DNA samples from relatives are being used to identify victims from the war in Bosnia more than 20 years after their deaths.
Thousands of people who died during the conflict in the 1990s still remain unidentified, meaning their families have been unable to hold funerals and lay their remains to rest. According to the BBC, there are approximately 8,000 people who were last seen during the Bosnian war and remain missing.
Mass graves in the region have been exhumed and the bodies of an estimated 3,000 people have been found but not yet identified. Now work is taking place to identify the bodies and match them to their families so they can finally have answers.
The testing is being carried out at a mortuary in Visoko, Bosnia, by the International Commission on Missing Persons. Known as the “No Name project”, it is hoped that thousands of victims who died between 1992 and 1995 can be named and their relatives informed.
Work involves studying samples and personal items
As well as looking at DNA, investigators are analysing clues from any personal items or clothing found with the remains.
Dijana Sarzinski, who is leading the project, said: “We reassess previously taken DNA samples, determine whether new DNA samples need to be taken and review all the accompanying documentation. We’re trying to find out any bit of information that could lead us to identity.”
So far, the work has successfully identified 80 people.
Ms Sarzinski told the BBC: “I’m really proud. The ratio may seem small, but those are 80 people that we helped bring home.”
One of the elements of the project involves collecting blood samples from family members of people who could be among those buried. This will help those working on the project compare the DNA and work out whether it is a match.
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