In memoriam: Bosnians pray as the coffins of 520 Muslim men and boys killed in Srebrenica in 1995 are buried


POTOCARI, BOSNIA – Thousands of Bosnian Muslims prayed yesterday as the coffins of 520 Muslim men and boys killed in Srebrenica in 1995 and tipped into mass graves were passed overhead through the crowd and finally buried 17 years later.

Draped in green cloth, the coffins were interred under a scorching sun in the Potocari memorial centre in eastern Bosnia at a funeral marking the anniversary of the massacre that brought the number of victims identified and buried to 5,657.

Bosnian Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladic is on trial in The Hague accused of masterminding Europe’s worst atrocity since the second World War during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, but for the families of the victims, the search for justice was of little comfort. “I don’t care what happens any more. There is no verdict that could bring back my son,” said Sefika Menakic (56) whose 15-year-old son, Adem, was killed as he tried to escape through the hills after Dutch peacekeepers abandoned the town designated as a UN “safe haven” to Mladic’s Bosnian Serb forces. Menakic learned three months ago that forensic experts had identified a shoulder bone of her son and several ribs, which she buried. “It kills me to think he lies there headless,” she said. “But at least I know I have a place to come and pray for his soul.”

The remains of an estimated 2,400 Muslim men and boys are still to be identified or dug up from the mass graves in which they were dumped by Mladic’s forces. – (Reuters)