Bosnia buries 500 Srebrenica dead

Ceremony held to mark anniversary of worst massacre in Europe since World War II.

Relative of Srbrenica victim cries at grave
About 8,100 men and boys were killed as Serb forces overran the town of Srebrenica [AFP]

“Although we were desperately searching for his remains for years, it was so hard to receive a telephone call telling us that my father had been identified,” Nurveta Guster, a 27-year-old technician, said.

“I saw him for the last time at our house in Srebrenica. He left with other men through the woods trying to escape.

Mass graves

“It is just like it is happening now, I’m going through it again,” said Guster, whose uncle and an 18-year-old nephew were also buried during Saturday’s ceremony.

Every year, more bodies are found, identified through DNA analysis and reburied.

Hatidza Mehmedovic told the AFP news agency that she was still searching for her son’s remains.

“Victims’ families are still suffering as mass graves are still hidden,” she said.

Although the ceremony attracted thousands of people, the atrocity is not officially commemorated in Bosnia, which is divided between two political entities, one of which, Republika Srpska, is dominated by Serbs. 

‘Better future’

On Wednesday, ethnic Serb deputies in the Bosnian parliament blocked a move to declare July 11 the Srebrenica genocide remembrance day.

The Bosnian war in the early 1990s took place against the background of instability across the former Yugoslavia.

No senior Serb officials were present at Saturday’s event, but Boris Tadic, the president of neighbouring Serbia, said his government had an obligation to punish those responsible and was doing all it could to track down Ratko Mladic, the Serb military chief.

Tadic said all innocent victims must be respected “in order to create a better future for the Balkans, free of the war past”. 

Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb wartime leader who is also accused of ordering the violence, was detained last year and is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

Source: News Agencies