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Bosnian Serbs commemorate their dead

Bosnian Serbs commemorate their dead

Some 2,000 people turned out to remember Serbs _ many of them soldiers _ killed by Bosnian forces on Tuesday, claiming their suffering has been ignored as the world focuses on the notorious 1995 Serb slaughter of 8,000 Muslim Bosnians at Srebrenica.
The ceremony was held just 6 miles (10 kilometers) north of the site of the massacre and came just a day after 40,000 people solemnly paid their respects on the 16th anniversary of the worst crime in Europe since the Nazi era.
Ethnic Serbs kept Muslim Bosnians in Srebrenica besieged throughout the 1992-95 war for Serb dominance of Bosnia, culminating in the murder of thousands of Muslim men and boys. The International Court of Justice has ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was an act of genocide and that Serbia could have prevented it.
However, many ethnic Serbs in Bosnia see themselves as the victims of Bosnian aggression, claiming that over 3,000 Serb soldier and civilians were killed in attacks. Neither the Serbian public nor those living in the Serb part of Bosnia have been ready to fully accept their role in the crime.
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik complained at the military ceremony that while several Serbs are jailed for Srebrenica, nobody has stood trial for crimes committed against Serbs.
Dodik did not attend Monday's ceremony, as has been the case for Bosnian Serb leaders for 16 years, reflecting the deep division that still remains among Muslim Bosnians, Croats and Serbs. Bosnia is divided in two ministates _ one for the Serbs, the other shared by Muslim Bosnians and Croats.
Neighboring Serbia supported the Bosnian Serbs during the war politically and logistically.
The Serb commemoration has previously been used by some participants to insult Muslims by wearing T-shirts with the image of Ratko Mladic _ the Serb general who led Srebrenica massacre. Though he is now facing a genocide trial, many Serbs still see him as a national hero.
Police said two Serbian Parliament lawmakers came from Belgrade carrying flags with Mladic's image.
Jonathan Moore, the deputy to the U.S. Ambassador in Bosnia, said embassy representatives attended the commemoration for victims in Srebrenica but not the one in Bratunac a day later because they do not attend commemorations for soldiers on any side, particularly not one that honors "criminals who committed offenses against civilians."
But, Serb family members of the dead mourned next to their loved ones' graves. Slavka Matic said she lost two daughters and her husband in a Muslim attack on her village in 1993.
"I am alone in this world since then, and I don't know what to do," she said, and then broke into tears.


Updated : 2021-06-13 16:54 GMT+08:00