Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK


World: Europe

US probes Serb rape allegations

Serb soliders are said to have carried out systematic rape

The United States is investigating reports that young Kosovo women are being systematically raped at a Serb army camp and that up to 20 of them have been killed.

Kosovo: Special Report
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said that according to accounts from Kosovo, women were being herded into a training camp at Dakovica in the southwest of the province where they were raped by troops.

It is the first time the Pentagon has issued a specific charge of such an atrocity by Serb forces in their drive against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, although US officials have been reporting widespread war crimes.

Mr Bacon described the allegations as ''very disturbing'' and said the US would be trying to confirm them over the next few days.


Matt Frei: "There are as many horror stories as there are victims"
"This is a very eerie and disturbing echo of documented instances of rape and killing of women in Bosnia during the Bosnia war and it is obviously outrageous that this is occurring," he added.

During the 1992 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina thousands of women were forced into ''rape camps'' by Serbian militia.

The accounts received by the Pentagon are backed up by similar reports of systematic rape now emerging from Kosovo refugees who have fled the province.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, told the BBC the refugees had experienced "a lot of atrocities - no doubt rape, beating, burning houses."

Extortion

Consistent accounts are emerging of soldiers separating women from groups of refugees, apparently with the intention of raping them.

There are also eyewitness reports of women fleeing Kosovo being taken into a border checkpoint building, apparently to be raped.

In other instances, soldiers are demanding 1,000 Deutschmarks ($500) from women, in payment for not being raped.

Mrs Ogata, who was speaking after a visit to the refugee camps in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said she had raised the issue with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

BBC Correspondent Matt Frei says the allegations of rape are reaching authorities even though many women find it difficult to talk about it due to religious reasons.

Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, president of the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal said she was "stunned and horrified" at reports from Kosovo, which included "allegations of indiscriminate violence, destruction and theft of property, mass roundups, and systematic torture, rape and murder".

Ama Annan of the British charity Christian Aid, who visited the refugee camps earlier this week, also said women had spoken of being raped.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

09 Apr 99 | UK
Milosevic is 'feeling the heat'

09 Apr 99 | Europe
Kosovo 'could spark world war'

09 Apr 99 | Europe
Cypriot minister seeks soldiers' release

09 Apr 99 | Europe
Journalists freed after stand-off

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Missing refugees traced

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Picture gallery: Images of war





Internet Links


Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Nato

International Crisis Group

Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosova Press

OSCE

International Committee of the Red Cross

Oxfam International

UNHCR: Latest figures


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift