More than 100 bodies exhumed in Bosnia mass grave

Iran Materials 12 December 2006 16:28 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - Forensic experts have found 114 complete bodies and 159 body parts in a mass grave in the northern town of Brcko, a missing persons official said on Tuesday.

The victims in the Gorice mass grave are believed to be non-Serbs, mostly Bosnian Muslims, killed early in Bosnia's 1992-95 war, reports Trend.

The exact number will only be known after DNA analysis, Murat Hurtic of the Muslim-Croat federation's commission for missing persons said.

"We found three documents belonging to Muslims who disappeared in the spring of 1992 and this indicates that all victims may be Muslims and Croats killed in Brcko, in Luke detention camp or at other locations," Hurtic said.

About 500 non-Serbs went missing in Brcko after Serb forces captured it in May 1992 as former Yugoslavia began to fall apart in a series of wars in the 1990s. More than 400 of the Brcko missing are still unaccounted for.

Two camps guards have been sentenced to jail by the U.N. war crimes court in The Hague and another by a Brcko court. Three paramilitaries are on trial in Brcko for random killings.

The Gorice mass grave is only the second to be exhumed in the town on the Sava river, which has been a model of post-war reconciliation in Bosnia. Finding all missing persons is seen as crucial to enable the town to face up to its past.

Half of some 30,000 Bosnians missing since the war have been found in almost 380 mass graves and hundreds of individual graves. At least 100,000 people died during the war in Bosnia.

Brcko had a non-Serb majority before the war but Serbs controlled it at its end.

In 1999, an international arbitration panel ruled that Brcko was a neutral district. It has since flourished, showing Bosnia how the three groups can live and work together under a scheme that guaranteed them an equal role.