Home From The Sidelines Bosnia Commemorates the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide, 25 Years Down

Bosnia Commemorates the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide, 25 Years Down

Srebrenica Genocide

Srebrenica Genocide

On July 11th, Bosnia marked 25 years of Europe’s most violent and gruesome mass slaughter after Holocaust- the Srebrenica Genocide. The Srebrenica massacre refers to the ethnic cleansing and mass killing of Bosnian Muslims by the Serbian and Bosnian forces in 1995. It is said to be one pf the worst mass murder instances in Europe since World War-2. Akin to the Holocaust, it imprinted the survivors with indelible emotional scars and still continues to be the reason for political conflict among different ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzgovania.


The Bosnian war (1992-1995) led to mass killings of the Bosnikas (Bosnian Muslim) and Bosnian Croats by the Bosnian-Serb forces. On July 11th, 1995, Commander Ratko Mladić captured the town of Srebrenica, a Muslim dominion on Serb territory in Herzgovania and Bosnia. The United Nations forces had deployed a Dutch battalion, Dutchbat, during the Bosnian war and the   Bosnian Muslims sought refuge with these forces under the UN. But to their dismay, the UN failed to protect the thousands of families who lost their kin in the bloodbath that pitted the Bosniaks and Croats against the Serbs, killing around 100,000 people. The reports also suggested that the UN was guilty of handing over young boys and men to the Serb forces, despite knowing that they would be mercilessly butchered, which was further testified by a personal report submitted by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1999. Anan remarked, “The tragedy of Srebrenica will forever haunt the history of the United Nations.” Post their own investigation that began in 2003, the Bosnian and Herzegovinian government issued an official apology for the massacre and 2016 Radovan Karadžić, the former president of Republika Srpska, was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment which was later increased to lifetime imprisonment in 2017 for he was found guilty committing war crimes, crimes against humanity an gebocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Another wartime political figure, Randovan Karadzic was also wardre a lifetime sentence by a court at The Hague.

25 Years After the Massacre

On Saturday, a service was organised at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery, outside Serbernica. Owing to the pandemic, the turnout of people who joined was much lesser than usual, but the spirit was unaltered. There were about 100 dignitaries in the ceremony, who followed proper social distancing norms and preventive measures. The European Union leaders referred to the anniversary as “a painful reminder” of Europe’s failure to mitigate and eschew such violence and noted in an official statement, “We must confront the past with honesty and look to the future with determination to support the next generations.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also offered solidarity to the families of the victims and said that many assassins are still left scot-free. Prince Charles said that the pogrom was “a dreadful stain on our collective conscience [and] the international community failed those who were killed, those who somehow survived and those who endured the terrible loss of their loved ones.”

Though the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the Serbernica episode is somethimg that they are ashamed of as a counyry, he refrained from using the word genicide for the cold-blooded mass murder of 1995. While Ratko Mladic still remains revered as a hero by many Serbs, the Bosnian Muslims relentlessly and vociferously reject this glorification of the massacre and press for the recognition of the intensity of this historical carnage. Their demand for consequent justice was voiced by the president of the Mothers of Srebrenica association, Munira Subasic, who has spearheded and mobalised numerous justice campaigns for the families of the victims, in the Saturday ceremony where she said, “ My first message is to the war criminals, those who committed the crime of genocide. We will haunt you and we will never wear down. One of us will always be there to haunt you. It is our right and our duty.” The ceremony also witnessed the burial of theremaons of the nine new victims who were identified over the past one year, at a cemetary in Potocari.