Forensic experts have recovered the remains of 227 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst mass killing since World War II, an official said Monday. The exhumations from a mass grave in the northeastern Bosnian village of Snagovo had been completed and "we found 147 incomplete (bodies) and 80 complete bodies," said Murat Hurtic, the head of the forensic team.
He added that with the completion of exhumations in Snagovo, his team has ended the exhumations in Bosnia for this year because of the approaching winter.
In 1995, Serb troops overran the eastern Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, which had been declared a safe zone by the United Nations, and killed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys. This is the second mass grave found in the same village, located some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Srebrenica. About 100 bodies were found in the first grave in Snagovo, Hurtic said, adding that a survivor of the 1995 massacre helped find the second grave.
The bodies in both mass graves were originally buried elsewhere but later moved to the Snagovo location to cover up the crime, he said. Most so-called secondary mass graves contain only parts of bodies since those who tried to cover up the crime excavated them from other locations with bulldozers.
Experts extract DNA from the bones and match it to the blood of relatives of the missing. So far thousands of victims from the 1992-95 Bosnian war have been identified using this method.
Over the years, U.N. and local forensics experts in Bosnia have exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands of people remain missing and are presumed dead.
About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their homes during the 1992-1995 war, which pitted Bosnia's Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs against one another, reports the AP. I.L.