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(E) Authorities uncover dozens of bodies in western Serbia
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/3/2002 | News | Unrated
(E) Authorities uncover dozens of bodies in western Serbia

Authorities uncover dozens of bodies in western Serbia


Tue Dec 3,10:24 AM ET

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia - Serbian authorities have exhumed 42 bodies of people believed killed during the wars in neighboring Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s, a court official said Tuesday.

During 10 days of exhumations that ended Tuesday at a cemetery near the city of Sabac, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Belgrade, forensic experts uncovered corpses which they hope to identify through DNA analysis, an investigative judge involved in the case, Ljubomir Sljukic, said.

The bodies were found from 1991-1996 floating in the nearby Sava and Drina rivers, which separate Croatia and Bosnia from Serbia, the dominant Yugoslav republic. At the time, they were buried in individual graves without being identified.

Sljukic said that the identification process "could clarify the fate of some of civilians and soldiers still accounted missing." He also announced that forensic experts plan to soon exhume another nine bodies in the neighboring municipalities of Loznica and Mali Zvornik.

Those efforts have intensified following the ouster in 2000 of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites), who is now on trial for war crimes and genocide at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague (news - web sites), Netherlands.

The former Yugoslav began breaking apart in 1991 in a series of bloody wars. Croatia saw fighting in 1991 and 1995, and in Bosnia, war raged from 1992-1995, killing about 200,000 people. More than 20,000 people remain missing from the Bosnian war.

Croatian and Bosnian authorities were also present at the exhumations in Serbia.

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