Thousands commemorate 8,000 victims of Srebrenica massacre

At Potocari 24 years later, calls against denying genocide

11 July, 16:58

    (ANSAmed) - SARAJEVO, JULY 11 - The remains of 33 victims of the July 1995 Srebrenica genocide were buried on Thursday at Potocari cemetery in the presence of thousands of people including senior Bosnian officials but without any Serbian officials in attendance.

    The remains, which were identified between last July and now using DNA testing, were laid to rest alongside the 6,610 other victims of the massacre who have been buried there over the years.

    The anniversary commemorates the memory of the largest civilian massacre in Europe since World War II.

    Those who survived the killing 24 years ago of 8,000 Muslims said they are insulted by people who deny that an act of genocide took place at Srebrenica, a fact that has been confirmed by the international justice system, the army, and the Bosnian-Serb police force.

    Carmel Angius, president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, the successor body to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), said "denial is how the genocide is continued". He said it is offensive to victims to deny, despite numerous evidence and sentences by international tribunals, that the genocide took place.

    Further evidence is shown by the lines of white grave markers at Potocari, which now number 6,643.

    Other victims have been buried elsewhere based on family requests.

    The families of an additional 140 victims identified with DNA but with incomplete skeletons have requested that the remains not be buried in the hopes that further remains will be recovered.

    Others have chosen to bury the few bones that have been recovered, such as Fadila Hasanković, whose brother's remains were buried Thursday.

    The International Criminal Court in The Hague convicted 15 Bosnian-Serb officials of genocide in the Srebrenica massacre, including political and military leader Radovan Karadzic, who was given a life sentence; and Ratko Mladic, head of Bosnian-Serb troops, who was given a life sentence but is currently in deteriorating health awaiting appeal.

    Despite their convictions, the two leaders are considered heroes by many Serbians, and many schools and institutions in the Republika Srpska (RS), the majority Serb political entity in Bosnia, are named after Karadzic.

    Recently, on the initiative of Bosnian-Serb leader Milorad Dodik, the RS government nominated two commissioners to "find the truth" about the killings of Serbs in the area of Srebrenica.

    This followed Dodik's declaration that a 2004 report by a previous RS commission is invalid.

    That report admitted the Srebrenica massacre and compiled a list of about 8,000 victims who had been classified as missing, as well as a list of Serbian soldiers and police officers who were involved in the killings. (ANSAmed).

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