News 08 Jul 15

Activists Install Srebrenica Memorial in Belgrade

Belgrade peace activists installed a memorial to the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, calling the massacres of Bosniaks in July 1995 the worst crime since the Holocaust.

Ivana Nikolic
BIRN
Belgrade
The peace group with a banner commemorating Srebrenica victims. Photo: BIRN.

Serbian peace group Women in Black installed the small stone memorial with the number 8,372 on it, representing the total number of identified victims of Srebrenica genocide, on Srebrenicka Street in downtown Belgrade on Tuesday.

The memorial was inspired by similar stone tributes commemorating the Holocaust which have been installed in Germany by a Berlin artist.

“We chose it because we believe that the two historic watersheds in the 20th century are Auschwitz, as a symbol of all crimes committed in Germany by the Nazis, and Srebrenica, as the symbol of the greatest crime in the territory of Europe after WWII and the paradigm of all Serb crimes,” said Stasa Zajovic of Women in Black.

Zajovic said that the memorial was intended to challenge genocide denial in Serbia society and political circles.

The Belgrade government does not agree that the 1995 mass killings of Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb forces amounted to genocide. In 2010, parliament adopted a resolution condemning the killings in Srebrenica, but stopped short of calling it genocide.

Peace activists install the stone memorial. Photo: BIRN.

During the installation, activists carried banners with the slogan: “20 years since the genocide in Srebrenica. We remember.”

“We think it is necessary to make a serious break with the 1990s legacy, the hardest of all being the genocide in Srebrenica,” Zajovic said.

The event was one of only a few in Serbia to mark the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica.

Women in Black and other human rights NGOs have also asked people to join an awareness-raising action on Saturday called #7000, which aims to symbolically gather 7,000 people in front of the National Assembly in Belgrade.

At the commemorative event, people will lie on the ground, symbolising the approximate number of Bosniaks from Srebrenica massacred by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995. People wanting to take part can register for a number via the campaign’s website.

On Tuesday, 43 NGOs from Serbia called on parliament and the government to take part in the event.

However the originator of the #7000 campaign, journalist Dusan Masic, has said that he has received threats from people angered by the initiative.

Meanwhile far-right organizations Dveri and Zavetnici and members of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party have announced that they will hold gatherings at the same time.

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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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