News / Europe

Survivors Seek Justice on 15th Anniversary of Srebrenica Massacre

Preparations are underway for the 15th anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II. On July 11, 1995 the killing began of about 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica during the Balkan conflict that broke up Yugoslavia.

Activists of the group Women in Black creating a memorial to the over 8,000 Muslim men and boys who are believed to have been killed in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.

Old shoes, including worn-out children's boots with anti-war messages stuffed inside, are piling up in the Serbian capital Belgrade, representing victims of Europe's largest mass killing since the Holocaust.    

Women in Black Coordinator Stasa Zajovic says it is crucial that Serbs never forget that Bosnian Serb forces killed Muslims, after they overran the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

"Shoes represent the mark left by the people of Srebrenica," she says. "Their presence in our lives."

The shoe memorial in Belgrade was inspired by a similar initiative by the Berlin-based Center for Political Beauty. It plans a monument near Srebrenica, made up of 16,744 shoes, symbolizing the estimated 8,372 victims.

They include 775 recently identified victims who were to be buried Sunday on the outskirts of the town.         

Organizers say the monument will form the letters "UN" to protest the alleged failure of United Nations peacekeeping troops in Srebrenica to protect the victims.

Survivors are also angry that Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic, whose forces carried out the massacre, remains at large.

On Friday excerpts of Mladic's diaries were published, recording details of secret deals with Bosnian Croats to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina and expel the Muslim population in the early 1990s.

The diaries were seized in a raid on his wife's Belgrade home in February.

Serbian President, Boris Tadic, will be among foreign leaders in Srebrenica to pay his respects during the 15th anniversary commemoration of the mass killing.   

Other leaders attending Sunday's anniversary include Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Earlier this year, Serbia's parliament voted to apologize to the victims of the massacre --and for not doing enough to stop it.

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