At Srebrenica, Iraq's Yazidis demand genocide recognition

SREBRENICA, Bosnia (Reuters) - Four Yazidis from Iraq joined thousands of Bosnian Muslims at a commemoration on Tuesday of the 8,000 men and boys killed in 1995 at Srebrenica and called for atrocities committed against their sect by Islamic State to be recognized as genocide.

The Srebrenica massacre by Bosnian Serb forces near the end of Bosnia's war was declared a genocide by two United Nations courts and leaders including General Ratko Mladic have been prosecuted at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The 2014 killings at Sinjar of thousands of Yazidis by IS militants who buried some alive and took thousands of women as slaves have also been called a genocide by a U.N. commission but activists are seeking wider recognition and prosecutions.

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Commemoration of Srebrenica massacre anniversary
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Commemoration of Srebrenica massacre anniversary
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: People grieve around the coffins of 71 genocide victims as they are unloaded to Potacari memorial cemetery for Tuesday's service to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in Potocari village of Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Kemal Zorlak/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: People pray around the Coffins of 71 genocide victims as they are unloaded to Potacari memorial cemetery for Tuesday's service to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in Potocari village of Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: A rose is left on the funeral of the 71 victims of 1995 Srebrenica genocide, after a convoy carrying the bodies of the 71 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre arrived in Potocari village where they are to be buried, in Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: People grieve near the bodies of the 71 victims of 1995 Srebrenica genocide, after a convoy carrying the bodies of the 71 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre arrived in Potocari village where they are to be buried, in Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: People grieve near the bodies of the 71 victims of 1995 Srebrenica genocide, after a convoy carrying the bodies of the 71 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre arrived in Potocari village where they are to be buried, in Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A woman walks among graves in Memorial Center Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Woman cries near coffins of her relatives, who are newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which are lined up for a joint burial in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
A woman mourns near coffins of her relatives, who are newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which are lined up for a joint burial in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
People mourn near coffins of their relatives, who are newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which are lined up for a joint burial in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
SREBRENICA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 10: People pray around the Coffins of 71 genocide victims as they are unloaded to Potacari memorial cemetery for Tuesday's service to mark the 22nd anniversary of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide in Potocari village of Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2017. Every year on July 11 newly identified victims of the genocide -- which claimed the lives of over 8,000 people -- are buried in a memorial cemetery in Potocari, eastern Bosnia. Thousands of visitors from different countries will attend the funeral service and burials. (Photo by Samir Yordamovic/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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"We have endured horrific abuse and persecution -- the Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Serbs and Yazidis at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) -- and we share the memories and recognize each others' feelings," said Hussam Abdukah, a Yazidi lawyer who is documenting the IS crimes and is a member of a peacebuilding program in northern Iraq.

Tuesday's commemoration of the killings at Srebrenica 22 years ago included the burials of 71 newly identified victims at a cemetery near the eastern town, bringing the total number interred there to 6,575.

More than 1,000 men and boys are still missing. The Serb forces dumped the victims' bodies in pits and subsequently dug them up and scattered them in a systematic effort to conceal the crime, Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two.

Yazidis will commemorate the Sinjar massacre in August.

The activists attending the Srebrenica anniversary, who also included two Iraqis, said they hoped to use the Srebrenica families' experiences to help build cases against IS fighters that can eventually be used in international criminal courts.

"We urge the international community that just like in Srebrenica it helps open mass graves and build cases because we fear that traces of the crime might stay hidden," said Basma Naji, who fled Sinjar just hours before the attack.

11 PHOTOS
Remembering the victims of the Srebrenica massacre
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Remembering the victims of the Srebrenica massacre
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Mula Hasanovic shows photos of her husband as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Mula Hasanovic lost her two sons and husband during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Duda Fejzic shows photos of her family as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Duda Fejzic lost her son during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Nezira Fejzic shows photos as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Nezira Fejzic lost her three sons during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Kada Ramic shows photos of her sons as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Kada Ramic lost her four sons during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Redzija Hasanovic shows a photo as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Redzija Hasanovic lost her husband and siblings during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Redzija Hasanovic shows a photo as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Redzija Hasanovic lost her husband and siblings during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Kada Ramic shows photos of her sons as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Kada Ramic lost her four sons during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Nura Mustafic shows photos of her son as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Nura Mustafic lost her husband and three sons. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Emina Hajdarevic shows photos of her son as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Emina Hajdarevic still waits to be informed about his lost 16 year old son Edin during the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - JULY 4: Hajra Catic shows photos of her son as she speaks to media in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 4, 2017. Hajra Catic still waits to be informed about his lost son who was broadcasting on radio about the genocide. 71 newly identified Srebrenica massacre victims will be buried in the village of Potocari, just northwest of the city of Srebrenica, on July 11 to mark the 22nd anniversary of the genocide. Despite the fact that 22 years have passed since the Srebrenica genocide, remains of victims are still being discovered and funeral ceremonies still being carried out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces between 1992 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. Back then, Serb militias were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form their own state. (Photo by Mustafa �t�rk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was jailed last year for 40 years by The Hague tribunal while his military chief Mladic is still being tried on genocide charges.

Dozens of Bosnian Serb lower-ranking officials were jailed over the Srebrenica atrocity by the Bosnian war crimes court.

Most Serbs strongly deny the massacre was genocide, however, and regard Karadzic and Mladic as national heroes. That divide continues to hinder reconciliation and stifle Bosnia's progress toward integration with Western Europe.

Among those buried on Tuesday was Munib Salkic, who was 15 when he was killed at Srebrenica.

"For more than 20 years I had hoped my brother was alive," his sister Emina Kuranovic said through tears beside a green-draped coffin holding Salkic's remains.

"I did not believe that anybody could have killed a child."

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