The President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, Judge Theodor Meron, today issued the following statement to mark the 23rd commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide:

In many cultures, we remember and honour a loved one whom we have lost by lighting a candle, the candle’s flame a symbol of the extraordinary spark of life and, at the same time, of its fragility. But a candle’s flame is also a source and symbol of illumination; both figuratively and literally, it brings light to the shadows and stands for truth and knowledge in the face of darkness. 

Today, as people of good will at the Potočari memorial and throughout the world pause and pay their respects, in their own ways, to those who tragically lost their lives during the horrifying events at Srebrenica 23 years ago, we are all, in a sense, lighting candles of remembrance. We are all keepers of a vital, if fragile flame: responsible today, and for all the days to come, for ensuring that the memories of the fathers and brothers, the husbands and sons, and all the other victims of those terrible events live on, that the lessons of Srebrenica are never forgotten, and that we each do our part to spread the light of truth and to push back against the darkness of indifference and denial.