100 skeletons of war victims found in lake

Sarajevo:  At least 100 skeletons, believed to belong to victims of 1992-95 war, have been discovered in lake Perucac, bordering Serbia and Bosnia, officials said.

Amor Masovic, the head of Bosnian commission for missing persons, told a press conference on Tuesday in Sarajevo that 396 "cases" have been discovered during two and a half month search of lake Perucac.

"I emphasise 'cases', not victims," Masovic said. He explained that in some "cases" only one bone, leg, arm or rib have been found, not complete skeletons.

But Masovic said he believed that after forensic analyses of the remnants, between 97 and 120 victims could be identified.

Masovic said that apart from six Austro-Hungarian soldiers whose remnants have been discovered to date back to World War I, most were Muslim victims from the Bosnian town of Visegrad, south of lake Perucac.

Visegrad was the scene of one of the worst crimes committed by Bosnian Serb forces during 1992-95 war. At least 800 people are still listed as missing in Visegrad, Masovic said.

Crimes committed in Visegrad including burning people alive, throwing people off bridges, severe beatings and mass rapes of women and girls.

The Hague-based UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has sentenced Milan Lukic, a commander of a Serb paramilitary "Orlovi" (Eagles) to life in prison for crimes committed in Visegrad.

Veljko Odalovic, the head of the Serbian commission for missing persons, told a joint press conference that Serbia actively participated in the operation and lowered the lake level last August to facilitate the search.

Odalovic said there were still 14,500 victims of war listed as missing in the former Yugoslavia. Discovering their fate was a "civilisation and humanitarian" issue and a precondition for the reconciliation and stabilisation of relations.

"As long as we have such a great number of unresolved destinies, we have potential problems in overall relations," he said. 
Story First Published: October 27, 2010 12:24 IST

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