Sovereign Threads

Weaving Community, Strength and Hope in Bosnia- Herzegovina


Srebrenica is a small mountain town in Eastern Bosnia. Before the war it was the health spa destination for Yugoslavia. From all over the region, people would come to soak in the natural geothermal hot springs, breathe the high mountain air, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility.

In April of 1993, one year into the bloody Bosnian war, the UN Security Council declared the small mountain town Srebrenica as a United Nations Safe Area. The UN promised the people of Srebrenica safety and security. 

On July 11, 1995, the UN Safezone of Srebrenica in fell to the vastly out armed and manned Bosnian Serb Army. Of the 35,000 civilians in the “safe zone” only about 5,000 were welcomed into the gates of the UN Base for protection. The rest were left helplessly at the hands of the Bosnain Serb general Ratko Maldic. Several thousand men who knew their fate if they were captured, decided to take their chances and started marching through the landmine-filled mountains to the nearest Muslim controlled territory of Tuzla.

After several requests for UN air support went unanswered, the Dutch soldiers in the UN Base negociated their own survivial with Maldic. The UN troops were allowed to leave but the civilians were handed over to the mercy of the Bosnian Serb army.

Over the next 5 days a reported 10,000 men and boys were systematically murdered and placed in mass graves. The machine of genocide was well orchestrated and efficiently carried out. While the killings themselves took place over a relatively short time, the discovery and identification of the victims has taken painfully longer. Many of the victims were dug up from their primary mass graves and reburied one or two more times in an attempt to disguise the number of deaths. After the war all the surviving women and children gave blood samples to a large database for the identification of remains. To this day, mass graves continue to be discovered and new victims identified. Currently there are still 1,000 known victims who have yet to be discovered and identified.

Every year on July 11, the newly identified victims (or at least the few bone fragments that have been identified of them) are placed in coffins and buried in a large memorial ceremony in Potocari, directly arcoss from the abandoned UN Base.

Ratko Mladic was caught 10 years after the war and tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague. In 2017 he was found guilty of War Crimes, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity(Claire Noone had the honor of working for the Office of The Prosecutor on that case)

Short Videos- Claire Noone

Srebrenica Peace March

This video was taken by Claire Noone as she participated in the annual march from Tuzla back to Srebrenica to commemorate the many men who attempted to walk to safety. Thousands died on the walk.

Srebrenica Commemoration

This video was taken by Claire Noone at the annual commemoration and burial of newly identified victims. The 17 year old son of our women was discovered and identified after as many years of holding out hope. This is his burial.

Prijedor Commemoration

This is a video made by Claire Noone at another genocide commemoration in Western Bosnia.