SARAJEVO, April 21 The Bosnian Serb government is damaging the country's image and upsetting survivors by questioning how many Muslims were killed in the Srebrenica massacre, Bosnia's peace envoy said.
The government of Prime Minister Milorad Dodik this week initiated a revision of the 2004 report by a previous government which established that Bosnian Serb forces killed around 8,000 Muslims in 1995 in Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two.
Dodik, while acknowledging the crime occurred in Srebrenica, has said the numbers of killed were exaggerated and the report was manipulated by a former peace envoy.
"The Republika Srpska government should reconsider its conclusions and align itself with the facts and legal requirements and act accordingly, rather than inflicting emotional distress on the survivors, torture history and denigrate the public image of the country," envoy Valentin Inzko said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The renewed debate about Srebrenica comes before Bosnia's parliamentary election in October and weeks after the Serbian parliament passed a resolution condemning the massacre but stopped short of calling the killings genocide.
Bosnia wants to join the European Union but lags among Balkan aspirants due to a lack of reforms and constant quarrelling among rival ethnic leaders.
Bosnian Serb forces, led by fugitive General Ratko Mladic, took over the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. They separated men from women, detained them and killed them en masse in the following days.
Inzko said the Serb Republic's decision to question the report demonstrated "a gratuitous and callous disregard for the catastrophic impact of the Srebrenica events on the lives of the surviving family members, and for the obligations under the European Convention and the Genocide Convention". (additional reporting by Olja Stanic; Editing by Adam Tanner and Alison Williams)