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Srebrenica a much-changed place 12 years on

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Srebrenica a much-changed place 12 years on


Almost 37,000 people lived in Srebrenica before the war, most of them Muslim. 8000 of them were killed in the 1995 massacre; many others fled. Today the population is 10,000: 4,000 Muslims and 6,000 Serbs. And feelings are mixed about how they now live together.

Radomir is a Serb who has never left the town: “I’m an honest and objective man and I can tell you, we say hello – they say hello, and we meet up in our houses, no hard feelings. What happened before happened. Everyone lost someone, on both sides.”

Rifa, who is Muslim, fled with her family during the war. They returned eight years later to find their home destroyed: “For my kids I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I feel I could kill them, because I cannot provide for them. They go to school without clothes, without shoes. They have nothing. What can I tell you.”

In February, Muslims in Srebrenica won their first victory when an international court ruled that genocide took place. Serbia was not ruled directly responsible, however. But it was a first step for the families of victims, who want the town to be given special status. Demographically diverse before the war, Bosnia found itself cut in two after the Dayton Accords. A Serb Republic and a Muslim-Croatian Federation. Srebrenica became part of the Republika Srpska. Serbs continue to reject Muslim calls for the town to have special status outside of the republic.

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