Monday, July 15, 2024

Serbs denial of 1995 Srebrenica genocide fuels ethnic tensions in Bosnia as thousands gather to remember the victims

Srebrenica Genocide Commemoration in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Thousands Gather in Srebrenica to Commemorate 1995 Genocide

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — On Thursday, thousands of people from Bosnia and abroad gathered in Srebrenica for the annual ritual of commemorating the 1995 genocide, which Serb officials continue to deny, fueling ethnic tensions and deep divisions within the war-ravaged state.

Twenty-nine years after the tragic event, the bodies of 13 men and one teenage boy were laid to rest at a memorial cemetery just outside Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia. This brought the total number of reburied massacre victims to over 6,600.

The tragic events in Srebrenica saw more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslims killed in a shooting spree by the Bosnian Serb army and police over several days in July 1995. The victims’ remains are often fragmented and found scattered over different mass graves, making it difficult for families to bury complete bodies.

The massacre in Srebrenica marked the peak of Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, which occurred after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Nationalist sentiments and territorial disputes fueled conflicts between Bosnian Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks.

Recently, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 11 as an international day of reflection and commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. However, Serbia and Bosnian Serbs opposed this designation, claiming it unfairly stereotypes all Serbs.

Despite international recognition of the Srebrenica genocide, Bosnian Serb leaders insist it was a “terrible crime” rather than genocide, downplaying the number of victims.

The President of the Srebrenica Memorial Center emphasized the importance of acknowledging the genocide and called for an end to denial and cover-ups.

The European Union High Representative reflected on Srebrenica’s enduring impact on Europe, stressing the international community’s obligation to prevent similar atrocities from recurring.

The perpetrators of the Srebrenica genocide, including Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, were convicted of genocide by a special U.N. tribunal. Despite these convictions, many Serbian and Bosnian Serb officials still glorify these war criminals as national heroes.

The commemoration in Srebrenica serves as a reminder of the horrors of war and the importance of acknowledging historical truths to promote lasting peace and reconciliation.

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