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Bosnia buries victims as it marks Srebrenica anniversary

Reuters

Tens of thousands of people turned out at a ceremony in Bosnia on Sunday to mark 15 years since the Srebrenica massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslims by Bosnian Serbs. It was the the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II, and the darkest episode of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

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The ceremony, at the Potocari cemetery near Srebrenica, was attended by Serbian President Boris Tadic, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

The presence of Serbia's president Tadic was a sore point for many survivors who point out that Ratko Mladic, the fugitive Bosnian Serb wartime military commander charged with genocide by the UN war crimes court, is still believed to be hiding in Serbia.

The ceremony saw the burial of 775 recently identified victims who will join the 3,749 already laid to rest there.

Nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered in the days following the fall of the Srebrenica enclave, which was designated a UN safe area, to Bosnian Serb troops on 11 July, 1995.

The Serbian parliament passed a landmark resolution in March condemning the Srebrenica massacre

The massacre is the only episode of the conflict to have been deemed a genocide by the United Nations war crimes court and the International Court of Justice, the UN's top court.
The victims were shot and interred in mass graves, then reburied later in more than 70 sites in a bid to cover up the evidence.

The bones, exhumed by forensic experts, were buried in Potocari after identification by DNA testing. The remains of nearly 6,500 people have been identified.

While Mladic is believed to be still in hiding, the other alleged mastermind behind the Bosnian Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing, political leader Radovan Karadzic, was arrested in Belgrade in 2008.

He is on trial for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

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