UN human rights chief says all efforts to ensure justice for Srebrenica genocide survivors must be supported

UN human rights chief says all efforts to ensure justice for Srebrenica genocide survivors must be supported

GENEVA

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday commemorated the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in eastern Bosnia, saying all efforts to ensure justice for survivors must be supported.

“Recognizing today as Srebrenica Genocide Day is crucial to honoring the 8,000 Bosnians killed in 1995, but more must be done,” Volker Turk said on X.

“We must support all efforts to ensure truth and justice for survivors and their families,” Turk urged.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the 1995 genocide are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Newly identified victims are buried

Last May, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, with overwhelming support, a resolution designating July 11 as Srebrenica Genocide Remembrance Day.

The resolution, sponsored by Germany and co-sponsored by more than 40 countries, calls for July 11 to be declared an International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide.

The youngest victim to be buried this year is Beriz Mujic, 17, born in 1978 in Zvornik.

His remains were found 28 years after his assassination and were exhumed in May 2023.

He was killed in July 1995 in the Suceska region, near Bratunac, and his remains were discovered and exhumed in the area of ​​Srebrenica municipality.

Mujic will be buried next to his brother Hazim, whose remains were interred in 2013.

The body of their father, Omer Mujic, has still not been found.

The oldest victim to be buried Thursday was Hamed Salic, born in 1927. He was 68 when he disappeared in the summer of 1995 in the town of Zepa. His remains were exhumed in May 2014 and recently identified.

Thousands of people from different countries will attend the funerals and burials. After this year’s funeral, the number of victims buried in the cemetery will reach 6,765.

Srebrenica genocide

In the spring of 1993, the UN Security Council declared the town of Srebrenica a “safe area”. However, Serbian troops led by General Ratko Mladic, who was convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, invaded the area.

Dutch troops tasked with protecting the population in the UN zone failed to react when Serbian forces occupied it on July 11, killing 2,000 men and boys in a single day.

About 15,000 Bosniaks fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serbian troops hunted them down, killing another 6,000.

Serbian forces allowed women and children to reach Bosnian-controlled areas, but massacred at least 8,372 Bosniaks in forests, factories and warehouses. The murdered Bosniaks were buried in mass graves, with the bodies discovered in 570 different locations across the country, including 77 mass graves.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

Efforts to locate missing victims of the genocide continue, with identified remains buried at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery.

On June 8, 2021, judges at the UN tribunal upheld Mladic’s life sentence for genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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