Thousands arrived Tuesday morning at Potočari, outside the eastern Bosnia town of Srebrenica, for a commemoration and funeral of seventy-one victims of the 1995 genocide that were identified last year. Victims’ relatives, politicians and tens of thousands Bosnians and foreigners came to the grounds of a former battery factory in Potočari and the adjacent memorial cemetery to attend the 22nd anniversary commemoration of the massacre of more than eight thousand Muslim men, ruled to be an act of genocide by international and local courts. More than 6,500 were buried so far at Potočari. Thousands are yet to be identified or found in mass graves.
Among the people at Potočari are the Bosniak member of the Presidency, Bakir Izetbegović, the leader Social Democratic League of Vojvodina (Serbia), Nenad Čanak, the US Ambassador to Bosnia, Maureen Cormack, head of OSCE Mission to Bosnia, Jonathan Moore, and numerous representatives of the authorities in BiH.
The commemoration started at 11.30 with the Bosnian anthem and a speech by Presidency member Izetbegović.
“As we commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, our hearts and our thoughts are with the victims and their surviving families and friends. Today, we honor the victims,” said EU’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn in a joint statement.
“The values so dramatically violated 22 years ago – such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality – are now at the core of our engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens on the country’s EU integration path.”
In July 1995, some 8,000 Muslim men were killed by Bosnian Serb forces after they overran Srebrenica, designated a UN safe zone, during the Bosnian war. General Ratko Mladić is currently tried by a UN court in The Hague for that and other atrocities.