UN marks 15th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre

08:30, July 13, 2010      

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The United Nations on Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica, Bosnia, by paying homage to the victims and vowed that "never again to allow such an atrocity to happen."

"Today we honor the victims of the largest massacre on European soil since the founding of the United Nations," UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said in a special ceremony marking the massacre.

"We pay homage to the thousands of men and boys who were slaughtered brutally ... deliberately ... systematically," he said. "And, we vow, together, never again to allow such an atrocity to happen at any time ... in any place."

It was the worst massacre in Europe since World War II, which began on July 11, 1995, when Bosnian Serb forces overran the UN- designated safe haven of Srebrenica, occupied by Bosnian Muslims. Approximately 8,000 people were killed in the aftermath.

This day is observed as the national day of mourning in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the Bosnian Muslim and Croat dominated entity of BiH.

As a day of remembrance, Ban said it is also a "time to assert the power of tolerance and understanding."

"All Bosnians, and indeed, all of the people of the Balkans, must re-engage with one other on the basis of mutual respect and trust," he said.

Noting that the region has made progress towards the path to reconciliation, Ban noted that "there is still a long way to go."

Accountability is crucial and "justice must be done," Ban said, citing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as institutions which contribute to the ongoing fight against impunity.

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