ISSN 2330-717X

Srebrenica: 16 Years Later


By Bedrana Kaletović

Kada is with her son Samir in Potocari, a place where they had parted in 1995, promising to see each other again. On (Monday) July 11th, Kada buried her son there — the ground covering all of the mother’s hopes.

“The corpse is incomplete, many of his bones are missing, that is why the forensics [team] told me to wait for the burial of my Samir, but I could wait no longer. I am alone, have nobody who could bury my Samir if I don’t live to see the day. I want to know where he rests,” Kada tells SETimes through her tears.

Not far from her Mejrema Ibric cries over her brother. When they parted, Mejrema was just eight years old. Now, she hardly remembers him.

“He is gone, and I haven’t even got to know him. Here I am today, we are together for the last time,” says Mejrema.

In Potocari, the place of the 1995 massacre and gravesite of the murdered Bosniaks, this is the saddest day of the year. More than 600 people found final peace here Monday, 164 of them younger than 18.

“Today is a day of silence. It is our responsibility to punish the wrongdoers, give these families strength to go on, and to promise ourselves a better future in which a neighbour will not harm his neighbour. In this silence we need to find home for building a better future,” Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said.

“I lost everything. I watched my dearest ones die, and as we were parting Potocari in 1995, I believed that some of them would survive. Nobody stayed alive, here I am saying goodbye to them and parting once more,” said Zejna Huskic.

An estimated 40,000 members of the victims’ families, friends and neighbours joined local and international community representatives at the ceremony on Monday.

“We mourn for the victims laid to rest and for those still waiting to be found,” US Ambassador to Bosnia Patrick Moon said during the ceremony. “The arrest of Ratko Mladic gives us yet more reason to reflect on the horrific crimes against the innocent that took place here in Srebrenica. We remember what was done and what the world failed to do 16 years ago.”

Although politics did not take the stage, it was noted that no Serbian government representatives attended. Serbian NGO Women in Black, however, did attend.

“To forget, deny and hide that which happened is an underestimation of ourselves and our own dignity. We are very displeased with the way a country considers the Srebrenica issue to be over with the handing over of Ratko Mladic, considering that there are no changes on the punishment and law level, not to mention the part of culture, science, media,” the NGO’s President Stasa Zajovic told SETimes.

More than 6,000 members of the Peace March were also present at the burial, walking for three days to Potocari, to get to know the bitterness of the way crossed by those from Srebrenica in 1995.

More than 5,100 of the July 1995 victims have been buried in the memorial centre at Potocari. Another 188 victims of genocide were buried at other locations, according to family wishes.

According to the official listing of the genocide, 8,365 people were killed, and the remains of more than 3,000 are still hidden in mass graves or are awaiting identification.

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The Southeast European Times Web site is a central source of news and information about Southeastern Europe in ten languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, English, Greek, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Turkish. The Southeast European Times is sponsored by the US European Command, the joint military command responsible for US operations in 52 countries. EUCOM is committed to promoting stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

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