A quarter of a century after they were killed in Europe’s worst massacre since World War II, eight Bosnian men and boys will be laid to rest Saturday in a cemetery just outside of Srebrenica — their marble gravestones joining thousands more, each with the same month and year of death.
Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims perished in 10 days of slaughter after the town was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in the closing months of the country’s 1992-95 fratricidal war. Their executioners tried to ensure they would never get the sort of memorial Srebrenica holds every year. Their bodies were plowed into hastily made mass graves and then later dug up with bulldozers and scattered among other burial sites to hide the evidence of the crime.
But, since 1996, Bosnian and international scientists have slowly unlocked what was once described as the “biggest forensic puzzle anywhere in the world,” unearthing the bones from those gruesome death pits and connecting them with the names of the people they belonged to.
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