Experts 'uncover' Srebrenica mass grave
23 September 2004, AMSTERDAM — Forensic experts have found a mass grave containing the remains of 249 people believed to be victims of the Srebrenica massacre.
23 September 2004
AMSTERDAM — Forensic experts have found a mass grave containing the remains of 249 people believed to be victims of the Srebrenica massacre.
Up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Serbian forces in 1995 after the Dutch UN troops who were meant to protect them surrendered. The incident was Europe's worst post-World War II massacre.
The grisly find was made in the Bosnian village Bljeceva, it was reported Thursday.
"We have exhumed 38 complete and 211 incomplete bodies," a Commission for Missing People representative, Murat Hurtic, told news agency AFP on Thursday.
Hurtic said documents found in the grave suggested it contained victims of the Srebrenica massacre. He added that the bodies were initially buried somewhere else and had been moved to Bljeceva to cover up the crime.
So far, some 18,000 bodies have been exhumed from more than 300 mass graves throughout Bosnia. More than one third of those belong to the Srebrenica massacre victims.
Stunned by reports of genocide against Muslim Bosnians during the Bosnian-Serb war, the UN designated safe areas where refugees could gather under the protection of UN troops.
A lightly armed force of Dutch troops known as Dutchbat was assigned to guard the Srebrenica safe area.
When Serbian commander Ratko Mladic laid siege to Srebrenica on 9 July 1995, the UN failed to provide air support to relieve the enclave.
Two days later, the Dutch commander Thom Karremans surrendered. The following day the Serbs allowed the women and children to leave on buses but took away the men and boys, aged 12 to 77, for "interrogation for suspected war crimes", BBC reported.
The killings started on 13 July, the same day as the Dutch base at Potocari handed over 5,000 Muslims in return for the release of 14 Dutch peacekeepers held by the Serbs.
Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is presently on trial before a UN tribunal in The Hague for alleged war crimes. Some of the charges relate to Srebrenica.
Mladic is still on the run and is wanted in relation to the Srebrenica massacre and other crimes committed during the war.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news