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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Bosnia reburies 409 victims of Srebrenica massacre

Published 11/07/2013 | 14:34

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Bosnians pray in front of 409 coffins of newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in the Potocari Memorial Center.

BOSNIA reburied another 409 victims of the Srebrenica massacre today but, 18 years after Europe's worst atrocity since the Holocaust, the country remains mired in ethnic disputes long after other parties to the conflict have moved on.

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Watched by thousands of mourners, coffins draped in green cloth were passed from hand to hand down lines of Bosnian Muslim men to be interred at the Potocari memorial centre, a forest of white marble and wooden gravestones that now number 6,066.


Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in five summer days in 1995, towards the end of a war that erupted in 1992 with the collapse of federal Yugoslavia and would claim 100,000 lives.


Some bodies have yet to be found from what became Europe's worst mass killing since the Nazi Holocaust against Jews during World War Two.


Thursday's anniversary coincided with dramatic change in the Balkans. Bosnian neighbour and fellow former Yugoslav republic Croatia joined the European Union on July 1 and Serbia is on the cusp of accession talks following a landmark accord with Kosovo, its overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian former province.


Bosnia, however, trails the pack, still hostage to the ethnic politicking of rival Serb, Croat and Muslim (also known as Bosniak) leaders that has stifled development and kept it languishing on the margins of Europe.


Srebrenica remains an open wound, the cold facts still disputed by many Serbs.


"Innocent and helpless victims were faced with the cold and merciless hatred of criminals akin to those in the Nazi camps of Hitler's Germany," said Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency.


"We have been asking ourselves through these 18 years - what could they have been guilty of, and to whom, in those hellish days?" said Izetbegovic, the son of Bosnia's wartime president.





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