At noon today, the coffins of 175 newly identified Srebrenica victims passed through Sarajevo’s city center. Silence fell in the main street as authorities blocked traffic and mourners gathered to pay their respects. The procession will end in the town of Potocari, where victims are to be buried at the Srebrenica Memorial Center.
This July marks the nineteenth anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where, according to estimates made by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in December 2012, 7,000 to 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were murdered with thousands of others suffering “deportation, imprisonment, torture, and rape.” These events, occurring over just a three day-span, constitute the largest instance of mass casualties in Europe since World War II. As several victims were dismembered and buried in mass graves, forensic scientists are still uncovering the identities of the deceased in 2014.
According to the Croatian dans.hr, today’s procession included the remains of Senad Begaovic, a Bosnian killed at the age of 14 and the youngest victim to be honoured at the ceremony in Potocari this year.
At this morning’s event, hundreds of Sarajevans and international visitors exchanged sober glances as the police-protected van donning the national flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed. With tears in their eyes, several mourners paid tribute by placing flowers in the van’s siding.
The 175 newly identified victims will be laid to rest in Srebrenica on Friday.
Photo credits: Dana McKelvey