Engel Condemns Serbian Political Party Opening Office at World War II Concentration Camp


WASHINGTON­—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding a report that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s political party has opened an office at the site of a World War II concentration camp:

“The decision by President Vucic's political party to open an office on the site of a concentration camp is outrageous, yet fits a troubling pattern about the way his government regards justice for past crimes. This site should have been made a memorial long ago, but it has sat neglected. The victims of that dark chapter deserve to have their stories told and their suffering understood.

“In the same way, Serbia's government hasn't done nearly enough to provide justice for the victims of more recent tragedies, including the war crimes of the 1990s. Importantly, Vucic's government hasn't brought to justice the murderers of the Bytyqi Brothers, Americans who were killed by Serb police after the end of the war in Kosovo. Nor have they prosecuted those who murdered, transported back to Serbia, and buried in mass graves 941 Kosovo citizens, as recounted by the Belgrade-based humanitarian law center.

“These sorts of crimes leave dark stains on the histories of countries and cultures. Healing and moving forward requires an honest accounting of what took place and justice for the victims. We expect governments to lead the way, but again and again, Serbia's leaders have neglected this obligation. The United States and the EU should hold Serbia to the same standards as every other country by demanding respect for the hallowed ground where such grave crimes occurred and justice for the victims.”