Diciembre 7, 2006

Around 180 bodies exhumed from mass grave near Brcko

The Associated Press
6 December 2006
BRCKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dec 6 (AP) -- Forensic experts have exhumed the remains of about 180 people from a mass grave in northeastern Bosnia containing the victims of Serb forces' ethnic cleansing campaign, a
forensic expert said Wednesday.

The team worked on the grave for a month and collected 105 complete bodies and 146 body bags containing other human remains, Murat Hurtic, the head of the forensic team said. The total number of dead is around 180 people, he said.

"It's a secondary mass grave that we have found not far from the city
and according to two documents two of the victims had with them, those are all people from Brcko and its suburbs, who were killed either in
the concentration camp Luka or just picked up from home and executed,"
he said. "Some of the skulls had three bullet holes in them," he added.

Secondary mass graves contain bodies originally buried elsewhere, but later moved to a different location in an effort to cover up the crime. The remains are often only partial, as those involved in reburying them often used bulldozers. The remains will be identified through DNA analysis and returned to their families.

More than 500 Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats from Brcko remain missing since the 1992-95 Bosnian war when Serb forces captured the town and expelled or killed non-Serbs.

Negotiators of Bosnia's peace accord from 1995 - the Bosnian, Serbian
and Croatian presidents at the time - couldn't agree who should get
Brcko in the division of the country and left it up to international arbitrators who in 1999 ruled the city should be part of neither the Bosnian Serb republic, or the Bosniak-Croat federation but should be
a neutral district.

Since then Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs are running the town together and the city has become an example for how
all of Bosnia should actually function.

Witnesses of the wartime killing led the Commission for Missing Persons to the mass grave.

"The authorities here have been very cooperative and even volunteers, such as local doctors, joined our team. For the first time we are
working in a city that seems to have faced its past," he said.
Agence France-Presse
25 November 2006

Families launch appeal over missing from Balkans wars

SARAJEVO, Nov 25 (AFP) -- The families of thousands of people who went missing during the 1990s Balkans wars urged the authorities in the region on Saturday to deliver answers about the fate of their missing relatives.

"The government authorities have an obligation to provide answers
about the fate of their missing citizens," the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said in a statement.

"Family members will continue to exert pressure on the highest-level political leaders in the region to do everything in their power to enable the release of information and to speed up the process of resolving
this important regional human rights issue."

The appeal was launched after a conference that gathered more than
60 representatives of associations representing families of missing
persons and relevant government institutions from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, UN-administered Serbian province of Kosovo and international organisations.

The participants have met over the past three days in the northeast
Bosnian town of Brcko.

"Associations' representatives believe that resolving the issue of missing persons should be a pre-condition for European integration
of this region," the ICMP said.

The ICMP is a Bosnia-based inter-governmental organisation founded
in 1996.

It is leading the process to identify remains and reveal the fate of some 40,000 people who went missing across the whole of the former Yugoslavia since it was shattered by a series of wars in the early 1990s. The fate
of around half of them is still unknown, according to the ICMP.


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