Genocide in Srebrenica

From 11th to 13th July, 1995 in Srebrenica
Over 8,372 People Were Killed
20,000 People Were Forced to Leave Their Homes
More than 5,000 UN Peacekeepers Were Present but Overwhelmed
25,000 Women, Children, and Elderly Were Evacuated to Territories under Army of BiH control
Hundreds of Mass Graves Have Been Uncovered Since
Thousands of Families Still Seek Closure and Justice

The Srebrenica Genocide and its Chronology

During the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), the Bosniaks were subjected to the gravest form of crimes against humanity and international law – genocide. This has been confirmed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The genocide in Srebrenica, committed in 1995, represents one of the darkest moments in modern European history.

In July 1995, the enclave of Srebrenica, which had been declared a "protected area" by the United Nations, became the scene of a massive crime when forces of the Bosnian Serbs, led by Serbian General Ratko Mladić, planned and systematically carried out the massacre of more than 8,000 civilians. Under the military leadership of Mladić and guided by the political instructions of Radovan Karadžić, then president of the Republic of Srpska, the Army of the Republic of Srpska (VRS) orchestrated a deliberate assault on Srebrenica. At the beginning of July, Serbian forces launched an offensive on the city, resulting in a massive exodus of civilians towards the UN base in Potočari, one of the settlements of Srebrenica. Dutch troops, stationed as UN peacekeeping forces, failed to stop the advance of the Serbian troops, and the city quickly fell under the control of the VRS. The events that followed represent the gravest form of crimes against humanity and international law – genocide.

The genocide was planned and announced as early as 1992, with the onset of the aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, reaching its climax in Srebrenica. Armed forces from the Republic of Srpska, alongside units from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the self-proclaimed "Republic of Serbian Krajina," as well as foreign mercenaries, occupied the UN's safe zone in Srebrenica. This move, driven by the ideology of Greater Serbia, set the stage for systematic deportations and mass executions. Men, boys, and the elderly were separated from women and children, and thousands were taken to various locations and executed. Mass executions occurred in several places. In total, over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were executed.

Beyond the mass executions, the civilian population suffered indescribable agony during deportations to free territories and in captivity. Women, children, and the elderly were subjected to abuse, rape, and other forms of violence by VRS soldiers. Following the atrocities, numerous mass graves were discovered, while many victims are still listed as missing.

At the dawn of the 21st century in Europe, in full view of the world and the international community, a horrendous crime unfolded, eliciting global condemnation and prompting the international community to reevaluate its actions during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Srebrenica became a symbol of suffering and injustice. Realizing the extent of the crime committed and the international community's reaction, the perpetrators, in their effort to conceal their crimes, embarked on the final act of genocide. They excavated mass graves, re-mutilated the bodies with bulldozers, and transferred their parts to other, secondary graves. Following the discovery of mass primary, secondary, and even tertiary graves, more than 6,000 victims were identified. Their remains were moved to the Memorial Center in Potočari, which today stands as one of the largest memorial centers in the world.

International courts, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, have ruled that the crimes committed in Srebrenica in July 1995 constitute GENOCIDE. Many individuals have been convicted for their individual and command responsibility for these crimes. Unfortunately, in the Serbian public, this proven genocide is denied, and the crimes committed against Bosniaks are glorified. The glorification of genocide and war criminals poses a challenge for the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, making the process of reconciliation and coming to terms with the past more difficult.

Presenting the facts about the Genocide in Srebrenica helps preserve the memory of the victims, serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting human rights and international law under all circumstances, with the aim of ensuring that such crimes are never repeated anywhere.

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  1. Islamic Informative Newspaper "Preporod"
Genocide Timeline