Montenegro minister faces dismissal over Srebrenica comment

Vladimir Leposavic last month said the Srebrenica genocide was not ‘unequivocally established’ as fact.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered by Bosnian Serb forces in the 1995 Srebrenica genocide [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic on Monday launched a procedure to dismiss the justice minister over his denial of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide and asked parliament to back the motion.

Vladimir Leposavic, the minister of justice, human and minority rights, last month questioned the legitimacy of international courts, which ruled that the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces constituted genocide.

Leposavic, a pro-Serb politician with no party affiliation, also said the Srebrenica genocide was not “unequivocally established” as fact.

His statement prompted sharp criticism by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, which Montenegro wants to join, as well as from within the region, including neighbouring Bosnia, Islamic communities and human rights watchdogs.

In an address to parliament, Krivokapic said he privately told Leposavic to resign, something he refused.

“Since he (Leposavic) has maintained his position, I made a difficult decision to motion for his dismissal,” Krivokapic said.

Many Serb politicians from the region openly deny that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide, as was determined by two international courts.

In 2017, the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague jailed wartime Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic for life over genocide.

Montenegro’s 81-seat parliament, in which Krivokapic’s coalition of pro-Serb and pro-Western parties has a slim majority, must vote on the Leposavic’s dismissal in the coming days.

Source: Reuters