It was the 20th anniversary of the 1992-95 Srebrenica massacre on Saturday that took place during the Bosnian war and the outrage that erupted during the commemoration event in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, indicated that the Bosnians have still not gotten over their pain.
Around 50, 000 people gathered in Srebrenica to remember Europe’s worst genocide since World War II in which around 8000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were gunned down by ethnic Serbian soldiers and paramilitary twenty years ago. The atrocity spanning three years was targeted mainly at the Muslim population. The bodies of the victims were dumped in mass graves in and around the town. More than 100 newly found bodies would be buried in the freshly dug graves alongside the massacre victims. Visiting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic had arrived at the Srebrenica graveyard along with other world dignitaries including Bill Clinton, to pay respects. But the mourners yelled at him as he walked to the site, throwing stones, shoes and bottles forcing him to flee. For them, Vucic had once directed the Serb militants to kill Bosnian Muslims leading to the massacre. The Serbian prime minister had condemned the genocide and pledged to penalize all those responsible for the tragic event before attending the commemoration. After fleeing to Belgrade, he said that people didn’t recognize his ‘sincere intentions’ to boost the ties between the Serbian and Bosniak people and termed it an ‘assassination attempt’. The identification process of the Srebrenica victims is even more tragic and has been continuing ever since. DNA tests are performed on the bodies using the bone samples taken from them and handed over to the relatives when identified. The families, who still struggle to deal with the pain, then cremate them.
The international community including the UN has always turned a blind eye towards the atrocities in Bosnia. The world, apparently hasn’t counted it as genocide. The Srebrenica enclave was declared a ‘safe area’ by the UN. Dutch peace-keeping forces were also deployed. Despite these efforts, the Serbian forces attacked Srebrenica under the leadership of Commander General Ratko Mladic. Mladic was later indicted over the siege of Sarajevo. It took weeks to curb the protests despite the full backing from NATO. Meanwhile attempts to sabotage the burial graves were also rampant. The two UN judicial bodies, International Criminal Tribunal and the International Court of Justice recognized the massacre as genocide and have condemned the attacks as "the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War." While the international community is still finding it tough to define the extent of killings and has done little towards addressing the matter, Russia has vetoed the UN genocide resolution on Srebrenica to protect the Serbs. In such a sensitive scenario, the protests by the grieving and helpless relatives of the deceased, is absolutely justifiable.