Zovko: while Srebrenica will be remembered forever as a collective failure, what followed gives us hope that we learn from our failures, and we can achieve great things when someone takes a lead
Brussels, 10 July 2020
Today we mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the UN safe area Srebrenica, and commemorate the massacres that followed; that took as many as 8000 mostly civilian lives. This event will certainly live in the collective memory of Europe as an unprecedented tragedy and policy failure of our time.
While we mourn the lives lost in Srebrenica, we should also remember what followed in the weeks and months after that. You will recall that after the Srebrenica operation, radical Karadzic and Ratko Mladic turned their guns on another UN safe area. This time in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina— Bihac. Fearing the repeat of Srebrenica, the Croatian Army troops started the operation Storm in early August. The Bihac siege ended in a matter of days, and the troops of Messrs Karadzic and Mladic were defeated for good in less than a week. This change of balance of power enabled the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement by November 1995.
Indeed, while Srebrenica will be remembered forever as a collective failure, what followed gives us hope that we learn from our failures, and we can achieve great things when someone takes a lead. This is no consolation for the families of Srebrenica who lost their loved ones in July 1995, but it gives us hope that indeed our actions and saving Bihac should serve as a lessons learned.