BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Identifying Srebrenica's victims
 In the village of Potocari, near Srebrenica, on Wednesday, July 11, 2001, six years on
Bosnian Muslim women remember the massacre
test hello test
By Alix Kroeger
BBC Belgrade correspondent
Around 6,000 bodies from the Srebrenica massacre of Muslim men and boys have so far been recovered, but fewer than 200 have been positively identified, most through DNA analysis.

Plans for a cemetery and memorial centre are currently being developed by an internationally-backed foundation.

But the wartime leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both indicted for genocide at Srebrenica, remain at liberty.

The site where the victims of Srebrenica will eventually be buried is a few kilometres outside the town itself.

DNA Identification

Across the road lies the former UN compound - for many survivors the last place where they saw their husbands, brothers and sons alive.

Under a tree in a field stands a simple marker, a cube of white stone, more than a metre high.

The inscription reads simply 'Srebrenica, July 1995'.

Widows from Srebrenica at the United Nations base in Potocari in July 1999, on the fourth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre
Widows at UN base in Potocari on massacre anniversary

Many of the 6,000 bodies were recovered from the mass graves which riddled the area up to 40 kilometres away.

Most of the remains are stored in a laboratory in the northern city of Tuzla, awaiting identification.

Pioneering techniques of DNA analysis have been developed there - one of the few areas in which Bosnia leads the world.

Nearly 200 bodies have been matched with blood and bone samples taken from their surviving relatives, and identifications are now going ahead at a rate of two or three a day.

No reconciliation

Some of the bodies though will never be identified, and the cemetery will include an area for displaying the names of the missing.

Among the Bosnian Serbs who now overwhelmingly populate the area, there's little sign of reconciliation.

Many deny that a massacre ever took place.

The wartime leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, have both been indicted for genocide at Srebrenica.

Nonetheless, they remain at liberty, revered as heroes by nationalist public opinion.

The BBC's Jonty Bloom reports from The Hague
"The surviving female relatives are in no mood to forgive or forget"
See also:

06 Apr 02 | Europe
Bosnia marks war anniversary
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Q&A: Srebrenica massacre
14 Mar 00 | Europe
Srebrenica timeline
01 Apr 02 | Europe
Bosnia genocide suspect arrested
02 Aug 01 | Europe
General guilty of Bosnia genocide
02 Aug 01 | Europe
Srebrenica judgement: Excerpts
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories