Sunday, July 11, 2010 marked the fifteen-year anniversary of the fall of Srebrenica. During the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, Srebrenica was one of a few lone Bosniak holdouts in the east. Completely surrounded by Bosnian Serb forces, the town was declared a safe haven in 1993, to be protected and disarmed by United Nations soldiers.
In the days after the town fell in 1995, some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were systematically murdered.
Each year at Potocari — a memorial site and cemetery at the former UN base outside Srebrenica, where many survivors last saw their loved ones — exhumed remains are buried. This year, another 775 coffins were added to the nearly 4,000 others in the cemetery. Among them were Hasan Nuhanovic’s brother and mother, finally laid to rest beside his father’s grave.
Many dignitaries attended the ceremony, including U.S. Ambassador Charles English, who read a statement from President Obama, and Serbian President Boris Tadic, who stated his presence was an “act of reconciliation.” The Bosnian Serbs were represented at the ceremony by a low-level delegation, headed by the deputy president of their portion of Bosnia. (After the war ended, a peace agreement negotiated the establishment of two state entities inside Bosnia.) The day before the ceremony, in a deliberate provocation, the Serb Democratic Party — a political party established by the former Bosnia Serb leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic — had honored the Bosnian Serb deputy president.
Although there have been many significant gains since the war ended, Bosnia remains, in many ways, divided by the legacy of the war.
On Thursday, July 15th, the Museum will host a conference to explore this legacy and reexamine U.S. and European policy towards the Balkan region. Join us at the program or online shortly thereafter to access transcripts and videos from the event.