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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 18:34 GMT
Serbia returns bodies to Kosovo
By Matt Prodger
BBC Belgrade correspondent

Man holds a flower near remains of 44 bodies
Families have waited a long time for the remains to be returned
Serbia has returned the remains of what are believed to be 44 Kosovo Albanians who were killed in 1999 and buried in a mass grave outside Belgrade.

It was the largest handover of bodies since mass graves were discovered outside Kosovo three years ago.

As the remains arrived at the UN checkpoint separating Kosovo from the rest of Serbia, relatives and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj were waiting.

The bodies had been exhumed from a pit at Batajnica police training ground.

It is one of three mass graves containing more than 800 victims that were uncovered in Serbia in 2001.

No arrests

Some 10,000 people died during the Kosovo war - most of them ethnic Albanians. More than 3,000 are still missing and it is a highly charged issue.

The authorities in Belgrade have been criticised for being slow to return the bodies discovered in mass graves in Serbia proper.

They failed to convict anyone in connection with the killings, which are thought to have taken place in Kosovo before the bodies were trucked to locations around Serbia.

And they have consistently refused to arrest and hand over four generals indicted by The Hague war crimes tribunal for their actions in Kosovo.

Associates of one of the indictees, Nebojsa Pavkovic, said on Thursday that he had no intention of surrendering.

The charges against Milosevic
05 Jul 04 |  Europe
Bosnia's largest mass grave
30 Jul 03 |  Europe
Country profile: Serbia and Montenegro
08 Dec 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Kosovo
03 Dec 04 |  Country profiles

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