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High-Level Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide in Srebrenica Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN, H.E. Mr Sven Jürgenson

11. July 2020 - 11:25

10 July, 2020

Mr President,

Estonia stands in solidarity with the Bosnian people, our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Today’s commemoration gives us once more a reason to reflect on the basic principle that the United Nations is based on and that is enshrined in the UN Charter, that is – to maintain international peace and security.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have concluded that the acts committed in Srebrenica constituted genocide. Denial of these horrific events as genocide, contesting the established legal practice of the international tribunals and glorification of convicted war criminals in any form or manifestation does not contribute to reconciliation.

Under the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), adopted 15 years ago, it is up to States to protect their own populations from war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

Estonia strongly supports the French-Mexican proposal of voluntarily restraining the use of veto powers in the Security Council in situations involving mass atrocity crimes. Estonia is also committed to and strongly advocates for adherence to the Code of Conduct that includes refraining from vetoing and also refers to the need to take "timely and decisive action" if a mass atrocity crime is being committed.

Mr President,

Violence is fuelled by the inaction of onlookers, providing the perpetrators with an emboldened sense of impunity. Injustice and impunity have proven in the past to be the main obstacles to healing deep wounds in societies caused by the most serious crimes, and could create fertile ground for the recurrence of conflict.

We stress the importance of respecting the principles of international law, human rights, rule of law, full acceptance and implementation of the practice the ICJ and the ICTY, and full cooperation with the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) to overcome the tragedies of the past and move towards reconciliation and mutual trust in societies.

Thank you.

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