News 13 Sep 10

Corpses of 250 People Exhumed from Perucac Lake

The corpses of about 250 civilians, believed to be victims of the 1992 Visegrad killings in Bosnia, have been found in Perucac lake on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

Bojana Barlovac

"So far, we have found 250 skeletons, mostly incomplete," Amor Masovic, the Chairman of that Board of Directors at the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia, told the AFP news agency on Thursday.

Serbian Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric said the exhumation of the bodies represented a major step towards achieving justice and would be a relief for the victims' families.

He said the results of DNA analysis would be needed to ascertain the nature of any crimes that may have taken place.

Masovic previously told Balkan Insight the bodies were thrown into the lake in Visegrad or a few kilometres farther away in Muhici and Krutalici, where they had been killed.

"The bodies then floated downstream on the Drina river to Bajina Basta hydroelectric power plant, then stopped ... hooked on branches or stuck in the shallow mud and sand,” he said.

The Bosnian organisation began the search on July 19 with Representatives of the Serbian Commission for Missing Persons from Serbia and Kosovo joining the team in August.

Divers have also been searching for the corpses of Albanians from Kosovo which were found in a refrigerator truck in the lake in 2001.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in the May 1992 action by Serb police and military forces during the Bosnian war.

Judges at the Hague tribunals have described the Visegrad atrocities as one of the “most notorious campaigns for the deportation of Bosniaks”.

They said hundreds of men, women and children were killed on various bridges and dumped into the Drina river within over a period of one month.
 
The Tribunal sentenced Mitar Vasiljevic, a former member of the “White Eagles” paramilitary group, to 15 years in prison for crimes committed in the area.

It also sentenced Milan Lukic, a former leader of the group, to life imprisonment and Sredoje Lukic to 30 years in prison.

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