A joint funeral is being held on Tuesday for 30 victims of the July 1995 genocide of Bosniaks, with thousands of mourners expected to attend the annual commemoration at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Four minors are among the victims being buried, who have been identified over the past year. The youngest is Elvir Salcinovic, who was 15 years old when he was killed in 1995 and whose remains were found in the Liplje mass grave near the city of Zvornik in 2001.
His family waited two decades to summon up the strength to bury him next to his father and brother, Turabi and Almir, who were buried in 2003 and 2011. The Salcinovic family are still looking for another one of Elvir, Turabi and Almir’s brothers.
One of the other minors whose remains are being laid to rest is Esed Klempic, who was 16 years old when he was killed.
He grew up in the village of Bukovica with four sisters, to whom he said goodbye for the last time on July 10, 1995, when he decided to try to escape from Bosnian Serb forces by fleeing through woodlands.
Mustafa Begovic, Klempic’s nephew, told BIRN that the genocide anniversary is a difficult time for the family.
“The hardest thing for me is when I see my mum and her sisters. Every July there is silence and pain in our houses,” Begovic said.
Over 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in a series of massacres by Bosnian Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic after they overran the UN-declared ‘safe zone’ of Srebrenica in July 1995. The killings have been legally classified as genocide by international court rulings.
Tuesday’s mass funeral will raise the number of victims buried at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre in the village of Potocari to 6,751. Around 1,000 victims’ remains are yet to be found.
Some 4,000 people who took part in a 100-kilometre, three-day-long Peace March, following in reverse the steps many Bosniaks took while fleeing for their lives in July 1995, reached Potocari on Monday.
The marchers will attend the funeral together with the families of the deceased, diplomats, politicians and others.
Each year, following the joint funeral of the recently-identified Srebrenica genocide victims, excavations take place in Potocari to inter newly-discovered remains of people who have already been buried.
This year, 71 graves will be opened to bury additional remains.
There are also around 400 sets of remains, most of which have been identified, at the Podrinje Identification Project facilities in the city of Tuzla, awaiting burial in the future.
Source : Balkaninsight