Yesterday, the police of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) entity of Republika Srpska (RS) did not allow the families of the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica to lay flowers in front of the hall of the Kravica Agricultural Cooperative, near Bratunac, in the east of BiH.
This is the place where, according to official data, between July 13th and 14th, 1995, more than 1.300 Bosniak prisoners from Srebrenica were killed, including minors.
There were about a hundred policemen in front of the hall, who prevented entry.
The Zvornik Police Administration said during the interview that the police officers were only working to secure this gathering, but that they did not forbid the visit to the Kravice Agricultural Cooperative.
Comment from the United States (U.S.) Embassy
”The U.S. is dismayed by the decision of Bratunac mayor to deny victims’ family members access to the Kravica site today to commemorate the loss of loved ones there during the genocide in Srebrenica.”
This was stated in the announcement of the U.S. Embassy on Twitter yesterday.
Namely, the U.S. Embassy said that “BiH leaders at all levels have a deep responsibility to honor all civilian victims”, whether Bosniak, Croatian or Serbian.
This, they say, includes enabling the victims’ families to access the places of suffering and to mark the memory of their loved ones.
”This is essential both for the victims to honor their lost family members and for the citizens of BiH to move forward. Giving them that access is also a decent thing to do,” the U.S. Embassy pointed out.
The U.S. Embassy criticized Srdjan Rankic, the mayor of Bratunac municipality, for blocking access to families in Kravica.
“Mayor Rankic’s decision does not change the fundamental fact that genocide took place in and around Srebrenica in July 1995, including Kravica, nor does it in any way honor the Serbian civilians who died in the region, but hinders the prospects for reconciliation, which is necessary for all people in BiH to live the peaceful and prosperous lives they deserve,” the U.S. Embassy added.
The families came to Kravica as part of the commemoration of the 27th anniversary of the genocide against Bosniaks in the “United Nations (UN) Safe Zone” of Srebrenica in July 1995.
It is important to mention that the desire is to pay tribute to the innocent victims of the Srebrenica genocide by visiting the site of the mass killing of Bosniaks.
At the site of the cooperative in Kravica, ground cleaning and waste removal have been ongoing for several months.
The survivors of the Srebrenica genocide and the families of the victims fear that the ‘sanitation’ carried out by the authorities will erase the memory of one of the most massive murders of captured Bosniaks that took place in July 1995.
Kravica cooperative is located between Srebrenica and Bratunac, in the east of BiH, and during the war, it was under the control of the Army of the RS (VRS).
Every July 13th, members of the families of those killed and the Association “Movement of Mothers of the Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves” visit the area of the Cooperative in Kravica and lay flowers.
Nine years ago, the police tried to prevent the mothers from entering the Cooperative, after which they broke through the police cordon, opened the gate, and laid flowers.
The families of the genocide victims visited yesterday the execution grounds in Podrinje, where more than eight thousand victims of the Srebrenica genocide were shot from July 11th to 17th, 1995.
On July 11th, Srebrenica marked the 27th anniversary of the genocide committed by Serbian forces in this place in 1995. A commemoration was held and a collective funeral was held for another 50 victims.
In 27 years, a total of 6.721 people were buried in the Memorial Center in Potocari, RSE writes.