TOMASICA — Two decades after Serb soldiers killed hundreds of Muslims in Bosnia, a new mass grave has been excavated in Tomasica that is expected to be the largest mass grave from the war in the 1990s.
"The process of investigating these disappearances is a painstaking one which requires careful excavation of clandestine gravesites and precise documentation of evidence that is recovered," Kathryne Bomberger, director general of the commission, told CNN on Friday, November 1.
Bomberger praised the work of the investigators, saying that the excavation works at the two sites were "some of the most complex undertaken in the region."
Discovering the new mass grave last October, forensic scientists in Bosnia have dug up the remains of 360 people at what is believed to be the largest mass grave from the war in the 1990s.
The grave lies in the village of Tomasica in north-western Bosnia where Muslims and Croats were persecuted in the area by Serbian troops during a home-to-home search.
Bullets found in the grave indicate that some people were shot in site.
The city of Prijedor was the site of gruesome crimes against humanity committed by Christian Orthodox Serbs against Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats.
The area around Prijedor housed three Nazi-style concentration camps set up by Serb authorities, where many of the victims were killed.
Authorities hope some of the 1,200 people who remain missing from the area are now found in the Tomasica grave, which covers over 5,000 square meters and is 10 meters deep.
Until recently Bosnian Serb witnesses kept silent about the grave's location.
Before the mass grave at Tomasica was excavated Srebrenica had the largest Bosnian mass grave which held 629 corpses.
Srebrenica was a UN-protected Muslim enclave until July 11, 1995, when it was overrun by Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic who was then the commander of the Serb forces during the 1992-95 Bosnia civil war.
Hope For Missing
The newly dug site, despite reviving dark memories, carried hope for the families of the missing.
"I hope with all my heart that they will be found here," Suad Zeric, a 57-year-old survivor of the most notorious Serb-run detention camps set up during the war, told Agence France Presse (AFP).
The Bosnian, who now lives in the eastern French town of Mulhouse but returns home two or three times a year, was held in both the Omarska and Keraterm camps.
These, with the Trnopolje camp, formed what became known as the war's "triangle of horror" from which many detainees never reappeared.
"One of my four uncles who were murdered by cowards, Fehim, was discovered here, thank God," he said in a whisper, his voice breaking with emotion.
"Kasim, his son Emsud, my uncle Salih and another, Latif, are still missing," said Zeric, whose father's remains were only found a few years ago in another mass grave.
More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered and buried in mass graves.
So far, 6,186 victims have been found in the woods surrounding Srebrenica and identified from 70 mass graves through DNA analysis at the laboratory of International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia.
The Srebrenica massacre is the only episode of Bosnia's war to have been classed as genocide by two international courts; the International Court of Justice and the ICTY.
Still traumatized by his time in Omarska, Zeric, a Muslim, has found peace in his faith.
"I will never understand this desire to kill," he said.
"An animal stops when it catches its prey. They (the Serb forces running the camp), never had enough of death. I hope that no one else on the planet lives through what we have lived," he said.
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