The Times 1999-12-11  -  Serbs 'killed 10 000 in Kosovo'

BY STEPHEN FARRELL

TEN THOUSAND Albanians were killed by Serb ethnic cleansing in Kosovo between March and June this year, according to US State Department estimates

A report also claims that 1.5 million ethnic Albanians were expelled from their homes, that tens of thousands of houses were damaged or destroyed, and that there were summary executions at 500 sites in Kosovo during the period of Nato bombing.

It gives a warning, however, that the full scale of the killings may never be known. "Five months after the UN and Nato arrived in Kosovo, we're still piecing together what is undeniably a widespread and systematic attempt to cleanse Kosovo of much of its Kosovan-Albanian population," said Harold Koh, Assistant Secretary of State.

The study uses information from refugees, aid agencies and media organisations and says that it represents "only a snapshot of the Milosevic regime's brutal, premeditated and systematic campaign".

The study comes in the wake of recent controversy over death figures, with claims that Nato exaggerated predictions to justify its bombing campaign.

  • The Times has given the war crimes tribunal in The Hague two films taken by Serb police of themselves triumphant in front of burning houses. The pictures were found by Albanian refugees returning to Pec after Nato entered the province. In The Magazine today Stephen Farrell and Peter Nicholls outline their extensive research to recover the films and identify some of the members of the unit.

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