News 28 Mar 12

Sarajevo to Mark 20 Years Since Siege Started

City plans ambitious artistic event to honour the more than 10,000 victims of the siege that began almost 20 years ago.

Elvira Jukic

Sarajevo has unveiled plans to commemorate the start of the Bosnian Serb siege on April 6 that cost more than 11,500 lives before it ended in 1995.

The plan for the events, called Sarajevo Red Line, was presented on March 27 at the City Hall by a team of artists and officials.

The plan is to set a stage next to the Eternal Flame in the heart of Sarajevo and set 11,541 red chairs in the auditorium – symbolising the number of lost lives.

“From the stage near the Eternal Flame down the Marshall Tito Street [the main street] 11,541 red chairs will be set in 825 lines,” explained Haris Pasovic, the author and director and one of the organizers of the event.

“The red auditorium will be 800 metres long and will end near Ali Pasha Mosque,” he added.

According to the Research and Documentation Centre Sarajevo, of the 11,541 people killed in the siege, 643 were children.

Pasovic said many artists and young people will take part in the programme, which will include concerts and art shows.

Alija Behmen, Mayor of Sarajevo, said it was important to commemorate the siege as a warning to the world about the human potential for destruction.

The siege of Sarajevo lasted 44 months and is considered the longest in modern history. Most people killed in the city were hit by snipers and bombs fired from the surrounding Serb-held mountains.

The International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, sentenced two former Bosnian Serb generals for overseeing the siege of Sarajevo.

Stanislav Galic and Dragomir Milosevic were found guilty of terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo and sentenced to life imprisonment and 29 years' imprisonment respectively.

The April 6 commemoration will be the first time that Sarajevo has put on an official programme of this kind in memory of the victims of the siege.

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