Russia has blocked a resolution in the United Nations Security Council to condemn the massacre at Srebrenica as genocide. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Russia has blocked the United Nations Security Council from condemning the massacre of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 as a genocide. But Russian representative Vitaly Churkin went to great pains to make it clear that Russia's move was not intended as a slight to the victims of the massacre. He began by asking the council to observe a moment of silence in honor of the estimated eight-thousand men and boys who died, a request granted by Council President Gerard van Bohemen of New Zealand. Russia then tried to forestall a showdown, with yet another mark of respect to those who died during the Bosnia war. "We appeal to the authors of the draft and you, Mr. President, to not put it to the vote. Otherwise we will have to vote against it because of the reasons I've just named. Our vote against it, if it turns out to be inevitable, will not however mean that we are deaf to the suffering of the victims of Srebrenica and other areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina," Churkin said. But Great Britain, which had introduced the resolution, pressed for action, saying that the resolution was merely reinforcing rulings from other international agencies. "You will also know that at the heart of our differences in our respective positions there is an unbridgeable gap. The horrific events at Srebrenica amounted to a genocide. That is not a verdict that the Security Council is seeking to establish, but a verdict that is clearly set out in judgments from the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) and the ICJ (International Court of Justice). To call it anything else now will hinder and not help reconciliation," Peter Wilson, the Deputy Permanent Representative said. In the end, Russia used its veto power to stop the resolution from passing. The move comes as Bosnian Muslims prepare to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the massacre on July 11th.