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Thousands begin "death march" to mark Srebrenica

Source : Agencies | 08 Jul 2013

Thousands of participants in the annual "death march" in Bosnia began treading in reverse the steps of 3,500 people who escaped Srebrenica, where the invading Serbian troops killed 8,000 Muslim men in 1995 civil war.

Thousands of people from Turkey, Spain, US, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Germany and Austria gathered in Nezuk town early on Monday morning and kicked off the "death march" along marches and with flags in their hands.

Despite the heat, participants continue with their three-day-long walk. The walk from the city of Tuzla in the north-eastern region to the eastern town of Srebrenica takes about 112 km.

Participants from all around the world state that their aim is to contribute to remember Srebrencia victims and not experiencing such pains again.

"I think about those painful days when I walk"

Attending the walk from Spain, Sonia Pares told Anadolu Agency that her brother was serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war and then she decided to attend the traditional walks after the war. After her brother’s death, Sonia Pares decided to keep the memories of all victims alive.

Another walker, Emina Cavan from Sweden said she felt debted to attend the walk, despite her old age.

35 km of walk each day

The march will end on July 11 at the Srebrenice Genocide Memorial, known as Potocari Memorial Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide, within the scope of the memorial events of the genocide.

Participants will walk about 35 kilometers each day for three days long in order to reach Potocari.

Walkers will rest overnight in the woods where survivors of the genocide who used the “death march” route to escape will share their experiences.

The massacre, recognized by two international courts as an act of genocide, took place on July 11, 1995 when the Serbian troops under the leadership of Ratko Mladic invaded Srebrenica and killed 8,000 men above the age of 14 in the city.

Mladic was extradited to The Hague in 2011 on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide. His trial formally began in May, 2012.