Srebrenica: The Unremitting Necessity of Justice

Srebrenica, 11 July 2023: The remains of 30 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide were buried at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery near Srebrenica today.

More than 7,000 victims of the Genocide have been identified as a result of the DNA-led identification process pioneered by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Each year, the remains of more victims are buried. The process of identification and reassembly of skeletal remains can involve recovery from multiple clandestine gravesites and may continue for a period of years.

Attending today’s ceremony at Potocari, together with staff from ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said the thousands of white headstones that line the hillside opposite the factory where men and boys were separated from their families in July 1995, testify to the “unremitting necessity of justice.”

Ms Bomberger stressed that “each of the people buried in this cemetery has been named,” and the facts of the Genocide have been established – through evidence that has been sifted in court and through identifications based on a proven and reliable scientific process.

“We stand together with the families of victims,” Ms Bomberger said. “Crimes committed in Srebrenica and elsewhere cannot go unpunished; the rule of law must be upheld. Everything must be done to secure truth, justice and reparations.”

This week, in addition to the burials today, 71 “re-associations” will be carried out. Human remains that have already been identified and buried will be exhumed, and bones that have since been recovered will be restored to the skeleton; the bodies will then be reburied. In each case, the families have been contacted and asked to give their consent to the re-association. Even these bodies, in many cases, will still be incomplete.

About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so.