|A woman mourns at a burial ceremony at the Potocari Memorial Centre, Srebrenica, 2017. Photo: EPA/JASMIN BRUTUS.|
Bosnia’s Missing Persons Institute told BIRN ahead of the annual Srebrenica commemoration on July 11 that the youngest and the oldest of all the victims whose remains have been buried at the Potocari memorial centre so far were female.
“Baby Muhic, who was born on July 13, 1995, is the youngest, while Saha Izmirlic, born in 1901, is the oldest victim of Srebrenica genocide. They were exhumed from a mass grave found within the of the Battery Factory complex in Potocari [near Srebrenica] in 2012,” said Lejla Cengic, the spokesperson for the Missing Persons Institute.
The remains of 14 females killed during the massacres by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 have been found and buried so far. Some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed in what international and Bosnian courts have defined as genocide.
One of the female victims was Hasima Spiodic, who was 22 when she was killed, said her brother Hasib Spiodic.
“My sister was one year older than me. I remember her every day. I would not wish this to happen to anybody, all the losses and traumas that have left me with lifetime consequences,” Hasib Spiodic told BIRN.
Spiodic said he could not persuade his sister to join a convoy of women and children who left Potocari on July 11, 1995 after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica.
Instead she decided to join him and her husband in an attempt to reach Bosnian Army-controlled territory in Tuzla by trekking through the woods along with many other fleeing Bosniaks.
Spiodic said his sister told him that she would go with the men, because her life made no sense without her husband and brother.
“She was aware that hardly any of us would survive. She was very attached to me, we grew up together. We shared everything together, both the good and the bad, and of course she was devoted to her husband Semsudin,” he said.
He said that they managed to survive in the woods for the first two days.
“We were occasionally separated in the mass of people, but I would look for them and find them. They were killed at the location where we parted from each other, above Konjevic Polje on the night of July 12-13. They were found in the Krajinovici area, above Kravica [around 20 kilometres from Srebrenica],” he added.
Spiodic reached safety in Bosnian Army-controlled territory in Kalesija, some 70 kilometres from Srebrenica, after having wandered through the woods for 13 days.
Munira Subasic, the president of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves Association, said that there is no separate register of women killed in July 1995, but her association has a database covering the period from 1992 to 1995, in which around 570 killed and missing females are listed.
“We wanted each woman who was killed to be registered by her full name and kept in our records,” Subasic said.
“The search for a number of missing women is still ongoing,” she added.