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Bosnian Muslim Commander's Remains Identified

Avdo Palic

Avdo Palic

SARAJEVO -- The remains of a Bosnian wartime commander who has been missing since 1995 have been identified after being stored in a morgue for eight years, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

The fate of Avdo Palic, the commander of the eastern Bosnian-Muslim mountain enclave of Zepa, has been unknown since Bosnian Serb forces arrested after taking Zepa in the summer of 1995 after it was demilitarized by the United Nations.

Palic was a hero to many Bosnian Muslims for his resistance in Zepa against Yugoslav and later Bosnian Serb forces.

Palic's wife, Esma, has joined with international organizations in accusing Bosnian Serb authorities and former Serbian military officials of hiding information about how Palic was killed and where he was buried.

Officials in Bosnia's Missing Persons Institute cannot explain why Palic's remains -- which were discovered in a mass grave with eight other men not from Zepa in 2001 -- were not identified earlier, although more advanced DNA identification techniques are in use since Palic's remains were first tested.

At least 100,000 people are estimated to have been killed and some 1.8 million displaced during the 1992-95 Bosnian War.

Thousands of Bosnian Muslims have been exhumed from mass graves.