This month marks the 15th anniversary of the genocide at Srebrenica -- the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. As many as 8,000 mostly Muslim men and boys who fled to the designated safe haven of UN-controlled Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina were taken away on July 11th, 1995, and killed under orders from the Bosnian Serb leadership.
After the massacre, the perpetrators dumped the victims' bodies into mass graves. They were later dug out with bulldozers and moved to smaller graves to try to cover up the crime. More than 4,600 victims have since been buried, including 775 at a ceremony on July 11th, 2010, in a special memorial graveyard after being unearthed from hundreds of mass graves and identified.
Then-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently on trial in The Hague for war crimes, but military leader General Ratko Mladic remains at large.
The United States extends its deepest condolences to those who mourn the victims of the Srebrenica massacre. For 15 years, said President Barack Obama, "the United States has joined you to foster peace and reconciliation in this troubled land. We recognize that there can be no lasting peace without justice, and we know that we will all be judged by the efforts we make in pursuit of justice for Srebrenica's victims and those who mourn them."
"Justice," said President Obama, "must include a full accounting of the crimes that occurred, full identification and return of all those who were lost, and prosecution and punishment of those who carried out the genocide. This includes Ratko Mladic." The U.S. calls on all governments to redouble their efforts to find those responsible, to arrest them, and to bring them to justice. "In so doing," said President Obama, "we will honor Srebrenica's victims and fulfill our moral and legal commitments to end impunity for crimes of such awful magnitude."
We have a sacred duty to remember the cruelty that occurred at Srebrenica, said President Obama, "and to prevent such atrocities from happening again. We have an obligation to victims and to their surviving family members. And we have a responsibility to future generations all over the globe to agree that we must refuse to be bystanders to evil; whenever and wherever it occurs," said President Obama, "we must be prepared to stand up for human dignity."