Srebrenica: Bosnia marks 25 years since massacre

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Watch as a mass funeral is held for victims of the 1995 massacre

Nine recently-identified victims of the massacre at Srebrenica have now been buried throughout a ceremony in Bosnia marking 25 years since it took place.

Burials were held at a nearby village within the event commemorating the mass killing – Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two.

Former US President Bill Clinton, the Prince of Wales and relatives of the thousands who died also spoke.

Bosnian Serb forces killed a complete of 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995.

  • The massacre 25 years on – in pictures
  • A brief guide to the Balkans War

The massacre occurred during the Bosnian War (1992-1995). Thousands of Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) had sought safety in town, which the UN was protecting with Dutch forces, nevertheless the area fell during a Serb offensive in July.

What happened at the ceremony?

A service took place on Saturday at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery, just outside the town.

Tens of 1000s of people would ordinarily have attended, but restrictions were put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

About 100 dignitaries were in attendance, and they wore masks and sat spaced apart as a result of social distancing.

The amount of attendees at the service was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic

Dozens of video messages were played from past and present world leaders.

“It’s been profoundly moving for me… to continue to add my voice to those across the world who grieve for the families of those killed,” former US President Bill Clinton said.

“It’s [a] brazen reminder of the terrible cost to all people when we turn our backs on our shared humanities,” that he added.

Mourners also gathered to pray at the funeral for nine victims of the massacre

Prince Charles said the massacre was “a dreadful stain on our collective conscience”.

“The international community failed those who were killed, those who somehow survived and those who endured the terrible loss of their loved ones,” he said.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “many perpetrators have still not been held to account”, adding he wanted to “stand with the families in their fight for justice”.

The president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, Munira Subasic, was one of the few speakers to appear in person. Her organisation campaigns for justice for the groups of the victims.

“My first message is to the war criminals, those who committed the crime of genocide,” she said.

“We will haunt you and we will never wear down. One of us will always be there to haunt you. It is our right and our duty.”

What happened at Srebrenica?

During the Bosnian War, the Serb army was engaged in an ethnic-cleansing operation.

On 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serb units light emitting diode by General Ratko Mladic captured town of Srebrenica.

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What happened at Srebrenica? Explained in less than two minutes

When the Serb army moved in, approximately 20,000 Muslims – mostly women, young ones and the infirm – sought refuge in the Dutch compound in nearby Potocari.

As the violence escalated, the Dutch surrendered. Bosniak women and children were boarded onto buses, and taken to safety. But men and boys were separated from the crowds and taken away to be shot.

Thousands were executed and then pushed into mass graves with bulldozers. Reports suggest some were buried alive, although some adults were forced to look at their young ones be killed.

In less than a couple of weeks, the Serb forces had systematically murdered more than 8,000 Bosniaks.

Lightly-armed UN peacekeepers, in what had been declared a UN “safe area”, did nothing because the violence raged around them.

A UN tribunal in The Hague that investigated the events later spoke of the a large amount of planning that went into the massacre.

And former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan later declared: “The tragedy of Srebrenica will forever haunt the history of the United Nations.”

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