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Clinton to Attend Srebrenica Cemetery Ceremony - 2003-08-04

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has agreed to take part in the dedication ceremonies of a cemetery honoring thousands of Muslims killed after Serb forces captured the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in 1995.

The chief international mediator in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, announced that the former president had agreed to attend the ceremonies at Potocari, just outside Srebrenica, September 20. He said organizers invited Mr. Clinton to attend because of his major contribution in ending the Bosnian conflict. The Clinton administration helped broker the 1995 Dayton Peace Accord that halted fighting in Bosnia.

The cemetery holds the bodies of about 900 of the estimated 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who disappeared after Serbs overran what was supposed to have been a United Nations safe haven.

War crimes prosecutors and human rights investigators say the Muslims were massacred and tossed into mass graves, an action described as Europe's worst atrocity since the Nazi war crimes 60 years ago.

Many Bosnian Serbs deny there was a massacre and say the Muslims were killed in battle.

More than 6,000 bodies have been pulled from the mass graves so far, but only a small number have been identified.

The war crimes tribunal has indicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military chief Ratko Mladic for the Srebrenica massacres. Both are still at large. Two Bosnian Serb officers pleaded guilty in May to a role in the Srebrenica events.