Thousands are heading toward the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica to mark the anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, known as the worst atrocity committed on European soil since World War II.
Families and friends of the 35 identified victims whose remains were identified throughout the past year have gathered at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre in Potocari to bury their loved ones.
It is the smallest funeral this cemetery has seen, as it has already become the final resting place for more than 6,000 victims whose remains had been found throughout the years.
Thousands, including international officials, will pay their respects to the victims once again this year.
On July 11, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces overran the eastern Bosnian enclave and rounded up the town’s Muslim Bosniaks, separated men from women and little children and systematically executed some 8,000 men and boys.
The bodies of the victims were dumped into numerous mass graves in the area. Forensic experts excavated them and identified the bones through DNA analysis before returning the bodies to the families. They then re-bury them every year on July 11 at the Memorial Centre’s cemetery.
Two international courts, The International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) later ruled that the massacre was an act of genocide.
International and regional courts have sentenced 45 people for what happened in Srebrenica to a total of more than 700 years behind bars. Those who the ICTY sentenced to life imprisonment are Ljubisa Beara, Zdravko Tolimir, and Vujadin Popovic. But the most well known alleged masterminds of what happened in Srebrenica are former Bosnian Serb politician Radovan Karadzic and ex Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, and both have been sentenced for it but have appealed.
The youngest of the victims that will be laid to rest throughout Wednesday is 16-year-old Vesid Ibric, while the oldest is Sahin Halilovic, 71. Remzija Dudic, 20, who was pregnant at the time of death is among them as well, and she will be buried next to her 22-year-old husband.