Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tears as Srebrenica massacre victims mourned


Tens of thousands of grieving Bosnian Muslims gathered yesterday to bury the remains of 755 newly identified victims killed when Bosnian Serbs overran the eastern town of Srebrenica 15 years ago. An army led by Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic seized Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, and went on a week-long killing spree as UN troops protecting the town stepped aside.

Around 8000 Muslims were killed. Those who tried to escape were hunted down and killed. Mladic remains at large.

Yesterday, men passed green-draped coffins towards freshly-dug graves. Sobbing women said prayers as they kneeled among rows of marble gravestones.

“I have nothing left to lose,” Hatidza Mehmedovic, 58, said through tears. She came to bury her husband and two sons, killed when they were 18 and 21.

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague has indicted Mladic and his political chief Radovan Karadzic for genocide in Srebrenica. Karadzic is on trial but denies all counts. Mladic is believed to be hiding in Serbia. Failure to arrest him has hindered Serbia’s progress towards EU membership.

After the massacre, Serbs dumped the bodies into mass graves. They were later dug out with bulldozers and moved in an attempt to cover up the crime.

More than 3700 victims have been buried in the memorial graveyard after being unearthed from mass graves and identified.

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