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15 years on Serbia still struggles with Srebrenica

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15 years on Serbia still struggles with Srebrenica


Two world wars seemed to have taught Europe better, but in the final decade of the 20th century civilians were still being led away to death.

Pictures submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal of the murder of some of the estimated 8000 men and boys from Srebrenica, led to Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic being charged with Genocide. They are still hard to view today, testaments as they are to a total breakdown of humanity.

A few escaped. After six days walking with little shelter and no food, already near-death from seige and imprisonment, they reached the UN safe haven of Tuzla.

One of the lucky handful was Ilijaz Pilav. Today he is a surgeon in Sarajevo;

“As an act which doesn’t contain the word ‘genocide’ I don’t think this resolution will serve its purpose. It is more like another deep insult for the victims, for those still living, and the dead.”

Victim’s association the “Mothers of Srebrenica”
would have preferred Serbia to follow the European Parliament’s 2009 lead, when it recognised the massacre as an act of genocide and condemned it.
Kada Hotic lost her husband and son;

“All I can say is it was good that they talked about it. After all, we’ve been waiting so long for Serbia to accept some kind of responsibility.”

In 2007 the International Court of Justice cleared Serbia of any direct responsibility for the genocide, even if the judges found Belgrade had not done what was needed to prevent it.

But even an apology is too much for some Bosnian Serbs. Ask around in Palé, the former wartime seat of government of the Bosnian Serbs…

“It’s too early for such a resolution, we should wait longer for that, and the separation between Serb and Muslim victims in the wording is not good,” said one man.

The conflicts that erupted in the former Yugoslavia and Bosnia were notably vicious. But the cynical, methodic manner of killing and hiding the bodies of the Srebrenica victims make it unique. It is the only incident in the Bosnian war condemned as Genocide by the ICT and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.

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