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Speech at the ceremony in Srebrenica

Srebrenica , 

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My thoughts today are with the families of the victims of the terrible crimes which took place here fifteen years ago.

My thoughts are with the mothers, and sisters and daughters of Srebrenica.

This is their ceremony. A ceremony to pay respect to their loss, to their pain, and to their sorrow.

I will not pretend that I know how you feel. No one can make such a claim without living through a similar horror. But I can assure you that I feel nothing but humility, compassion and respect.

We, politicians, are here to testify that we have learned a lesson. Srebrenica should not have happened, but it did. It will stay engraved forever in the collective memory of Europe as a reminder of how sudden, quick and tragic can be the descent of the humankind into the abyss of intolerable cruelty and horror.
Europe witnessed the unprecedented horror of the Holocaust only a lifetime ago. Fifteen years ago, it relapsed. If there is a lesson to learn, it is that saying "never again" is not enough.

Fifteen years on, Srebrenica is still an open wound. It has started to heal, but the healing process will not end until justice is done. The ICTY has already issued the first convictions for genocide, but the person accused of being the mastermind of this crime is still at large.

Justice, as some claim, is not an obstacle to reconciliation. It is, to the contrary, its most essential ingredient.

I congratulate the leaders in the region for what they have done so far to promote reconciliation, and I encourage them to continue. Until the wounds have healed. Until we are certain that Srebrenica cannot, and will not happen again. We owe this to the victims, and we owe it to ourselves.