SREBRENICA, Bosnia — The remains of 19 more victims of the Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims are laid to rest during a commemoration marking 26 years since the genocide that still deeply divides the Balkan nation.
Serb forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys after they captured the ill-fated town on July 11, 1995, in the final stages of Bosnia’s 1990s war.
It marked the worst atrocity committed on European soil since World War II and was deemed a genocide by international justice, though most ethnic Serbs and their leaders in both Bosnia and Serbia reject the label.
Because the bodies of the victims were originally dumped into mass graves, most of which were then moved in an effort to hide the atrocity, families were not able to bury the remains of their loved ones until they were found years later.
The remains of 19 such victims, including two teenagers, are laid to rest during today’s ceremony, held at a memorial center just outside of town.
They join the remains of 6,671 Srebrenica victims that have been buried at the cemetery so far, while another 236 people have been laid to rest elsewhere.
“I will bury only the skull of my brother but even it is not whole,” Azir Osmanovic tells reporters.
His brother Azmir was 16 years old in July 1995 when he tried to flee Srebrenica with a group of other teenagers as the Serbs captured the town, but entered a mine field, Osmanovic says.
“My brother and two other boys died there.”
Azmir’s skull was found in 2018 and identified a few months ago.