News 26 Jul 12

Ban Ki-moon Honours Srebrenica Massacre Victims

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon paid respect to the victims of 1995 massacre of Bosniaks [Muslims] in Srebrenica by laying a wreath in Potocari.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo

On the second day of his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ban Ki-moon visited the Memorial Center in Potocari and bowed in homage to the victims of the Srebrenica massacre.

“I am standing here in sorrow. We are sharing the pain. I am expressing my deep respect to the victims," he said.

"We sympathize with their families. I am telling all of them that the whole world is with them. Nothing can compensate for such pain and emptiness in hearts. Nobody can replace a father's hand and child's smile. I know that many mothers buried their sons here. I am expressing my deep respect,” Ki-moon added.

Bosnian Serb forces killed over 7,000 Bosniak men and boys in the town in eastern Bosnia in 1995 in a massacre that courts have since qualified as genocide.

“While I am standing here, looking at the endless lines of graves and names Amir, Fikret, Hamdija and eight thousands of others, I would like to say that Srebrenica is sacred ground for the victims' families, but also for nations' families,” Ki-moon continued.

The UN Secretary General said that lessons from Srebrenica must be learned in order to avoid other such massacres from occurring in the world.

During his visit to Potocari, Ban Ki-moon was accompanied by Bakir Izetbegovic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Secretary General spoke to representatives of victims' associations in the Memorial Center premises.

The Bosnian Serb Army of the Republika Srpska, VRS, occupied Srebrenica, then a UN protected zone, on July 11, 1995. Most local residents fled to the UN base in Potocari.

The Bosnian Serbs evacuated the women and children to territories controlled by the Bosniak-led Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina but executed the men at various locations.

Media reports say that Ban Ki-moon inspected the wall engraved with the names of all the 8,372 victims and was informed about other data related to the killings.

The UN Secretary General's two-day visit to Bosnia started on July 25. In Sarajevo, he met members of the State Presidency, the State Parliament and representatives of political parties and other institutions.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.

The Indictment Against Ratko Mladic

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002 and 2010, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic: From Promising Officer to Bloodstained Warlord

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

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