Saturday marks the twenty-year anniversary of the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
More than 50,000 are expected to attend the ceremony, including former US President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Princess Anne. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is also attending the commemoration.
On July 11, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces killed the 8,000 ethnic Bosniak men while they were trying to flee a nearly unguarded UN Safezone.
UN negligence has remained a disputed factor in the massacre.
The bodies of the victims had been discovered across 150 different locations. Their remains have been reburied at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Centre, where anniversary ceremonies are being held. Some victims’ bodies still remain missing.
Serbian PM Vucic has released a statement in which he condemned the killings, however falling short of calling them a genocide.
The commemoration is being held in the shadow of Tuesday’s vote at the UN Security Council, following a proposal by the UK to officially recognise the Srebrenica mass killings as a genocide. The resolution was deferred due to a veto by the Russian Security Council member.
The draft resolution emphasises that recognising the killings as a genocide is a “prerequisite for reconciliation”. Serb officials have asked the resolution to include all victims of the 1990’s Balkan War. Vucic called its current version “humiliating” for Serbia.
Moscow was a close Serbian ally during the war.