Bosnians commemorate Srebrenica genocide : News

Thousands of people are expected to turn out on Thursday for ceremonies marking the 29th anniversary of the massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica, two months after the UN created an international day of commemoration of the genocide.

The participants will attend the funerals of 14 victims whose remains have been found and identified since the previous anniversary of the massacre. Among them is a minor, Beriz Mujic, who was 17, and whose brother and father were also killed, according to the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons.

The intercommunal war in Bosnia (1992-95) left nearly 100,000 dead, but the Srebrenica massacre is the only crime from this conflict to have been qualified as genocide by international justice – the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

After taking over this enclave city on July 11, 1995, declared a “UN protected area” and in which more than 40,000 people lived, many of them displaced, the Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladic, carried out mass executions.

Within a few days, about 8,000 Bosnian (Muslim) men and boys were killed there. All other residents were expelled.

To date, the remains – often found incomplete – of 6,988 victims have been buried, including 6,751 in a memorial centre in Srebrenica and 237 in other cemeteries, according to a spokeswoman for the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons, Emza Fazlic.

“The remains of these victims were found in 87 mass graves, but we are still looking for about a thousand people,” Fazlic told AFP.

The political and military leaders of the Bosnian Serbs during the conflict, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the ICTY for the Srebrenica genocide, as were around fifty other perpetrators, by the ICTY and by the Bosnian justice system.

The seriousness of this crime continues to be downplayed by political leaders in the Bosnian Serb entity and Serbia, who reject the description of it as genocide.

“There was no genocide in Srebrenica,” repeated the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Milorad Dodik, on May 23, shortly before the adoption of the resolution creating a commemorative day by the UN General Assembly, castigated by the Bosnian Serb leaders and by Serbia.

Genocide denial has been punishable by six months to five years in prison since 2021. No convictions have been handed down to date.

“There is no place among us for those who deny genocide, try to rewrite history and glorify war criminals,” EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said in a statement on Wednesday.

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