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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (BosNewsLife)– An angry crowd on Saturday chased Serbia’s Prime Minister from a ceremony in Bosnia-Herzegovina marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in which thousands of Muslims were killed by Serbian forces, amid outrage over Serbia’s role in the conflict.
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was whisked through angry mourners shouting and booing. Vucic’s guards tried to protect him with bags, umbrellas and their raised arms, as people hurl stones, bottles and other objects at him. An aid said the prime minister had been hit in the face with a rock and that his glasses are broken.
A crowd surged up the hill behind the delegation as they ran for their cars and eventually left.
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The incident marred the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Srebrenica massacre, underscoring the depth of anger over Belgrade’s continued denial of the crime as genocide.
On July 11, 1995, Serb forces overran the Bosnian town of Srebrenica and eventually killed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys.
The outnumbered Dutch troops who were part of a United Nations peacekeeping force, watched as Serb soldiers rounded up thousands of men. Speaking at Srebrenica’s memorial center, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said The Netherlands was mourning with the victims.
“The international community failed to offer adequate protection to the people in the so-called safe areas, including Srebrenica. And as part of that community the Dutch government shares political responsibility for the situation in which that could occur,” he said.
Some 136 newly-identified Bosnian Muslims were buried as part of the memorial ceremony.
They were placed next to the remains of 6,241 others who have so far been identified. Among those attending was also former
U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was in office at the time of the massacre. His administration led the NATO alliance airstrikes against Serb positions, which eventually ended the Bosnian war. But that came too late for the many victims of Srebrenica. Clinton told survivors: “I grieve that it took us so long to unify … to stop this violence.”
(BosNewsLife’s NEW EUROPE is a regular look at key news developments in the former Communist nations impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals).