SARAJEVO / THE HAGUE
Bosnian watch trucks carrying 520 coffins of newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Podlugovi. REUTERS photo
Thousands lined the streets of Sarajevo yesterday to pay tribute to the remains of 520 victims of the Srebrenica massacre who will be buried on the 17th anniversary of the atrocity.
Three trucks loaded with 520 coffins passed through the Bosnian capital on their way to the Potocari cemetery near Srebrenica where they will be buried tomorrow, anniversary of the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim males by Bosnian Serb forces.
“Our children are returning to where they left from in 1995. Unfortunately, they are not alive,” Munira Subasic, who heads an organization of women of Srebrenica whose husbands and sons were killed, told Agence France-Presse as she watched the vehicles.
The convoy stopped briefly in front of the Bosnian presidency building in Sarajevo where people, many in tears, threw flowers on to the trucks.
Each year on July 11, the day the U.N.-protected enclave fell to the Bosnian Serbs, a mass burial is held at the special memorial centre in Potocari. So far 5,137 identified victims have been laid to rest after their remains found in mass graves were identified. In Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II, Bosnian Serb forces killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in only a few days after they captured the eastern town. The massacre was ruled a genocide by two international courts.
After being on the run for years, Bosnian Serb wartime political and military chiefs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are currently both on trial before the U.N. war crimes court, notably for their role in the Srebrenica massacre.
Mladic trial reopens with first testify of witness
THE HAGUE - Agence France-Presse
Bosnian Serb ex-army chief Ratko Mladic’s genocide and war crimes trial resumed yesterday with the first prosecution witness telling how Bosnia’s ethnic groups lived in peace before its brutal war erupted.
“Before the war we had a great time,” said Elvedin Pasic, who as a 14-year-old boy lived in the village of Hvracani in northern Bosnia. “We were playing basketball and football, we used to do everything together. Muslim, Croats and Serbs, we were all having a great time, respecting each other,” he said. But things began to change in the spring of 1992, when Pasic first noticed a convoy of military vehicles with soldiers in the uniform of the Yugoslav national army (JNA), giving Muslims the three-fingered Serbian salute.
Mladic, 70, has been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the Balkan country’s war.