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Victims of Bosnian War Remembered by Thousands in Srebrenica


Tens of thousands of people gathered near the Bosnian town of Srebrenica Tuesday to commemorate the 11th anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II. Up to 8.000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces that overran Srebrenica in 1995. The commemoration came as a local court sentenced a former Serb policeman to five years in jail for crimes against humanity during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 through 1995.

Over 30,000 people gathered to pray and remember the victims of the Srebrenica massacre.

Many of them were relatives of the victims killed by Bosnian Serb forces that captured the town on July 11, 1995.

The massacre was the worst single atrocity during the three year ethnic conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina andthe most serious act of violence Europe has seen since the Second World War.

Those attending, including widows and children of those who died, watched as the remains of 505 more victims were buried at the Memorial Center Potocari, located on the outskirts of Srebrenica.

About 2,000 victims have been buried there in recent years.

Officials say that more than 2,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre have been identified through sophisticated DNA analysis. Thousands more bodies from dozens of mass graves scattered across the Bosnian landscape have yet to be identified.

Among those attending Tuesday's ceremony was Carla Del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

She boycotted last year's commemoration to protest against the perceived refusal by authorities in neighboring Serbia to arrest one of the chief war

crimes suspects allegedly hiding there, former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic.

Del Ponte is also frustrated that international peacekeepers have not detained another key suspect, the wartime Bosnian Serb president, Radovan Karadzic.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said Tuesday he wants all those responsible for the Srebrenica massacre to be punished.

As the memorial services took place Tuesday, a local Bosnian court sentenced a former Bosnian Serb policeman to five years in jail for what it said were crimes against humanity during the country's war from 1992 through 1995.

The court found 38-year-old Boban Simsic guilty of atrocities against Muslim civilians in the eastern town of Visegrad in 1992, when he was a guard in a facility where civilians were detained, tortured and killed.

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