After the genocidal atrocities committed against the Jews in World War Two, the world collectively said “never again”, so why less than 50 years later were concentration camps allowed to exist to exterminate tens of thousands of Muslims in Europe?
Some 60,000 people attended the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, scene of the worst atrocities committed in Europe since the second world war. Muslim Bosniaks prayed near the coffins of 775 newly identified Srebrenica victims during a mass funeral at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial in Potocari on July 11, 2010.
Fifteen years ago, more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed, some 30,000 Bosnian Muslims forcibly expelled while countless women and girls were brutally raped.
The victims were shot and dumped in mass graves, then reburied haphazardly in more than 80 mass graves in a bid to cover up the evidence.
So far, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) identified 6,481 victims of the July 1995 genocide through DNA identification. Serbian President Boris Tadic, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and President Obama’s delegation led by U.S. Ambassador Charaler L. Engleish were among the dignitaries attending the event.
U.S. President Barack Obama opined that “governments redouble their efforts and arrest those responsible for the massacre”.
Three years before the genocide, Serbian forces destroyed hundreds of Bosnian Muslim villages around Srebrenica and committed horrendous massacres against Muslim Bosniak civilians.
Serbs never demilitarised around Srebrenica, despite being required to do so under the 1993 United Nations Security Council Resolution 819. Whilst the Muslim population defending themselves were made to disarm.
In July 1995, Serbian forces perpetrated genocide: 30,000 Muslim Bosniaks were forcibly expelled and 8,100 summarily executed.
As much as blaming the Serbs, the Dutch forces that were protecting Srebrenica have to shoulder their share of the blame. General John Sheehan, a retired marine corps officer who was Nato’s supreme commander at the time of the 1995 atrocity stated:
“The case in point that I’m referring to is when the Dutch were required to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs. The battalion was under-strength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched the Muslims off, and executed them. That was the largest massacre in Europe since world war two.”
The genocide which took place at Srebrenica is not a matter of anybody’s opinion; it’s a judicial fact. One recognised first by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.
“By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general…. The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.”
Do not forget the events that took place in July 1995.