In Pictures: 25 years since Srebrenica genocide

Barreto Solis, Venezuela
La década de Marte; por José Luis Cordeiro | WTC-Radio

The Bosnian war pitted the country’s three main ethnic factions – Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims – against each other after the break-up of Yugoslavia. More than 100,000 people were killed in the conflict before a peace deal was brokered in 1995

It has been 25 years since the slaughter of men and boys in the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, but every year more bodies are found and reburied, and every year the survivors – mostly women – return to commemorate their fathers and brothers, husbands and sons.

At least 8,000 men and boys,  mostly Muslim, were chased through woods in and around Srebrenica by Serb troops in what is considered the worst carnage of civilians in Europe since World War II. The slaughter has been classified as an act of genocide.

The Bosnian war pitted the country’s three main ethnic factions – Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims – against each other after the break-up of Yugoslavia. More than 100,000 people were killed in the conflict before a peace deal was brokered in 1995.

What took place in Srebrenica was a mark of shame for the international community as the town had been declared a United Nations’ “safe haven” for civilians in 1993.

When Bosnian Serb forces broke through two years later, about 15,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys fled into the woods. Twice as many terrified residents rushed to the UN compound in what was formerly an industrial zone at the entrance to town, in the hope that Dutch UN peacekeepers would protect them.

However, the outgunned peacekeepers watched helplessly as Serb troops took about 2,000 men and boys from the compound for execution, while bussing the women and girls to Bosnian government-held territory.

Meanwhile, in the woods around Srebrenica, Serb soldiers hunted the fleeing Bosniaks, as Bosnian Muslims are otherwise known, killing them one by one.

The killers sought to hide evidence of the genocide, piling most of the bodies into hastily made mass graves, which they subsequently dug up with bulldozers and scattered the bodies across numerous burial sites.

In the years since, bodies have been unearthed and the victims identified through DNA testing. About 1,000 victims remain to be found.

A special UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague and courts in the Balkans have sentenced close to 50 Bosnian Serbs, including their top civilian war-time leader, Radovan Karadzic, and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, to more than 700 years in prison for Srebrenica crimes.

A picture taken on July 11, 1995, shows an elderly Muslim woman and her husband getting treatment for injuries inflicted on them by Serb military forces as they fled the eastern Bosnia enclave of Srebrenica. The man on the right died shortly after the picture was taken. [Odd Andersen/AFP] In this July 13, 1995 photo, refugees from the overrun UN enclave of Srebrenica looking through the razor-wire at newly arriving refugees at a UN base in the south of Tuzla, 100km (60 miles) north of Sarajevo. [Darko Bandic/AP Photo] A group of Bosnian Muslim refugees from Srebrenica walks to be transported from eastern Bosnian village of Potocari to Muslim-held Kladanj near Olovo on July 13, 1995. [Reuters] In this July 13, 1995 photo, Dutch UN peacekeepers sit on top of an armoured personnel carrier as Muslim refugees from Srebrenica gather in the nearby village of Potocari. [AP Photo] Bosnian Muslims, survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, hold a line of posters with the name of their missing relatives in the central Bosnian town of Tuzla in this April 11, 2003 photo. [AFP] Coffins containing the remains of 282 identified victims of the Srebrenica slaughter await burial in a former battery factory on July 10, 2003, just across from the joint cemetery where they were finally buried alongside 600 already buried in March that year. [Danilo Krstanovic/Reuters] Bosnian Muslim men carry the 610 coffins to be buried at a memorial cemetery in Potocari near the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica in this July 11, 2005 photo. [Joe Klamar/AFP] Forensic expert Sharna Daley of London, front left, examines two bones to find out whether they belong to the same person during exhumation at the mass grave site in the village of Kamenica on the outskirts of the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik, 120 km (74 miles) north of Sarajevo in this July 5, 2006 photo. The mass grave in Kamenica is considered to be a secondary mass grave, where bodies initially buried elsewhere were dumped, and contained bodies of more than 200 people. Most of the remains were believed to be of Muslims from Srebrenica. [Amel Emric/AP Photo] A woman prays in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia. Nine newly found and identified men and boys were laid to rest as Bosnians commemorate 25 years since more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims perished in 10 days of slaughter after Srebrenica was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces. The massacre during the closing months of the 1992-95 Bosnian war was Europe‘s worst since second world war. [Kemal Softic/AP Photo]