Bosnian Muslims mark 1995 Srebrenica massacre with fresh burials
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Bosnian Muslims mark 1995 Srebrenica massacre with fresh burials

Relatives of over 8,000 men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb troops among attendees of ceremony that sees interment of 33 newly identified victims of the slaughter

  • A woman rests at the memorial cemetery, prior to the funeral, in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    A woman rests at the memorial cemetery, prior to the funeral, in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • Relatives inspect coffins prepared for burial, in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    Relatives inspect coffins prepared for burial, in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • Fresh graves are dug at the memorial cemetery in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    Fresh graves are dug at the memorial cemetery in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • Coffins are carried at a funeral in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. Thousands of mourners, including relatives of the victims, gather for a commemoration on the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    Coffins are carried at a funeral in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. Thousands of mourners, including relatives of the victims, gather for a commemoration on the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • A girl inspects coffins prepared for burial, in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    A girl inspects coffins prepared for burial, in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 10, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
  • Members of the anti-war organization "Women in Black" hold a banner that reads: "We will not forget the genocide in Srebrenica!'' as part of a meeting to mark the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica tragedy, in Belgrade, Serbia, July 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
    Members of the anti-war organization "Women in Black" hold a banner that reads: "We will not forget the genocide in Srebrenica!'' as part of a meeting to mark the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica tragedy, in Belgrade, Serbia, July 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
  • Mourners pray next to coffins in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre are buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
    Mourners pray next to coffins in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre are buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

SREBRENICA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Thousands of mourners gathered in Bosnia on Thursday to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.

Relatives of the more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb troops were among those attending a ceremony at a memorial site that included the burial of 33 newly identified victims of the July 11-22, 1995 massacre.

More than 1,000 are still considered missing from the mass slaughter during the Bosnian civil war.

Many victims were ambushed along forest routes while fleeing Srebrenica in scorching heat without food or water. They were either shot on the spot or taken to collective centers where they were executed and thrown into mass graves.

Thousands of mourners, including relatives of the victims, gather for a commemoration on the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II, in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Mevlid Halilovic, a relative of a victim, said many of the people who carried out the massacre were still at large.

“Those who did this (killing) have to be punished,” he said. “And it was all done by our (Serb) neighbors, those who live just around here.”

Nura Begovic was burying the remains of her brother, who was identified through his hand bone.

“I spent 24 years looking for his body and I only found one bone,” she said. “But today, both I and my family have found peace.”

Women wait for a funeral ceremony in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia, July 11, 2019. The remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were buried 24 years after Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and executed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, an event international courts have labeled as an act of genocide. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Both Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and military commander Ratko Mladic, who led troops that captured Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, were sentenced by a UN war crimes court to life in prison.

Although the mass killings were branded genocide by international courts, Serbian and Bosnia Serb officials refuse to use the term. They did not send official delegations to the commemoration on Thursday.

A joint statement issued by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn described the “genocide” in Srebrenica as “one of the darkest moments of humanity in modern European history.”

“There is no place for inflammatory rhetoric, for denial, revisionism or the glorification of war criminals,” the statement said. “Attempts to rewrite history in Bosnia and Herzegovina or anywhere are unacceptable.”

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