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Srebrenica's yearly burial of atrocity victims

Srebrenica's yearly burial of atrocity victims
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Seventeen years after the Srebrenica massacre, trucks are still carrying remains through Sarajevo, on the way to the Potocari memorial cemetery, for mass burial.

This year 520 bodies have been identified, naming the dead. Among them are six children and four women, the eldest aged 94. With them, the total laid to rest in Srebrenica comes to 5,657.

Survivor Mujo Music said: “I will bury my son. He was 26. We escaped through the forest when Srebrenica fell. When we reached Snagovo, they started firing at us from Kula. Eight people were killed, including my son. His body remained in the field. I found two bones. I have buried many relatives already. My wife died of grief. I do not know what to do any more.”

More victims continue to be found each year. The arrest of the guilty, and the trial of General Ratko Mladic, is no consolation to the families in mourning.

One woman said: “Bosnia’s pain, the pain of the Drina region, Mladic doesn’t see. They should put him on trial here.”

Another said: “May he never see his children again. My son has never seen his father. We only found four of his bones. That’s all we’ll bury.”

In The Hague, at the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the trial of the man arrested last year after 16 years as a fugitive from justice resumed on Monday.

As witnesses testified and evidence is presented, the 70-year-old defendant Mladic appears unmoved.

Seventeen years after the Srebrenica massacre, his former partisans share in his denial. In Pale, the Bosnian Serb fiefdom near Sarajevo, it seems that little has been learned.

Comments from residents included: “It does not matter that he’s in The Hague. He is a Serb hero, forever.”

And another: “To Serbs, Mladic is a synonym for justice and the survival of the Serb people. As far as I am concerned, Serbs now need a new Mladic.”

Among those taking part in ceremonies is Nazi Holocaust survivor Arthur Schneier.

He spoke of a duty to speak out, see and listen: “Eventually you pay a very heavy price for silence. So, silence is not the answer. You have to stand up in the face of injustice. Whenever you face man’s inhumanity to man you can’t close your eyes. You have to hear the cry of the oppressed.”