Serbian president: Killings not 'genocide'

June 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM

BELGRADE, Serbia, June 2 (UPI) -- The new president of Serbia says the massacre at Srebrenica was a serious crime but not a premeditated "act of genocide."

Tomislav Nikolic's assessment, made almost as soon as he took office Thursday, has angered Bosians, Euronews reported.

Bosnian Serb soldiers commanded by Gen. Ratko Mladic killed an estimated 8,000 Muslims, mostly men and boys, in Srebrenica in July 1995. Nikolic described what happened as "grave war crimes."

"We can not say that this was a premeditated act and that what happened was an act of genocide," he said. "A great crime occurred in Srebrenica, committed by a few Serbs on some members of the Serbian people. We must find them, try them and punish them. That's it. There's no need for this to cause conflict between Serbs and Croats or Serbs and Bosnians. It mustn't affect relations between our countries, our peoples."

A Bosnian leader said Nikolic's assessment is "a source of new misunderstanding in the region."

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