THIS week, I have the honour of travelling to Srebrenica as part of a delegation marking 20 years since modern Europe's darkest hour.


It might not be everyone's idea of the perfect Valentine's Day weekend (there'll be no flowers and chocolates), but I firmly believe that we have a duty to never forget the quite horrendous crimes perpetrated there two decades ago.

For those who don't know, on July 11 1995 General Ratko Mladic and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into Srebrenica and massacred more than 8,000 men and boys.

They were lined up and systematically murdered, simply for who they were.

It was the single greatest atrocity perpetrated on European soil since the end of the Second World War and a brutal reminder of man's inhumanity to man.

For a continent that after the Holocaust said, "never again," Srebrenica serves as a stark reminder that evil still exists in the modern world.

Put simply - and to our enduring shame - the international community failed these people in their hour of need.

We must learn the lessons from this; honour the victims and stand with the survivors as one.

That's why I am travelling there this week and I am delighted to do so under the auspices of Remembering Srebrenica - a charity which organises the UK's annual Srebrenica Memorial Day events.

It does sterling work and is determined to raise awareness of the genocide here in the UK.

My fellow companions include the former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Very Rev Lorna Hood and the former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Lord Wallace of Tankerness.

During our stay we are scheduled to visit the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) which has the painstaking task of cross referencing unidentified bodies with a list of those lost.

Until recently, a Scot, Adam Boys, was at the forefront of these efforts and I was delighted to hear that he had been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list for his work in the region.

Of course, for many the pain will never fade, but the tremendously important work the ICMP do does bring a degree of closure to those families affected.

This must be supported and I am proud to do so.

It is now 14 years since I was last in the Balkans as a young journalist, reporting on the important work of Scottish soldiers in keeping the local population safe.

I saw first-hand the lifesaving work that the British Army does and, because of this, the opportunity to pay my respects was one that I could not refuse.

It is beholden on us all to remember the crimes of the past, and, in the history of modern Europe, the massacre at Srebrenica is one of the most inhuman.

It was the darkest of hours and one we must never forget.