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Grave found in Dutchbat Compound in Srebrenica


Today a grave was unearthed in a field in Srebrenica where Dutch UN soldiers were quartered in 1995. IKV Pax Christi was able to locate this grave with the help of three members of the Dutch battalion. It was common knowledge that Dutch soldiers buried at least five people within the Dutchbat compound in the days after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave. Earlier attempts to find the grave came to nothing.

In April of this year, a visit two IKV Pax Christi staff members and three former Dutchbat members made to Srebrenica led to the discovery of the grave's exact location. Sadik Selimovic, who led the disinterment on behalf of the Bosnian missing persons institute, said he was very grateful to IKV Pax Christi and the three Dutchbat members for all the information they provided.

The search for the grave started in 2007 after the return to Srebrenica that Kamp Westerbork and IKV Pax Christi organised for a group of Dutchbat members. In 2009, ex-battalion member Dave Maat requested the Ministry of Defence to release all available information on the grave. Only after going through the procedure prescribed in the Government Information (Public Access) Act and after a broadcast that the Dutch TV programme Nieuwsuur devoted to the subject did the ministry provide, in the autumn of 2011, two photos of the grave.

Before the visit to Srebrenica in April, IKV Pax Christi and the three former battalion members collected all available aerial and other pictures, drawings and written sources that could be useful. These also included contacts with soldiers and the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Today, all this information resulted in the discovery of the first body in the grave. Over the next few days Sadik Selimovic of the Bosnian missing persons institute will unearth more bodies. DNA tests will help determine the identities of the deceased

Community Based Security and Citizens Rights, Europe

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