Identifying the fallen

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 22 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1110
  1. Kevin Weaver
  1. Tuzla

    As the Iraqis discover a mass grave in a village south of Baghdad, scientists in Bosnia are still undertaking the painstaking task of trying to identify bodies found in mass graves in the former Yugoslavia

    Tuzla, in northeast Bosnia-Hercegovina, has become the temporary resting home for thousands of bodies associated with the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. Between 5000 and 6000 unidentified bodies are contained in more than 12 000 body bags of human remains that are currently stored in giant refrigerators, hospital morgues, and a disused salt mine.

    Embedded Image

    Embedded Image

    A body bag is carried from a mass grave on a remote mountainside in the Srpska Republic (above), while bodies already recovered are stored in a giant refridgerator in^M Tuzla, central Bosnia (below), where they await identification


    But gradually a unique DNA profiling system—the largest of its kind—run by the International Commission for Missing Persons in the Former Yugoslavia is giving the bodies their names and allowing their families to discover what happened to them and to organise proper burials.

    The Podrinje Identification Project, which is based in …

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