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Bosnia

Srebrenica Anniversary Marked With Burial Of 520 More Victims

Srebrenica Victims' Remains Arrive In Potocarii
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July 10, 2012
Trucks carrying 520 coffins with the remains of newly identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre arrived in Potocari, where they'll be buried on July 11, the 17th anniversary of the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces. (Video by Marija Arnautovic of RFE/RL's Balkan Service)
By RFE/RL
Over 30,000 people have gathered in Srebrenica to mark the 17th anniversary of Europe's worst atrocity since World War II -- the massacre of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in 1995 by Bosnian Serb forces.

A focal point of the July 11 events was a funeral for 520 newly identified victims of the massacre. Their remains were recovered from mass graves and identified through DNA analysis.

They were buried at a memorial cemetery, where more than 5,000 Srebrenica victims had already been laid to rest.

FOLLOW RFE/RL Balkan Services continuing coverage of the ceremony

About 6,800 Srebrenica victims have so far been identified. The search for the others goes on, with excavations of mass graves continuing.

Not all of the identified remains have been buried, as some families are waiting for the bodies of other slain relatives to be identified so their family members can be laid to rest together.

Others, whose loved ones have been identified on the basis of just a few bones, hope more remains will be recovered for burial.

READ a complete list of names of the 520 individuals being buried

PHOTO GALLERY: Preparations for the ceremony to July 11 bury the remains of the 520 recently identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre:
  • A worker on July 7 prepares graves for a ceremony at the Srebrenica memorial center in Potocari. The International Commission for Missing Persons has so far identified more than 7,000 Srebrenica victims.
  • Participants in the 110-kilometer "March of Peace" walk through a forest on July 8 on their way to Srebrenica to retrace in reverse the path taken by Bosnian Muslims fleeing Serb forces in 1995.
  • Women weep as trucks carrying the 520 coffins leave Visoko morgue on July 9 on their way to Sarajevo and the cemetery at Potocari.
  • Many thousands of mourners lined the roads in Podlugovi on July 9 as the coffins passed.
  • Muslims look for the names of relatives on a truck loaded with caskets during a farewell ceremony near the Visoko city morgue on July 9.
  • A woman touches one of the three trucks carrying the slain victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in front of the presidential building in Sarajevo on July 9.
  • Dutch UN soldiers stand in front of Bosnian Muslim refugees in Potocari, site of the Dutch UN base in the Srebrenica enclave, before the massacre in July 1995.
  • A woman kisses one of the three trucks carrying the coffins in front of the presidential building in Sarajevo on July 9.
  • Bosnians watch as one of the trucks carrying some of the Srebrenica victims arrives in Potocari, where they will be buried, on July 9.
  • One of the 520 coffins of the recently identified Srebrenica victims is hoisted from one of the trucks that transported it to Potocari.
  • Mourners at one of the 520 coffins of newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which were laid out in Potocari on July 9.
  • A woman grieves in Potocari after the caskets' arrival there.
  • Bosnians who waited nearly 17 years for the identification of the remains of their loved ones and a chance to see them receive a proper burial grieve in Potocari on July 9.
  • The caskets with the remains of Srebrenica victims are prepared on July 11 for the mass burial the next day at the Memorial Center in Potocari, near Srebrenica.
  • Participants in the "March for Peace" carry the Bosnian national flag as they arrive at the Memorial Center in Potocari on July 10.
  • A woman and her children pass in front of the Memorial Center in Potocari that lists more than 7,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, deemed an act of genocide by two international courts.
  • Military personnel prepare for the memorial ceremony in Potocari.
  • Belgrade's Women in Black, a feminist peace group, organized a march in the Serbian capital on July 10 to remember the Srebrenica victims.
  • A woman is helped away from the area where the caskets are being stored after being overcome with emotion at the Potocari cemetery on July 10.
  • Muslim women sit near a new open grave prepared for the coffin of their relative on July 10.
  • People bear the coffin of a relative in Potocari on July 10.
  • A relative searches new open graves for the coffin of a relative at Potocari cemetery on July 10.
  • A woman cries near a new open grave with the coffin of her late relative's remains, prepared for burial on July 11.
  • A woman weeps at the Potocari Memorial Center during the funeral ceremony in Srebrenica on July 11.
  • Lightning strikes during a storm over the Potocari cemetery the night before the July 11 mass burial.


This year's anniversary was the first time Bosnia is mourning the massacre since its two alleged masterminds -- Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic and political leader Radovan Karadzic -- went on trial before the United Nations war crimes court.

Mladic and Karadzic have been charged with genocide in connection with the killings, which occurred near the end of the 1992-95 interethnic war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

But many Bosnian Serbs consider Mladic and Karadzic national heroes and deny that Bosnian Serb forces carried out an act of genocide at Srebrenica.

In Washington, President Barack Obama marked the Serbrenica anniversary with a statement saying the United States "rejects efforts to distort the scope of this atrocity, rationalize the motivations behind it, blame the victims, and deny the indisputable fact that it was genocide."

Obama added that "a measure of justice is finally being served for the victims" -- with Mladic and Karadzic "now being called to account for their actions."

Obama said the name of Srebrenica "will forever be associated with some of the darkest acts of the 20th century."

With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP
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