[Used with Permission from Srebrenica Genocide Blog.]

On June 5, 2005 Bosnia’s Federal Commission for Missing Persons issued a list of 8,106 individuals who have been reliably established, from multiple independent sources, to have gone missing and/or been killed in and around Srebrenica in the summer of 1995 [click to see list]. The Federal Commission’s list was made public early in June and it included personal names, parents’ names, dates of birth, and unique citizen’s registration numbers victims. A verification process is underway for more victims whose disappearance or death has not yet been verified from two or more independent sources.

A marble stone (click to see photo) at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial Center Potocari is engraved with 8,370 names of Srebrenica victims (info as of July 6th, 2006).

On June 21st 2007, a four-year study by the internationally evaluated the Bosnian Book of Dead concluded that 8,460 Bosniaks were killed in Srebrenica; 6565 (or 77.6%) were civilians (including 441 children ranging from infants to teens) and 1,895 (or 22.4%) were soldiers [click to read more about this topic].

In a case of Srebrenica massacre, during and after the war, many families asked that their family members be buried as soldiers, for various reasons, although they died as civilians, POW’s or as soldiers away from front lines. The most common reason for these requests was access to social support for families of killed soldiers. In other words and with respect to Srebrenica genocide; POW’s and surrendered soldiers without weapons were clearly non-combatants at the time of their deaths. Both civilians and POW’s were summarily executed, burried in mass graves, and after former U.S. secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced the United States had satellite photos showing mass graves, the perpetrators went out and dug the bodies and moved them. Some bodies could be found in 4 different locations, separated up to 50km from each other. When registering such cases, the Research and Documentation Center was governed by the official data that was available. The evaluation indicates that such practices lead to over-reporting of soldiers and under-reporting of civilians.

The major challenge in Bosnia is the identification of the victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Their bodies had initially been buried in a dozen of mass graves, but Bosnian Serbs moved them later by buldozers to a number of other locations in order to cover up their crime. Their body parts were separated, and forensic experts have sometimes found parts of a single victim buried in three different mass graves. In a recently given interview to Newsweek, Kathryne Bomberger – the director general of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), confirmed at least 8,000 victims based on DNA identification:

“In 1999 we had hit a brick wall in making identifications—if there was no body there was no crime. After [former U.S. secretary of State] Madeleine Albright said [the United States] had satellite photos showing mass graves, the perpetrators went out and dug the bodies and moved them. We found one body in four different locations 50km [30 miles] apart. So we went to the families and said, ‘We are not sure if [DNA] is going to work but work with us and we will try.’ We had to educate them about this DNA. We had to mount a huge campaign to take blood samples. We had to build a lab, and it was not until 2002 that we had a functioning process. We made our first DNA match of a 15-year-old boy from Srebrenica in 2001 (click here to see photo)…. We can for the first time say that the 8,000 — maybe more but certainly not less — missing from Srebrenica is accurate. We can tell this based on the rate of blood-sample collection. You have to collect at least three different family members’ blood samples for every missing person.” [source: Newsweek]

Used with Permission from Srebrenica Genocide Blog.

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