H. Res. 310, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding Srebrenica

H.Res. 310

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding Srebrenica

Date
July 8, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, the House will consider H. Res. 310, a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding Srebrenica, under suspension of the rules.  The resolution was introduced on June 12, 2015, by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Bill Summary

Res. 310 resolves that the House of Representatives:

1)         Affirms that the killing of civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Serb forces from 1992 to 1995 were acts of genocide;

2)         Condemns efforts to deny or question that the massacre at Srebrenica constituted a genocide;

3)         Urges the Atrocities Prevention Board to provide guidance to help prevent similar incidents, particularly in Syria, the Central African Republic, and Burundi;

4)         Encourages the U.S. to continue supporting the independence and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the right of the people of the region to live in peace and freedom;

5)         Recognizes the achievement of the International Commission for Missing Persons in accounting for those missing in conflicts or natural disasters around the world;

6)         Welcomes the arrest of all persons indicted for war crimes, genocide, and related actions;

7)         Supports the continuing work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to hold the individuals responsible for these crimes accountable; and

8)         Honors those killed at Srebrenica and elsewhere in the region from 1992 to 1995.

Background

During the Bosnian War, Bosniaks moved to the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the aggression and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Bosnian Serbs. In April 1993, the United Nations designated the town as a “safe area” under the protection of the United Nations Protection Force. However, in July 1995, Srebrenica was captured by the Bosnian Serb forces who subsequently killed over 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town. July 2015 marks 20 years since the massacre.

These acts have been classified as genocide by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Court Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[1] To date, the ICTY has indicted 20 individuals and convicted 14 for the Srebrenica genocide or other crimes considered “a crime against all humankind.”  Four other related cases are currently ongoing.[2]

United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and United States Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, have also named the Srebrenica massacre as genocide.[3] Despite this international recognition as a genocide, individuals, particularly in Serbia, continue to deny genocide occurred.  Recently, Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Srpska, the Serb-run part of Bosnia, claimed that the Srebrenica genocide was a “lie.”[4]

The Atrocities Prevention Board is a U.S. interagency committee established in 2012 by Presidential Study Directive 10 (PSD-10) “to coordinate a whole of government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.”[5]

On June 27, 2005, the House passed H. Res. 199 by a vote of 370 to 1. H. Res. 199 expressed the sense of the House of Representatives that the aggression and ethnic cleansing committed by Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina meets the terms defining genocide, as described by the 1949 U.N. Genocide Convention.

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[1] See BBCBosnia-Herzegovina profile – Timeline” and UN “ICTY Remembers: The Srebrenica Genocide
[2] See UN “ICTY Remembers: The Srebrenica Genocide
[3] See ABC News/AP,Russia Won’t Call Srebrenica a Genocide but Many Others Do,” July 1, 2015.
[4] See Yahoo News/AFP, “Bosnian Serb leader says Srebrenica genocide is a ‘lie,’” July 4, 2015
[5] See PSD-10, August 4, 2011

Cost

There is no cost associated with passage of the resolution.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jerry White with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.