Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grave Site May Hold Thousands of Muslims Investigation Focuses on Sites in Bosnia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grave Site May Hold Thousands of Muslims Investigation Focuses on Sites in Bosnia

Article excerpt

In a snowy field near the ruined village of Glogova, John Shattuck, assistant secretary of state for human rights, said Sunday he was possibly standing on the grave of 2,000 Bosnian Muslims, massacred by Serb militiamen during the Bosnian civil war.

The roughly circular site, perhaps 30 yards in diameter, is matched by one of a similar size a short distance away.

Breaking through the surface, with a clump of rags clinging to it was what appeared to be a human thigh bone and a scrap of decomposed flesh.

The mass graves have been identified by survivor reports and U.S. satellite photos. They await excavation by investigators from the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, Shattuck said.

"We believe there are up to 7,000 missing, and I'm afraid their fate could very well be very clear from the mass graves and mass executions we've heard about in the area," he said.

One reputed massacre took place about a mile away in the town of Kravice which was part of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia that was overrun by the Bosnian Serb forces on July 11.

Srebrenica had been designated a safe area by the United Nations, but Serb forces backed by tanks ignored the designation and overwhelmed the town of 35,000, sweeping aside Dutch peacekeepers who offered little resistance.

Earlier Sunday, in a concrete warehouse in Kravice, Shattuck said, "The best we know is that 2,000 people were herded into this warehouse during the course of several hours on July 13 or 14. There was firing, hand-grenades were tossed in, anyone who came out was shot," he said.

According to survivors, the victims were enticed down from the safety of the surrounding steep, forested hills by Serbs disguised as U.N. soldiers in stolen blue helmets and U.N. vehicles, Shattuck said.

He quoted witnesses as saying the Serbs used megaphones to tell the Muslims the Red Cross was waiting for them in the warehouse.

"This is a terrible, terrible monument to those many civilians who lost their lives in this conflict and were victims of war crimes and genocide, and that's why I wanted to come to this site," Shattuck said. …

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