Sierra Leone Statement at the UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY On The Designation Of July 11 As “The International Day Of Reflection And Remembrance Of The 1995 Srebrenica Genocide.”


Mr. President,

Informed by our difficult experience of a decade of armed conflict, characterized by perpetration of some of the serious crimes of international concern, and our transitional justice process, including the investigation, trial and conviction of those who bore the greatest responsibility for the atrocity crimes by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone voted in favour of draft resolution A/78/L.67/Rev.1, which, inter alia, designates July 11 as “The International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide.”

Similarly, owing to the valuable lessons learnt and our path to reconciliation and inclusion guided by the road map for national healing and cohesion charted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we regret that draft resolution A/78/L.67/Rev.1, did not enjoy the necessary consensus at both the domestic and international levels, recalling for instance the solidarity of the international community in the adoption of resolution 58/234 and 69/323.

Mr. President,

In noting the challenged process issues, and having considered the spirit, intendment and provisions of Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT, 1969) the delegation of Sierra Leone wishes to make the following critical observations:

Firstly, we acknowledge the finality of the judicial finding of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), agreeing with the finding of the ICTY in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro). The matter is therefore settled on the basis of law, and Sierra Leone is compelled by its commitment to accountability and therefore supportive of efforts to not only commemorate but end impunity for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression.

Secondly, Sierra Leone further firmly acknowledges that the judicial findings on the Srebrenica Genocide does not impose any collective responsibility. The ruling of the ICJ does not attribute collective responsibility. We will therefore reject any attempt to attribute collective responsibility.  In drawing from our transitional justice experience, we emphasize the importance of an integrated justice and reconciliation process in achieving Bosnia and Herzegovina’s vision for a diverse, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous State, addressing the legitimate concerns raised by relevant parties, in an inclusive manner. This may include acknowledging all of the serious crimes committed by all sides in the conflict as a necessary step towards long lasting reconciliation among all ethnicities. 

We note that today’s action seeks to preserve a country’s shared determination, through inter alia, the education of future generations and operation of necessary accountability mechanisms to prevent the events that led up to, surrounded and occurred in Srebrenica in 1995, from ever happening again. On this basis, we affirm our support towards reconciliation, peace building and sustainable development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Thirdly, Sierra Leone is mindful of the fragile peace and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its intricate governance structure as outlined in the 1995 Dayton Accords. We are further mindful of the consensus basis in the functioning of the Presidency. We therefore deeply regret the absence of consensus and inclusion and reported lack of consultation in the national process, thereby implicating the necessary unanimous solidarity of the General Assembly.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, by reiterating our commitment to the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the Dayton Accords, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, essential to ensuring peace and security amongst the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all peoples and nations of the world.

I thank you. 

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