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Evidence of Genocide

It took some time after the fall of Srebrenica for international aid groups, the United Nations, and governments around the world to learn what had actually happened. Because Bosnian Serb leaders refused to allow outside organizations access to the surrounding areas of Srebrenica, survivors and witnesses of the atrocities served as the main source of information in the immediate aftermath.

Drawing from witness and survivor testimony, reports from UN forces, and satellite imagery, the international community began to piece together the details of what had happened to the thousands of missing men and boys.

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On July 31, 1995, John Shattuck, US assistant secretary of state for human rights, visited the region and interviewed refugees at the Tuzla camp. One survivor recounted an agonizing tale of his escape from a mass execution, while others told him of how they fled through the forest.

“They took us off the truck in twos and led us to some kind of meadow. People started taking off blindfolds and yelling in fear because the meadow was littered with corpses.”
— A survivor of the Srebrenica genocide. Human Rights Watch

In a press conference the following day, Shattuck shared with the world the accounts of the horrible brutalities he had heard and concluded, “There may be substantial new evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity in eastern Bosnia.”

On August 10, US Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright, armed with satellite images provided by the US Department of State and the CIA that depicted what they believed to be evidence of mass grave sites, briefed the UN Security Council. This led to Resolution 1010, demanding Bosnian Serbs allow the United Nations and the International Commission of the Red Cross access to Srebrenica.

In the decades since, international organizations and governments have investigated, written about, and searched for the 8,000 missing men and boys of Srebrenica.

Additionally, agencies like the International Commission on Missing Persons have worked to document and search for the remains of the rest of the more than 30,000 people reported missing in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. Today, around 70% of the remains of have been located and identified.