Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Srebrenica victims laid to rest

Bosnian Muslim woman in front of the remains of Srebrenica victims
The UN says the Srebrenica atrocity was genocide
Thousands of Bosnian Muslims have attended a ceremony to mark the 11th anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica.

The remains of 505 victims were reburied in the presence of chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte.

She again called for the arrest of the Bosnian Serb wartime leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

More than 7,000 Muslim men and boys died when Bosnian Serb troops overran the UN-protected enclave in 1995.

Ms Del Ponte boycotted the 10th anniversary events last year in protest at Serbia's failure to hand over Mladic - the man she holds responsible for the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

"I'm here for the ceremony, for the victims, for the survivors and for the criminals Karadzic and Mladic who are still at large," she told reporters.


In a statement from Belgrade, Serbian President Boris Tadic said all war criminals should be punished.

1: Bosnian Serb forces advance on Srebrenica. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims flee
2: More than 20,000 people flee to Potocari, seeking help from Dutch peacekeepers. But Serb forces enter the camp, killing the men and boys
3: Killing sites include a football field in Nova Kasaba
4: Thousands of males are killed trying to reach the Muslim-controlled city of Tuzla

But he voiced dismay at the two-year sentence handed down this month by the UN tribunal to a former Bosnian Muslim commander of Srebrenica, who allowed his men to launch murderous raids on Bosnian Serb villages.

Earlier, hundreds of Bosnian Muslims, among them many survivors, arrived at the Potocari cemetery at the end of a 100km (60-mile) march in honour of the victims.

"We walked down the path known as the 'trail of death' where many Srebrenica men had been killed in the most brutal way in 1995," one of the survivors, Ejub Pilav, told the AFP news agency.

The victims, Muslim men aged 15 to 78, were hastily buried by Bosnian Serb forces in numerous mass graves around Srebrenica.

More than a decade after the massacre, forensic experts are still exhuming and identifying victims' remains.

Last month, one of the largest mass graves was discovered, in the village of Kamenica, some 30km from Srebrenica.

So far, the remains of at least 200 people have been exhumed there and identified as Srebrenica Muslims by personal documents found with the skeletons.

In all, about 2,500 victims of the massacre have been identified.

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