News 21 Jun 07

Research Shows 97,000 Victims of War in Bosnia

Sarajevo_ The Research and Documentation Centre, IDC presented on Thursday the Bosnian Book of the Dead, a database that reveals 97,207 names of Bosnia and Herzegovina's citizens killed and missing during the 1992-1995 war.

Mirsad Tokaca, IDC president, said that the aim of the project that began four years ago was to identify each single victim and prevent any type of manipulation of numbers, which he considers has been the case for years.

The rich database classifies war victims by status, ethnic affiliation, gender, age and so on.

"This is not a story about numbers, but about citizens who died during the past period," Tokaca told Justice report. See: Justice Report: Bosnia`s Book of the Dead

Twelve years after signing of the Dayton Peace Accord, the exact number of victims of the three and a half year-long war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has still not been determined. During the war, local authorities in Sarajevo publicly mentioned, on several occasions, that about 200,000 people had been killed.

Up to now, this estimate is the one mentioned most frequently by the domestic and international public, although it has been denied by various parties on several occasions. However, it is not the only estimate we have. Thus, estimations varied from 25,000 to 250,000.

According to Tokaca, this "playing with numbers" was the main reason why the IDC decided to collect details and names of victims.

Three international experts - Patrick Ball, Ewa Tabeau and Philip Verwimp - all with rich experience in similar projects, have reviewed the database and have assessed it favourably.

"This database represents an extraordinary achievement of all those who were involved in its preparation," the experts have said, adding that some improvements are still possible.

However, even though more than 90,000 names have been included in the database, the IDC does not consider that its work on the project has been concluded.

"The database remains open and whoever contacts us and offers new data we are willing to consider it and add new names," said the IDC's Tokaca.

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