Bosnian Muslim mass grave exhumed

Forensic experts have exhumed more than 60 skeletons - including women and children - from a mass grave in Bosnia.

    Around 300 mass graves have been found in Bosnia

    The grave is thought to contain the remains of Muslims slaughtered during

    the war, an official said on Friday.

    "We have completed the exhumation. Some skeletons are not

    complete but there are at least 62 victims," said Murat Hurtic, a

    member of the Bosnian Muslim commision for missing people.

    He said the experts were certain the remains belong to 72

    Muslim civilians, including 16 children and 10 women, executed by

    Bosnian Serb forces in the village of Zaklopaca at the outbreak of

    the 1992-95 war.

    A number of scattered human bones also found in the grave near

    the eastern town of Vlasenica would be further analysed, Hurtic said

    .

    Summary executions

    "The youngest victim found was a three-year-old child," he said,

    adding a number of bullets were found and some of the

    skeletons had bullet holes, proving the victims had been shot.

    The circle-shaped grave, which is five metres wide and

    four meters deep, was discovered in early May.

    Radovan Karadzic is wanted for
    the Srebrenica massacre

    According to forensic experts who took testimony from survivors,

    villagers in Zaklopaca were summarily executed by Bosnian Serbs in

    May 1992 when they captured the eastern part of the country.

    The bodies were first buried in Zaklopaca, but later dug up,

    moved about two kilometers away and covered by heavy

    stone blocks to cover up the crime.

    Dozens of people visited the site during the exhumation to find

    out about the fate of missing loved ones, hoping to recognise

    jewelry such as wedding rings and documents, Hurtic said.

    Missing people

    Several personal documents found with the remains convinced

    experts that the victims were from Zaklopaca, which is located in a

    Serb-run part of the Balkan state, although formal identification is

    to be made through DNA analysis.

    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the

    fate of 16,000 missing people in Bosnia is still not known.

    In the eight years since the end of the Bosnian conflict, 18,000

    bodies have been exhumed from more than 300 mass graves throughout the

    country, most of them Muslims, according to forensic teams.

    Around 200,000 people died in
    the war in Bosnia

    Post-war Bosnia is divided into two semi-autonomous parts - the

    Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat Federation -- which

    share several federal institutions.

    Last week, the Bosnian Serb government said it had discovered 14

    new mass graves containing remains of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica

    massacre of 7000 Muslims, the worst atrocity in Europe since

    World War II.

    Genocide

    Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his army chief

    Ratko Mladic have been charged by The Hague-based UN war crimes

    court for genocide and other atrocities during Bosnia's war

    .

    But the two remain at large, believed to be hiding in Bosnia and

    neighbouring Serbia-Montenegro.

    Bosnia's war claimed around 200,000 lives and left 2.2 million

    refugees, more than half of the country's population.

    SOURCE: AFP


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