srebrenica BiH.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ FENA/ ik

The attendance of Serbian officials at commemorations for genocide victims in Srebrenica is meaningless until that time that the country admits the character and dimensions of the crime committed against Bosniaks in July 1995, Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic said in an interview published by the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine daily on Wednesday.

As in previous years, this year too, on July 11, a commemoration will be held at the Potocari memorial complex in Srebrenica for the victims of the 1995 genocide and the remains of more than 100 victims, discovered in mass graves after the 1992-95 war, will be buried during the event.

Durakovic confirmed that the organising committee was unanimous that Serbian officials should not be invited and were not welcome at the commemoration until Belgrade decides to acknowledge the Hague tribunal's ruling under which genocide had been committed against Srebrenica Bosniaks.

Durakovic earlier made a similar statement for the Serbian media, which caused dissatisfaction among Serbian politicians.

Their reactions mostly had to do with the fact that Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic, who attended last year's commemoration in Srebrenica, was physically attacked at the event and that the perpetrators have not been identified yet.

Durakovic believes that Bosniaks have been too lenient to Serbia and its officials.

"We have allowed Boris Tadic to become a darling of the international community and Vucic to become a 'martyr', while our victims have become less important. Such lenience has done us no good. The (Srebrenica) genocide is today systematically denied in Serbia," Durakovic said, adding that Serbia should be helped to come to terms with historical facts because without it, it would not be able to become a democratic European country.

Bosnian Serb forces in 1995 killed more than 7,000 Bosniak men and youths in Srebrenica.

According to the Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the remains of 6,302 victims have been buried at Potocari, while the remains of another 230 victims have been buried at graveyards in the area of Srebrenica.

The remains were discovered after the war in as many as 77 mass graves, of which only a small number were primary mass graves, while the majority were a result of attempts by Bosnian Serb authorities to relocate the remains in order to cover up evidence of the crimes.

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