According to the latest figures by Dr Thomas Parsons from the International Commission on Missing Persons, the remains of 6,767 victims exhumed from the Srebrenica mass graves have so far been identified using DNA analysis

Thomas Parsons, witness at the Ratko Mladic trialThomas Parsons, witness at the Ratko Mladic trial

Dr Thomas Parsons, director of forensic sciences at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) presented at the trial of Ratko Mladic the latest figures for the Srebrenica victims. Using DNA analysis of the remains of the exhumed victims and samples taken from surviving members of their families, a total of 6,767 persons were identified until June 2013.

According to Dr Parsons, until January 2013 a total of 6,708 persons were identified using the DNA matching method. The remains of the victims were exhumed from the mass graves in Srebrenica. The effort to identify the remains has continued in the meantime and according to latest figures, a total of 6,767 persons were identified by early June 2013. The identification is not yet complete in 124 cases where DNA was analyzed but the samples have not yet been matched to the DNA of one or more surviving relatives.

Dr Parsons has already testified about the identification of the Srebrenica victims in a number of cases before the Tribunal. Several reports that he wrote about the exhumations of mass graves related to the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995 have been admitted into evidence at Mladic’s trial. In his reports, Dr Parsons also spoke about the identification of victims recovered from the mass graves.

The task of identifying victims is particularly difficult because the bodies were first buried in five large primary mass graves, and were dug out after some months, transferred to new sites and reburied in 39 secondary graves, Dr. Parsons noted. Heavy equipment was used to dig out primary graves and in many cases the victims’ bodies were cut to pieces.

Mladic’s defense started cross-examining Dr Parsons as the hearing drew to a close and will continue tomorrow.