Well the apology doesn't come from the person for the person. It is from the State and the State has no predecessor, in a way. I know it sounds like a formality, in fact it is: it is a symbolic message with more than one meaning:
1. State can be wrong
2. As we could have be wrong in the past, we could be wrong now.
3. It is a good thing that we recognize that
4. People who are in a similar condition today, shall no fear anymore
5. If we ever try to do something similar, you can remind us of our apologies, at least.