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Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 19:34 UK

Bosnia buries Srebrenica victims

The massacre took place despite the area being declared a UN safe haven

The remains of 534 newly identified Bosniak Muslim victims of the Srebrenica massacre have been buried 14 years after the event.

Some 8,000 Bosniak Muslims, mainly men and boys, were killed by Bosnian Serbs near the town of Srebrenica in 1995 and buried in mass graves.

About 5,000 of the victims have been identified to date.

Thousands of mourners attended the ceremony, an annual reminder of the Bosniak Muslims' suffering in the war.

At the Potocari memorial cemetery just outside Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, victims' names were read out as coffins wrapped in green cloth were passed through the crowd.

Bosniak Muslim women weep over shrouded coffins at Potocari cemetery outside Srebrenica, 11 July
Some 3,000 bodies of those killed at Srebrenica remain unidentified

"Although we were desperately searching for his remains for years, it was so hard to receive a telephone call telling us that my father had been identified," Nurveta Guster, 27, told AFP news agency.

"I saw him for the last time at our house in Srebrenica. He left with other men through the woods trying to escape."

Fugitive general

Srebrenica was attacked by Bosnian Serb forces on 11 July 1995, virtually ignoring Dutch UN troops who were stationed by the town, which had been designated a UN "safe haven".

The troops, operating under a restrictive UN mandate allowed Bosnian Serb forces into the town. Relatives of those killed have brought unsuccessful claims against the government of the Netherlands in an effort to claim compensation.

Speaking at the latest burial ceremony, Charles English, US Ambassador Bosnia-Hercegovina, said: "The world failed to act, failed to protect the innocent of Srebrenica."

Ranging in age from 14 to 72, most of latest victims to be buried were found in secondary mass graves where they had been moved from initial burial sites in a bid by Serb troops to cover up war crimes.

A woman weeps at Srebrenica, 11 July 2009
Bosnian Serb leaders deny that Srebrenica was an act of genocide

The International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, has ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was an act of genocide.

Former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic is currently on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on genocide charges. He was arrested in 2008, but denies his guilt.

Gen Ratko Mladic, who led the Bosnian Serb troops involved in the killings, remains in hiding. It is thought he may be in Serbia.

Serbian President Boris Tadic has said his country is doing all it can to track him down and send him to The Hague.

The Bosniak people - most of them Muslims - are descended from Bosnian Slavs who adopted Islam under Ottoman Turkish rule in the Middle Ages.



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