Srebrenica denial ruled intolerable

06.07.2016 ( Last modified: 13.07.2016 )

For the first time, Switzerland condemned a former far-right politician for denying that the Srebrenica genocide had taken place.

On 31 May, Mr. Donatello Poggi was found guilty of racial discrimination by a local court in Ticino (Switzerland) for having called the Srebrenica massacre a “propagandistic lie” in a 2012 article. That same article held that Serbs, not Bosniaks, had been the real victims of Europe’s largest mass killings since the end of the World War II.

Following the publication of the article, a lawyer of Bosnian descent lodged a criminal complaint. It was supported by TRIAL International, which has been working in Bosnia and Herzegovina with war victims of all ethnicities since 2007.

While it is true that war casualties included Serbs, numerous international and national verdicts have qualified the killing of 8’000 Bosniak men and boys in July 1995 as genocide.

To our knowledge, this verdict – which can still be appealed – is the first rendered in Switzerland on the Srebrenica genocide. It goes to sending a strong message that denying past atrocities, and thereby hindering peaceful reconciliation, will not be tolerated.

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