Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Freshly dug graves with nearby caskets and thousands of crying people on Friday marked the 13th anniversary of the 1995 massacre in the former eastern Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. More than 30,000 people gathered at the Memorial Centre in Potocari near Srebrenica to attend the commemoration and funeral for 308 recently identified victims of the massacre in which Bosnian Serb troops killed up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men after capturing Srebrenica area on July 11, 1995, during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia- Herzegovina.
With the funeral on Friday, the number of Srebrenica victims buried in Potocari will total 3,215. The youngest victim to be buried today was a 15-year-old teenager and the oldest an 84-year-old man. “Our pain is huge, immeasurable,” Srebrenica’s mayor Abdurahman Malkic said starting the commemoration ceremony. But instead of being a symbol of horror and suffering, Srebrenica must become a symbol of peace and prosperity, he said. Bosnia’s top officials as well as international representatives and members of Serbian non-governmental organizations came to Potocari for the commemoration. Mustafa Ceric, the leader of Bosnia’s Islamic Community Reisu-l- Ulema, is to lead the religious service for the victims. Meanwhile, Bosnian forensic experts continued work on excavating a mass grave in the nearby village of Pusmulici. The remains of seven people, believed to be victims of the Srebrenica massacre, were exhumed in the last seven days since the grave was opened. Still awaiting identification and proper burial are the remains of an unknown number of victims exhumed from more than 60 mass graves discovered in the Srebrenica area during the last decade, and currently packed in more than 5,000 bags. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s central government, the Council of Ministers, declared July 11, a national mourning day in honour of the victims.