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Friday, 22 June, 2001, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Gathering evidence against Milosevic
1999 satellite pictures provided by the US Department of Defence show suspected mass grave tampering near Izbica, Kosovo.
Before and after: Suspected mass grave tampering
By south-east Europe analyst Gabriel Partos

Although investigators working for the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague have exhumed the bodies of around 4,000 victims of the Kosovo conflict, noone knows the exact number of people killed during the fighting in 1998-99.

Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Milosevic is wanted by the war crimes tribunal
Two years after the end of Nato's air campaign against Yugoslavia, there are still well over 3,000 people listed as missing - the majority of them Kosovo Albanians.

Since the end of the fighting there have been repeated claims that Serbian forces were involved in a systematic operation to destroy or hide the remains of Kosovo Albanian civilians who were killed during war.

Serbian police alleged that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was involved in the cover-up of evidence.

Trial at home

One of the most carefully researched reports on this subject was broadcast on a US public radio programme, American RadioWorks, earlier this year.

That report said it had found evidence that before they withdrew from Kosovo, Serbian special forces had burnt hundreds of bodies in the blast furnace of the Trepca lead refinery in the north of Kosovo.

An unidentified ethnic Albanian girl cries for her killed father in the village of Racak
It is not known how many died in the Kosovo conflict
The allegations in the programme appeared to provide an explanation as to what had happened to those still missing, and to the mystery surrounding the mass graves, such as the one at the village of Izbica.

The Izbica grave, photographed by satellites during the war, turned out to be empty once the multi-national K-For peacekeepers moved into Kosovo.

The Serbian police investigation into Mr Milosevic's alleged role in a cover-up is the first indication that the former president may now be facing possible charges relating to war crimes in a court in his own country.

Mr Milosevic was arrested in Belgrade earlier this year, accused of abuse of power and corruption. But The Hague tribunal, which indicted him two years ago, wants him to stand trial for war crimes.

Media reports published in Yugoslavia with alleged details of the mass transport of ethnic Albanians' corpses from Kosovo have helped change the way many in Yugoslavia feel about co-operation with the Hague tribunal.


At The Hague

Still wanted

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24 May 01 | Europe
05 Apr 01 | Europe
25 May 01 | Media reports
18 Apr 01 | Europe
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