News / Europe

Bosnia Reburies Srebrenica Dead 18 Years After Massacre

A Bosnian woman cries beside the coffin of a relative at the Potocari Memorial Center, near Srebrenica, July 11, 2013.A Bosnian woman cries beside the coffin of a relative at the Potocari Memorial Center, near Srebrenica, July 11, 2013.
x
A Bosnian woman cries beside the coffin of a relative at the Potocari Memorial Center, near Srebrenica, July 11, 2013.
A Bosnian woman cries beside the coffin of a relative at the Potocari Memorial Center, near Srebrenica, July 11, 2013.
Reuters
Bosnia reburied another 409 victims of the Srebrenica massacre on Thursday but, 18 years after Europe's worst atrocity since the Holocaust, the country remains mired in ethnic disputes long after other parties to the conflict have moved on.

Watched by thousands of mourners, coffins draped in green cloth were passed from hand to hand down lines of Bosnian Muslim men to be interred at the Potocari memorial center, a forest of white marble and wooden gravestones that now number 6,066.

Some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in five summer days in 1995, towards the end of a war that erupted in 1992 with the collapse of federal Yugoslavia claiming 100,000 lives.

“I feel like I'm losing them again today,” said Ramiza Siljkovic, 62, kneeling by two freshly dug graves for the remains of her two sons. “Only a handful of their bones were recovered from two mass graves.”

Some bodies have yet to be found from what became Europe's worst mass killing since the Nazi Holocaust against Jews during World War II.

Thursday's anniversary has coincided with dramatic change in the Balkans. Bosnian neighbor and fellow former Yugoslav republic Croatia joined the European Union on July 1 and Serbia is on the cusp of accession talks following a landmark accord with Kosovo, its overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian former province.

Bosnia, however, trails the pack, still hostage to the ethnic politicking of rival Serb, Croat and Muslim (also known as Bosniak) leaders that has stifled development and kept it languishing on the margins of Europe.

The massacre was the culmination of a policy of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic's forces to carve a pure Serb state out of communally diverse Bosnia.

“Innocent and helpless victims were faced with the cold and merciless hatred of criminals akin to those in the Nazi camps of Hitler's Germany,” said Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia's tripartite presidency.

“We have been asking ourselves through these 18 years - what could they have been guilty of, and to whom, in those hellish days?” said Izetbegovic, the son of Bosnia's wartime president.

Genocide charges reinstated

Mladic and his political chief, Radovan Karadzic, are standing trial in The Hague on charges including genocide in Srebrenica. Both deny that any orchestrated killing occurred.

On Thursday, judges reinstated another charge of genocide against Karadzic that was struck down last year. Appeals judges said there was evidence suggesting Karadzic had “genocidal intent” with respect to violence in the municipalities of Bosnia.

Many Serbs in Serbia and Bosnia still doubt the official figures and narrative of what happened in Srebrenica.

The town, located in wooded hill country of eastern Bosnia near the border with Serbia, was a designated “safe area” guarded by U.N. peacekeeping troops, but they abandoned their posts in the face of advancing Bosnian Serb forces.

Among those buried on Thursday were 44 boys, aged between 14 and 18, and a baby girl who died in a U.N. peacekeeping compound. Their remains were dug from nameless death pits and identified through DNA analysis.

The sectarian killings and big-power inertia of the current conflict in Syria has drawn comparisons with Bosnia.

The Bosnian war ended in a 1995 U.S.-brokered peace deal.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid