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1995: Remembering Srebrenica

Srebrenica fell to the Bosnian Serb army on 11 July 1995.

What happened in the days after the Dutch peacekeepers withdrew from the town has been described as the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

It is estimated that 23,000 women and children were deported from Srebrenica in the 30 hours after Bosnian Serb leader General Ratko Mladic entered the UN's "safe area".

Muslim men aged between 12 and 77 were separated from their families for "interrogation". Between 7,000 and 8,000 of them were killed and buried in mass graves in the enclave.

Your stories:

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received.

On 11 July 1995 I was working with a humanitarian aid organisation in Bosnia. I will never forget that day as I spent it in a camp for internally displaced persons in the town of Zenica.

I have never felt so sad and so utterly helpless. I watched from morning until late in the night as thousands of displaced women, children and elderly persons arrived at poorly services camps with nothing.


" I helped people carry the small amount of belongings that they had salvaged from that hell "

Liz, UK

Many had not eaten for days and had been sleeping in the woods and walking for days to flee the advancing Bosnian Serb Army. They were tired, traumatised, dirty, lost and the camps were filled with a sense of despair and loss.

They had lost everything - homes, families and hope. They had witnessed the most horrific crimes. You probably think that as I was working with an aid organisation I was able to help them. I could not.

I spent the day organising food and medical supplies and when there was nothing more to do I helped people carry the small amount of belongings that they had salvaged from that hell.

But that is not the real help that they needed. I could not bring back their homes, their families and their lives. I could not.

It's now 10 years since Srebrenica fell. Many of those people I met that day still have not found their missing family members, they have not returned home.

The high up leadership of the Bosnian Serb army who are responsible for the crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the Bosnian Serb Army still roam free. Where is the justice for them?
Liz, UK

I cannot believe that such massacres took place in the heart of Europe!

We in the West claim to be champions of freedom and democracy, yet we acted so late and allowed the ethnic cleansing of so many innocent Bosnians. We have got to be ashamed of ourselves.
Asif Gul, UK

The "West" should feel ashamed of the events in ex-Yugoslavia.

The Nato blockade was "unable" to stop the weapons sent by the Argentine government, the intervention was intentionally too late, the "Dutch Bat" was left alone to protect the camps, etc.

People should know the true intentions of the Western governments and the BBC's duty is to inform more about it.
Antonio Romau, Spain

We Muslims from Srebrenica, Bosnia, who saw what Serbs did to us in front of the WORLD will never forget those days or try to.

True, not all Serbs should be blamed, but those who knew and were for it, should not only be punished but ashamed of themselves. They should be punished the same way that they punished us innocent civilians in Srebrenica.Mehidin Omerovic, Bosnia Hercegovina

For those who were there, it was a time of disgust, sadness and utter betrayal by the United Nations.

The enclaves were defendable but they were not because the UN refused permission for ground and air forces to be used to defend them. That permission was asked for BEFORE the Dutch soldiers were taken. Akashi refused until after the Serbs were already in the enclaves and even then, the aircraft were not allowed to fire unless fired upon.

Ask yourselves this, how would you feel knowing you were part of an organisation that had the means and the power to save lives and instead, abandoned them to their fate?Sender has asked to remain anonymous, England

Srebrenica is a terrible thing.

People who committed that crime were from Bosnian Serb army and they MUST be judged and sentenced accordingly.

But what about Serb civilians who were also victims of heinous crimes in Bosnia and Croatia?

Will I ever live to see at least 5 minutes' story about them on the BBC.


" The world decided that we (Serbs) were the bad guys, and we came to terms with that, but please investigate what other sides did "

Dragisa Krgovic, Belgrade

Serbia in now a county with highest number of refugees in Europe (second in the world).

Did they also flee before Serbian army?

Also, in Serbia alone, hundreds of thousands of Muslims live freely all these years whilst an even higher number of Serbs was forced to flee from their homes in Bosnia.

The world decided that we (Serbs) were the bad guys, and we came to terms with that, but PLEASE investigate what other side(s) did.

Maybe, just maybe, we will be able to prevent things like 9/11 and London yesterday [July 8 2005] from happening ever again.

I've been watching BBC since I can remember, since I was two years old and had a heart operation in London. I admire your professionalism and dedication to British people and interests.

That is why I know you will not publish this comment (it is against everything you reported from Balkans in last 15 years).

But, please, at least read it. Kind regards and the deepest condolences for yesterday.
Dragisa Krgovic, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro

I was 24 years old and couldn't believe what I was hearing on the news. I still get goosebumps and my eyes well-up at the thought of so many men and children being destroyed and families disintegrated.

I use these these terms because that's exactly what these agressors did under the guise of 'saving their country from terrorists'.

Funny how that phrase rings a bell for so many of us Americans today. Every civilian is a victim of war but as a part of society and humanity, one must take responsibility for the actions of their country.

My nine-year-old niece who is of black, latin and white origin said it best: "Why are people killing each other there? Can't they see how pretty it is to mix colors and religions?"
Jesika, USA


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