Judge to inspect Bosnian 'mass grave'

CHRISTOPHER BELLAMY

Defence Correspondent

EMMA DALY

Sarajevo

Judge Richard Goldstone, head of the International War Crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, is due to visit Bosnia this month, following reports of the existence of a huge mass grave in a mine in the north-west.

His arrival may help to reveal the scale of war crimes in Bosnia, which is still shrouded in mystery. Nato has said it will not intervene. "Investigating mass graves is not part of my job. Establishing an environment in which others can do their job is part of my job," Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of Nato's peace implementation force (I-For), said yesterday.

"Nato is not mandated to go into an area where there may or may not be graves", said Colonel James Ellery, director of public information for I-For. "When the relevant authorities - the war crimes tribunal - decide the time is right to go in, they will do that. If they need assistance from I-For to get there, they will request it." Nato said it had not received requests from the war crimes tribunal, or other organisations, to escort investigators.

The UN, which controls an international civilian police force, may conduct preliminary investigations into allegations of mass graves, an official said, but would go no further. Antonio Pedauye, the UN co-ordinator, said the exhumation of graves would require forensic expertise available only to the tribunal.

"I would separate [human rights] from mass graves, serious violations of international law under the Geneva convention - that is up to the tribunal and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]," he said."The UN is here to act on violations of human rights now and in the future."

One Red Cross spokesman, Pierre Gauthier, disclaimed any ICRC responsibility for the investigation of mass graves. "We have not the mandate to dig up mass graves, we have not the know-how and we have not the enforcement," he said.

Reporters visited the open-cast mine at Ljubija without hindrance from Serb soldiers but found little to confirm allegations. Although British Nato troops responsible for the area where the alleged mass grave may be have been passing information to the representative of the war crimes tribunal, they had received no request for help yesterday, Col Ellery said.

"We just don't have the manpower", said Col Ellery. "The manpower is sufficient for the allocated tasks." These include supervising the withdrawal of the former warring sides from a "zone of separation" either side of the boundary between the two "entities" in Bosnia.

Given the scale of "ethnic cleansing" in the area, many of the allegations are probably true. But proof will only come when the tribunal experts come in and dig. The same is true for three alleged mass graves near Srebrenica, the Muslim enclave that fell to Serb forces in July. More than 2,000 people from Srebrenica are still missing.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee