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Bosnia and Herzegovina

    July 09, 2015
    Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Centre © Amnesty International

    By Steve Crawshaw, the director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International and a former Eastern Europe editor of The Independent. Follow Steve on Twitter @stevecrawshaw

    Srebrenica. A drive through eastern Bosnia seems to be full of sleepy Balkan charm. The landscape is one of wooded hills, small farmsteads, abundant plum orchards. The road winds its way through maize fields beside the quiet river Drina. In the woods, a cuckoo calls on a midsummer’s day. All is peaceful.

    As is so often the case, landscapes deceive. Twenty years ago, this idyllic setting was the scene of the worst crimes committed on European soil since 1945. The world looked the other way, as genocide was committed in and near the town of Srebrenica.

    Here, more than 8,000 men and boys were murdered in a series of executions and massacres in the days after Srebrenica fell to Bosnian-Serb forces on 11 July 1995. Almost a generation later, it is still unclear whether wounds have even begun to heal.