News 25 Nov 16

Croatia Exhumes 18 Serb Casualties of ‘Operation Storm’

The Croatian authorities exhumed the remains of 18 bodies from a cemetery in the coastal town of Zadar - Croatian Serbs who died during or after the military operation ‘Storm’ in 1995.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
A previous exhumation of Operation Storm victims in Gornje Seliste in 2015. Photo: Croatian War Veterans Ministry.

The exhumation of the remains of 18 Operation Storm casualties from a local cemetery in Zadar was completed on Thursday, the Serbian government’s missing persons commission has announced.

The exhumation of the remains of Croatian Serbs who died during and immediately after the Croatian military operation ‘Storm’ in August 1995 had started on Monday.

“This exhumation process is of particular importance for the families of missing persons, who for years have been trying to find and decently bury the remains of their loved ones,” the Serbian missing persons commission said in a statement.

During Operation Storm, Croatian forces regained control over 18 per cent of the country’s territory that had been held by rebel Serbs since 1991.

The operation effectively ended the war in Croatia but also caused the deaths of some 600 Serb civilians and caused around 200,000 people to leave the country.

The bodies buried in the Zadar cemetery were put there by Croatian authorities after Operation Storm, in a marked collective grave.

Samples have now been taken from the remains in order to carry out DNA analysis, in order to identify them.

The exhumation is a continuation of previous efforts to retrieve the remains of wartime casualties at the cemetery in Zadar. In 2013, 56 bodies were exhumed there.

There are still 1,571 people listed as missing from Croatia’s 1990s war.

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