Pathologist Describes Killing Site
Hoping Serbs will Hand Over Suspects
(THE HAGUE, NetherlandsAP) A U.S. pathologist described Thursday finding 11 skeletons and scores of spent bullet cartridges at a suspected mass grave site near where 261 Croat men were last seen alive in 1991. Dr. Clyde Snow told the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal that the site almost certainly held the remains of Croat men believed murdered by Serb troops after they were herded out of a Vukovar hospital on Nov. 20. Snow, who once was asked to identify a skeleton believed to be that of Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele, has carried out numerous mass grave exhumations for international humanitarian organizations.
In late 1992, he made two visits to the site of the alleged mass grave near Vukovar, in the Croatian village of Ovcara. Snow was the last of 11 witnesses to testify in a public presentation of evidence against three Yugoslav Army officers charged in the alleged massacre. The three, Mile Mrksic, Miroslav Radic and Veselin Sljivancanin, all members of the Belgrade-based Guards Brigade, were indicted in November for allegedly ordering the killings.
Because Serbia has refused to surrender them for trial, prosecutors are presenting their evidence in hopes of pressuring Belgrade to give them up. Tribunal prosecutor Clint Williamson, of the United States, said the three clearly played key roles in the murders, and he asked the court to report Serbia’s non-cooperation to the U.N. Security Council. That could result in sanctions against President Slobodan Milosevic’s government in Belgrade. Milosevic recently has pledged more support to the tribunal, but has yet to hand over indicted suspects for trial. The vast majority of the 57 people indicted so far are Serbs.
Doubts Over Muslim's Confession
Also Thursday, a Muslim being held by the Bosnian Serbs said that he personally killed 200 unarmed Serbs, among thousands he claimed were liquidated by a commando unit run by a Sarajevo gangster. But the circumstances of Jasmin Sljivo’s comments and questions about his age raised serious doubts about the veracity of his story. The Serbs said he was 25, but his parents said he just turned 20 and showed documents to back their assertions. That would have made him only 16 or 17 at the time he was supposed to have committed the crimes. Sljivo, who suffers from epilepsy according to his parents, appeared under duress during his comments, made to a Serb police questioner. He was shaking, fidgeting and appeared extremely uncomfortable.
There was no immediate reaction from the Bosnian army or the government to Sljivo’s claims. The Sarajevo gangster, Musen Topalovic, also known as Caco, was arrested by Bosnian special police in 1993 and killed later in the year during an alleged escape attempt. There have been previous, unconfirmed reports of Serbs being summarily executed by Caco or his people in the rugged countryside south of Sarajevo. U.N. police officials said Sljivo will be investigated for war crimes.
In his testimony Thursday, Snow showed the three-judge tribunal panel a series of slides to illustrate his evidence on the Vukovar slaughter. One showed a skull jutting through damp soil, a hole in the left temple clearly visible. Spent bullet cartridges were strewn on one side of the grave, and trees on the other side were riddled with bullet holes.
Local Serb authorities have blocked tribunal attempts to exhume the grave, which Snow said could contain up to 350 bodies.
Tribunal Hears how Serb Helped Croat Survive Vukovar Berserkistan, March 27
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Account of the Siege of Vukovar
The People of Vukovar
Photo Exhibit from Pavao Pavlicic
The History of Vukovar
Vukovar City Net Home Page
Human Rights at Vukovar
Vukovar County Chamber
Home Page of Stanislav Banic, a Vukovar Area Resident
Berserkistan is a world news service of Michael Linder Productions, Inc.
©1995-1996, All Rights Reserved