Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 7

The second day of the conference began with introductory remarks by Dr. Charles English, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr. English, shown shaking hands with Kennedy, began by asking how the crime of genocide could have happened again in Europe, fifty years after the Holocaust. He spoke about the need for justice and reconciliation and the importance of remembering those who lost their lives during the conflict.

Dr. Edina Becirevic, professor, analyzed transcripts from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the court in The Hague, Netherlands, operating since 1993 to prosecute perpetrators of genocide.

In my remarks, I examined the question of how people can do evil things, and I discussed the manipulation of situational factors that can influence ordinary people to engage in acts that lead to dehumanization, torture, and extermination.

The conference concluded with Hasan Nuhanovic, a Srebrenica survivor who shared his story of witness, loss, and ongoing efforts for justice from the United Nations and the government of the Netherlands; and Dr. Fikret Karcic, professor, with an analysis of Bosnia’s failure to pass a law prohibiting genocide denial.

The conference was publicized widely in all Sarajevo media; I also gave an interview for Radio Free Europe. We hope that the messages of remembrance and ‘never again’ will engage students and ordinary citizens here in Bosnia and elsewhere.

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