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The Srebrenica genocide, a stain in European history

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Government, Ricciardi (M5s):

Twenty-seven years ago these days Europe experienced one of the darkest pages of its recent history. In fact, between 11 and 18 July 1995 the Srebrenica genocideone of the most shocking atrocities of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), which cost the lives of 8,300 people according to official figures, while according to other local sources, more than ten thousand are missing.

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In those days Bosnian Serb troops under the orders of General Ratko Mladic they entered the city of Srebrenica e they massacred the Muslim population. When the Bosnian Serbs stormed into the city, over 40,000 inhabitants fled to the UN base in Potocari, north of the city center. About 7,000 people managed to enter the base area, manned by a hundred Dutch peacekeepers who were supposed to defend the city, declared a protected area by the UN. The others camped outside. When the Bosnian Serbs arrived, the blue helmets did not intervene, while Mladic separated the men from women and children, who were deported.

The men – according to the testimony of survivors and according to the indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICC) which with a sentence of April 2004 established that it was the first to be genocide – were taken to arms. The bodies of those killed in the mass executions were buried in mass graves.

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Thousands fled to the surrounding countryside and the Bosnian Serb militias opened a gigantic manhunt, capturing many: in groups of 200-300 they were lined up and shot. “In four hours on July 16 we killed 1,200”, Drazen Erdemovic, one of the Bosnian Serb troop commanders, will tell the ICC years later, the first to be sentenced in 1996 to five years in prison. “I saw dozens of men slaughtered in a wheat field – said Abid Efendic – I saw severed heads, girls raped by dozens of soldiers”.

The commemoration for the 27th anniversary of the genocide

Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, respectively military chief and political leader of Bosnian Serbs, both already sentenced to life imprisonment, after the massacre sang victory: with Srebrenica the Serbs had conquered over 60% of Bosnia, but that massacre will convince the then American president Bill Clinton to intervene after Europe had looked detached and divided for over three years at the slaughter on the doorstep. In a few months Washington managed to bring Muslims, Croats and Serbs to the table in Dayton (USA), but the result was limited to sanctioning the ethnic division, creating a country divided into two entitiesthe Republic of Srpska, with a Serbian majority and which also includes Srebrenica, and the Croatian-Muslim Federation.

The tragedy has weighed for a long time and continues to weigh on the conscience of the international community. For Srebrenica, in April 2002 the Dutch government of Wim Kok decided to step down after the Institute for War Documentation recognized the responsibility of Dutch politicians and blue helmets for failing to prevent the massacre. The Dutch command will then say that it has asked for the intervention of NATO planes to defend the city. In October 1999, the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan he admitted responsibility: “The Srebrenica tragedy will weigh forever on our history”.

Source: Ansa

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