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Europe

Muslims pay tribute on 14th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre

Video by Catherine VIETTE

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-11

Tens of thousands of Bosnia's Muslims are expected in the eastern town of Srebrenica to commemorate the massacre at the hands of Serbian forces years ago. There will be a burial ceremony for 534 newly identified victims.

AFP - Bosnia's Muslims pay tribute Saturday to victims of the Srebrenica massacre amid growing tensions with Serbs 14 years after Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.
  
Tens of thousands of Muslims are expected in the eastern town to attend a commemoration and burial ceremony for 534 newly identified victims.
  
The remains of the victims, aged between 14 and 72, were in most cases found in secondary graves, where they had been moved from initial burial sites in an attempt by Serbs to cover up war crimes.
  
The massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Serb forces after they captured the UN-protected enclave on July 11, 1995 is to be commemorated for the first time across Europe, but not in ethnically divided Bosnia itself.
  
The European Parliament in January proclaimed the date a day of commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, calling on countries across the continent to support the move.
  
While they admitted in 2004 that their forces killed 8,000 Srebrenica Muslims, Bosnian Serb authorities condemned the resolution, reflecting the revival of nationalist rhetoric that triggered the country's 1992-1995 war.
  
In another act of defiance on Wednesday, Serb deputies in the Bosnian parliament blocked an initiative to declare July 11 the Srebrenica genocide remembrance day in the former Yugoslav republic.
  
Bosnia's inter-ethnic war cost 100,000 lives and left the country split into two highly autonomous entities -- the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Serbs' Republika Srpska.
  
So far some 3,200 Srebrenica victims have been buried at a memorial just outside the ill-fated town. Forensic experts from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said they have identified 6,186 of those killed in the atrocity.
  
The massacre has been termed genocide by both the International Court of Justice, which handles disputes between nations, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
  
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic, suspected of being the main culprit for the massacre, was detained last year and is awaiting trial before the ICTY. His army chief and co-accused Ratko Mladic is still on the run.
  

Date created : 2009-07-11

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