Press Release . Communiqué de presse
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTOR
BUREAU DU PROCUREUR
THE 1998 EXHUMATIONS PROGRAMME
IS ABOUT TO BEGIN
The Hague,15 April 1998
The Forensic Team from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is in the final stages of preparation for conducting a new series of exhumations which are due to commence early next week.
A number of identified mass-graves sites in northeastern Bosnia, all related to the Srebrenica investigation, will be exhumed over the coming months.
The first site will be exhumed on Monday 20 April and is located on the plateau of the dam at BRNICE, which is the reservoir for the Karakaj aluminium factory nearby Zvornik.
Once the operation at this site is completed, the team will move to the next grave, whose location will then be disclosed.
The purpose of the program
The OTP conducts exhumations where it is believed that significant evidence can be obtained in support of either existing or potential indictments. Such results will help, in particular, to corroborate eyewitnesss testimony and pursue the investigation regarding the disturbance of some of the targeted sites.
The OTP also endeavors to collect evidence as to how the bodies came to be interred, the number of bodies, the manner and cause of death, the age, the gender, and the civilian or military status of the victims.
The OTP will additionally collect and document all elements likely to assist with the identification of the victims. At the conclusion of the exhumation, this information together with the human remains will be handed over to the local authorities.
The OTPs Forensic Team
The OTPs Forensic team consists of approximately 50 members drawn from various countries and disciplines, including evidence technicians, archeologists, anthropologists, pathologists and logistic support personnel.
The funding of the program
Five member-states of the United Nations have responded to appeals for funds made by the Office of the Prosecutor, and made generous donations totaling $ 3,000,000 USD. These countries are the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America.
In addition, experts in evidence collection from Scotland Yard and from the Dutch police forces have been made available to strengthen the OTPs Forensic Team.
This exhumations program will be conducted with the full knowledge of the authorities of the Republika Srpska who have been timely informed and invited to observe the exhumations.
The S-For will assist by providing a secure environment for the operations.
Press Spokesperson: Ms Kelly MOORE has been appointed as Press Spokesperson and will be at-hand on the sites to be the contact-point between the Forensic Team and the media representatives. She will be available as of the very first day of the exhumations operation to brief the press on an on-going basis.
Access to the sites: No physical access to the sites will be granted to the media.
Interviews: No members of the Team will give interviews.