Western Balkans and EU News

Bosnia commemorates Srebrenica genocide

Srebrenica, 11 July 2019, dtt-net.com – Thousands today paid tribute in Potoçari memorial centre to 8372 Bosniak boys and men slaughtered by Serb forces 24 years ago in Srebrenica during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

Remains of another 33 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 6643 so far.

“…What and to whom were guilty killed women, pregnant women, babies, eldest, men…? The only reason is that they were Muslims, Bosniaks. It was the only and sufficient reason for killing units of (Radovan) Karadzic and (Ratko) Mladic..,” the Bosniak member of BiH Presidency Sefik Dzaferovic said in his speech at the ceremony.

The killings in Srebrenica in July 1995 were perpetrated by units of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladic  who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 by the International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands.

The ‘Scorpions’, a paramilitary unit from Serbia, who had been part of the Serbian Interior Ministry until 1991, also participated in the massacre.

In April 1993 the United Nations had declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica-in the DrinaValley of northeastern Bosnia-a "safe area" under UN protection. However, in July 1995, UNPROFOR's 37 Dutchbat soldiers in Srebrenica failed to prevent the town's capture by the VRS - and the subsequent massacre.

The wartime political leader of Bosnia Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, was also found guilty of Srebrenica slaughter and sentenced to life imprisonment.

“The memory to genocide is always alive during the whole year, but it culminates on this difficult day when we all gather in Srebrenica,” the Bosniak Speaker of BiH’s House of People Bakir Izetbegovic said.

The Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic called for accepting Srebrenica genocide as “historic documented fact confirmed by international courts”.

On the occasion of the 24th  anniversary of the genocide, the  President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, (MICT) Judge Carmel Agius, paid his respect to the victims and expressed solidarity with survivors. At the same time he raised his voice against denial of the genocide in Srebrenica by many Serbs.

“The families of victims and their beloved ones are those who suffer the consequences of terrible events. You who survived the '95 you feel their consequences in your everyday lives and as if that were not enough, you had to suffer the soulless insults of those who deny that the genocide took place, despite the extensive evidence and judgments of the international courts. You know a lot better than me how fierce the denial campaign is and how it has gained a new moment , "Agius said in a speech at the ceremony.

In a press release the EU’s chief of diplomacy Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn extended their sympathies to the victims and their families.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and all those whose lives have been affected by these tragic events. It is our shared duty to always remember Srebrenica, one of the darkest moments of humanity in modern European history,” they wrote.

The U.S. Department of State also issued a press release on the occasion of 24th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide.

“Today marks the passage of 24 years since the genocide in Srebrenica. The American people join with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to honor the memory of more than 8,000 innocent victims. This painful chapter in European history must never be denied nor forgotten. We stand with those who continue to seek justice,” it said.

The ICTY and courts in BiH have sentenced more than 50 people so far over the genocide while some others indicted have find refuge in Serbia.

Serbia and the Serb entity in BiH refuse to recognize Srebrenica massacre as genocid.

11.07.19 | News