2011 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, 3rd prize

Srebrenica Massacre – 15th Anniversary


Ivo Saglietti

11 July, 2010

Relatives of victims mourn at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery on the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

About the photographer

Ivo Saglietti

Ivo Saglietti started out working as a documentary filmmaker, leaving the movie business in 1978 for photography and working with Sipa Press Agency. His photographic essays and r...

Background story

Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Relatives of victims mourn at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery on the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. During the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, the town of Srebrenica was declared a UN safe zone, to which thousands of Bosnian Muslims fled. The advancing Bosnian Serb Army overran the Dutch peacekeepers there in July 1995, killing more than 8,000 men and boys from in and around the town. The massacre is considered the worst atrocity in Europe since the Second World War and is the only episode from the Bosnian War to be declared an act of genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal. During the anniversary ceremony, 775 bodies newly identified from mass graves using DNA testing were buried at the cemetery, joining the 3,749 already interred there.

Photo credit:
Zeitenspiegel / Prospekt

Ivo Saglietti speaks about the project:
"My story begins in Tuzla, in the center of the DNA identification by the ICMP (International Commission of Missing Persons), whose mission is to complete the bodies and identify them by their names. Created in 1996, at the end of the Bosnian War, by a Lyon G7 resolution, the ICMP has been charged with a crucial task: to give a name to the unidentified victims of the Bosnian war.

The ICMP headquarters are in Sarajevo, but there are many different offices and laboratories distributed all over the former Yugoslavian countries. Pathologists, geneticists, technicians and forensic experts who work in the organization come from all over the world. Their activity begins with the common graves digging and comes to an end when a corpse finally finds its name. Among all its missions, the one regarding the victims of the Srebrenica massacre represents the most important. The work of ICMP has been able to recognize more then 3,700 victims.

In the common graves fields and in the laboratories where DNA is tested, what you can hear in different languages is that this is a crucial task, and not only for the Bosnian war but for all the future wars. I starter to work on this story in 2006, with the first chapter about the ICMP center. Since 1998, I have been focused on the Balkans aftermath, the long-term project I have carried out for more then ten years."

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/15 s
Focal length
35 mm
Leica M4

This image is collected in