Unlike the Nuremberg Tribunals, the ICTY used police forensic methods and the latest technology to establish the facts (Delpla, 94). The teams that carried out this work were experienced and highly qualified archaeologists and forensic anthropologists (Delpla, 28). Almost all of the primary mass graves were dug up in 1996 by Professor Bill Haglund (Delpla, 27). They found that many of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs (Delpla, 28). One victim had a very clear disability that would have prevented him from fighting, showing that these victims were not combatants (Delpla, 28). This proof could not be ignored by the international community. Many realized that Bosnia could not move forward politically if the perpetrators were still at large (Jennings, 79).
Kathryne Bomberger of the International Commission on Missing Persons stated that:
“What we’re doing, among other things, is making sure that people cannot say, ‘This didn’t happen’, or ‘These people didn’t exist’. We’re identifying people who have been effectively deleted because they belonged to the ‘wrong’ nationality, religion, race, class, gender, or political group” (Jennings, 131).
As bodies were identified and given to their families, they were reburied in a huge cemetery for the victims of Srebrenica (Jennings, 145). Officials of the Republika Srpska attended the ceremonies and began acknowledging that the Bosnian Serb military’s actions at Srebrenica “should be taken seriously” (Jennings, 145-146). The bodies didn’t allow anyone to deny what had happened. A right-wing politician from Europe who had voiced doubts about the killing remarked, “So it really did happen” as he watched staff empty body bags at the mogue (Jennings, 192). The ICMP’s work enabled the prosecution of guilty parties in Bosnia but it also established a system that could be applied in future cases (Jennings, 211). It was also a “scientific success story” as modern forensic techniques took down revisionist history and denial (Jennings, 211/213).
A woman is comforted by her family during a funeral ceremony at the Potocari memorial center for Srebrenica’s victims (CBS). This was taken July 11th 2013 during a ceremony for the 18th anniversary of the massacre. Newly identified victims, assumingly one of them being her relative, are being reburied. Image taken by Amel Emric for the Associated Press (CBS).
Relatives of a victim weeping. The numbers on the coffins allow them to identify which one holds their relative (The Guardian).