SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Thousands of Sarajevans began paying tearful tribute Wednesday to victims of Europe's worst massacre since World War II as trucks carried remains for reburial later this week at the site of the slaughter.
Up to 4,000 people stood silently as three trucks holding remains from an identification center in the central town of Visoko stopped in front of the Bosnian presidency building in Sarajevo en route to the town of Srebrenica, where the massacre took place.
Only the sound of weeping broke the silence.
"I lost my son, Hiram and 13 other family members during the fall of Srebrenica," Zineta Mujic, 53, said with a trembling voice. "None of my loved ones have been found."
Among those who paid tribute were some Bosnian politicians, including two members of the country's multiethnic presidency. The Serb member of the presidency, Borislav Paravac, did not attend.
The bodies of 282 identified victims will be buried Friday, the eighth anniversary of the massacre, in a new Srebrenica cemetery dedicated to victims.
Up to 8,000 Muslims, mostly boys and men, were slaughtered at Srebrenica in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb soldiers who had overrun the eastern town, then a U.N.-protected zone. The killings came shortly before the end of the country's 1992-95 war.
The bodies were dumped in mass graves across the countryside and are still being discovered. So far, more than 5,000 Srebrenica victims have been exhumed from across eastern Bosnia, and of those, 1,620 have been identified by DNA analysis.
Of the 282 victims, 26 were under the age of 18 and the two oldest victims were 75, said Amor Masovic, head of the Muslim Commission for Missing Persons in charge of the exhumation process.
Earlier this year, the first 600 identified Srebrenica victims were buried in a similar ceremony in the new cemetery.
About 250,000 people were killed during the country's war among Muslims, Croats and Serbs. Since the end of the conflict, about 16,500 bodies have been exhumed from more than 300 mass graves throughout the country.
Mejra Halilovic, 53, cried as she watched the convoy leave. She lost several family members, including four brothers, two of whom have been identified.
"We need to arrest those who committed this crime," she said. "Only after that will people live freely in this country."
I WAS THERE TODAY AND I COULDN'T STOP CRYING BECAUSE THIS IS A SAD
DAY FOR BOSNIA