Mass grave sites yield grim evidence of war crimes
March 23, 1996
Web posted at: 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT)
From Correspondent Jackie Shymanski
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The grim reality in the next phase of Bosnia's recovery from war is the discovery of mass grave sites across the country -- even in the capital.
Bosnian war crimes investigators say there are four suspected mass grave sites in the suburb of Grbavica alone. One such front-line location possibly contains the remains of 150 or more people. Witnesses claim the Bosnian Serbs removed some of the bodies to prevent discovery.
A block from that site, another suspected mass grave lies near Sarajevo's Bristol Hotel. Witnesses allege that about 10 civilians were burned to death there, and then buried.
On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright stood atop one of the many mass graves now unearthed across the war-torn region.
"I'm still overwhelmed by this," she said. "That it's possible for people to behave this way towards fellow human beings." (201K AIFF sound or 201K WAV sound)
Albright calls what she has seen evidence of systematic killing by the Bosnian Serbs. And the war crimes investigators say there's more. They plan to investigate a total of 11 sites in the newly reclaimed Sarajevo suburbs.
Investigators have spent most of the war compiling the grisly details of alleged atrocities and crimes. They have over 12,000 photographs, hours of video tape and testimony from witnesses and victims. They are cooperating with the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.
"We work on collecting data and information," said Mirsad Tokaca of the Bosnian State Commission for War Crimes. "We build documentation, not cases."
It is up to The Hague Tribunal to build the cases, and on Friday it added four new indictments to the growing list. The four new indictments, however, were the first to be handed down for crimes against Serbs.
Those indictments will not be the last of their kind...just as there are sure to be more handed down against Serbs.
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