Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, spoke yesterday, 11 July, at an event at Lancaster House to mark the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
The programme included speeches from four survivors, the Rt Hon Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State, and Foreign Secretary the Rt Hon William Hague.
In what was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War, over 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Mladić and Serbian paramilitaries.
Acknowledging that “the flag of religious belonging is often used to cover complex and conflicting histories, identities and motivations”, the Archbishop spoke of the struggle between good and evil within all of us and saluted the courage of those who helped to ensure the horrors of Srebrenica will never be forgotten:
“Religious faith, understood correctly, constantly proposes to us the way of reconciliation, and makes that way a real possibility. Religious faith, properly understood and lives, tells us that we must learn humility, repentance, sorrow.
“It insists that we must speak of our failure and that we must listen to, heed, the confession of fault that is made by those who have offended. Yet this speaking and hearing must be a speaking and hearing that is founded in love, love for one another. Without that love the pathway of reconciliation remains closed.”
You can download Archbishop Nichols’ full address using the link in the top right-hand corner of this article.
In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were systematically and brutally massacred by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by General Mladić and Serbian paramilitaries.
It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War. The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia both ruled that the mass execution constituted genocide.
In 2009, the European Parliament declared 11th July the official day of remembrance for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide.