Sorry it has been a while since I have written. I have been trying to figure out what to highlight from my research trip last week, which brought me to Tuzla and Potocari, where the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial is located. While there is much I could tell you, I'll share a bit about Srebrenica.
The massacre in Srebrenica is easily the most well-known event of the violence, in large part because the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) has ruled that it constituted genocide. In April 1993, the area of Srebrenica was declared to be a “safe area” under UN protection. However, during 1995, more than 8000 Bosniak men and boys were separated from their families and killed over a matter of days, right under the UN watch.
To get a very detailed history of the massacre, you should check out the Srebenica Genocide Mapping Project, found here. They do a much better job reviewing the events than I could in this short amount of space.
Today, many of those men and boys remain missing. Years of exhumation and forensic work followed the massacre, which continue to this day. This work is often difficult because Serb armed forces buried the bodies in many mass graves in order to cover their crimes. Often, someone’s remains can be found scattered in several different places.
During my time in Tuzla, I visited two identification centers run by the International Commission on Mission Persons (ICMP) and learned about how DNA matching has allowed them to identify some of the bodies found in mass graves. One center has a large room filled with body bags and human remains, many of which have yet to be identified. The ICMP also collects and catalogs clothes and personal belongings, as sometimes someone can potentially be identified by his shoes or by his mother’s careful repair work to a shirt that he was wearing. To learn more about the ICMP, check here.