The German Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Michael Schmunk visited the newly discovered mass grave site in Gorice near Brčko, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Thursday. The Director General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Ms. Kathryne Bomberger accompanied the Ambassador on his visit where ICMP forensic anthropologists and archeologists are providing assistance to local expert teams.
The mass grave site in Gorice is alleged to contain the remains of individuals who went missing in the Brcko area in 1992. However, a positive link will only be established following DNA analysis which will be undertaken by ICMP. ICMP uses scientific technology as tool to address one of the biggest human rights issues facing BiH today. ICMP introduced DNA as primary tool in missing persons identification in this region, demonstrating success on massive scale.
The site was positively identified during November 2006 through witness information, visual assessment following removal of shrubs and trees in the area and finally physical trenching of the suspected grave on the November 3, 2006.Military activity in Brcko began on April 30, 1992. During this period individuals from Brcko were transported to various detention facilities around the city. On May 8, 1992 many of these prisoners were taken to a warehouse complex in Luka and also to a pig farm where over a period of time the prisoners were beaten, tortured and killed. Many other victims were apparently thrown into the river Sava and possibly cremated within furnaces at the Kafilerija factory.
Upon visiting the site, Ambassador Schmunk stated, “I am impressed with the courage of Bosnia and Herzegovina to address the horrifying crimes committed during the war. With ICMP’s assistance, the process of recovering and identifying persons missing from the war will contribute to a sense of closure for the relatives of the missing, as well as the longer term process of healing for society.”
The Ambassador also announced that the German Government will donate additional 140,000 Euros this year as part of their continuing commitment to ICMP. The Government of Germany has supported the activities of ICMP since 2001. ICMP is funded through voluntary grants, donations and contributions by participating Governments, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. The C.S. Mott Foundation provides funding to ICMP for the “Paths to Reconciliation” project.