British colonel: I will never forget Bosnia

Srebrenica genocide has marked former commander Bob Stewart for life.

British colonel: I will never forget Bosnia

World Bulletin/News Desk

The massacre in the village of Ahmici during the war in Bosnia has marked former British colonel Bob Stewart for life.

"I could not believe my eyes when I entered the village on April 23, 1993," said former commander, recalling how his soldiers found the charred bodies of Bosniak civilians.

"I found mass graves," Stewart says. "I will never forget it." 

"I hope such things will never happen again. I will die happy in belief that such things will not repeat", Stewart says.

In an interview with The Anadolu Agency, Stewart, who is currently a member of the British Parliament, says that he lives with the memory every day of his life. 

Shortly before Stewart and his soldiers came to the village, Croatian Defense Council forces committed the mass slaughter of 116 Bosniak settlers.  

Stewart returned to Bosnia on Sunday to visit Srebrenica Memorial Gallery 11/07/95 that preserves documents and photos of the mass killing. 

Seeing hundreds of photos of victims, Stewart exclaimed: "We have not seen such crime since the WWII." 

"I could not believe that soldiers permitted it. I could not believe the UN allowed it to happen. I could not believe that people who lived in Bosnia, members of the Republika Srpska army, could do that," Stewart said.

Now, 20 years later, Stewart expressed his hope that the world has learned a lesson from the genocide in Bosnia, and will not allow it to happen again. 

Thousands of victims still not laid to rest

In July 1995, troops led by the indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic entered the city of Srebrenica, killing more than 8.000 unarmed men and boys, and expelling around 35,000 people.

Remains of victims are still being found today. The recovered bodies are buried in Potocari Memorial near Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia.

The massacre in Ahmici, where Bosnian Croats turned against Bosnian Muslims, has been defined as the single most savage example of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.

Members of the Croatian Defense Council at dawn on April 16 1993 killed 11 minors, 32 women and 73 men in Ahmici. The youngest victim was a three-month-old baby. 

The International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia has ruled that the murders in Ahmici were crimes against humanity.

During the past 20 years, 86 people out of 116 killed were found and identified, while 30 still remain missing, according to the "April 16 - Ahmici" association.

The war in Bosnia ended in 1995. Since that time, hundreds of Bosniak families are still searching for missing people, large numbers of civilians who were killed and thrown into mass graves around the country. 

8,400 people still remain missing after the war, according to the Institute for Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2014, 15:23

Muhammed Öylek