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Sarajevo (AFP) - The president of the Serb-run part of Bosnia claimed Saturday that the Srebrenica genocide was a "lie", a week ahead the 20th anniversary of the slaughter.
Speaking at a commemoration for Serbs killed in villages around Srebrenica during Bosnia's bloody civil war, Milorad Dodik denounced a British bid to pass a United Nations resolution on the genocidal killing of the area's male Muslim population in 1995.
"The goal is to register at the UN, on the base of false declarations and reports, that a genocide was committed against Muslims," Dodik, the leader of Republika Srpska, told several hundred people gathered at the village of Bratunac near Srebrenica.
"Everything is a recurrent lie. We are told 'You should not deny.' How not to deny a lie? You are the ones who are not telling the truth. Where are the 8,300 men? Why do you lie?" Dodik said in a speech broadcast live on the Bosnian Serb public television channel RTRS.
Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in July 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica towards the end of the three-year war. To date 6,471 victims whose remains had been found in a number of mass graves, have been identified and reburied.
The worst atrocity in Europe since the World War II, the massacre had been qualified as genocide by two international courts.
Earlier in the day, several thousand people took part in a religious ceremony at a cemetery in Bratunac, commemorating the 3,500 Serb civilians and fighters killed by Muslim forces in the region during the conflict.
Serbian and Bosnian Serb leaders have persistently refused to accept that the Srebrenica massacre be classified as genocide.
The 20th anniversary of the massacre will be commemorated on July 11, when 136 victims identified in last year will be buried in the memorial outside Srebrenica.
Dodik has previously questioned other Serb massacres of Muslims during the war in which more than 38,200 civilians -- most of them Muslims -- and 57,700 soldiers died.