Former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s (now associated with the “Elders” NGO - http://www.theelders.org/home), experience with Srebrenica can serve Syria’s people well. Also, we should emphasize the role of then UNSG Kofi Annan in overseeing the “Srebrenica Inquiry” that was demanded of the UN Secretariat by the UN General Assembly in the 1990’s (with the committed urging of then Slovenian Ambassador Danilo Turk [now President], Prince Zeid of Jordan [then and again now Jordan UN Ambassador], human rights activist Bianca Jagger and our Bosnia/Herzegovina delegation). Many resisted the inquiry, and no doubt Kofi Annan felt tremendous pressure to whitewash the betrayal and was privy to a pre-sanitized account. Again, all of this should serve his diplomatic nerve to apply his significant skills and capacity on behalf of the people of Syria.
Ironically, Syria could end up as much a marker on Kofi Annan’s legacy as any action while UN Secretary General. He undoubtedly also learned the lessons of his predecessor Boutros Boutros Ghali he carried most of the public responsibility for inaction in face of killings, aggression, war crimes and ultimately genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina. When I met with Mr. Ghali a few years after his tenure, instead of being greeted by a combative Boutros (as was frequently our relationship while he was UNSG), I was unexpectedly embraced by him. Soon thereafter, he whispered as we walked while he clutched my arm: “sometimes in hindsight, we see things very differently.”
Fortunately for Kofi Annan and most critically the Syrian people, Kofi has the opportunity to set right in Syria what he and others failed to do in Bosnia & Herzegovina. This may or may not give Bosnian/Herzegovinian victims some comfort, but I must recall the unselfish words of Marie Colvin reporting from Homs who in her last dispatch openly asked had the world not learned from the betrayal of Srebrenica.
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey – Follow @MuhamedSacirbey
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--– UNSG Kofi Annan & Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
--- Marie Colvin also in late 1990’s