Police interrupted election tellers in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, site of the 1995 genocide of 8,000 Muslims, just as they were about to recount ballots in a tense vote which may bring the town its first Serb mayor since the war. Srebrenica became a symbol of Bosniak suffering in the 1992-95 Bosnian war when Bosnian Serb forces surrounded the town, a U.N-protected enclave, and killed its Muslim men and boys. In Sunday’s local election, 70 percent of votes cast locally went to a Bosnian Serb, Mladen Grujicic, causing uproar in a town that is still deeply scarred by the massacre, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War Two. Grujicic, like many other Serbs, denies that the massacre amounted to a genocide as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has ruled.
Incumbent mayor Camil Durakovic, a Muslim Bosniak, still hopes to overturn Grujicic’s lead when the votes of thousands of Muslim Srebrenica survivors scattered around Bosnia and the world are counted in Sarajevo.
Bosnia’s central election commission ordered a partial recount of votes already in because of suspected irregularities.
But the town’s election authorities halted the recount on Wednesday after Bosnian Serb police entered their offices and questioned their chief. Police said they were securing election documents. “This is direct pressure on the work of the municipal election commission,” said chairman Nermin Alivuković, adding that they would await further instructions from Bosnia’s Central Election Commission (CIK) before proceeding.