BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Bosnian Serb forces killed more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica (search), a Bosnian Serb commission conceded Thursday in its final report on the 1995 massacre.
Bosnian Muslim officials claim that up to 8,000 men and boys were killed at Srebrenica in July 1995, when Serb troops overran the U.N.-declared safe zone in Europe's worst massacre of civilians since World War II.
Although the report gave a lower estimate of the number of victims, the panel's vice president, Smail Cekic (search), told The Associated Press the figure was not final.
"That is hard to achieve because differences in sources," Cekic said. "That is still an open question."
Although Bosnian Serbs long have been blamed for the massacre, it was not until this past June — following the Srebrenica commission's preliminary report — that Serb officials acknowledged for the first time that their security forces carried out the slaughter.
The Bosnian Serb government formed the investigating commission of judges and lawyers last year. Its final report includes information on the location of 34 mass grave where some of the victims are presumed to have been buried, Cekic said.
So far, the remains of about 18,000 victims from different ethnic groups who died in the 1992-95 war have been exhumed from more than 300 mass graves across the country.
U.N. and Muslim experts have found the remains of about 5,000 victims from mass graves in eastern Bosnia and discover new remains every month. The fate of the others is still unknown. Nearly 1,200 Srebrenica victims have been identified through DNA analysis (search).
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, his top general, are wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity for the Srebrenica killings and other atrocities.
The peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia left the country divided into a Bosnian Serb mini-state and a Muslim-Croat federation. Both have separate governments, police and army and are linked only by joint state institutions.
The Bosnian war — which pitted Serbs opposed to Bosnia's independence from the former Yugoslavia against Muslims and Croats backing it — claimed about 260,000 lives and left around 20,000 missing and presumed dead.