The Srebrenica – Potočari Memorial Center, Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide, this year marks the 20th anniversary of its official opening.
On this occasion, an appropriate program will be organized in the former production hall of the battery factory in Srebrenica on September 20, and the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Memorial Center, Hamdija Fejzić, will address the participants of the event, followed by a video address by former American President Bill Clinton and Menachem Z. Rosensaft, vice president of the World Jewish Congress.
The address of the mother of Munira Subašić, president of the Association “Movement of Mothers of the Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves”, Hasan Hasanović, a surviving witness of the genocide, Alice Nderita, special adviser of the United Nations Secretary General for the prevention of genocide, Amra Begić, assistant director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, is also planned.
As part of the appropriate program, a short film produced by the Memorial Center – video archive 1992-1995 will be shown.
The memorial center was established as a memorial complex whose role is to nurture and preserve the memory of the innocent victims of genocide, and which, at the same time, is a kind of reminder and admonition to future generations so that this would never happen again to anyone.
This memorial complex, located in Potočari, not far from Srebrenica, was established by the Decision of the High Representative, and it was officially opened on September 20, 2003 by Bill Clinton, then President of the United States of America.
In 2007, by decision of the High Representative, the Law on the Srebrenica Memorial Center – Potočari, Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide was passed. That law established it as the legal successor of the original Foundation based in Potočari, and its official name was also defined.
The Memorial Center was established with the aim of building and maintaining the Memorial Center, burying identified victims of the genocide committed in Srebrenica in 1995 and marking the place of burial, receiving and disbursing funds for the Memorial Center; cooperation with similar centers, foundations and associations around the world, reception of visitors for the purpose of reminding the committed genocide, performing other activities important for the Memorial Center.
The High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, amended the Law on the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial Center, Memorial and Graveyards for Genocide Victims from 1995 in February of this year, thus adapting the previous decision of the High Representative in order to facilitate the work of the Memorial Center.
This change enables unspent funds originally intended for burials to be used for other purposes, with the prior consent of the donor.
The High Representative took into consideration the limitations imposed by the previous decision on the allocation of donor funds, as well as the assessment of the Management Board of the Memorial Center that less than half of the currently deposited funds would be sufficient for burials and niches.
In March 2003, the first collective funeral and burial of the first 600 identified victims of the genocide took place. During 2003, three collective funerals for victims of genocide were held in the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and after the first funeral on March 31, when 600 victims of genocide were buried, the second funeral followed on July 11, when 282 victims were buried, and the third on September 20. collective funeral when 107 people were buried.
So far, 6,751 victims of genocide have been buried in the Srebrenica – Potočari Memorial Center, while 250 victims were buried in local cemeteries by the decision of the surviving family members.
The institution of the Memorial Center, in addition to cherishing the memory and preserving the truth about the events of July 1995, strives through its own involvement in various projects to thwart attempts to falsify history and revise judicially established facts.
As an institution of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Memorial Center maintains continuous cooperation with numerous organizations, centers in the region and beyond, advocating for the realization of the fundamental determinants of its own activities.
As part of this center, there is also a library, one of the largest in this part of the country, which has relevant literature related to the genocide against Bosniaks in the so-called to the ‘UN protected zone’.
The Research Archive is also in operation, which works on collecting personal items, photographs and documents, as well as establishing communication with family members of genocide victims.
Thanks to the setting of the Documentation Center, it is also possible to view content that follows the chronology of the genocide in and around Srebrenica.
Among other things, since 2007, the memorial room has had a permanent exhibition called “The Black Room – Personal Stories”, which exhibits personal items of genocide victims found in mass graves.
In accordance with its mission and mandate, the Memorial Center also develops educational programs – lectures for pupils and students, connecting with educational institutions and organizations of our country, region and beyond, in order to recognize or identify possible threats or narratives that may result in a new genocide.
The Srebrenica Memorial Center pays special attention to ongoing research activities in the segments of collecting personal items of genocide victims and testimonies, as well as analyzes of relevant verdicts and prosecutions of those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Also, the Memorial Center is engaged in the fight against the denial of genocide and in this context is engaged in issuing publications, video content, presentations and reviews that inform the public and raise awareness of the genocide through the website, social networks and partner media.
The Srebrenica Memorial Center is open to the community and every year participates in the organization of the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Genocide – July 11, and supports various activities that serve the purpose of transitional justice and peace building, promoting cooperation, multi-ethnic dialogue and reconciliation, as well as the prevention of genocide in to the world, Fena reports.