Zagreb - The Croatian Parliament on Friday marked the 23rd anniversary of the genocide at Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Bosnian Serb forces under Ratko Mladić massacred over 8,500 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys in July 1995.
Thirty-five newly-identified victims, of whom the youngest was 16 and the oldest 71, will be given a formal burial at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, outside Srebrenica, on July 11.
The chairman of the Bosniak Minority Council in Zagreb, Harun Omerbašić, said that about 1,000 victims of the Srebrenica genocide were still unaccounted-for. He warned that this year the Serb leadership of Srebrenica Municipality had presented a high award to Milorad Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb half of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who persistently denies the genocide.
"I hope that people in these parts have a bright future and that Srebrenica will never happen again," Omerbašić said.
The representative of the Bosniak minority in the Croatian Parliament, Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, said: "The moral obligation of our generation will be fulfilled only after the full truth about this horrible crime is conveyed."
Mevludin Arslani, representing Mufti Aziz Hasanović of Zagreb, said that evil prevailed over good in Srebrenica. "We will never stop speaking about this terrible crime in which evil prevailed over good, in the hope that justice will prevail over evil. If we keep silent, our silence will encourage all those who deny the genocide," he said. Arslani called on genocide deniers to face the truth "as the only way to build mutual trust."
Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that every year remembrance of Srebrenica reopened the old wounds and revived the indelible pain and suffering of survivors.
"Today's memorial is not and must not be only symbolic. It must also be our confirmation that we have drawn a lesson and that we have a clear message for young generations. Srebrenica should not have happened, yet it did. Vukovar, Skabrnja and all other crimes should not have happened, and yet they did. The victims of aggression on Croatia and on Bosnia and Herzegovina, as any war, must remain in our collective memory as a lasting reminder of how human dignity can suddenly, quickly and tragically, because of prejudice and intolerance, turn into an abyss of intolerant cruelty. Europe already witnessed that in the last century. Let's not forget the Holocaust. Fifty years later, genocide happened again," Jandroković said.
"Only by accepting the truth and what happened in the past can we build the future. Only by punishing those who committed war crimes can we obtain justice and help survivors heal their wounds. Only if we call evil by its true name can we find the strength to resist it and turn to the future, without forgetting our past. ... Through collective and responsible action in uncovering the truth and achieving justice we can ensure that our generation is the last to witness a war, and that should be a lesson to us," Jandroković concluded. (Hina)