"I kneel down, i ask forgiveness for serbia for the crime in srebrenica. I apologize for all the crimes committed in the name of our state and our people," nikolic said in an interview with bosnian television station BHRT, excerpts of which were released on thursday. Nevertheless, the accusation of genocide "must first be proven".
On 11. July 1995, the then UN protected zone of srebrenica had been overrun by bosnian-serb units. About 8000 muslim boys and men were murdered. A year ago, nikolic had antagonized the international community by saying that the massacre was not a genocide.
When asked if the mass killings and abduction of women, children and the elderly were not the hallmarks of genocide, nikolic replied: "everything that happened in the former yugoslavia had the hallmarks of genocide."
The international court of justice in the hague ruled in 2007 that the crimes committed by bosnian serb units were genocide, but did not hold serbia responsible. Nikolic, who originally comes from the ultranationalist camp, had repeatedly denied the accusation of genocide and sharply criticized the court.
Belgrade, which supported the serbs in croatia and bosnia, has for years denied any responsibility for war crimes in the two neighboring countries. Only in 2010 the parliament of serbia apologized for the massacre in srebrenica. However, even the deputies in belgrade avoided the word "genocide" in their declaration.