News 08 Nov 17

Remains of Couple Married in Wartime Srebrenica Identified

The remains of a Bosniak couple who got married in Srebrenica during wartime and were both killed while trying to flee the 1995 massacres have been identified by forensic experts.

Samir Karic
BIRN
Tuzla
Graves of Srebrenica victims. Photo: Wikimedia/Michael Buker.

The Institute for the Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina told BIRN on Wednesday that the remains of the couple, Nijazija and Remzija Dudic, have been identified by experts at the Podrinje Identification Centre in the town of Tuzla.

Omer Dudic confirmed the identification of his brother, Nijazija Dudic, who was 22, and his brother’s wife, Remzija Dudic, who was 20.

The couple met in Srebrenica and got married in 1993.

Dudic said that after the town fell to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, they tried to escape together.

“We knew nothing about [what happened to] them. They were beautiful, they were good folks. She could have avoided going with him, but she did not want to. They decided to go together,” Dudic said.

According to other family members who attended the identification, Remzija Dudic was born in Zvornik, while Nijazija Dudic came from the village of Osmace, near Srebrenica.

During an exhumation near Vlasenica, investigators found a few parts of their remains.

As well as a DNA analysis and identification, family members recognised Remzija Dudic from her boots, while Nijazija Dudic’s brother recognised him from residues of his tracksuit.

“According to what their family says, the spouse was in the sixth month of pregnancy. This is really tragic, because we were unable to find the skeletal remains of the child in the mother’s womb during the exhumation,” said Murat Hurtic, an investigator with the Institute for the Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hurtic told BIRN that he was deeply affected by the identification of the couple’s remains.

“After having worked for so many years, this has really upset me,” he said.

As well as the married couple, the remains of another man, Osman Avdic, were also identified.

Around 8,000 Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica were killed by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995, a crime classified as genocide by domestic and international courts.

Bosnia is still looking for more than 6,000 people who went missing during the war in the country.

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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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