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At the end of World War II the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed which included Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia. It was made up of several different ethnic groups. Towards the end of the Cold War the different groups and republics were seeking independence. In 1987 Slobodan Milosevic was in power and created a military that was 90% Siberian. By 1991 ethnic tensions were high in Yugoslavia. The republics of Slovenia and Croatia declared independence, which caused Yugoslavia to collapse. The Yugoslav army invaded Croatia and began executing the Croat men. Then Bosnia declared independence and the Serbs targeted Bosniak civilians. By 1995 the military began shelling the city of Srebrenica and 8,000 Bosniaks were killed.

End Genocide

In April 1992 the Serb military and Serb Democratic party removed Bosniaks and Croats from official positions and took over the town of Prijedor. Thousands were imprisoned at the concentration camp Omarska. From May to August 1992, about 3,200 Bosniaks and Croats were killed in the town of Prijedor and at the Omarksa concentration camp. Survivors remember seeing family members being killed in front of each other, detainees being tortured and beaten by the prison guards, and women and girls being raped. Many also suffered from starvation. Omarska now opens once a year as a memorial for those who died there, but there is still denial of the atrocities of what happened during the few months it was open.

YouTube - Al Jazeera

Fatima is a survivor of the Bosnian genocide. When she was 14 years old the soldiers came to her village one day in Yugoslavia and they took her father back to her house at gunpoint. The soldiers made them go outside and set her house on fire. One of the soldiers called her over to him then marched her into the woods and raped her. He wanted to kill her but another soldier stopped him. After that they forced her to walk and she could see her father getting beaten, then she was left on the side of the road where she witnessed men being killed. Ever since the genocide Fatima has had trouble sleeping at night. The psychological issues of the genocide still affect Fatima today.

Remembering Srebrenica

Hajrudin Mesic who had four brothers is the only one to survive the Srebrenica genocide. When the Serbs invaded his town Macesi there was a lot of bombing. A sniper killed one of his brothers. His family fled their village and they walked to Srebrenica. When they got there life was chaotic; people were being killed left and right and there were stampedes. He was also out of food and it came to a point where he thought he would either die from a bullet or starvation. On his journey to safety Mesic avoided ambushes and Serb soldiers pretending to be Bosnian, ran through the woods for 17 days, and losing his family. He was able to reunite with his parents but still has the painful memories of his village being occupied and his brothers being lost or killed.

Remembering Srebrenica

In 2015 the United Nations' court rejected that Croatians and Serbians committed genocide against each other after Yugoslavia collapsed. Peter Tomka, the president of the International Court of Justice, said there were crimes on both sides of the countries but the intent to commit genocide was not there. He believes there wasn't enough evidence to prove the intention of destroying the ethnic groups, only to "move them by force".

Al Jazeera

Ratio Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb military commander, was indicted in 1995 for his part in the Srebrenica genocide. He was on the run until 2011 when he was finally caught hiding in northern Serbia. He's known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" and survivors agree that Mladic had a lot of blood on his hands and more attacks happened because of him. Last month Mladic was found guilty of genocide along with multiple charges of crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to life in prison but his lawyers said he is going to appeal.


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