August 11, 2006


By Nedim Dervisbegovic

KAMENICA, Bosnia – Forensic experts said on Friday they had unearthed 133 complete skeletons and more than 900 body parts of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of Muslims at the biggest mass grave found in Bosnia.

The Jaz mass grave is the ninth site with the remains of Srebrenica victims to be found around the eastern village of Kamenica. Bodies were moved to the Jaz grave from the site of the massacre to conceal the traces of the crime.

“This is the biggest mass grave in Bosnia,” Murat Hurtic of the Federation’s regional team for missing persons told Reuters at the site.

A 10-person team, including forensic experts from Canada and Serbia employed by the Bosnia-based International Commission on Missing Persons, worked in the 18-meter by 4-meter (60 ft by 13 ft) grave.

Dressed in white overalls, they sifted through mud in the grave’s central part to recover skulls and bones, some complete and some mangled and fractured, as well as clothes and shoes.

The bodies were dug out from graves at the site of the massacre with bulldozers before being moved to Jaz, badly damaging many of the remains.

“We will continue with the exhumation for another two to three days and we expect to unearth more remains but it is difficult to estimate how many,” Hurtic said.

He said it was difficult to estimate too how many bodies could be identified from incomplete remains, but added that it could be hundreds.

Bosnian Serbs captured the isolated Srebrenica enclave on July 11, 1995, rounding up Muslim men and boys as helpless Dutch U.N. soldiers stood by. Others were caught while trying to flee through woods.

About 8,000 were killed in summary executions and buried in dozens of graves in the wider region of Lower Drina Valley.

Some remains found at the Jaz mass grave belonged to victims killed and buried at the nearby Pilica farm, Hurtic said.

Bosnian Croat Drazen Erdemovic, who admitted killing almost half of 153 Muslims executed at Pilica, was sentenced by the Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal in 1998 to five years’ imprisonment. He has served the sentence.

The excavation team found many bullets, some of them lodged among the body parts, as well as plastic and cloth bindings around the victims’ arms.

“We have also found many documents, fourteen of which could be read and they clearly show that the victims were people who disappeared in July 1995 in Srebrenica,” Hurtic said.

About 2,500 Srebrenica victims have been identified and buried while remains in 3,500 body bags still await DNA identification.

Close to 40 people were charged for the massacre by the U.N. war crimes court and Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian courts.

  1. Shaina
    August 12, 2006 at 2:11 am

    I remember reading about this.

    Perhaps nothing can bring closure to the family members and victims of the massacre; but now more family members will be able to (re)bury their family members with respect and dignity they deserve.

    I read recently that they are still uncovering victims from the Ustasha era.
    We will probably still be uncovering victims from this war for years to come.
    (Especially when you consider the effort the VRS put into trying to conceal the crime by moving the bodies to several different mass grave spots; etc.)

  2. Owen
    August 12, 2006 at 10:16 am


  3. Anonymous
    August 13, 2006 at 2:57 am

    Drazen Erdemovic admitted killing almost 76 people and got only 5 year sentence in prison? I can’t believe this.Shocking.

  4. Owen
    August 17, 2006 at 6:08 am

    Dan, even if you disagree with the way the ICTY treated Erdemovic you should give some indication of the factors involved. It’s not helping the cause of justice if you add to the impression other people give of the Tribunal acting in an arbitrary and unreasonable way.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: