A SURVIVOR of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia who fled more than 60 miles to escape his death has marked the 20th anniversary of the atrocity by telling his story to an audience in Bradford.

Hasan Hasanović, a Bosnian Muslim, walked for five days and six nights to avoid Bosnian Serb forces who arrived in the town and murdered more than 8,000 men and boys on July 11, 1995.

Through a partnership with the Remembering Srebrenica charity, Bradford Councillors Alex Ross-Shaw (Lab, Windhill and Wrose) and Adrian Farley (Lab, Keighley West) organised a visit to allow Mr Hasanović to give a special lecture to students and staff at the School of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford.

Mr Hasanović, who was greeted by Councillor Mike Gibbons, the Lord Mayor of Bradford, during a civic reception at City Hall, said he wanted the students to hear his personal story.

"I ran from July 11 to July 16, and I was forced to leave my twin brother and my father as they were lagging behind," he said.

"It took many years to find out they had been captured and killed, and it wasn't until 2005 we were able to give them a proper burial.

"After 20 years, it is important to draw a line under the past and focus on what can be achieved now.

"It is important to spread the message of Srebrenica to ensure people do not repeat those actions in the future.

"Remembering Srebrenica is an important charity, and Bradford should be proud to be involved.

"I hope other countries and areas in the UK will follow its example."

Aged just 19 at the time of the genocide, Mr Hasanović survived by fleeing for 63 miles across mountains, rivers, and minefields to the nearest Muslim territory of Tuzla.

He lost his father, brother and uncle, but was reunited with his mother, younger brother, and grandparents.

He told his story to an audience of Peace Studies students at the university yesterday, including Sara Tavafi, who also helped organise the visit after visiting Srebrenica, alongside Cllrs Ross-Shaw and Farley, as part of a Bradford delegation last year.

"People who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history," she said.

"It is crucial that we address this, and we are delighted to welcome Hasan to Bradford in the 20th anniversary year of the genocide."

"Hasan hosted some of us on our own visit to Srebrenica, so we’re pleased to return the favour and bring him to Bradford," said Cllr Ross-Shaw.

"The people of Srebrenica and Bosnia were so welcoming and open about sharing their tragic stories with us, we thought it was important for Hasan to experience the warmth and hospitality of Bradford in return.”

A special memorial service to mark UK Srebrenica Memorial Week will be held at City Hall in Bradford on July 4, leading up to Srebrenica Memorial Day, an EU-wide day of remembrance for the victims on July 11.