Two hundred bodies have been unearthed from a mass grave in eastern Croatia, and the United Nations said Tuesday that the evidence suggests most of the victims were hospital patients.
Yuri Chizhik, the chief U.N. spokesman in Vukovar, said excavations of the Ovcara gravesite ended Friday and all the remains have been transported to the Croatian capital of Zagreb for further examination."There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that the victims were hospital patients, and there were a lot of bullets discovered at the site," Chizhik said Tuesday in a telephone interview.
Bits of clothing, casts and other items discovered since international investigators started excavating the gravesite at the Ovcara pig farm a month ago were consistent with suspicions that many of the victims were Vukovar hospital patients when Serbs captured the town in November 1991.
Vukovar was the site of some of the bloodiest fighting during Croatia's six-month war of secession in which about 10,000 people were killed or disappeared. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav army besieged Vukovar for three months before it fell.
Unofficial reports have said the victorious Serbs took wounded Croatian males from the Vukovar hospital and executed them at the Ovcara farm.
An investigation by a U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague has led to indictments against three senior Yugoslav army officers. All three remain at large in Serbia and Montenegro, the two republics that now make up Yugoslavia.
Vladimir Dzuro, spokesman for the tribunal in Vukovar, said Monday that there could other gravesites in the area because the number of bodies discovered in Ovcara - 200 - does not correspond with the number of missing hospital patients, 261.