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Monday, 9 October, 2000, 04:17 GMT 05:17 UK
Serbs shown war crimes film
Bodies found near the village of Racak Jan 1999
Thousands were killed during wars in Kosovo and Bosnia
By Jacky Rowland in Belgrade

For the first time Serbs are admitting in public to war crimes carried out in the Balkans over the past 10 years.

Serbia's Uprising
Just three days after the downfall of President Slobodan Milosevic, a television station in Belgrade has been broadcasting a documentary including archive footage of Serb crimes committed in Bosnia and in Kosovo.

Mass grave of Bosnian Muslim killed by Bosnian Serbs in 1992
The film shows crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims
The documentary was hastily assembled and some of the picture quality is poor, but this frank record of the Milosevic years has become compulsory viewing in Belgrade.

The programme is a montage of news footage charting Mr Milosevic's rise to absolute power in Serbia and his disastrous adventures in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

There is little commentary and no editorialising, the television is telling it as it was.

Threshold

For ordinary Serbs this public admission of war crimes carried out in their name is as much a revolution as the events of last Thursday.

Refugees from Kosovo
Hundreds of thousands of Kosovans were forced to flee last year
It suggests that the changes at the top of Serbian society will have more far reaching effects.

Already the Muslim leadership in Bosnia has welcomed the new President Vojislav Kostunica and has indicated its willingness to establish full diplomatic relations.

After 10 years of ethnic conflict, the Balkans may be on the threshold of a new era of regional co-operation.

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See also:

08 Oct 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia looks to the future
08 Oct 00 | Europe
Analysis: Milosevic's trials
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