Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Bosnian Muslims Rally to Support Srebrenica Demands

Residents say they don’t want to be governed by the same authorities that were responsible for the massacre.
By Merdijana Sadović
Thousands of people this week gathered in Sarajevo at a rally in support of the proposed special status for Srebrenica.

The June 11 rally dubbed “Srebrenica – Justice for All” was organised by the Initiative Board for Special Status for Srebrenica, whose members hoped this event would put Srebrenica in the spotlight again.

Muslim returnees to this eastern Bosnian town demand the status of a district, which means Srebrenica would be run by the state instead by Republika Srpska, RS, as it is now.

They say they don’t want to be governed by those same authorities that were responsible for the 1995 massacre, in which 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica.

These crimes were classified as genocide both by the Hague tribunal and the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

Addressing rally participants, Srebrenica Mayor Abdurahman Malic said the recent International Court of Justice ruling clearly stated that the Bosnian Serb authorities were responsible for the 1995 genocide, which in his view means their demands for secession from the RS are reasonable.

“The only way to undo the wrong is to grant Srebrenica a special status,” he said.

Bosnian Croat priest Luka Markesic said “Srebrenica is a symbol of the whole Bosnia” and its demands for the special status are “justified”.

“Srebrenica survivors are not calling for revenge, they simply want justice,” said Bosnian Serb Slavica Sucur addressing the meeting.

He added that nothing can ever bring back the dead, but “those who want a better future for Bosnia should never stop demanding justice for Srebrenica”.

The demonstrators insist that their secession demand be met by the 12th anniversary of the massacre, on July 11.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague project manager.

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, IWPR’s network of local reporters, activists and analysts are examining the economic, social and political impact of this era-defining pandemic.


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