55 Bodies Exhumed in Bosnia; Issue of Mass Graves Persists

From Reuters

Bosnian Serb experts have exhumed 55 bodies from sites at two Sarajevo cemeteries near the former front line, but there was disagreement Sunday whether they were actually mass graves.

The exhumation work, which started Thursday, was completed Saturday, the daily Dnevni Avaz reported.

The bodies were transported to Lukavica, a Sarajevo suburb that is part of the Bosnian Serb republic. Autopsies and identifications were expected to start within days.

The Commission for Missing Persons of the Serbian republic, one of Bosnia's two autonomous entities, has repeatedly said it believes the unearthed sites were mass graves.

It has also said the victims were believed to be Serbian victims of the 1992-1995 war, but that it was premature to say how they had died and whether any crimes had been committed against them.

The head of the Commission for Missing Persons in the Muslim-Croat federation, Bosnia's other autonomous entity, told Dnevni Avaz that the exhumed bodies had been buried in individual graves.

Amor Masovic also said that he believes they belonged both to victims of renegade Bosnian army units operating in Sarajevo early in the conflict as well as to other unidentified war victims.

Under the Dayton, Ohio, peace accords that ended the Bosnian war in which as many as 250,000 people died, the missing persons commissions are obliged to allow their counterparts to carry out exhumations in each other's territory.

During three days, Bosnian Serb experts exhumed 28 bodies from one site and 27 bodies from another cemetery nearby.

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