Srebrenica - 26 Anniversary
Sixteen newly identified victims were honored and buried Sunday in Bosnia as thousands gathered to commemorate the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Europe’s only acknowledged genocide since World War II.
The slaughter of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks, most of them men and boys, by Bosnian Serb forces was commemorated in speeches, prayers and song, followed by the reburial of victims whose remains were found in mass graves and recently identified through DNA analysis.
The Srebrenica killings were the bloody crescendo of the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, which came after the break-up of Yugoslavia unleashed nationalistic passions and territorial ambitions that set Bosnian Serbs against the country’s two other main ethnic factions — Croats and Bosniaks.
The massacre has been declared a genocide by international and national courts, but Serb leaders in Bosnia and neighboring Serbia continue to downplay or even deny it despite the irrefutable evidence of what happened.
“Sadly, for more than two decades now, denying the genocide in Srebrenica has been a go-to tool for making sure that the people (of Bosnia) are kept divided between us and them. This is precisely the division that has brought so much suffering to so many lives” in the 1990s, said Judge Carmel Agius, president of the U.N. court that is completing war crimes trials stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Twenty six years after they were brutally murdered, 16 men, two teenage boys and a woman were laid to rest at a memorial cemetery at the entrance to Srebrenica, joining more than 6,600 other massacre victims already reburied there.