The First Minister has led commemorations in Scotland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic massacred 8,372 men and boys.
Saturday marks a quarter of a century since the greatest atrocity – which targeted Bosniak Muslims – on European soil since the Second World War.
Nicola Sturgeon said: “I have had the enormous privilege to visit Srebrenica and meet survivors of the genocide as well as bereaved friends and family members who continue to this day to fight to preserve the memory of their loved ones.
“The pain and suffering they have endured is unimaginable but their determination and perseverance to carry on and create a better world, free from injustice and brutality, is nothing short of remarkable.
“Atrocities like the Srebrenica genocide do not occur overnight.
“When hatred and bigotry are allowed to seep into any part of society we are all at risk of a less peaceful and tolerant world.
“Although 25 years have passed since more than 8,000 men and boys had their lives taken from them – and many women and girls suffered appalling crimes of sexual violence – it is still vital that we remember and reflect on one of Europe’s darkest chapters.
“The Srebrenica genocide must never be forgotten and we must never allow the prejudice and intolerance that led to such brutality to infiltrate our society ever again.”
The families of some of the victims are still searching for the bodies of their loved ones, while remains which have been identified over the past year will be interred in a cemetery at Potacari, near Srebrenica, on Saturday.
Face-to-face commemorations across Scotland have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis, but other events have been organised to mark the anniversary.
The charity Remembering Srebrenica Scotland is holding a series of virtual events to spread the message about the crimes which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including new education resources for Scottish school pupils.
Bafta award-winning filmmaker Samir Mehanovic’s documentary The Fog Of Srebrenica explores the impact and legacy of the massacre.
At the time he was a 24-year-old pacifist living in Tuzla, which became a refuge for women who were suffering during the conflict.
He said: “When these women came there was utter silence in the town.
“Women and children were just coming and coming, we couldn’t believe it.
“We knew the Serbs had done ghastly things but we couldn’t believe the scale.
“Every woman that was passing through had been raped.”
Mr Mehanovic, who now lives in Edinburgh, warned he sees political climate of “divide and rule” operating in western cultures which he fears could lead to a reoccurrence of racial violence if people are not educated further.
The scale of the atrocity is still denied by some or justified by wrongdoings caused by other sides in the conflict.
He added: “Serbian politicians need to accept and apologise – then we can accept and move on with our lives.
“I used to say we could learn from democracy in the UK but I reverse that position now.
“Leaders in the UK and America are saying things which can lead to dehumanisation – they will do anything to win an election.”