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Remembering the 1994 Sarajevo market massacre victims

26th Feb 2021
Remembering the 1994 Sarajevo market massacre victims

Bosnians commemorate the 27th anniversary of Markale marketplace massacre in Sarajevo on February 5. (Credit: Samir Jordamovic/Anadolu Agency)

Nadine Osman

Bosnians marked the 27th anniversary of a massacre that killed 68 people and injured 150 on February 5. The 1994 Markale marketplace shelling was one of the biggest massacres committed by Christian Serbian forces during the siege of Sarajevo from April 1992 to December 1995.

Family members of victims and survivors paid tribute, laid wreaths, and prayed for the dead. “Those killed in the marketplace were innocent civilians. This shows how terrible the tragedy that befalls them.

One of the responsibilities of the people of Sarajevo is not to let these victims be forgotten,” said Željko Komšić, the Croat Chair of the Council of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rafet Skenderović, who lost friends during the massacre, said he still sees blood and wounded people in his dreams.

“I was only 50 metresaway from the marketplace. . . I lost two of my friends,” he said. Kadrija Hrkić lost her sister in the attack and said her pain is still fresh and strong as the first day she lost her sister.

A commemoration programme was also organised at the National Theatre. Participants in the programme then came to the Markale marketplace and left flowers at the memorial to the victims.
On August 28, 1995, a second mortar exploded in the main market square, killing 43 people and injuring 75. Rescue workers and UN personnel rushed to help the numerous civilian casualties, while the footage of the event soon made news reports across the world.

In Sarajevo, which was besieged for 44 months during the war, 11,541 people, including 1,601 children, were killed. The shelling is among the crimes former Serbian leader Radovan Karadžić was found guilty of committing during his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The UN court in The Hague also sentenced former Bosnian Serb Commander Ratko Mladić to life in prison for his part in spreading terror among civilians in the capital of Sarajevo and other parts of Bosnia in an attempt to clear non-Serbs from certain territories. He was also found to have had “significant responsibility” for the 1995 genocide of over 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.

For the Markale massacre, the court also sentenced Dragoslav Milošević, commander of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps of the Army of Republika Srpska, to 29 years in prison, among other charges.

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