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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Srebrenica: 12 years on

Posted by Thomas Nephew on July 12th, 2007

As thousands watched, 465 newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre were reburied Wednesday, reports the Guardian’s Almir Arnaut, bringing the total identified and reburied to over 3,000. For readers who may have forgotten, Arnaut explains:

Up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serb forces who separated men and boys from women on July 11, 1995, and killed the males over several days. It was the worst mass slaughter in Europe since World War II.

Dutch peacekeeping forces assigned to guard the so-called “safe haven” of Srebrenica were arguably overmatched by besieging Bosnian Serb forces; at any rate, they certainly proved unwilling to continue to protect the community. Arnaut:

Some 15,000 men tried to escape the slaughter by fleeing over the mountains toward the safe town of Tuzla. They were hunted along their 65-mile walk and killed if caught. Hazim Mehmedovic was 3 years old at the time, and was carried along the path in his father’s arms.

Hazim, now 16, arrived a few days ago from Copenhagen, Denmark, where he is living with his mother. Survivors today live in 107 countries around the world as refugees, he said.

For the past few days, he walked the escape route the other way from Tuzla to Srebrenica and arrived for the anniversary.

“I don’t remember anything and wanted to see where it happened. The Serbs shelled our group and killed dad while he was holding me in his arms. Someone else, I don’t know who, carried me the rest of the way to Tuzla,” he says.

While the victims are dead and beyond caring, the story continues to enrage and disgust. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic — the military and political directors of the atrocity — remain at large. And in February, the International Court of Justice reprehensibly absolved Serbia of responsibility for the massacre — after refusing to subpoena documents plainly showing that the Bosnian Serb army was directed from and paid by Belgrade.

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MORE at this site:
06/04/2005: Video from Srebrenica massacre surfaces
07/12/2005: Srebrenica, 10 years later
02/26/2007: ICJ: Srebrenica was genocide. Serbian police were involved… …yet Serbia cleared of genocide (“reprehensibly” link above).
02/28/2007: Where’s Ratko? — includes specific ICTY charges against Ratko Mladic.
05/14/2007: Department of followups: …Bosnia (“refusing” link above)
UPDATE, 7/12: Mark Burgess (World Security Institute’s WSI Brussels Blog) reported in early June: “Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre are suing the United Nations and the Netherlands for what they say was a failure to protect civilians from Bosnian Serb forces.”

NOTE: The June 4, 2005 post is one of the most frequently visited posts at this site (via a Google image search to the video still), and the “outclick” to the video linked there is by far the single site people visit most often from here. I hope it’s not just rubberneckers or worse, but also people like Hazim who really need to know what happened.

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