Srebrenica: 613 victims reburied on anniversary

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Media captionMore than 600 victims are being given a proper burial

Mourners have gathered in Srebrenica to mark 16 years since the massacre of some 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) by Bosnian Serb forces.

The remains of 613 victims recovered from mass graves and identified over the past year are being reburied at a nearby memorial centre.

The Bosnian Serb commander at Srebrenica, Ratko Mladic, was arrested in May and is on trial at The Hague.

He is accused of ordering the killings around the east Bosnian town in 1995.

The massacre was carried out over five days, after Bosnian Serb forces overran the Srebrenica enclave, which had been guarded by a lightly armed force of Dutch UN peacekeepers.

Srebrenica's deputy mayor, Tchamil Durakovic, told the BBC World Service that those involved in the massacre must be brought to justice in order to educate new generations.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague tweeted that it was "time to pause and think of families of 8,500 Bosniak men and boys killed".

Coffins on the grass

Families of the dead were among thousands of people attending the mass funeral at the Potocari memorial centre, just north of Srebrenica, on Monday.

Coffins of victims lay wrapped in green cloth on the grass ahead of burial as people prayed around them or looked for the names of their loved ones.

Around 4,000 victims have so far been buried at Potocari, which was built in 2003 across from the former Dutch base where Bosniaks had sought shelter in vain.

Mr Durakovic, the deputy mayor, was 16 at the time of the killings. He lost many friends of the same age and only escaped himself by walking through the mountains to Tuzla.

"Srebrenica is a test that the whole world failed in 1995 because it was happening in front of their eyes and nobody did anything to prevent this," Mr Durakovic told the BBC.

"Now they are all coming here to give excuses to feel sorry but at the moment when it occurred I didn't see this many people coming here to intervene and do something about it, to prevent it."

He said he feared that new generations would see genocide "as a legal act" if the perpetrators were not brought to justice.

"We need to get all of the bodies that were hidden, we need to find them, identify and bury them here at the memorial centre and we need all war criminals to face justice individually and institutionally," Mr Durakovic said.

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