The Srebrenica - Potocari Memorial Center for the victims of the 1995 genocide, marks the 20th anniversary of its official opening this year.
On this occasion, a special program will be organized in the former battery factory production hall in Srebrenica on Wednesday and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Memorial Center, Hamdija Fejzic, will address the participants of the event, followed by a video address by former US President Bill Clinton and Menachem Z. Rosensaft, the Vice President of the World Jewish Congress.
Munira Subasic, the president of the Association “Movement of Mothers of the Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves”, Hasan Hasanovic, a surviving witness of the genocide, Alice Nderitu, the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Amra Begic, the assistant director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, will also speak at the ceremony.
As part of the program, a short film produced by the Memorial Center – Video Archive 1992-1995 will be shown.
The Memorial Center was founded as a memorial complex whose role is to nurture and preserve the memory of the innocent victims of genocide, and which, at the same time, is a kind of reminder and admonition to future generations so that this would never happen again to anyone.
This memorial complex, located in Potocari near Srebrenica, was established by the Decision of the High Representative, and it was officially opened on September 20, 2003 by Bill Clinton, then President of the United States of America.
The High Representative passed the decision enacting the Law on the Srebrenica – Potocari Memorial Center, Memorial and Cemetery for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide in 2007. The Law established the Center as the legal successor of the original Foundation based in Potocari, as well as its official name.
In February 2023, the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, amended the Law on the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Center, adapting the previous decision of the High Representative to facilitate the work of the Memorial Center.
This change allows unused funds originally intended for burials to be used for other purposes, with the prior consent of the donor.
In March 2003, the first collective funeral and burial of the first 600 identified victims of genocide took place. During 2003, three collective funerals for victims of genocide were held in the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and after the first funeral on March 31, when 600 victims of genocide were buried, the second funeral followed on July 11, with 282 victims and the third collective funeral on September 20 when 107 people were buried.
So far, 6,751 victims of genocide have been buried in the Srebrenica – Potocari Memorial Center, while 250 victims were buried in local cemeteries by the decision of the surviving family members.
As an institution of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Memorial Center maintains continuous cooperation with numerous organizations, and centres in the region and beyond, advocating for the realization of the fundamental determinants of its activities.
As part of this Center, there is also a library, one of the largest in this part of the country, which has relevant literature related to the genocide against Bosniaks in the so-called ‘UN Safe Zone’.
The Research Archive is also in operation, which works on collecting personal items, photographs and documents, as well as establishing communication with family members of genocide victims.
Since 2007, the memorial room has had a permanent exhibit called “Black Room – Personal Stories” in which personal belongings of genocide victims, found in mass graves, are exhibited.
The Srebrenica Memorial Center pays special attention to ongoing research activities in the areas of the collection of personal belongings of victims of genocide and testimony, as well as analysis of relevant judgments and prosecutions of those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity.