Prijedor: Men, women and children murdered and thrown into a mass grave

Forensic experts and Bosnian workers search for human remains at a mass grave in the village of Tomasica, near the Bosnian town of Prijedor
Forensic experts and Bosnian workers search for human remains at a mass grave in the village of Tomasica, near the Bosnian town of Prijedor

This story appeared today on several Bosnian news sites. It was first reported by Anadolu Agency

By Anadolu Agency 2013-10-30

So far forensics experts have the found the remains of 333 people in the mass grave in the village of Tomasica near the town of Prijedor in northwest Bosnia. Of those 333 the forensics experts have been able to determine that 210 are complete remains of victims, and the rest are incomplete remains belonging to 123 more victims. All this according to Mujo Begic, from the Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons and the chief supervisor at the exhumation.

Head of the Institute for Missing Persons, Amor Masovic told Anadolu Agency that the exhumation is continuing and that at this point it is far from over. Forensics experts believe that they have stumbled upon one of the biggest, if not the biggest mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The size of the mass grave as it stands now is 3000 square meters. The experts believe that the remains in the mass grave belong o murdered Bosniak Muslims and Bosnian Croats, killed during the campaign of ethnic cleansing in northwest Bosnia in 1992.

Witnesses claim that altogether some 1000 bodies may have been dumped in the Tomasica mass grave, however they are indications that some of the bodies may have been exhumed by their killers and re-buried somewhere else in order to cover up their tracks. According to Mujo Begic ; “given the total number of bodies found so far in Tomasica mass grave along with the one found nearby in “Jakarina Kosa, it´s safe to say altogether there could be as many as 700 bodies buried in the area.

What we want to do now is find the remains of close to 1000 people who according to witness statements were dumped here. We wish to remove all doubt about how many people were buried here, or rather find all the people that were buried here. Begic added that “the investigators and the forensic experts want to get as much done as possible before it gets colder and the rain and snow comes.”

According to Begic these people were killed on their doorsteps, on the street, and their farms… “The killers did not make any distinction beetwen men and women, children and elderly, they were all killed and tossed into this pit. The majority of the victims were executed.” According to Begic. Begic´s team is also expecting to find the remains of seventeen children, including an 18 month old baby, who was killed togheter with her mom grandfather and uncle.

International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has known about the mass grave in Tomasica for years, but they did not know the exact location. Prior to the exhumation, a two year investigation in order to determine the location of the mass grave took place. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has so far convicted 16 Bosnian Serbs to a total of 230 years in prison for crimes committed in Prijedor. Prior to the discovery of the mass grave in Tomasica , the biggest known mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina was in Crni Vrh in eastern Bosnia, where the remains of 629 people were found. Investigators are looking for 8000 people yet to be found, all victims of the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UPPDATE: on 13th November Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that The Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons had confirmed that Tomasica was the biggest mass grave in Bosnia and Herzegovina and and most likely the biggest in former Yugoslavia and Europe since the end of WWII. Since the work on exhuming the remains of the victims started in September, the remains of 430 victims (previously 333) of which 275 are complete remains. Officials from The Bosnian Institute for Missing Persons said that they expected to exhume at least 200-300 remains more from the grave in Tomasica.

 

Mass Grave in Tomasica

On November 1, 2013 Daily Mail published pictures of the exhumed remains from Tomasica, along with a short video clip. The article can be accessed here. I have posted the images below. WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES!

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