Monday, at a ceremony marking the massacre of more than 7,500 Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces in 1995, Serbia's president made a powerful gesture. He paid respects to the victims of this worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Serbs only recently began to recognize this orchestrated massacre, one that triggered the US-led end to the 1992-95 Bosnia war. It's taken a long time for Serbs to break through their nationalist fervor built up by deposed strongman Slobodan Milosevic. While many Serbs were also victims in the war, the slaughter at the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was in a league by itself as a war crime.
The Balkans may not feel full peace until Serbs acknowledge this past. A recent release of a video showing Serb paramilitaries killing at Srebrenica has helped Serbs admit the tragedy.
Serbia and Montenegro, as the country is known, wants to join the European Union and receive more foreign aid. That incentive has helped the government recently surrender more than a dozen war-crime suspects to an international tribunal.
Left unaccomplished is the capture of the massacre's main perpetrators: Ratko Mladic, the wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb army, and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. They've evaded arrest far too long, perhaps with the help of many Serbs. The Balkans deserve both that justice, and true reconciliation.