Bosnia commemorates Srebrenica genocide

11 July 2017

Tags : news - bosnia,srebrenica

Srebrenica, 11 July 2017, dtt-net.com - Thousands today paid tribute in Potoçari memorial centre to 8372 Bosniak boys and men slaughtered by Serb forces 22 years ago in Srebrenica.

Remains of another 71 victims were buried during today's ceremony in the memorial centre, bringing the total number of found victims - in different mass graves in and around Srebrenica area - and buried in Potoçari to more than 6575 so far.

The youngest victims buried today was Damir (Kemal) Sulji?, 15 years old.

The Bosniak member of Bosnia's presidency, Bakir Izetbegovi? recalled that genocide was committed 22 years ago against Bosniak civilians.

"The time we live in demands that we talks and raise voice again and respond to those haven’t still understood or don’t want to understand the terrifying message of genocide which was committed here. What happened here in the Summer ’95 is well known”, he said.

 Izetbegovic then called on Serbs to acknowledge the genocide.

 “There can’t be reconciliation without justice and truth, with what we are faced every day when we say : Srebrenica. We call on Serb nation to accept this truth and stop denying the genocide which would be the most important step for reconciliation. We will never stop fight for truth and justice,” Izetbegovic said.

As part of the commemoration of the 22nd  anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia (ICTY) Carmel Agius also paid his respects to Srebrenica victims.

Agius recalled the crucial role of the ICTY in determining that the crimes committed at Srebrenica in July 1995 constituted genocide, where thousands of Bosniak men and boys were brutally killed and thrown into mass graves.

He noted that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concurred with the Tribunal’s determination that these crimes amounted to genocide. He stressed that these judgments were supported by the largest DNA-identification project ever conducted, which provided “unprecedented proof of the slaughter at Srebrenica and the places nearby.”

“Despite all this, too many still deny the full scale of what this population experienced in July 1995,” said President Agius, who then delivered three messages: to the deniers of the genocide; to the victims and their families; and to the leaders of the country.

Addressing the deniers, President Agius warned that “the denial or distortion of history is an intentional assault on truth.”

President Agius, added that genocide in Srebrenica “is so well documented, established by two UN international courts and scientifically supported, that you will never be able to succeed in hiding the true nature of this genocide. Your children, your grandchildren will one day realize that the truth of what happened here does not lie in the homes where it has been distorted but outside where it is readily available.”

In his message to the victims and their families, President Agius stated that: “History and time, as well as the international community, stand with you on the side of the truth. But you too must champion reconciliation and bury the hatred that sometimes still engulfs you.”

“As we commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, our hearts and our thoughts are with the victims and their surviving families and friends. Today, we honour the victims,” EU’s chief of diplomacy Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn wrote in a statement.

“The values so dramatically violated 22 years ago - such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality - are now at the core of our engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens on the country's EU integration path,” they added.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged all to “look honestly” at the past, acknowledge the crimes and the inaction that allowed them to occur and ensure that such atrocities are never repeated.

“The international community, and in particular the UN, has accepted its share of responsibility with respect to the tragedy at Srebrenica and has worked hard to learn from the lessons of its failures,” said Guterres in a statement.

“The terrible events are historical facts and have been documented extensively,” said Guterres, speaking of the killing of 8,000 boys and men by Bosnian Serb forces when they overran Srebrenica in July 1995.

“On this day, we remember and honour the thousands of men and boys who were slaughtered, and express our solidarity with the families and friends of those whose lives were taken,” he added.

In March 2016 the wartime political leader of Bosnia Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, was found guilty of Srebrenica slaughter and sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment by ICTY. Ratko Mladic, the wartime military leader of Bosnia Serbs is on trial and is expected to be sentenced later this year.



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