Never forget Bosnia genocide
JULY marks the 22nd anniversary of the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II, the genocide in Srebrenica.
There are harrowing tales from the siege of Sarajevo, the prison camps, photos, and the systematic rape as a tool for ethnic cleansing of Muslims.
On July 11, 1995, near the end of the war, Bosnian Serb soldiers swept into a UN-designated “safe haven”, taking young men, boys, and some elderly men. Over the days that followed, they executed them and dumped their bodies in pits. More than 8 000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were massacred and buried in mass graves.The executions were well-planned, and the Serb army made considerable effort to disguise its activities. While the killings took place over a few days, the process of finding the bodies took years, and the task of identifying and burying them properly continues to this day.
An estimated 20 000-50 000 women, mostly Bosnian Muslim, were subjected to sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war. Their stories have largely remained untold, due to stigma, shame and the ongoing struggle to rebuild lives. The rapes in Bosnia were designed to terrorise and humiliate – by raping women in public, the Bosnian Serbs intended to drive people out of their homes permanently. The brutality and the policy of violent pregnancy was also designed to prevent further generations of Muslims being born, especially when paired with mass murder of the male population.
There is also the issue of UN culpability. While the majority of the blame lies with the Serb forces, much is to be said about the UN’s inadequate response to the goings-on. The UN made serious errors of judgement and the tragedy of Srebrenica would haunt its history forever.
The massacre was one of the most horrific events of the war in the former Balkan States. It remains the single largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. Durban