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A Proper Burial, 17 Years Later

A new memorial, opening today, pays tribute to Muslims massacred during the Bosnian War.


More than 520 unidentified victims were buried today, on the 17th anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since World War II. At the time, more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed and buried in mass graves. According to Reuters:

Draped in green cloth, the coffins were interred under a scorching sun in the Potocari memorial center in eastern Bosnia at a funeral marking the anniversary of the massacre that brought the number of victims identified and buried to 5,657.

"I don't care what happens anymore. There is no verdict that could bring back my son," said Sefika Menakic, 56, whose 15-year-old son Adem was killed as he tried to escape through the hills after Dutch peacekeepers abandoned the town designated as a U.N. "safe haven" to Mladic's Bosnian Serb forces.

Menakic learned three months ago that forensic experts had identified a shoulder bone of her son and several ribs, which she buried on Wednesday. "It kills me to think he lays there headless," she said. "But at least I know I have a place to come and pray for his soul."

More photos below, by Reuters photographer Dado Ruvic:

Bosnian Muslim women sit and watch graves being prepared for a mass burial at the Memorial Center in Potocari.
A Bosnian Muslim woman cries near a grave at the Memorial Center.
Bosnian Muslims at the Memorial Center.
Bosnia Muslims pray near coffins at the Memorial Center in Potocari during a mass burial.


About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.