Bosnia, World Remember Srebrenica Massacre 17 Years Later
A memorial ceremony was held at the Potocari cemetery outside the town of Srebrenica Wednesday to remember the atrocious massacre of Bosnian Muslims committed by the army of Bosnian Serbs 17 years ago.
Traditionally, the memorial included the burial of 550 coffins with the newly identified remains from mass graves. 5 137 victims have been buried so far.
"This is endless pain, and on July 11, it becomes unbearable. The remains of my father were exhumed from two mass graves. My two brothers were also killed," a tearful Sevdiya Halilovich, who is one of the thousands to arrive in Srebrenica for the ceremony, is quoted saying.
A total of about 30 000 attended the ceremony Wednesday, according to organizers.
More than 8 000 Muslim men and boys were murdered on July 11, 1995, by Bosnian Serb troops under the command of General Ratko Mladic as several hundred Dutch UN Blue Helmet peace-keepers failed to protect the Muslim population of the enclave.
On the occasion of the 15th year anniversary of the massacre, in March 2010, Serbia's Parliament adopted a resolution apologizing for the massacre and saying the authorities in Belgrade at the time should have done more to prevent the world atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Srebrenica had been declared a UN safe zone, to which thousands of Bosniaks had fled during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. The Srebrenica massacre is the only episode of the Bosnian conflict to have been recognized as genocide by the UN tribunal.
US President Barack Obama has described the Srebrenica massacre as "an unimaginable tragedy."
After years into hiding, Mladic and Radovan Karadzic were apprehended and sent for trial to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague.
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