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Srebrenica: Bosnia marks 20 year massacre anniversary

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Srebrenica: Bosnia marks 20 year massacre anniversary



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A cemetery near Srebrenica in Bosnia was the focal point on Saturday of ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two.

Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces over five days in July 1995 amid the Balkan wars which saw the break-up of Yugoslavia.

They had sought shelter in Srebrenica, which was supposed to be a UN safe haven.

Tens of thousands of people have been gathering at the Potocari memorial cemetery in eastern Bosnia to honour victims. Grieving families have been joined by world figures including Bill Clinton, the US president at the time.

Despite a funeral for over 100 newly identified victims today, remains of more than 1,000 others are yet to be found.

“One cannot describe with words how I feel today,” said Zijada Hajdarevic as she escorted the remains of her brother on Thursday from the morgue to the cemetery, where her grandfather and other close relatives are all buried.

“We knew he was gone, but it will be easier now we know where we can visit his grave,” said Hajdarevic, who is still searching for her father.

Ever since the massacre, the West has faced questions over how it allowed the fall of Srebrenica, a designated UN “safe haven” for Muslim Bosniaks displaced by the war.

Months later, NATO air strikes forced the Serbs to the negotiating table. A US-brokered peace treaty ended the fighting and enshrined in Bosnia a complicated and unwieldy system of ethnic power-sharing that survives today.

The accused chief architects of the massacre – Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Ratko Mladic – remain on trial at a UN court in The Hague, protesting their innocence.


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