Survivors of the Srebrenica massacres welcomed the decision by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s international overseer to impose legislation to ban the denial of genocide and war crimes, but some Bosnian Serbs vowed to defy it.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top international official, High Representative Valentin Inzko, used his power to impose amendments to the country’s criminal code to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.
Robert McNeil was one of the first international experts deployed to gather evidence by examining the bodies of victims of the Srebrenica massacres, and memories of what he saw have haunted him ever since.
A report by a commission funded by the government of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity claims that thousands of Bosniaks from Srebrenica who were killed in July 1995 were active soldiers, not civilians.
As the anniversary of the July 1995 massacres by Bosnian Serb forces was marked at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre, international officials condemned denial of the genocide and the continued glorification of war criminals.
BIRN’s newly-updated database of wartime mass graves shows that few of the 94 sites where Srebrenica victims were buried have been marked, while others have become overgrown or been used as dumps, ploughed for farming or sold as construction sites.
Djulsa Velic was one of around 40,000 women, children and elderly people who were expelled from Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, and her testimony has now become part of a major new oral history project.
Serb political leaders in both Serbia and Montenegro continue to deny that the 1995 Srebrenica massacres were genocide, reject international courts’ verdicts and accuse them of anti-Serb bias, opposing attempts to come to terms with the past.
The decision by the UN court in The Hague last month to uphold the life sentence handed down to former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic takes the number of life terms imposed for involvement in the Srebrenica genocide to five.