Nearly all of the sets of remains were incomplete, a sign that the bodies were initially buried elsewhere and later moved to a second mass grave in an effort to hide the crime, said Murat Hurtic on Tuesday, an official with the missing persons commission in Bosnia.

 

"We did not find a single skull intact, and by the state of some of the remains where we found just several bones, we deem this is a secondary mass grave," Hurtic said.

 

Forensics teams excavating secondary mass graves in the past have uncovered evidence that bulldozers were used to move remains to new sites and have often found parts of the same body in two or three locations.

 

After 35 days of work, Hurtic said his team completed the exhumations on Monday in the eastern village of Liplje.

Belongings indicate Muslims

No documents were found on the bodies, but Hurtic said the personal belongings buried with them indicate they were Bosnian Muslims killed in the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, the worst slaughter of civilians in Europe since the second world war.

 

"We did not find a single skull intact, and by the state of some of the remains where we found just several bones, we deem this is a secondary mass grave"

Murat Hurtic,
missing persons commission in Bosnia

Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave, which had been declared a safe zone by the United Nations, and killed as many as 8000 Muslim civilians, mainly men and boys.

 

The remains will undergo DNA analysis in an attempt to identify them.

 

Over the years, UN and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing and are presumed dead.

 

About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.