Remembering the Victims at the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

On 11 July Civil Rights Defenders will join the ceremonies to commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina which represents the largest genocide in Europe since World War II.

The Srebrenica genocide took place in July 1995 led by members of the Army of Republika Srpska, under General Ratko Mladic, now on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Between 11 and 19 July 1995, an estimated 8372 Bosnian Muslims, mainly men and boys, were executed in the Srebrenica enclave by Bosnian Serbs forces.

“Srebrenica represents the darkest and bloodiest moments of history in the Balkans and a constant warning that such things must never happen again. On 11 July, we remember all of the innocent victims, sympathise with their families and demand swift and effective prosecutions for all the perpetrators” said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

In addition to Ratko Mladic, several other high-ranking officers and political leaders are also on trial including Radovan Karadzic, former President of Republika Srpska and Slobodan Milosevic, former President of the partitioned Yugoslavia who died before he could be brought to justice for his crimes.

In total, 20 individuals have been brought before the ICTY for acts of genocide during the massacre of which 14 have been sentenced; including General Radislav Krstic, Commander of the Republika Srpska Army (VRS) Drina Corps, Drazen Erdemovic, a Republika Srpska Army soldier with the 10th Sabotage Detachment and Dragan Obrenovic, Deputy Commander of the VRS Zvornik Brigade. Erdemovic and Obrenovic openly admitted their participation in the Srebrenica genocide. Four trials are still ongoing.

Civil Rights Defenders calls for the immediate arrest of all of the remaining perpetrators who participated in the Srebrenica genocide and that justice and redress is given to all victims and their families.

We also urge that that the Serbian Government declares 11 July as an official Memorial Day for the Victims and appeal to Serbians to take part in the upcoming “Seven Thousand” event in Belgrade. The hope is that at least 7000 people, as a sign of solidarity with the victims will gather in the center of the Serbian capital to commemorate the victims of Srebrenicia.

All mechanisms, such as RECOM – The Regional Commission for Establishing the Facts about War Crimes and Other Gross Violations of Human Rights Committed on the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia must be utilised to determine the role and responsibility of the Serbian military and political leaders at Srebrenica. We ask that the Government of Serbia declares the 11th July as an official Memorial Day for the Victims.

You can obtain more information about the Srebrenica genocide on the interactive platform Srebrenica Mapping Genocide  created in conjunction with Civil Rights Defenders and  our partner the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also the Dossier made in partnership with Civil Rights Defenders and the Humanitarian Law Center (available only in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.