Countries across the world mark the UN International day od Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica

Across Europe and the world, the 29th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide was marked, the worst crime committed on European soil since World War II, where over eight thousand Bosniak men and boys were killed.

The remains of 14 genocide victims identified over the past year, including one minor, were buried on July 11th at the Memorial Center in Potočari, where a total of 6,751 victims have been laid to rest. The youngest victim whose posthumous remains were buried today is 17-year-old Beriz Mujić. His grave is next to his brother Hazim, who was buried in Potočari in 2013. The oldest victim buried today is Hamed Salić, born in 1927. He was 68 when he went missing in the summer of 1995 in area of Žepa.  Efendić brothers –  Hasib and Ćamil, were buried together this year, who will find their eternal peace next to their third brother Edhem, who was buried in Potočari in 2007. All of this, as well as the entire “tombstone valley” in Potočari speaks of scale of the greatest war crime on the European soil after World War II. According to the Institute for Missing Persons of BiH, about 800 victims are still being searched for.

This 1995 war crime has been characterized as genocide by both domestic and international courts. It was committed by members of the Army of Republika Srpska under the command of Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, who were sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). At least 47 individuals have been convicted for crimes in Srebrenica, receiving over 700 years of prison sentences in total.

In addition to the Memorial Center in Potočari, the genocide is commemorated in numerous European countries, the United States, and beyond.

This year’s commemoration of the genocide anniversary has gained special significance following the adoption of a Resolution by the United Nations General Assembly in May, declaring July 11th as the “International Day of Remembrance and Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide 1995.”

The Resolution also condemns any denial of the Srebrenica genocide and calls on states to prevent denial by preserving established facts, including through their educational systems. The adoption of the Resolution is an international recognition that provides important support to survivors who are still burying the remains of their family members while facing denial and hate speech.

Furthermore, the UN Resolution draws attention to the holding of commemorations worldwide, in countries that honor the victims and affirm the truth about the Srebrenica genocide.

In addition to numerous commemorations in many countries, high-level tributes were paid to the victims at the United Nations in New York. Commemorations were also held in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, and other European countries.

The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi issued a joint statement on the genocide anniversary.

“The Srebrenica genocide is one of the darkest moments in modern European history. We call on leaders to reject divisive rhetoric and work towards truth, justice, trust, and dialogue,” they wrote in the joint statement.

The Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Bećirović, laid flowers at the memorial in Srebrenica and paid tribute to the genocide victims.

“The implementation of the Genocide Resolution has begun, and no one will ever stop it again. The whole world will henceforth mark the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Genocide. The Resolution’s goal is not to harm anyone; it calls for the prevention of genocide and the education of young generations so that this evil never happens again to anyone,” Bećirović said.

The commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide on July 11th is not officially conducted at the state level in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to deep political divisions within the country.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not decide to declare July 11th a day of mourning. This proposal was rejected due to the veto rights of the deputy chairman from the entity of Republika Srpska.

The National Assembly of Republika Srpska adopted a statement protesting the UN Resolution, and the president of that entity, Milorad Dodik, said that the adoption of the resolution would cause irreparable damage and “mark the end of BiH.” He threatened that Republika Srpska, where Srebrenica is located, would secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On the other hand, numerous local and international officials highlight the importance of commemorating the Srebrenica genocide, as it serves as a reminder of the ongoing commitment to building a safer and fairer future for all. Commemorations like this remind us of the shared responsibility to oppose hatred, intolerance, and violence.

The European Union also remains committed to supporting initiatives that promote peace and understanding among peoples and continues to work towards ensuring that all war crime perpetrators are brought to justice.