A HORRIFIC act of genocide is the focus of a powerful art exhibition in the heart of Worcester by an artist who helped gather evidence of war crimes in the Balkans.

The Srebrenica Genocide 20 years ago, the worst act of genocide on European soil since the Second War War, is the subject of the exhibition at the Hive in Worcester.

In 1995 in the small town of Srebrenica, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered by Bosnian Serb forces.

The Balkans War also saw over 20,000 women raped in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of ‘ethnic cleansing’.

"Genocide: Remembering Srebrenica" is an exhibition which will describe events leading up to the genocide and display related paintings by the artist, Robert McNeil MBE, who worked as a forensic technician helping to identify the bodies from the mass graves.

He joined the first of many international forensic teams to gather evidence of war crimes that would result in putting the perpetrators behind bars.

He has since felt compelled to depict his experience through original artwork, which detail his time in Bosnia and Kosovo – presenting loss, grief and the challenging scientific processes involved in conflict zones.

The exhibition runs from Monday, May 18 to Sunday, May 24.

Dr Val Chapman, from the University of Worcester, who has organised the event, working with the charitable initiative, Remembering Srebrenica, said: “Srebrenica has become the best-documented war crime in history and the forensic evidence of the burial and reburial of evidence is irrefutable.

“Remembering Srebrenica is dedicated to working with victims and survivors of the genocide. It is the only organisation outside of Bosnia-Herzegovina dedicated to commemorating and raising awareness about the Srebrenica genocide and its legacy by marking the European Union mandated Srebrenica Memorial Day on July 11.

“The aim of this exhibition is to promote tolerance and help to create a safer, better and stronger society for all and to work against discrimination, promotion of hatred, extremism, and exclusion.”

Remembering Srebrenica organises commemoration events in the UK Srebrenica Memorial Week leading up to 11 July. It also runs the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ educational visit programme to learn from the genocide and people’s lives.

Delegates pledge to organise projects in their UK communities to create a better society.

Remembering Srebrenica Chairman, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, is former chief executive of Worcestershire Racial Equality Council and holds an honorary degree from the University of Worcester.

He said: “This year is the 20th anniversary of the genocide – the single greatest atrocity committed on European soil since the Second World War.

"Thanks to Robert’s generosity and Val’s hard work, this exhibition will help to raise awareness of Srebrenica, whilst inspiring Worcester people to build stronger, more cohesive communities.”

On July 11, 1995 General Ratko Mladi? and his Bosnian Serb forces marched into the town of Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina and systematically murdered 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys.

In 1993, Srebrenica had been declared a UN Safe Area, under the watch of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

Remembering Srebrenica is part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.