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Memorial Service in Potočari and the Burial of 409 More Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide

srebrenica2013-tabuti-mezari-epa2By: Nevena Šarenac

In the memorial center in Potočari today, the remains of 409 more victims of the Srebrenica genocide were buried. Thousands of people gathered in Srebrenica today in order to pay tribute to the victims who were killed in 1995.

The youngest victim that was buried today was baby Muhić, and the oldest person was Edhem (Ramo) Rahmanović, who was born in 1919.

Of the 409 identified victims, 44 were boys aged between 14 and 18 years old. Six boys were 15 years old when they were killed. The victims came from various areas, and most came from the areas of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica, Zvornik and Milići.

The program to mark the 18 years since the genocide against Bosniaks in the “UN Safe Zone “ in Srebrenica and the burial of identified victims from 1995 began this morning with the singing of the national anthem of BiH and a recital of the poem ‘Srebrenica’ by Abdulah Sidran in the Memorial Center in Potočari.

Afterwards, local and international officials made addresses.

“I wish to thank everyone who is here today with us on this saddest day’’, said at the commemoration ceremony in Potočari the Mayor of Srebrenica and the President of the Organizing Committee to mark the 18th year anniversary of the genocide against Bosniaks in Srebrenica Ćamil Duraković.

“I ask you to use your influence and work to help Srebrenica become a place of prosperity, peace and tolerance, for Srebrenica to be an example and clear message for something like this never to happen again. The families deserve this, we deserve this’’, he added in a short address.

The US Ambassador to BiH Patrick Moon is in Potočari for the third and last time as US Ambassador to BiH. He stood alongside the families of the victims of genocide, with citizens of Srebrenica, as well as their friends from throughout the world.

Ambassador Moon said that the international community and citizens of BiH have to do everything in their power and to work together to correct the injustice committed against the citizens of Srebrenica.

“This job will remain incomplete without serious efforts to implement Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, and this is to ensure the rights of all BiH citizens to return to their pre-war homes and to work to create the conditions that would ensure their return’’, said Moon.

Expressing sincere condolences to the victims of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica, Žepa, Milići, Zvornik, Rogatica and Višegrad, Moon stated that “we pledge to never stop looking for victims that have still not been found’’. On behalf of the American people he promised that the US remains committed to helping Srebrenica and all of BIH and said, among other things “May God accept the souls of all those who we are burying today and comfort their loves ones’’.

“If we forget the innocent that were killed, it is as if we have killed them for a second time’’, said High Representative to BiH Valentin Inzko.

He said that if someone wants to become familiar with BiH, they have to first get to know Srebrenica.

“If we wish to understand BiH, we have to first understand Srebrenica. Who does not know Srebrenica, does not know BIH. We pay tribute and pray for those who were killed here. May they find their peace here in this sacred burial ground’’, added Inzko.

“On this painful anniversary we have come to express our condolences for the victims of genocide who were killed in an unjust war’’, said the President of the Friendship Group of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Cooperation with the BiH Parliament Abdullah Humd D. All-Harbey.

Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, said that his attendance at the commemoration means solidarity of the Council of Europe for the victims of genocide.

“The peace is young, and there is no justice, and thousands of victims are waiting for the ones responsible for war crimes face justice. It is unacceptable that war criminals are living in impunity, often in the same communities with victims. The silence and inaction of certain governments is inhumane’’, said the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

The Turkish Minister for Culture and Tourism Omer Celik spoke of the necessity for the entire world and all people to take their share of the responsibility, so that this and similar tragedies would not happen again.

At the end of the commemoration in Potočari, a number of those in attendance paid tribute at the memorial center and laid flowers and candles for innocent victims, after which there were prayers and burials of the remains of the 409 victims of the Srebrenica genocide.

After today, the number of buried victims increased from 5.657 to 6.066.

The white tombstones were raised to the sky should remind all that the Srebrenica genocide should not be remembered, and as a warning for something like this to never happen again.

(Photo Source: Al Jazeera)

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