Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entity of Republika Srpska has appointed Israeli historian and Holocaust researcher Gideon Greif to head its controversial commission probing crimes committed in Srebrenica during the 1992-1995 war in BiH, Federal News Agency FENA reports.
The Republika Srpska government has set up a commission headed by Israeli historian Gideon Greif to “determine the truth about the suffering of all peoples in and around Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995”, Milorad Kojić, head of the Center for Research of War, War Crimes and Search for the Missing of Republika Srpska, told a press conference on Thursday in Banja Luka.
Greif, a professor for Jewish and Israeli History at the University of Texas, has been working at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for more than 30 years. He is also a leading researcher at the Israeli Holocaust Institute, Shem Olam.
The Serb-dominated entity’s government has also formed another commission “to investigate the suffering of Serbs in Sarajevo” during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was announced at the press conference.
The head of the Sarajevo commission will be Rafael Israeli, an Israeli academic and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Kojić said that members of both commissions come from 12 countries, including the US, Japan, Israel, Australia, Italy and Serbia, and that their constitutive sessions will be held in March.
“Whatever the final reports of the commissions, which will be adopted by the government of Republika Srpska, they must be accepted by all peoples, as they are directed towards truth and reconciliation among the peoples,” Kojić said.
The establishment of the new commissions is highly controversial, and comes after the Bosnian Serb parliament last August annulled a report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacres that accused Serb forces of committing crimes and ordered the Serb-dominated entity’s government to draw up a new one.
The original report acknowledged that Bosnian Serb forces killed thousands of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995, and said the executions represented a serious violation of humanitarian law.