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Serb Leader Apologizes for Srebrenica Massacre in TV Interview

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic apologized for all crimes committed by Serbs during the violent breakup of former Yugoslavia, including the massacre in Srebrenica, which he stopped short of calling a genocide.

Asked about the massacre of almost 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica, a Muslim-populated town in Serb-controlled territory, after Dutch troops failed to protect the so-called UN safe haven during the 1992-95 war with Bosnia, Nikolic said in an interview on the Bosnian BHT television show Interview 20: “I am kneeling and asking for forgiveness for the crimes committed by any individual on behalf of our state.”

Nikolic, who was elected president in May 2012 general elections, said last July that the deaths in Srebrenica, the bloodiest chapter of Yugoslavia’s collapse, shouldn’t be described as genocide. He stuck to that line in the excerpt of the interview released today. The full version will be broadcast on May 7.

A “genocide needs to be proven” as “everything that was happening during the wars in the former Yugoslavia had a character of a genocide,” Nikolic, who was a member of the Serbian Radical Party between 1991 and 2008, which ruled together with former President Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialists.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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