Thousands gather in Bosnia to mark anniversary of 1995 Srebrenica massacre

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solo12 July 2023Last Update : 3 months ago
Thousands gather in Bosnia to mark anniversary of 1995 Srebrenica massacre

People gather to pay homage to him and give dignified burials to the victims.

Thousands of people from across Bosnia and abroad gathered in Srebrenica on Tuesday for an annual ritual commemorating the 1995 massacre in the eastern city.

The ritual also provided an opportunity to give dignified burials to victims exhumed from mass graves and recently identified through DNA analysis.

Twenty-eight years after they were brutally murdered in Europe’s only sanctioned massacre since the Holocaust, 27 men and three teenage boys were to be buried on Tuesday at a vast and ever-growing memorial cemetery just outside Srebrenica, which holds more than 6,600 people. Will be included. The victims of the massacre have already been re-buried there.

Relatives of victims can only bury the partial remains of their loved ones as they are usually found scattered over several different mass graves, sometimes miles apart. Such was the case with Mirsda Mardzic, who was due to bury her father on Tuesday.

“Very few of his bones were recovered because he was found (in a mass grave) near the Drina river,” she said, sitting next to a coffin wrapped in a green burial cloth. “Perhaps the river carried him away.”

Selma Ramik re-buried a handful of her father’s bones years ago, but is returning to town for the anniversary to honor others who shared his fate.

Ramik said, “I only have a picture of my father left, but I have love for him in my heart.” He further said, “He still lives in us, as long as we live, he will live.”

The Srebrenica killings were the bloody climax of Bosnia’s 1992–95 war, which sparked nationalist passions and territorial ambitions following the breakup of Yugoslavia, pitting Bosnian Serbs against the country’s two other main ethnic populations – Croats and Bosniaks.

On 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serbs captured a UN-protected safe haven in Srebrenica. They separated at least 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys from their wives, mothers and sisters, chased them into the woods around the unfortunate city, and slaughtered them.

The perpetrators then dumped their victims’ bodies in hastily constructed mass graves, which they later dug with bulldozers, and scattered the remains at other burial sites to hide evidence of their war crimes.

Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladić were both convicted of the massacre at Srebrenica by a special United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

In total, tribunals and courts in the Balkans have sentenced some 50 Bosnian Serb wartime officers to more than 700 years in prison for the Srebrenica killings.

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