Srebrenica Genocide: More Than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks Were Massacred During Bosnian War

During the worst savagery in Europe since the end of World War II, Bosnian Serb militants assaulted a UN-established safe zone in the eastern town of Srebrenica, separated about 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the women who had sought shelter in the area, led them into fields and warehouses in surrounding villages, and massacred them over the course of three days.

The massacre which was generally considered to be an act of genocide was supported by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s government in Belgrade. The Bosnian Serbs, under the leadership of Radovan Karadzic, were attempting to eradicate Bosnia’s Muslim population as part of an attempt to carve a “greater Serbia” out of the ruins of Yugoslavia, the polyglot communist state whose breakup into seven different countries began in the early 1990s.

Under the leadership of Ratko Mladic, Milosevic, Karadzic, and Bosnian Serb militants used ethnic cleansing to cleave off as much of Bosnia as possible for the Serbian-dominated remains of Yugoslavia.

The mass murder of 1995 in the Srebrenica conveyed the brutal message that Muslims weren’t safe anywhere inside of the country and that the UN and the international community were unable or unwilling to protect them.

In 1993, the UN had established a demilitarized zone in Srebrenica, an area where Muslims who had been forced out of their homes elsewhere in Bosnia could find safety from the Bosnian Serb onslaught.

A survey of the mass of evidence revealed that the fall of Srebrenica formed part of a policy by the three “great powers”, Britain, France and the US, and by the UN leadership, in pursuit of peace at any price; peace at the terrible expense of Srebrenica, which gathered critical mass from 1994 onwards, and reached its bloody denouement in July 1995.

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The evidence demonstrates the powers were aware of Mladic’s declared intention to have the Bosniak Muslim population of the entire region “vanish completely”.

In the spring of 1992, Bosnian Serb troops had launched a hurricane of violence in pursuit of a racially pure “statelet”, after multi-ethnic Bosnia voted for independence from disintegrating Yugoslavia. And nowhere more savagely than in eastern Bosnia, where entire villages were eradicated, towns torched, their populations killed or put to flight by what Karadžic called “ethnic cleansing”.

Shortly after the assault, NATO bombs started dropping bombs on Serbian positions. In November 1995, Milosevic and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović signed the US-brokered Dayton Accords, which left Bosnia as a single country while creating an autonomous Serb “republic” behind the Bosnian Serb frontline, in areas that had been ethnically cleansed of their Muslim population.

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Srebrenica played an outsize role in bringing about this indecisive end to the conflict. And the atrocity was on such a massive scale that victims are still being disinterred from mass graves in the area and identified.

Each year on the anniversary of the killings, the Bosnian government releases bodies that were recently discovered, in whole or in part, in the hills and fields that surround the town. The friends and relatives of the victims attend a mass funeral each year.

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