Bosnia marks anniversary of Srebrenica with mass burial
Bosnian Muslim women cry in front of the coffin of a relative, layed out among others at the Srebrenica-Potocari Genocide Memorial cemetery in the village of Potocari near the eastern-Bosnian town of Srebrenica. AFP photoThousands of people gathered on July 11 in Srebrenica for the 19th anniversary of the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim males by ethnic Serbs forces, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.
A total of 175 newly-identified massacre victims laid to rest after a commemoration ceremony held in Potocari. The youngest victim was 14-years-old when he was killed. Among the others buried are thirteen teenaged boys, aged between 15 and 17. The eastern town of Srebrenica was a U.N.-protected area besieged by Serb forces throughout Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. But U.N. troops offered no resistance when the Serbs overran the majority Muslim town, rounding up Srebrenica’s Muslims and killing the males.
An international court later labeled the slayings as genocide. After the massacre, then-U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright waved satellite photos of mass graves in Bosnia at the U.N. Security Council. Washington knew where the mass graves were, she told them. That’s when Serb troops rushed to the sites with bulldozers and moved the Srebrenica victims to other locations. As the machines ploughed up bodies, they ripped them apart, and now fragments of the same person can be scattered among several different sites.
So far, the remains of 6,066 people were exhumed from mass graves in the Srebrenica region for reburial in the Potocari cemetery. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey will never forget the massacre against Muslims. “I commemorate all martyrs with mercy at the anniversary of this inhumane massacre of the twentieth century in Srebrenica. Even though everyone forgets the Srebrenica massacre, we will not forget it,” Davutoğlu said.