CEOL - Serbia Charges Serb With Killing Kosovo Albanians

BELGRADE, Nov 16, 1999 -- (Reuters) A Serb prosecutor has charged a Kosovo Serb with murdering three ethnic Albanians in the southern Serbian province during NATO's air war against Yugoslavia, the Beta news agency said on Monday.

In one of the first such cases, the district prosecutor's office in the central Serbian town of Pozarevac accused the 32-year-old man of having shot one ethnic Albanian man in the head from close range.

The incident took place on May 9 as the victim tried to flee fighting between units of the Kosovo Liberation Army and Yugoslav troops near the southwestern Kosovo town of Orahovac.

According to the charges, the accused later opened fire and killed an ethnic Albanian couple standing on the porch of their house in the town, Beta said.

No trial date has yet been set, the agency said.

It also said the prosecutor had brought charges of assisting in murder against a police officer who served in Kosovo, but it was not clear whether the two cases were related.

NATO launched an 11-week bombing campaign in March to force Belgrade stop repression of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, which is now under de facto international rule following the withdrawal of Serb forces in June.

The U.N. war crimes court has indicted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four of his top aides for overseeing alleged war crimes in Kosovo.

Last week, chief U.N. prosecutor Carla del Ponte said U.N. investigators had exhumed more than 2,000 corpses in Kosovo. She said the true number of ethnic Albanian victims may be much higher.

Serbian Deputy Information Minister Miodrag Popovic said he was "very sceptical" about the figure.

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