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17th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide

Today we mark the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, known as Europe's worst atrocity since the Second World War. On Monday, hundreds of people lined Sarajevo's main street as trucks bearing 520 coffins passed through on their way to Srebrenica, where newly identified massacre victims will be buried by the family members at a memorial centre. Many surviving family members have spent years since the genocide searching for the remains of loved ones in the hopes of identifying them and giving them a proper burial. The opportunity to finally put to rest missing family members in the burial grounds at the memorial centre represents a highly emotional end to a journey for some of the genocide survivors.

In July of 1995, Ratko Mladic, commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, oversaw a brutal campaign of genocide against the mostly civilian population in and around Srebrenica. Over the course of only a few days, over 8000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Mladic's forces, and thousands of women and children were deported. These events shocked the world, which had believed that such genocides were a part of Europe's past, rather than its present.

Ratko Mladic's trial has resumed on Monday, July 9th. Mladic, who some have dubbed "the Butcher of Bosnia", is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, including the genocide in Srebrenica. During the trial, Mladic was confronted with 34-year-old Bosnian Muslim mass execution survivor Elvedin Pasic, the first witness at the trial. In an emotional testimony, Pasic said that his family fled from his village in northern Bosnian in 1992 as it was shelled by Serb troops under Mladic's command. He then was captured along with his father and other villagers. They were held in a nearby school, with more than 150 men in an upstairs room and a smaller group of women and children downstairs. The following morning, shivering from a cold night spent in soaked clothing, the women and children were taken away and the men stayed, never to be seen again.

The Cinema for Peace Foundation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is working to honour the experiences of those who survived Srebrenica, and to commemorate those who lost their lives to genocide. Through the Genocide Film Library project, Cinema for Peace aims to collect the video testimonies of 10,000 survivors from Srebrenica. These testimonies will stand as a memorial to the horrible events of history, and ensure that the voices of those who survived are never forgotten.

The Cinema for Peace Foundation is also serving as an official partner of the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) this year. Today, an interactive dome will be set up on the Children of Sarajevo Square where visitors will be able to view a number of testimonies (in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and English) and film their reactions to the Genocide Film Library project. After the 11th, the dome will be moved to the Roman Petrovic Gallery, where visitors may continue to view testimonies and provide filmed statements until the SFF’s conclusion on July 14th. On this same day, the Cinema for Peace Foundation is co-hosting a dinner for SFF winners and honoured guests. All attendees will receive detailed information about the Genocide Film Library and a DVD with one translated testimony.





Genocide Film Library testimony recorded by the Cinema for Peace Foundation with genocide survivor Suhra Ahmetovic



“In the Land of Blood and Honey“, by Angelina Jolie, Winner of the Cinema for Peace Award for Most Valuable Movie of the Year 2012 - Trailer