The remains of 50 more recently identified Bosniaks were buried alongside 6,671 other victims in a commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Srebrenica genocide was the July 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys in and around the town of Srebrenica.
The Srebrenica genocide was the July 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys in and around the town of Srebrenica. (AA)

Bosnia and Herzegovina has marked the 27th anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, bidding farewell to 50 newly identified victims of the 1995 massacre at a memorial service.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide are laid to rest at a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia.

Thousands of visitors from various countries attend the service.

The memorial centre is the focal point of remembrance for friends and relatives of the victims, mostly men and boys, murdered by Bosnian Serb militias.

After this year’s funeral, the number of burials in the cemetery rose to 6,721.

The youngest of the victims buried this year was Salim Mustafic, who was 16-year old when he was killed, while Husejin Krdzic, 59, was the oldest genocide victim among this year's identified victims.

READ MORE: How to combat Bosnian genocide denial

World leaders' react

Leading political figures across the world, including the first lady of Türkiye, commemorated the genocide victims.

Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan said it was humanity, conscience, and compassion that was buried in Srebrenica 27 years ago. 

"We will never forget the cries of Bosniak mothers or the children who watched the murderous expulsion of their fathers."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the event as a black stain in the history of humanity and said that Srebrenica will never be forgotten.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said the genocide is a reminder to be united for peace in Europe and for Bosnia and Herzegovina to become part of the European Union.

READ MORE: Was the Srebrenica genocide aimed at the wider Muslim presence in Europe?

Commemorations

Various events were held to commemorate the genocide in the capitals and other cities of the region.

At the historic bridge in Mostar – an iconic multi-faith city – people gathered to jump without applause from the approximately 20-meter (65.6 feet) high bridge.

The participants also threw white lilies into the Neretva River, symbolising the innocence of the genocide victims.

In the capital Belgrade, a debate titled Recognition of Genocide and Official Commemoration of July 11 as a Pledge of Peace was organised.

Croatia's capital Zagreb held a light projection of the iconic Srebrenica flower.

The Bosniak National Council also distributed Srebrenica flowers in Novi Pazar city to remember the victims.

Srebrenica genocide

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops.

The Serb forces were trying to wrest territory from Bosniaks and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council had declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, troops led by general Ratko Mladic, who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, overran the UN zone. 

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing some 2,000 men and boys on July 11 alone.

About 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people. Bodies of victims have been found in 570 different places in the country.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination, and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

READ MORE: Austria parliament unanimously adopts Srebrenica genocide resolution

Source: TRTWorld and agencies