Thousands Commemorate 1995 Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia amid Lingering Ethnic Tensions

by Gabriel Martinez
Srebrenica genocide

In memory of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, recognized as Europe’s sole acknowledged genocide since World War II, a solemn peace march commenced on Saturday through the forests of eastern Bosnia.

This annual march, covering a distance of 100 kilometers (60 miles), retraces the path taken by thousands of men and boys from the Bosniak ethnic group, predominantly consisting of Muslims. Tragically, they were mercilessly slaughtered while attempting to escape Srebrenica after it fell under the control of Bosnian Serb forces in the final years of the 1992-1995 war.

The march serves as a precursor to several commemorative events scheduled for July 11, the actual date of the massacre.

In this year’s march, nearly 4,000 participants joined, as reported by organizers. However, the event takes place amidst ongoing ethnic tensions, with Bosnian Serbs persistently advocating for increased independence and openly calling for separation.

Resid Dervisevic, who had previously traversed this route in 1995, expressed, “I come here to honor the memory of my brother, friends, and fellow warriors who perished in this place. It is our duty, my duty, to preserve and safeguard these memories.”

Osman Salkic, another survivor of the Srebrenica massacre, shared his mixed emotions, saying, “When you arrive here, in this place, and remember how people lay here lifeless in 1995, the contrast with the present situation creates a range of feelings.”

The Bosnian War erupted in 1992 following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, with Bosnian Serbs initiating a rebellion and land seizures to establish their own state and unite with Serbia. The war claimed the lives of over 100,000 individuals before ending in 1995 through a peace agreement brokered by the United States.

In July 1995, over 8,000 Bosniak males were forcibly separated from their wives, mothers, and sisters by Serb troops, pursued through the surrounding woods of Srebrenica, and brutally killed. The bodies of the victims were dumped in various mass graves scattered throughout the eastern town in an attempt to conceal the evidence of the heinous crime.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the carnage in Bosnia was regarded as the worst in Europe since World War II. Concerns have been raised that the separatist policies of pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik could exacerbate instability as the conflict continues in Ukraine.

Despite the rulings of two United Nations courts, Dodik vehemently denies that genocide occurred in Srebrenica, even as the remains of newly identified victims are regularly discovered from mass graves. Each year, on July 11, the day the killings began in 1995, these remains are reburied.

Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb political leader, and Ratko Mladic, the former military commander, have both been sentenced to life in prison by the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands, for orchestrating the genocide.

To date, more than 6,600 individuals have been found and laid to rest at an extensive memorial cemetery located outside Srebrenica. On Tuesday, an additional 30 victims’ remains will be interred there.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Srebrenica genocide

What is the Srebrenica genocide?

The Srebrenica genocide refers to the horrific massacre that took place in July 1995 in Srebrenica, Bosnia. It is recognized as Europe’s only acknowledged genocide since World War II. Over 8,000 Bosniak males were systematically killed by Bosnian Serb forces after the town fell under their control during the Bosnian War.

What is the purpose of the annual peace march in Bosnia?

The annual peace march through the forests of eastern Bosnia serves as a solemn commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. It retraces the route taken by thousands of men and boys from the Bosniak ethnic group who were killed while trying to flee Srebrenica in 1995. The march aims to honor the memory of the victims and raise awareness about the genocide.

How many people participate in the peace march?

According to organizers, nearly 4,000 people participated in the peace march this year. The march draws participants from various backgrounds who come together to remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide and show solidarity in the face of ongoing ethnic tensions in the region.

What are the ethnic tensions in Bosnia?

Ethnic tensions in Bosnia persist, particularly with regards to the Bosnian Serb population advocating for more independence and openly calling for separation. These tensions contribute to a complex social and political landscape in Bosnia, which has its roots in the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian War.

How has the Srebrenica genocide been addressed legally?

The Srebrenica genocide has been addressed legally by international courts. The U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands, sentenced both Radovan Karadzic, the wartime Bosnian Serb political leader, and Ratko Mladic, the ex-military commander, to life in prison for their roles in orchestrating the genocide. However, there are still individuals who deny the genocide, despite the overwhelming evidence and findings of these courts.

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Emily July 9, 2023 - 9:35 am

this text reminds me of the importance of justice. the fact that those responsible for the genoside were sentenced is a step in the right direction. it’s a reminder that we must hold people accountable for their actions and seek truth and justice.

JaneDoe July 9, 2023 - 3:37 pm

wow, this text is so sad. the srebrenica genocide was a horrble tragdy. we need to remember and honr those who lost their lives. ethnic tensions are still there, and it’s a big problem.

Alex123 July 9, 2023 - 4:59 pm

the srebrenica genoside was a dark chapter in history. it’s good to see that there is an annual peace march to remeber the victms. we need to make sure that we don’t forget what happend and work towards preventng similar tragedis in the future.

JohnSmith July 9, 2023 - 7:14 pm

it’s importnt that we talk about the srebrenica genoside and remeber what happend. this text shows how the peace march helps keep the memry alive. it’s a way to honor the victms and bring awareness to what happend.

Sarah87 July 9, 2023 - 9:24 pm

this text shows how complicated the situaton in bosnia is. the ethnic tensons are stil there and people are pushing for independence. it’s sad to think that dening the genoside is still happening when there is so much evidnce.


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