The last week saw the burial of 409 newly-identified victims of the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, including 44 boys aged between 14 and 18. Eighteen years after the Muslim men and boys were deliberately slaughtered by Serb troops under the command of Ratko Mladic, their remains have been definitely identified after years of painstaking work. From all over Bosnia and all over the globe, families gathered to take part in the burials and the commemoration of the worst massacre on European soil since the Second World War.
On July 1995, Serb troops killed more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims over a period of five days, as their protectors from the United Nations and the Netherlands failed to do anything to stop the horror unfolding in front of their eyes. In 1999, the then UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, acknowledged that the international community as a whole must share responsibility for its inadequate response to the ethnic cleansing and speaking ten years after the massacre, Annan had said in 2005 that “we continue the fight, no matter how long it takes, to secure a full and proper reckoning”.
However, such words need to be matched by actions. Such a brutal genocide is a stain on humanity which affects us all. It is essential that we never forget the depths to which humanity can sink and that we all work to avoid such horrors ever happening again.