Thou­sands mourn Sre­brenica mas­sacre vic­tims

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Thou­sands gath­ered in Sre­brenica yes­ter­day to mark the 1995 mas­sacre of some 8,000 Bos­nian Mus­lims, Europe’s worst atroc­ity since World War II, with some giv­ing their loved ones a proper burial for the first time. The re­mains of 71 vic­tims of the blood­shed, con­sid­ered geno­cide by in­ter­na­tional jus­tice, will be laid to rest in a joint fu­neral at a me­mo­rial ceme­tery in Po­to­cari, near Sre­brenica. They in­clude seven peo­ple who were un­der 18 when they were killed and a 33-year-old wo­man.

Adela Efen­dic said she had come to “fi­nally say good­bye” to her fa­ther Se­naid, who was 35 when he was killed. “His re­mains were found nine years ago in a com­mon grave, but only a few bones,” the 22-year-old said, her head cov­ered with a vi­o­let veil and tears stream­ing down her cheeks. “We were wait­ing hop­ing to find more, but noth­ing turned up... We de­cided to bury him now so his bones find peace,” said Efen­dic, who was only 20 days old when her fa­ther died.

“I have only one photo of him, a small one, like for an ID card. But my mother told me a lot about him ... it al­lows me to imag­ine him.” Bos­nian Serb forces cap­tured the east­ern Bos­nian town, a UN­pro­tected en­clave at the time, on July 11, 1995, five months be­fore the end of Bos­nia’s in­ter-eth­nic war. In the fol­low­ing days they sum­mar­ily killed some 8,000 Mus­lim men and boys. So far the re­mains of 6,429 Sre­brenica vic­tims have been buried at the me­mo­rial site and 233 in other ceme­ter­ies, ac­cord­ing to Bos­nia’s in­sti­tute of miss­ing peo­ple.

The re­mains of more than 1,000 other vic­tims still have to be lo­cated. The vic­tims were found in some 80 mass graves of which the last one was dis­cov­ered in De­cem­ber 2015. Among the iden­ti­fied vic­tims there were 22 women and some 440 chil­dren who were un­der 18 when they were killed, ac­cord­ing to the in­sti­tute. In 2016, a UN tri­bunal found Bos­nian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic guilty of geno­cide over his role in the atroc­ity and sen­tenced him to 40 years in jail.

Bos­nian Serb wartime mil­i­tary chief Ratko Mladic is ex­pect­ing a ver­dict by the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Tri­bunal for the for­mer Yu­goslavia (ICTY) in Novem­ber. Bos­nian Serbs still deny the Sre­brenica mas­sacre was an act of geno­cide, although in­ter­na­tional courts have ruled so. Bos­nia’s 1992-1995 war be­tween its Croats, Mus­lims and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives.—AFP

BOS­NIA: Bos­nian Mus­lim peo­ple pray in front of coffins dur­ing a fu­neral cer­e­mony for dozens of newly iden­ti­fied vic­tims of the 1995 mas­sacre, at the me­mo­rial cen­tre of Po­to­cari near Sre­brenica, 150 kms north east of Sara­jevo, Bos­nia. —AP

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