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Preserving History and Combating Genocide Denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On December 15, 2021, International University of Sarajevo (IUS) held a joint event with Srebrenica Memorial Center on “Preserving History and Combating Genocide Denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The panelists were Dr. Emir Suljagić, the Director of Srebrenica Memorial Center and visiting professor at IUS, Almasa Salihović, Public Relations Officer of Srebrenica Memorial Center and Hasan Hasanović, the Oral History Project Coordinator of Srebrenica Memorial Center.

The welcoming speech was given by Assistant Professor Dr. Aliaksandr Novikau, Head of the Department of International Relations and Public Administration of the Faculty of Business and Administration. Professor Novikau introduced the topic of genocide and genocide denial and presented the panelists.

Dr. Suljagić talked about the beginnings of the  Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Center for the Victims of the 1995 Genocide. It was founded in 2000 by the decision of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina as a place of remembrance for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica. The Memorial Center is dedicated to preserving history and combating genocide denial.

He reflected on the plan behind the genocide and events that took place prior to it. Another point he emphasized was the fact that the genocide did not happen once, but continued after the actual event when the human remains from mass graves were scattered around in order to cover the evidence of what had happened.

Dr. Suljagić also highlighted the work the Center does to preserve the history and combat genocide denial in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of their projects include: personal items gathering, Srebrenica leadership initiative, Srebrenica genocide denial reports, genocide transcripts, joint exhibition projects, education projects, commemorations, work with local communities, etc. He also mentioned the Mothers of Srebrenica who have been doing tremendous work on remembering the genocide victims, preserving history and raising global awareness about genocide and crimes against humanity with the goal of preventing their reoccurence in the future.

Another project of the Center that should be mentioned was presented by Mr. Hasanović, the Oral History Project Coordinator who works with the genocide survivors. He records their testimonials and prepares the material to be published.

Ms. Salihović, the Public Relations Officer of the Center told her own story of surviving the genocide and her way back to the place where the atrocities of July 1995 happened.

The aim of the Center is to educate young people about the events which happened in this part of the world and thus help new generations learn about history and give meaning to all the lives that were lost in Srebrenica in 1995.

The event was concluded with a very fruitful Q&A session with a lot of questions from the audience.  

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