Croatia calls for joint investigation of WWII-era mass grave
Xinhua General News Service - March 10, 2009 Tuesday 12:40 PM EST
BELGRADE March 10 - Croatia on Tuesday called for a joint investigation into a World War II-era mass grave discovered last week in Slovenia and punishment for the perpetrators.
Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader told a government session that no crimes should remain unpunished, the Croatian news agency HINA reported.
The Croatian government adopted a decision in the session to make public an agreement with Slovenia on the marking of military cemeteries.
Under the agreement signed last year, the two countries will mark the graves of soldiers and civilians who were killed in Croatia and Slovenia in the post-war periods and not given proper burials.
A six-member joint commission will be in charge of implementing the agreement.
The two former Yugoslav countries have committed to exchanging information on possible new mass graves in their territory.
The mass grave, which was discovered in an old coal mine in Huda Jama, about 60 km east of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, contains the remains of several hundred people killed in the aftermath of WWII, possibly in May or June 1945.
The bodies are believed to be those of Nazi collaborators, members of the Slovenian Home Guard and Croatian Ustasha troops, executed by Tito's Partisans.
Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko visited Huda Jama on Monday to lay a wreath and light candles in tribute to the victims on behalf of the Croatian government.
Karamarko described the scene as "a horrible execution site," adding that there were 600 such sites in Slovenia, 840 in Croatia, 90 in Bosnia- Herzegovina "and who knows how many more in the region."
Karamarko said only 24 WWII-era mass grave sites in Croatia had been investigated and that Croatian police were continuing investigations to identify the perpetrators.
Slovene historian Mitja Ferenc, who leads a government commission probing "concealed mass graves" dating from the aftermath of World War II, has told Slovene television that the remains of between 200 and 400 people have been discovered in Huda Jama and that more bodies can be expected to be found because the exhumation is not over yet.
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