TOMASICA — Six months after Bosnia’s biggest mass grave was uncovered in Tomasica, local residents in the Northwestern Bosnia district cannot bear much longer the smell of excavated corpses, where inadequate facilities have left dozens of decaying human remains in the air.
"We need a permanent solution,” said district attorney Jasmin Mesic for Bosnian Federal Television.
The mass grave was uncovered last October in north-western Bosnia Tomasica where Muslims and Croats were persecuted in the area by Serbian troops during a home-to-home search.
The city of Prijedor, 162 miles north-west of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, 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.
So far, 430 victims have been found in the Tomasica grave since work began in August 2013, a vast pit about 30 feet deep and covering 54,000 square feet.
The uncovered bodies were preserved in the mortuary facility Identification Center Sejkovaca, a facility not prepared to hold all those bodies for such long time.
Citing inadequate financial support and lack of appropriate facilities, the remains of the dead victims decaying bodies were left in regular rooms, with 30-year old fans for ventilating, but with no cooling.
As excavation work continues, the smell of decaying bodies is spreading to nearby places.
Rising temperatures in Bosnia spring and summer have also consolidated locals’ fears that the situation might get worse.
"When they brought bodies last year, it was impossible to sit here because of smell", says Vahida Lagić, who works in one local restaurant.
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.
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.
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