NATO Commander Recognizes Importance Of Resolving Fate of Missing

28 June 2006: The Commander of NATO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, US Brigadier General Louis Weber was moved today after visiting an exhumation site near Zvornik where the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) assists in excavations.
The site, Čančari 10, is a known secondary site previously identified by the International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1998. ICMP experts performed geophysical analysis in August 2005 prior to its excavation. Resistivity testing revealed additional information on the grave.
“Geophysical analysis of the site has further confirmed it as a large secondary mass grave”, said the Head of ICMP’s Excavations and Examination Division, Jon Sterenberg explaining the work of ICMP’s anthropologists and archeologists in excavation of mass graves. It is expected that excavations at Čančari 10 will last for another three weeks.
“Preliminary evidence from the site suggested it is related to the primary site located at Branjevo military farm, north of Zvornik, although this will be further assisted by DNA matching and profiling at ICMP,” said Sterenberg.
The bodies had been buried for some time in a primary mass grave, the perpetrators then disturbed the original location and reburied many of them, using heavy machinery, in smaller secondary mass graves in an attempt to hide the evidence.
“I was deeply affected to see what perpetrators were able to do in executing and hiding the crimes”, said General Weber. “The perpetrators have to be brought to justice”.
General Weber visited ICMP Re-association Center in Lukavac, near Tuzla where the exhumed mortal remains are put back together using a combination of traditional forensic archaeology and anthropology, as well as DNA methods.
He also visited ICMP Identification Coordination Division (ICD) in Tuzla where the databases containing DNA profiles of bone samples and the DNA profiles from blood samples of family members are stored. Every day, new matches are found in ICD using ICMP’s DNA matching software.
General Weber noted that the work of ICMP is crucial in providing evidence on war crimes thus contributing to truth and justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.