Retour 27th Commemoration Ceremony for the Victims of Srebrenica Genocide

As delivered by Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe



Predsjedavajući Predsjedništva Bosne i Hercegovine,

Uvaženi gosti,

Dame i gospodo,

Ne postoje dva ista rata.

Uzroci, sukobi i posljedice uvijek variraju –

Ali svaka nosi patnju i tugu –

Često isprekidanu događajima i zločinima koji su toliko strašni da su njihova imena i mjesta obilježeni u našoj savjesti dugo nakon što oružje utihne.

Okupili smo se danas ovdje kako bismo odali počast neizmjernoj patnji žrtava, njihovih obitelji koje su izgubile svoje najmilije i koje traze one koji se još vode kao nestali.

Njihova bol i patnja ostaju stvarni i opipljivi.

Zato se trebamo i moramo sjećati Srebrenice.

To je nas zalog za buducnost.


What happened in this country 27 years ago shocked our continent and the wider world.

Europeans had hoped – and many had believed – that this kind of atrocity could no longer happen here:

That crimes of this kind were a thing of our past.

But they were wrong.

Where governments deviate from the European standards that so many have worked so hard to establish –

From human rights, democracy and the rule of law –

Then the door is opened to conflict, violence and the victimisation of individuals and communities.

It is up to all of us to do what we can –

By whatever means we have –

To prevent our societies from taking that terrible path.

But of course, what is done cannot be undone.

Genocide that happened in Srebrenica is a fact.

Remembrance and reconciliation are hard.

But they are essential.

They are needed so that people can understand, heal and move forward, together, in the interests of every community.

This ceremony is a statement of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s determination to do that.

And it is part of the broader progress that its people have worked towards.

For the past twenty years, the Council of Europe has been proud to support the country on that journey:

This has included reinforcing state institutions –

Promoting reconciliation and dialogue, including work on transitional justice in the region.

And our membership of the Peace Implementation Council that supports the General Framework for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More broadly, we must all strive for a future in which we not only learn to live together –

But where we can truly embrace diversity and build stronger societies on that basis.

This is true not only for Bosnia and Herzegovina –

But for every country throughout Europe.

So, let us work to end, extremism and xenophobia –

And to prevent discrimination and intolerance.

In their place, we must ensure equality, dignity and mutual respect.

We must educate young people to be engaged, responsible citizens who take part in democratic life and advocate for the rights of every single citizen.

So that everyone moves forward together.


Srebrenica je ožiljak koji još uvijek zacjeljuje.

I nikada neće posve izblijediti.

Umjesto toga, podsjeca nas na užase koje su ljudska bića spremna pociniti.

Ali i na našu opredijeljenost i odlucnost da se više nikada ne smiju ponoviti.

Srebrenica 11 July 2022
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