Ambassador Moon's Speech, July 11, 2011 at the Potocari Memorial near Srebrenica

(as delivered)

President Komšić, President Izetbegović, President Josipović, Deputy Prime Minister Arinc, Excellencies, Eminences, Deputy Mayor Duraković,  but most of all, families of the victims, and all who have gathered here to share this time of sorrow and remembrance.

Like my predecessors, I have come to Potocari on this anniversary to stand with the families of the victims of genocide, with the people of Srebrenica, and with their friends and supporters from all around the world.  We mourn for the victims laid to rest and for those still waiting to be found.

Since the last such gathering a year ago, we have some comfort in knowing that one of those who has evaded arrest for so many years will now face justice for his role in the genocide.

The arrest of Ratko Mladic gives us yet more reason to reflect on the horrific crimes against the innocent that took place here in Srebrenica, in Bratunac, in Vlasenica, in Žepa, in Milići, in Zvornik, in Rogatica, in Višegrad.   We remember what was done and what the world failed to do 16 years ago.

Those who deny this genocide, or attempt to minimize it, add immensely to the grief of those gathered here today.  Each time they deny what really happened here, they deny their own compassion and humanity.  Each time they deny the undeniable, they are obstructing the path to justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Justice begins with a full accounting of the crime that occurred here, full identification and return of all those lost here, and prosecution of all those who perpetrated genocide.

Forgiveness begins by mustering the moral courage to acknowledge responsibility for what happened here, and I admire the loved ones of the victims who have extended their hands in mercy to those who display that moral courage.

Reconciliation begins by working together to rebuild what was destroyed and by dedicating ourselves to ensuring a bright and prosperous future for the children of all faiths and cultures in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- they who bear no blame for what was done here.   

Justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation are never easy.  In the end, however, these steps are essential preconditions to building a solid foundation for the future – a future that is full of peace, hope and new possibilities.

On behalf of all Americans, I share in the sorrow of Srebrenica and I renew our strong and lasting commitment to help Srebrenica and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina to find that way forward.

May God embrace the souls of the departed laid to rest here today, and may He comfort the suffering of those left behind. 

Hvala lijepo. Thank you