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Exhumations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 5 July 2000

Exhumations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, provides the following details concerning the exhumation program currently being undertaken in Bosnia and Herzegovina, upon the conclusion this week of the forensic investigations in the Prijedor region of north-west Bosnia.

The first exhumation undertaken this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina commenced on 15 May and was conducted at a site adjacent to and including the Pasinac cemetery in Prijedor. From this site a total of 56 bodies were exhumed.

A second exhumation commenced on 16 June, also in the region of Prijedor. This exhumation project concluded on the 4 July and has resulted in more than 60 bodies being recovered.

Over the past month, staff from the Prosecutor’s Office have also assisted the Bosnian State Commission for Tracing Missing Persons at an exhumation site in the area of Donji Dubovik, where the bodies of more than 50 men and women were recovered.

The human remains recovered from these three sites were victims of the ethnic cleansing which occurred in north-west Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1992. The evidence gained from these sites will form part of the Prosecutor’s ongoing investigations and prosecutions in relation to this region. The Prosecutor’s exhumation program in Bosnia and Herzegovina commenced in 1996 and have continued each year. During the previous four years, a total of 21 sites have been examined and approximately 2,077 bodies exhumed from crime scenes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Having completed the work in the Prijedor region, on 13 July the Prosecutor’s forensic team will commence the planned exhumation activities in north-east Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is expected that the program of exhumations there will continue until the end of October.

The sites which are to be examined and bodies exhumed during the second half of this year, all relate to the victims of the crimes that took place during and following the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995. These sites will reveal further evidence in support of the Prosecutor’s ongoing investigations in respect of those tragic events.