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Forensic Experts Unearth 60 Bosnian War Victims

SARAJEVO (Reuters) -- Bosnian forensic experts has said they had found the remains of at least 60 Muslims and Croats in a ravine where around 200 people were killed by Bosnian Serb forces early in the 1992-95 war.

The exhumations at Mount Vlasic in central Bosnia, where prisoners were massacred on August 21, 1992, were carried out on the orders of the state war crimes court.

"Some of the bodies were burned and we also believe that some bodies were moved in order to hide the traces of the crime," Amor Masovic, a senior official of Bosnia's Institute for Missing Persons, told Reuters.

He said the final number of the exhumed victims would be known after a forensic analysis.

The war crimes court is currently trying nine Bosnian Serb policemen suspected of committing the atrocity. Two have confessed and pledged to assist in further investigations.

Bosnian Serbs had told the prisoners, from detention camps for non-Serbs in the western Prijedor area, they would be released in a prisoner exchange but instead drove them away in buses, lined them up by the edge of the ravine, and shot them.

A dozen survived by jumping down the cliff.

"The civilians were ordered to kneel by the edge of a road turned towards the ravine and then were shot with automatic weapons," the court said in the indictment. "After their bodies fell into abyss, they dropped grenades on them and shot the bodies."

In July, the war crimes court sentenced a former Serb policeman to 14 years in jail for crimes against humanity for the massacre at Mount Vlasic. In 2004, The Hague-based war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia jailed another Serb policeman, Darko Mrdja, for 17 years for the same crimes.

More than 3,500 Muslims and Croats were killed in the Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansing campaign in the Prijedor area in 1992.