July 11 as Srebrenica Remembrance Day and the week of July 11 as Bosnia and Herzegovina Tribute Week in memorial of the Srebrenica Massacre of July 1995, in which more than 8,000 Bosniak civilians were executed under the policy of ethnic cleansing, the worst act of genocide in Europe since the Second World War, and 30,000 others were expelled from their homes by Serbian forces.” Motion M – 416 is a profoundly important signal to the international community that these crimes will not be forgotten.
In a similar vein, the May 19, 2021 United States House of Representatives Resolution 171 (on Bosnia) stated, that “continued efforts should be made … to achieve justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide…”. [1] Indeed, the first step in the path to justice is the recognition of the tragedy, that is to say, the recognition of genocide as such.
The Srebrenica massacre was, in fact, termed a genocide against the Bosnian Muslims by the International Court of Justice. [2] Moreover, among other confirmations of this fact, Radislav Krstić, a Bosnian Serb army commander at Srebrenica in July 1995, was convicted of “aiding and abetting” the Srebrenica genocide, by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. [3]
With Motion M – 146, we can stand together in solemn memory of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Further, by recognizing the genocide with a commemoration of the date of July 11th, we will also stand with those who return to Potočari each year on that day to bury the remains of the victims who have been exhumed from mass graves in the area and identified. Thus far about 4,000 of the more than 8,000 victims have been identified and buried. We will stand with those who lost husbands, fathers, uncles, cousins, and friends. We will stand with those whose natal villages were razed to the ground as part of the Bosnian Serb policy of ethnic cleansing. We will stand with the millions of Bosnian Muslims forced into exile across the globe. We will stand together. The international community did not act effectively in Bosnia when it needed to do so between 1992 and 1995. But now we can make a difference.
In solidarity with those who suffered the genocide, we can resolve to dedicate ourselves to a better future for the citizens of Bosnia; a future that involves the re-unification of Bosnia in the context of truth, justice, and democracy.

In closing, I would like to express my great appreciation to the Congress of North American Bosniaks, Canada Branch, and the Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada for bringing this issue to the attention of the Canadian Parliament.
Sincerely yours,
David Pettigrew, PhD
Professor of Philosophy
Southern CT State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven CT 06515 USA
I am including my essay, “The Geography of Genocide in Eastern Bosnia,” for your review.

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[1] United States House of Representatives Resolution 171 May 19, 2009.

[2] International Court of Justice; The Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro), case 91, The Hague, 26 February 2007, p. 108, paragraph 297.

[3] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Judgement of Radislav Krstić in the Appeals Chamber, 19 April 2004, pp. 47-48, paragraph 139.

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada