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U.S. official views mass grave sites in Bosnia
January 21, 1996
Web posted at: 9:05 p.m. EST (0205 GMT)
From Correspondent Jackie Shymanski
KONJEVIC PLOJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- A grim day greeted U.S. investigators on their way to a grim task Sunday. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights John Shattuck went to northeast Bosnia to search through some of the country's killing fields.
"We are standing in Konjevic Ploje, where 200 civilians were killed by soldiers on July 13 and 14 as they attempted to flee," Shattuck said. Satellite photos of alleged mass graves prompted the expedition into Bosnian Serb territory. The Serbs are accused of mass execution of Muslims and Croats after the fall of Srebrenica.
And the allegations are mounting. As many as 8,000 dead are said to be buried at a mine in Ljubija in northwest Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs have been blamed by human rights groups for those deaths. Suspected bone fragments, visible at the site, are crucial evidence for the work of the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal.
"Up to 2,000 people were herded into a warehouse and then fired upon by grenades and other weapons, and anyone who left was shot when they left," said Shuattuck. "Virtually everyone in the warehouse was killed.
We think that this site may well be the place where those people are buried."
There is worry that such sites should be guarded in case Bosnia Serbs try to destroy potential evidence. The NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia, assigned the tasked of keeping the peace, has only agreed to
aerial observations so far. "We review on a case by case basis," said NATO's Lt. Col. Mark Rayner.
"Whatever security is required to assist them going about their duties will be given."
So far, the Bosnian Serbs are said to be cooperating -- even as some of the most brutal moments of the Bosnian conflict are unearthed.
RETURN TO UNCONQUERED BOSNIA HOMEPAGE