JULY 9 2013 14:33h

Remains of 409 genocide victims to be given formal burial at Srebrenica

Memorial center in Srebrenica




The remains of 409 Bosniak victims of genocide committed at Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, in 1995 were given a formal send-off from a mortuary in Visoko, about 30 kilometres north of Sarajevo, on Tuesday.

On its way to Srebrenica the convoy of trucks carrying the mortal remains passed through Sarajevo, stopping briefly in front of the Bosnian Presidency building, the monument to all children killed in the country's 1992-1995 war and the Markale market place where a large number of people had been killed in shelling.

The Bosniak and Croat members of the Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic and Zeljko Komsic, Bosniak-Croat entity president Zivko Budimir and other senior state and entity officials paid tribute to the victims. For the first time among them was Naser Oric, the Bosnian army's wartime commander in Srebrenica. Just as in the previous years, Presidency chairman Nebojsa Radmanovic and other Serb officials did not attend.

The remains, which have been found in mass graves in recent years and subjected to a complex process of identification, will be formally buried in the Potocari Memorial Complex, outside Srebrenica, on July 11, the 18th anniversary of the single biggest atrocity committed on European soil since World War II.

In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces under the command of Ratko Mladic overran the UN-protected Srebrenica enclave, killing over 8,000 people, mostly Bosniak men and boys.

A total of 5,657 victims have been buried at Potocari so far. Among the bodies to be buried there on Thursday will be that of a baby girl who was born in the UN compound shortly after the fall of the enclave. Her mother has said that the baby died immediately after being born for lack of medical attention and was buried by Dutch UN peacekeepers. The oldest victim to be buried is a man who at the time of his death was 76.