BERSERKISTAN

Berserkistan Navigator Massacre Victims at Cerska
Were Not Killed in Battle

‘There seem to be some assertions that these bodies are battlefield casualties. I am here to dispel that assertion.’
—William Haglund, Forensics Team Leader

By Wayne Lovell

Srebrenica victim buried at Cerska CERSKA, Bosnia, July 12 (Reuters) - U.N. investigators said on Friday the remains of civilians in a mass grave near Srebrenica bore evidence they had been massacred, not killed in battle as Bosnian Serb officials claim.

"There seem to be some assertions that these bodies are battlefield casualties. I am here to dispel that assertion," the team leader William Haglund told reporters at the site.

Survivors' testimonies indicate that Serb troops who stormed the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica last year massacred between 3,000 and 8,000 Muslim men and boys as they tried to flee to government-controlled territory. The Bosnian Serbs have consistently said all the corpses found around Srebrenica were of fighters killed in battle.

The International Criminal Tribunal on former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague sent Haglund and his team of investigators to eastern Bosnia last weekend to examine evidence of what is believed to be the worst war atrocity in Europe since 1945. The investigators immediately began exhuming the first of a number of suspected mass grave sites -- a grim job expected to take several weeks.

Haglund said there were three reasons to believe the bodies uncovered from the pit off a dirt road near Cerska were not killed in battle:

  • All the corpses uncovered were in civilian clothing.
  • Some had their hands tied behind their backs with wire.
  • The location of the pit and bullet cartridges nearby was consistent with victims being lined up along one side of the road and shot with military weapons from the other.

    William Haglund Haglund said some of the cartridges found at the site were manufactured as late as 1994, ruling out the possibility that the bodies belonged to the victims of previous massacres. By Friday, the investigators had found more than 60 bodies in a pit 30 metres (yards) long and seven metres wide.

    Most were entangled as if they had rolled down the hill from the dusty road on a ridge some 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Srebrenica. On Friday, investigators began moving the remains in refrigerated containers to a morgue in Bosnian government territory, where they will undergo full forensic examination. Haglund said the corpses looked about one year old.

    Both Serbs and Muslims marked the first anniversary of the conquest of Srebrenica on Thursday, the former celebrating its "liberation," the latter mourning its fall. The tribunal has indicted the Bosnian Serb army chief General Ratko Mladic and political leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide and crimes against humanity.



  • To learn more...
    Berserkistan, July 12 · NATO and Bosnian Serbs Blamed for Failure of Finnish Mission
    Berserkistan, July 11 · Serbs Celebrate Srebrenica as Cerska Dig Continues
    Berserkistan, July 10 · Body Count Rises to More than 40 at Cerska
    Berserkistan, July 10 · Republika Srpska Forces Finns to Abandon Mass Grave Probe
    Berserkistan, July 9 · More Bodies Exhumed at Cerska Grave Site
    Berserkistan, July 8 · Cerska Grave Site Yields First Corpse
    Berserkistan, July 7 · Excavation Begins at Srebrenica Mass Grave
    Berserkistan, July 3 · Mladic Promised Safety to Srebrenica Muslims
    Berserkistan, May 29 · Documentary Claims Serbia Provided Srebrenica Arms
    Berserkistan, Massacre Hill Jim Bartlett in Bosnia's Killing Fields
    Berserkistan, Ghosts in the Woods Team Berserkistan Investigates a Srebrenica Massacre Site

    SREBRENICA
    Berserkistan, July 3 · Mladic Promised Safety to Srebrenica Muslims
    Berserkistan, May 29 · Documentary Claims Serbia Provided Srebrenica Arms
    Berserkistan, Massacre Hill Jim Bartlett in Bosnia's Killing Fields
    Berserkistan, Ghosts in the Woods Team Berserkistan Investigates a Srebrenica Massacre Site
    Serbs Massacre Muslims in "Safe Area" of Srebrenica
    International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia United Nations
    Coalition for International Justice
    Reports concerning human rights abuses in Bosnia Intac Access
    Major War Criminals/Suspects CalTech's Bosnia Site
    Reports on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia CalTech's Bosnia Site


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