How Srebrenica’s Mothers Brought Their Murdered Sons Home

"First they wanted the graveyard to be located on the mountains above Srebrenica, it's called Otave Plato," Malic told BIRN at the Centre for Elderly Mothers of Srebrenica in the village of Potocari, the care home where she lives now, less than a kilometre away from the Memorial Centre.

The Memorial Centre is located in the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska entity, some six kilometres from the town of Srebrenica. In the early 2000, Srebrenica's local council voted that the genocide victims could be buried in the municipality, but could not decide on a location.

Months passed in negotiations between the victims' families, the Bosnian Serb authorities, Bosniak politicians, Western diplomats and the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international official responsible for overseeing the implementation of the peace deal that ended the war, all of whom could not agree on which of two locations to choose.

"Mehrunisa [one of the victims' mothers] came to my family's home and asked me to go with her to [a meeting at] Skenderija hall in Sarajevo. Hasan, my husband, joked that there are more educated women who could speak, but she insisted that I go with her," Malic remembered.

The meeting at the Skenderija sports hall in Bosnian capital was organised as a part of a process of public debate between the victims' families and the Bosnian Serb authorities, during which the location of the memorial was supposed to be decided.

"I remember that there was [Bosniak political leader] Haris Silajdzic, me, Mehrunisa," Malic said. "There were some others as well who I can't remember.

"I was sitting there and counting on my fingers. Fifteen of them [Serbs] from Srebrenica came, I did not know who they were," she continued.

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