ON 11 JULY 1995, Hasan
Nuhanović's parents and brother arrived at the UN military base in
Potocari, a village outside Srebrenica, where he was working as a
translator. They were fleeing the shelling of Srebrenica, a
supposed UN "safe area", by the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika
Instead of providing
sanctuary, however, the Dutch peace-keepers expelled them. Mr
Nuhanović found the remains of his mother and brother 15 years
after their deaths; the body of his father was discovered in a mass
Earlier this month, on 11
July, Mr Nuhanović, an author, addressed the Srebrenica genocide
memorial event held at Lancaster House, in London - the first time
Srebrenica Memorial Day has been commemorated outside the former
The Foreign Secretary,
William Hague, led the tributes: "This must be the lasting tribute
to Srebrenica and its victims. . . Let us honour their memory, and
reaffirm the conviction that this, one of the starkest and most
tragic chapters in human history, and most certainly European
history, must never be forgotten."
The Srebrenica massacre,
during which more than 8000 Bosnian Muslims were killed, was
described by the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, as the
worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. In 1999,
he acknowledged that the UN had made "serious errors of judgement,
rooted in a philosophy of impartiality and non-violence", and
concluded that "the tragedy of Srebrenica will haunt our history
In 2004, the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, located
in The Hague, ruled that the massacre constituted genocide.
Mr Nuhanović has since
brought a civil case against the Dutch state at The Hague. In July,
the Court of Appeal ruled that the State of the Netherlands had
acted unlawfully, and was liable for evicting Bosnian nationals.
The State of the Netherlands has appealed against this
On Friday, Mr Nuhanović
expressed gratitude for the memorial in London, but said: "It is my
duty, my obligation as survivor, to point my finger once again at
the UK, at some of the errors that the UK officials made . . .
during the critical days of July 1995.
"I wanted to remind the
people in the UK about the fact that when the town of Srebrenica
was being attacked, and while people were being murdered, the
commander of all UN peacekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the
UK General, Rupert Smith. We will not forget that. We do not think
as survivors that he did his job properly."
responsible for the massacre to justice was "the most important
thing", in addition to the identification and reburial of those
killed, he said.
"There is a certain
aspect, definitely, where some sort of collective responsibility
should be formulated, something similar to the Holocaust. That kind
of thing never happened."
Asked whether the UN had learned lessons from Srebrenica, he
said: "When I speak to some UN people, right now, some of them do
not even know the Srebrenica word. So there is no institutional
memory in the UN, and that is really, really scary."