28 years after genocide, Bosniak Muslims mourn their dead but celebrate a return of Islamic life to Srebrenica

Nearly three decades later, Srebrenica’s dead are still coming home. Earlier this month, the remains of 27 men and three teenage boys were delivered to the remote valley that played host to Europe’s second genocide of the 20th century.

The victims, identified by the International Commission on Missing Persons, will be buried alongside the more than 6,600 graves that dot the Potočari valley in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, now home to the Srebrenica Memorial Center honoring the 8,372 Bosniak Muslims, mostly men and boys, murdered at the hands of Serb militias in 1995 amid the Bosnian war.

The Srebrenica massacre, carried out in an area the United Nations had declared a safe zone for refugees, has since been deemed an act of genocide by successive courts within the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, or ICTY.

The funeral honoring the 30 massacre victims, conducted by Bosnia’s highest-ranking Islamic leader, the Reisul-Ulema or grand mufti, Husein Kavazović, was part of a number of events commemorating the 28th anniversary of the genocide, including a march that drew thousands and, on Monday, a conference dedicated to both Srebrenica and Holocaust remembrance that was hosted jointly with the World Jewish Congress.

The conference was the project of Menachem Rosensaft, the WJC’s associate executive vice president and the son of two Holocaust survivors. Rosensaft has spent most of his life working in the field of Holocaust remembrance but in recent years has become an impassioned advocate for awareness of the Srebrenica genocide.


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