Bosnia marks 27th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide Featured

Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday marked the 27th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, bidding farewell to 50 newly identified victims of the 1995 massacre at a memorial service.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide are laid to rest at a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia.

Thousands of visitors from various countries attend the service.  

The memorial center is the focal point of remembrance for friends and relatives of the victims, mostly men and boys, murdered by Bosnian Serb militias.

After this year’s funeral, the number of burials in the cemetery rose to 6,721.

The youngest of the victims buried this year was Salim Mustafic, who was 16 years old when he was killed, while Husejin Krdzic, 59, was the oldest genocide victim among this year's identified victims.  


Various events were held to commemorate the genocide in the capitals and other cities of the region.

At the historic bridge in Mostar – an iconic multi-faith city – people gathered to jump without applause from the approximately 20-meter (65.6 feet) high bridge.

The participants also threw white lilies into the Neretva River, symbolizing the innocence of the genocide victims.

In the capital Belgrade, a debate titled Recognition of Genocide and Official Commemoration of July 11 as a Pledge of Peace was organized.

Croatia's capital Zagreb held a light projection of the iconic Srebrenica flower.

The Bosniak National Council also distributed Srebrenica flowers in Novi Pazar city to remember the victims.

The flower has a message – white signifies innocence, green signifies hope, and 11 petals stand for July 11, 1995.

Elsewhere, hundreds of motorcyclists from across Europe held a procession from Sarajevo to Srebrenica to commemorate the victims.

Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in Mars Mira, an annual peace march. The first one was held in 2005 to mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide.

Thousands of people from all over the world come to the Bosnian town every year and follow the same forest path used by the Bosniaks when they were fleeing genocide.

The campaign lasts three days, culminating in the participants' arrival in Potocari.

In front of the Presidency of Serbia in Belgrade, candles were lit for the genocide victims.   

World leaders’ messages

Leading political figures across the world, including Turkish president and the first lady of Türkiye, commemorated the genocide victims.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Türkiye provides all the necessary support for the security and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Our pain is fresh even though more than a quarter of a century has passed since the genocide. Türkiye with all its capacities continues to be with Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Erdogan.

Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan said it was humanity, conscience, and compassion that was buried in Srebrenica 27 years ago. “We will never forget the cries of Bosniak mothers or the children who watched the murderous expulsion of their fathers.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the event as a “black stain” in the history of humanity and said that Srebrenica will never be forgotten.

Türkiye's AK Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmus said that it is necessary that those responsible for the genocide should receive the “most severe” punishments.

“It is very important to put an end to hate speech, segregation and divisions so that genocide does not happen again. We should, of course, mention Islamophobia, which should be fought against. These are areas in which it is very important to fight together,” said Kurtulmus.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said the genocide is a reminder to be united for peace in Europe and for Bosnia and Herzegovina to become part of the European Union.

Sefik Dzaferovic, chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said there is no sadder place in the world today than Srebrenica.

“The genocide in Srebrenica was a consciously and carefully planned crime with political motives,” said Dzaferovic.

Montenegro Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic said it was humanity that was killed in Srebrenica.

“Today's commemoration is a reminder of how bad we were back then. Not only those who lived here, not only those who lived in the surrounding area, but also those who were thought to have come to help, but actually failed to do anything significant,” said Abazovic.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the damage caused by the genocide cannot be repaired, but it can be recognized by acceptance.  

Srebrenica genocide  

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked the eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops.

The Serb forces were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was later found guilty of war crimes, and crimes against humanity and genocide, overran the UN zone.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing some 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone.

Around 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.

The bodies of victims have been found from 570 places across the country.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. /aa