By Medina Malagić – Sarajevo
This morning, the peace march from Nezuk near Tuzla began. From this departure point, participants in the Peace March will make a three-day trek to Srebrenica and will arrive there on 11 July to take part in the commemoration ceremony of the 18th year anniversary since the genocide took place in Srebrenica.
The Peace March is around 100 kilometers and the three-day journey to Srebrenica has been taking place since 1995. Participants in the Peace March will follow the same route that the men and boys of this town took in 1995 as they tried to escape the massacre and advancing forces.
This year, there are several thousand participants in the Peace March. More specifically, there are currently more than 4,000 who have chosen to take part, and participants are continuing to arrive after the journey began this morning.
Over the years, the Peace March has garnered increasing attention of the world, and every year, including this year’s Peace March, there are a large number of people from throughout the world who are making the journey to Srebrenica.
The three-day journey includes, in addition to rest stops and overnight stays, screenings of documentary films, promotion of books, Islamic religious services, and on Wednesday, 10 July the body remains that will be buried this year on 11 July will be brought to the cemetary plateu in Potočari. In addition, a group of cyclists and athletes departed early this morning from Bihać, and on Wednesday, 10 July a group of moto-bikers will depart from Sarajevo. They are all expected to arrive in Srebrenica on 10 July.
In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in the so-called ‘protected UN zone’ of Srebrenica were killed in a matter of days by army forces led by General Ratko Mladić, who is currently standing trial in the Hague.
The genocide in Srebrenica is the largest mass murder that was committed on the continent of Europe since the Second World War, and not all the remains for the thousands of men and boys killed there have been found. This year, the burial of 409 people who were victims of the genocide in Srebrenica will take place on 11 July. This is a respite for the families of these victims, who have been looking for the remains of their loves ones since 1995. Of the 409 identified victims, 44 were young boys between 14-18. Six boys were 15 when they were killed. Nevzet (Fikret) Čević and Denif (Selim) Halilović were only 14 when they were killed in Srebrenica.
Most of the remains so far were found in the areas of Srebrenica, Bratunac, Vlasenica, Zvornik and Milići.
So far, around 7.000 remains of victims of the genocide have been identified using DNA analysis, and until now in Potočari a total of 5.657 victims have been buried, and the search continues to find the remains of around 1.500 more victims.