Jaw injuries of Independence Victims from the 1991 War in Croatia

Mato Sušić, Juraj Brozović, Irina Filipović Zore, Aleksandar Milenović, Davor Strinović, Hrvoje Brkić, Dragana Gabrić Pandurić


In the aetiology of maxillofacial injuries, car accidents, violence, sports injuries and lately war injuries are frequently mentioned. The purpose of this study was to exhibit and analyse types of jaw injuries on bodies exhumed from massive and individual graves located in regions temporarily occupied during the War in Croatia that lasted from 1991 to 1995. The sample was the post-mortal documentation of the orofacial region (set of teeth, photographs, radiographic images) of 1068 victims exhumed from massive grave sites in Croatia. The jaw traumatism was analysed on the whole sample as well as on individual graves, whilst the analysis of trauma frequency was performed separately. Descriptive statistics were computed and the value of P < .05 was accepted as statistically significant. Results of this study showed that out of 1068 examined corpses, 332 had midface and lower face fractures, which was 31.1% of the total number. Lower face fractures were more frequent with 28.1%. Age related frequency analysis showed a significant dependency. There were 34.6% of fractures in the under 30 age group, 34.2% in those aged 30-60, while 21.3% of fractures were noted in the over 60 age group. Female bodies had the lowest number of jaw fractures regardless of the osteoporotic changes. The results of this study suggest that younger and middle aged persons were molested more. Jaw fractures suggest ante-mortal molestation. In females, the more likely fracture causes were the falls of the bodies into the graves or body to body hits.


maxillofacial injury, jaw fracture, maxillary fracture, mandibular fracture, war crime, exhumation

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