Masse pays tribute to 25th anniversary of genocide event

11 Juillet, 2020, 15:48 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Gravestones are lined up at the memorial cemetery in Potocari near Srebrenica Bosnia

There will also be a reburial of the recently identified remains of nine victims in a memorial cemetery outside the town in eastern Bosnia.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he feared a massacre similar to the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica could happen in Kashmir and urged the global community to take notice and prevent it from happening.

At least 8,000 mostly Muslim men and boys were chased through woods in and around Srebrenica by Serb troops in what is considered the worst carnage of civilians in Europe since World War II.

The Srebrenica massacre is the only episode of Bosnia's 1992-95 war to be defined as genocide.

The killers sought to hide evidence of the genocide, piling most of the bodies into hastily made mass graves, which they subsequently dug up with bulldozers and scattered the bodies across numerous burial sites.

Wearing face masks and waving Bosnian flags, the marchers passed the mass graves in which thousands of victims' bodies have been found over the past two decades. But not before helping to identify more than 70% of all the missing victims of the 1990s Balkan wars, including close to 7,000 of those killed in Srebrenica.

In the years since, bodies have been unearthed and the victims identified through DNA testing.

Dozens of world leaders, including the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, the Spainish leader, Pedro Sánchez, the U.S. secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and Prince Charles, will address the commemoration ceremony in pre-recorded video messages.

Typically, thousands of visitors from various countries attend the July 11 service, but this year - because of the coronavirus pandemic - only a relatively small number of survivors will be allowed at the cemetery.

"As in so many cases from this conflict which brought violence and destruction across the western Balkans, many families still do not know what happened to their loved ones".

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The prime minister said "we owe it to the victims" to remember Srebrenica and "to ensure it never happens again". Many perpetrators have still not been held to account.

"And there are those who would prefer to forget or deny the enormity of what took place".

"We were shocked and appalled how this massacre was allowed to happen in a United Nations safe haven".

In recent years, denial of the genocide has begun moving from the far-right ringe into the mainstream.

"It's not easy to live here next to those who 25 years on, deny that a genocide was committed", says Hamdija Fejzic, Srebrenica's Muslim deputy mayor.

"During my time in The Hague between 2003 and 2006, pursuing those responsible for this dark chapter in European history, I was reminded daily of the heinous cruelty perpetrated against the innocent".

"The UK is determined to end impunity and help rebuild those countries affected - as our commitment to the ICC, and UK investment and support for Bosnia demonstrates". "But they weren't exactly angels, these Muslims.' As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the atrocity, it is unthinkable that you would publicly attend national memorial events, without having apologised for such comments".

A government spokeswoman said: "This quote is clearly taken out of context".

And while for Bosnian Muslims recognising the scale of the atrocity is a necessity for lasting peace, for most Serbs - leaders and laypeople in both Bosnia and Serbia - the use of the word genocide remains unacceptable.

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