Bosnia and Herzegovina is expecting more than 5,000 people to participate in an annual peace march to honor the Srebrenica genocide victims.
Traditionally, thousands of people from all over the world come to the Bosnian town of Nezuk every year to participate in a three-day peace march.
This year the march will mark the 27th anniversary of the genocide where more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops meant to act as international peacekeepers.
Srebrenica Ceremonies Organization Board Chairman Hamdija Fejzic told Anadolu Agency that the 18th march will kick off on July 8 this year to honor 46 victims to be buried at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery during a collective funeral on July 11.
Fejzic said they are expecting Hollywood star Angelina Jolie and former Queen of Jordan Nur al-Hussein to attend this year's commemoration ceremonies.
The participants will march for three days, and spend the nights in designated areas. The march is expected to conclude at a cemetery in Potocari, a village in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, just northwest of the Srebrenica town, where a funeral prayer and burial ceremony will be held for genocide victims.
Since 2005, thousands of people have attended the Mars Mira – which means Peace March in Bosnian – following the same forest path used by the Bosniaks when they were fleeing the Srebrenica genocide.
In the early 1990s, Srebrenica was besieged by Serbian forces trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state.
In the spring of 1993, the UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a "safe area." However, Serbian troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic – later found guilty of war crimes and genocide – overran the UN zone.
Some 15,000 Srebrenica people fled into the surrounding mountains but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 of them in the forests.
A total of 6,696 victims lie buried at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari./aa