Serbia: 13,000 killed and missing from Kosovo war - rights group

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 06 Oct 2009 View Original
BELGRADE, Oct 6, 2009 (AFP) - More than 13,000 people were killed or still considered missing from the 1990s Kosovo conflict, a prominent Serbian human rights group said Tuesday.

The Humanitarian Law Centre, a non-government organization investigating crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, said some 13,421 people have been registered in Kosovo as dead or missing from January 1998 to December 2000, Beta news agency reported.

Some 10,533 ethnic Albanians, 2,238 Serbs and more than 100 non-Albanians have been killed or missing during and after the Kosovo conflict between ethnic Albanian separatists and Serbian security forces under the command of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the group said in a report.

The fate of 1,186 people, among them 500 Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians, is still unknown, according to the report presented in Belgrade.

The youngest victim was a one-year-old Roma boy, killed at his home in 1999, while the oldest was a 81-year-old Serb woman who went missing in August 1999 from her flat in the Kosovo capital of Pristina.

"We have collected the data by interviewing family members or witnesses of the victims or missing," said Natasa Kandic, head of the Humanitarian Law Center.

From the start of the conflict in 1998 until the withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo in June 1999, 577 soldiers and 354 policemen were killed, the report showed.

The data presented on Tuesday were "preliminary" and the list will be concluded in 2010, said Kandic.

"This is a document which will provide the possibility to find out what has happened in Kosovo and how the people have lost their lives or went missing" during and after the conflict, she said.

International agencies have estimated that Kosovo's 1998-1999 war claimed around 10,000 lives.

Kosovo, a southern Serbian province, became an UN protectorate in 1999 after a NATO air war against Yugoslavia ended a brutal crackdown by Milosevic's forces on the independence-seeking ethnic Albanian majority in the province.

It unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, after UN-backed talks on its future between Belgrade and Pristina ended in deadlock.

an/boc

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 10/06/2009 13:46:33

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