Sarajevo Remembers Srebrenica Victims

Hundreds of people lined Sarajevo's main street Saturday, July 8, as a convoy carrying the remains of 505 Bosnian Muslims slaughtered in Srebrenica headed for burial 11 years after the 1995 massacre.

Sarajevo Remembers Srebrenica Victims

The crowd included survivors and relatives of people killed in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The victims, aged between 15 and 78, whose remains were found in mass graves and later identified by DNA analysis, will be buried on Tuesday at the eastern Bosnian town's memorial cemetery.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the joint funeral, including the UN chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred after Serb forces overran the town in July 1995. Their bodies were later found in more than 60 mass graves that have been exhumed around Srebrenica.

Some 2,000 victims have already been buried at the memorial cemetery, built in 2003, but thousands of others have yet to be identified as the search for more burial sites continues.

Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic, the two people considered most responsible for the massacre, remain at large.

The pair face charges of genocide for atrocities committed during the war, which claimed up to 200,000 victims.

Kosovo Trial

Meanwhile, a mammoth war crimes trial starts at the UN warcrimes court in the Hague on Monday of six top Serbian officials, including former president Milan Milutinovic, accused of atrocities committed by Serb troops during the 1998-99 crackdown on Kosovo.

Following the death of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in March the case has become pivotal for establishing what happened in Serbia's mainly ethnic-Albanian province of Kosovo from a legal point of view, reported AFP.

That is because much of the evidence that will be presented is expected to be similar to the prosecution's Kosovo case in the Milosevic trial.

The former Yugoslav president died suddenly on March 11 and his trial, the first to deal with the alleged Serb atrocities committed during the Kosovo war, was closed without the judges ruling on the evidence presented.

The men on trial Monday are accused of forming a joint criminal enterprise with Milosevic aimed at changing Kosovo's ethnic make-up "to ensure continued Serbian control over the province."

In the dock alongside ex-Serbian president Milutinovic will be the former Serbian prime minister Nikola Sainovic, two former Yugoslav army chiefs of staff — generals Dragoljub Ojdanic and Nebojsa Pavkovic -- and generals Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic.

They face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the forced deportation of some 800,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians, the murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanians, including women and children, sexual assaults by the Serb troops and the destruction of Kosovo Albanian Muslim sites.

Another former Serbian general Vlastimir Djordjevic was initially indicted along with the other six but he is still on the run.

The Serb crackdown on Kosovo left hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians internally displaced or fleeing the province to neighboring countries like Albania and Macedonia.

The world was shocked by the images of columns of disheveled Kosovo Albanians arriving at the borders who told stories of raided villages, burned homes and Serb brutality.

In March 1999 after peace talks collapsed, NATO launched airstrikes against targets in Serbia and Kosovo to force the Serb troops to retreat.

In June 1999 the bombing stopped after an agreement was reached with the Serb and Yugoslav troops in Kosovo to withdraw. Legally Kosovo remains a province of Serbia but it is now run by the United Nations and NATO.

In February of this year UN-sponsored talks on Kosovo's future status began, but so far the negotiations have produced no concrete results. The Kosovo Albanians are pushing for independence.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16