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Croatian marathon honors victims of Srebrenica genocide

Participants to run five-day marathon to commemorate victims

A five-day marathon set to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica kicked off Thursday in Croatia's capital of Zagreb.

Traditionally, thousands from all over the world come to participate in the "Vukovar-Srebrenica Marathon."

Participants will proceed to Srebrenica from the Ovcara Memorial Cemetery in Vukovar, where a massacre occurred in eastern Croatia in 1991, and will reach the Potocari Memorial Cemetery in Srebrenica on Sunday, after a 227-kilometer (141-mile) journey.

Every year on July 11, newly identified victims of Europe's worst genocide since World War II, which killed more than 8,000 people, are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari in eastern Bosnia.

Thousands of visitors from various countries will attend the funeral service and burials.

After this year’s funeral, the number of burials in the cemetery will rise to 6,751.

Srebrenica genocide

In July 1995, Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. But Serb troops, led by Gen. Ratko Mladic -- who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide -- overran the UN zone.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys in a single day on July 11.

About 15,000 Srebrenicans fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.

The bodies of the victims of the genocide were found in 570 different parts of the country.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.

On June 8, 2021, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

(by Mustafa Talha Ozturk)

Anadolu Ajansı © 2021


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