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The Srebrenica Genocide – Lest We Forget

The Srebrenica Genocide – Lest We Forget

The Srebrenica genocide (genocid u Srebrenici), or massacre (masakr), was a massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), especially men and boys, in the city of Srebrenica in the easternmost part of Bosnia and Herzegovina near the border with Serbia. The tragedy took place in July 1995.

The genocide was the culmination of Serb aggression against the independent and sovereign state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aggression started in April 1992 and ended in December 1995.

The genocide was committed by the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (then a quasi and utterly illegal entity inside Bosnia and Herzegovina), with the help of various military and paramilitary units from the neighboring Serbia.

The Army was under the command of Ratko Mladić. Republika Srpska was under the political, as well as ideological, leadership of Radovan Karadžić, who was under the complete tutelage of Serbia and its leader, Slobodan Milošević.

Apart from the killings, more than 20,000 civilians were also expelled from the Srebrenica enclave as part of the process of ethnic cleansing. The people were deported and forcibly displaced – not only from Srebrenica, but also from many other Bosnian cities and villages – in order to create vast homogeneous Serb geographical areas. The areas were meant to subsequently become part of a Greater Serbia.

The doctrine of a Greater or Great Serbia (Velika Srbija) was integral to a Serb nationalist ideology. According to it, all territories and regions of perceived traditional importance to Serbs, including such as lay outside Serbia, were to be integrated into one huge and powerful state.

Since Bosnia and Herzegovina has a 357 km border with Serbia to the east, and since many Serbs resided in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country was an immediate target of the Serb unholy plans.

At any rate, the war in Bosnia was by no means a civil war in the conventional sense of the word. Rather, it was a war of aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The war was characterized by the meticulously planned and systematically executed, and assisted as well as abetted, genocide and ethnic cleansing predominantly against the Bosniaks.

The Srebrenica genocide started on July 11, 1995, and was completed on July 22, 1995. The bodies of the victims were found at 150 different locations, 70 of which were categorized as mass graves. Over 1,000 persons are still considered missing. Every year, new bodies are found, exhumed, identified and properly buried. For example, this year (2019), 33 new bodies were found and the Islamic funeral prayer was performed over them at the Srebrenica Genocide

Memorial Center, which includes a cemetery for all the victims. Of the 33 victims, the youngest was a 16-year-old boy, and the oldest an 82-year-old woman.

The irony is that as early as in April 1993, Srebrenica was designated by the UN Resolutions 819 and 836 as a “demilitarized and safe area”, which was supposed to be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act. That “safe” and “internationally protected” area – sanctuary or haven – was to be safeguarded by the UN peacekeeping units employing “all necessary means, including the use of force.”

However, “while the Bosniak defenders of Srebrenica largely demilitarized, as confirmed by UN conclusions, the Serb forces surrounding the enclave were well armed and refused to honor their part of the demilitarization agreement.” And when the fated day(s) arrived, the UN peacekeeping troops did virtually nothing to stop the assaulting Serb forces. For that, Dutch soldiers who acted as UN peacekeepers in Srebrenica were held partly liable for the ensuing carnage.

The results were catastrophic. The events represented the worst organized and state-sponsored atrocity, crime and barbarism Europe has ever seen since World War II. However, the only “crime” of the Srebrenica Bosniaks was that they were Muslims, and that they stood in the way of the Serb ethnic nationalists’ well-established and renowned monstrosity, savagery and primitiveness.

 

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About Dr. Spahic Omer

Dr. Spahic Omer, an award-winning author, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. In the year 2000, he obtained his PhD from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur in the field of Islamic history and civilization. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and theory of Islamic built environment. He can be reached at: [email protected].

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