Around 3,000 people converge at Potocari Memorial Cemetery to honor genocide victims
A three-day peace march in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended Sunday with thousands of participants reaching the Potocari Memorial Cemetery, where a funeral prayer and burial ceremony will be held as part of commemorations marking the 27th anniversary of the 1995 genocide in the town of Srebrenica.
Traditionally, thousands of people from all over the world come to the Bosnian town of Nezuk every year to participate in the march.
Around 3,000 people took part this year, according to officials.
The participants marched for three days and spend the nights in designated areas.
Meanwhile, hundreds of motorcyclists from various countries who took off from the capital Sarajevo also arrived in Potocari to participate in the ceremony on Monday.
Participants of the 11th Vukovar-Srebrenica Marathon which began in Croatia’s capital Zagreb also arrived.
They proceeded to Srebrenica from the Ovcara Memorial Center in Vukovar, where a massacre took place in eastern Croatia in 1991, and will reach the Potocari Memorial Cemetery in Srebrenica on Sunday, after a 227-kilometer (141-mile) road journey.
Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of the genocide – which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people – are buried in the memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia.
Thousands of visitors from various countries will attend the funeral service and burials.
After this year’s funeral, the number of burials in the cemetery will rise to 6,721.
– Srebrenica genocide
In July 1995, Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.
The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic – who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – overran the UN zone.
Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys in a single day on July 11.
About 15,000 Srebrenicans fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.
The bodies of the victims of the genocide were found in 570 parts of the country.
In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.
On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.