Bosnia finds wartime mass grave

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Forensic experts have found a mass grave in Bosnia believed to contain the remains of up to 147 Bosnian Muslims killed by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-95 war, an official said on Thursday.

The victims are believed to be Muslim civilians killed in 1992 in the northwestern town of Kozarac, said Lejla Cengic, a spokeswoman for the Institute for Missing Persons.

Northwest Bosnia and its biggest town Prijedor was a Bosnian Serb stronghold where detention camps were set up for non-Serbs and where thousands of Muslims and Croats were killed as part of a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” during the war.

Digging at the grave, in the village of Oborci near the town of Donji Vakuf, to recover the remains will probably start soon, Cengic said.

Last year, forensic experts exhumed the remains of 435 Bosnian Muslims and Croats killed by Serbs in the Prijedor area from the Tomasica grave, believed to be the largest found in the Balkan country so far. It is thought to have contained up to 850 bodies.

Cengic said the bodies of around 50 people from Tomasica had so far been identified through DNA analysis.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague has sentenced 16 Bosnian Serbs to

a total of 230 years in jail for atrocities in the Prijedor area.

The Bosnian war, part of the bloody break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, killed about 100,000 people and gave rise to some of the worst atrocities in Europe since the Holocaust.

The 1995 Dayton peace deal divided Bosnia into an autonomous Serb Republic, where Prijedor is located, and a Federation dominated by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats. Ethnically motivated feuding continues to stall Bosnia’s bid to join the European mainstream.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and Janet Lawrence