Sky News 1999-12-07 - The war is over - the violence isn't

The first major official human rights survey on Kosovo shows violence did not end with the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops.

The horrifying series of human rights abuses carried out by Serbian forces on ethnic Albanians were followed by revenge attacks against the remaining Serbs after Belgrade pulled out its military in June, the report shows.

It confirms what many Kosovo watchers had predicted would happen and poses a humanitarian problem for the rest of the world.

The first volume of the report - published by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe - catalogues a campaign of killings, rape, torture, expulsions and other rights abuses committed between October 1998 and June this year when the territory was still under Serbian control.

Burned alive

Perhaps most disturbingly, many of the killings involved the elderly, the disabled and young children - some of which were burned alive.

The second volume showed that human rights violations such as executions, abductions and intimidation, continued on a smaller scale after the arrival of 40,000 NATO-led peacekeepers - but this time directed mainly at Serbs and other minorities.

Although many attacks since June were individual acts of revenge after years of Serb repression, the report said other incidents appeared to have been organised.

Escalated

There is also evidence in the report that atrocities committed against Kosovo's Albanians had escalated after the start of the NATO bombing campaign in March.

Elderly and disabled people were widely reported as being either shot dead and then burned or as being burned alive, often in their homes, it said.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson will meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York to discuss the province's ethnic violence.

Mr Robertson said the OSCE reports provided "convincing evidence" of a pre-planned and systematic Serb campaign of persecution against ethnic Albanians.

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