In 1999 and 2000 forensic investigators were at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) send to the former Yugoslavia to investigate alleged war graves and war crimes. A large number of the bodies recovered and examined in the former Yugoslavia demonstrated evdence of sustained ballistic trauma. In this paper the post-mortem ballistic findings of 212 bodies recovered from 6 mass graves situated in Kosovo and Bosnia are analysed. The medico-legal characteristics of the ballistic traumata observed in this series were: 1) a high percentage of ballistic head and thoracic trauma and ballistic traumata to the lower legs, 2) a high percentage of multiple ballistic traumata in single persons, 3) multifragmentary skeletal trauma at the site of ballistic impact, 4) salvo gunshot patterns, and 5) a maority of recovered bullet cores of 7.62mm calibre. These ballistic findings combined with certain post-mortem findings suggest certain criminal patterns which are discussed in this paper. When taken together, these ballistic and forensic observations make it hard to believe that these victims were just simple (military) casualties of war as claimed by some involved parties.
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