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Srebrenica: Massacre that outraged the world

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Srebrenica: Massacre that outraged the world
SARAJEVO: Srebrenica became a symbol of “ethnic cleansing” after its men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serbs after a three-year siege during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
As the Hague judges deliver their verdict Tuesday on an appeal by Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic against his war crimes conviction, here is a chronology of the tragedy:
Srebrenica, a primarily Muslim city in eastern Bosnia, falls to Bosnian Serb troops shortly after the start of the siege of the capital Sarajevo at the start of the Bosnian war in April 1992.
Other cities in the eastern Drina Valley are also captured with the help of paramilitary groups that have crossed over from neighboring Serbia.
Expelled under a policy called “ethnic cleansing”, Bosnian Muslim forces retake the enclave. But at the end of the year he is again targeted by the Serbs, who cut off road access.
Between March and April 1993, some 8,000 people were evacuated from the increasingly besieged enclave.
Dozens of people are killed in shelling by Bosnian Serb forces.
On April 16, when the city is attacked by tanks and artillery, the UN Security Council declares Srebrenica a “safe zone” under the protection of UN and NATO forces.
A ceasefire and demilitarization agreement is signed the next day in Sarajevo under the auspices of the UN, but it is never respected.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) funnels food and other necessities to the city, which is now a protected area.
In May, the UN creates another five safe areas: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde and Bihac.
On March 1, 1994, a contingent of 450 UN peacekeepers deployed to the enclave where the rotation of UN soldiers, Dutch troops replacing Canadian blue helmets, had previously stopped.
In early July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces attacked Muslim government positions to the south, east and north of the enclave. On July 9, they invaded peacekeeping positions after taking some 30 hostage.
The Bosnian Serb tanks are located less than two kilometers from the city.
On July 11, NATO carries out air strikes against two Serbian tanks on the outskirts of Srebrenica.
However, on the same day, the Bosnian Serb army, led by Mladic, invaded Srebrenica, causing tens of thousands of refugees to flee to the Dutch forces compound in Potocari, on the outskirts of the mountainous city.
Peacekeepers and thousands of refugees, mostly women and children, retreat to the UN base, while thousands more gather outside.
With the taking of Srebrenica, Mladic orders the evacuation of all civilians, including women, children and the elderly, while all men of fighting age are taken prisoners.
In the following days, more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys are systematically massacred by Bosnian Serb forces and their bodies dumped in mass graves.
Later, the Serbs excavated many of them and reburied them in other tombs to try to hide the evidence.
Eyewitness accounts emerge from July 17, in which those who escaped told heartbreaking stories of killings, torture and rape at the hands of Bosnian Serb forces.
On July 24 and November 16, respectively, Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and Mladic are indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
To date, 6,880 victims of the massacre have been identified and buried: 6,643 in the Potocari memorial center and 237 in other cemeteries in the Srebrenica area.
On November 21, 1995, the Dayton Accords, drawn up under international pressure, ended the war.
They divide Bosnia into two entities, the Republic of Serbia Srpska and the Croatian Muslim Federation of Bosnia, each of which enjoys a high degree of autonomy and is united by weak central institutions.
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