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Serbia condemns Srebrenica massacre

Serbia’s parliament has approved a landmark resolution condemning the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb troops.

Srebrenica Potocari Memorial

This tragedy is considered the worst atrocity carried out in Europe since the Second World War and a symbol of the brutality of the 1992–95 Balkan wars.

After thirteen hours of debate, 127 of the 250 Serbia’s parliament lawmakers voted to pass the landmark resolution; only 173 were present. “The parliament of Serbia strongly condemns the crime committed against the Bosnian Muslim population of Srebrenica in July 1995”, says the resolution. Also, the text apologises to the families of the victims “because not everything possible was done to prevent the tragedy”. Read More…

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Serbia to apply EU membership application

Serbia is to file a formal application today to join the European Union according to officials. President Boris Tadić is to fly to Stockholm to submit the application to Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Serbian President Boris Tadić

“President Boris Tadic will go to Stockholm on Tuesday to submit the application for EU membership,” announced Serbian presidency spokeswoman Jasmina Stojanov.

Reinfeldt called the announcement “a historic step”. In a statement he welcomed the bid, saying “I look forward to receiving President Boris Tadic in Stockholm on Tuesday, December 22, when he officially hands over the application.”

Along with Montenegro and Macedonia, visa-free entry to the 27-country bloc came into affect for Serbia’s citizens on Saturday, and a free trade agreement, frozen in April, was also reinstated this month, after the United Nations chief prosecutor accepted that the country was making serious attempts to arrest the two remaining people indicted for war crimes by The Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

According to diplomats, the bid for membership has some support, with Italy and Greece favourable, but the Netherlands and the United Kingdom more cautious.

On this day September 8, 1331

Stefan Uroš IV Dušan of the House of Nemanjić was crowned King of Serbia and Emperor (Tsar) of the Serbs and Greeks from 16 April 1345.

Dušan the Mighty

Dušan the Mighty

Under his rule Serbia reached its territorial peak and, as the Serbian Empire, was one of the larger states in Europe at the time.

Apart from significant territorial gains, in 1349 and 1354 he made and enforced Dušan’s Code, a universal system of laws. He is also the only ruler from the house of Nemanjić who has not been canonised as a saint. Dušan was also noted as a man of gigantic proportions, and according to Papal ambassadors he was the tallest man of his time, estimated at close to seven feet tall.

His death in 1355 was a “catastrophe” for Orthodoxy in the Balkans, since he ruled over the only Balkan power capable of halting the advance of the “militantly Islamic and expansionary Ottoman Turks”.

Former Serbian president acquitted of war crimes

Milan Milutinovic, the former president of Serbia, has been cleared of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by a United Nations war crimes tribunal in Kosovo.

milan-milutinovicFive other top Serbian officials, however, were found guilty of their charges and given sentences ranging from 15 to 22 years in gaol.

Milutinovic, aged 66, was the president of Serbia from December 1997 to December 2002, but was widely seen as a figurehead president during the Kosovo conflict in the 1990s. The court concluded that he did not have any direct control over the army, and was released from custody. Read More…