Wednesday July 11, 2018
By Radul Radovanovic
A Bosnian Muslim woman reacts near the coffin of one of the 35 identified victims of the 1995 massacre, at the memorial centre of Potocari near Srebrenica, 150 kms north east of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims have gathered in Srebrenica on the 23rd anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II to hold prayers and attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
Thousands of Bosnian Muslims gathered in Srebrenica on Wednesday to mark
the 23rd anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II and
attend the funeral for 35 recently identified victims.
The remains of the men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995
were laid to rest in the town whose name has become synonymous with the
brutality of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The coffins covered in green cloth
were lined up at a memorial center and new burial pits were dug at the
massive graveyard that already holds 6,575 victims found previously.
Srebrenica was a U.N.-protected, Muslim-populated town in eastern Bosnia
besieged by Serb forces throughout the war. Serb troops led by Gen.
Ratko Mladic overran the enclave, separated men from women and small
children and executed about 8,000 men and boys within a few days. Some
30,000 people were violently displaced.
Dutch U.N. peacekeepers were undermanned and outgunned and failed to intervene.
"Srebrenica has become a global symbol for genocide, a warning that no
more genocides should happen anywhere in the world," said Nermin
Alivukovic, the president of the commemoration's organizing committee.
Experts are still excavating more victims' bodies from hidden mass
graves throughout Bosnia. Many of the remains were torn apart and
experts have had to use DNA analysis to put a body together from bones
found in locations miles from each other, as the perpetrators tried to
hide the war crime.
Although an international court has labeled the Srebrenica killings as
genocide, Serbs have never admitted their troops committed the ultimate
crime. There were no official delegations of Bosnian Serbs or from
Serbia present at Wednesday's event.
"Across the region today there should be commemoration and remembrance
of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Unfortunately, this is not
the case," said Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for
Human Rights, who attended the commemoration.
"As anytime I come here, words do not come out easily," she said. "These
steles, those names engraved in the cold marble, this beautiful
landscape that so starkly contrasts with the evil that happened here,
stand as testimony of the cruelty that human beings are capable of when
they are imbued with propaganda and prejudices, fear and hate."
Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic has been sentenced by a
U.N. war crimes tribunal to life in prison for masterminding Serb
atrocities throughout the war that left 100,000 dead. He is currently
appealing the verdict at the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.