Babies, mutilated women and old folk in mass graves

THE HAGUE, May 26, 2000 -- (AFP) The bodies of babies, young women with their breasts cut off, and old folk have been discovered in mass graves in Kosovo by Swiss police investigators working for the UN war crimes tribunal, it was revealed Thursday.

"We have exhumed and autopsied 83 corpses. Most of them showed bullet wounds," said Swiss police inspector Pierre Jordan, head of one of the Swiss police units investigating atrocities in Kosovo on behalf of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

"Some bodies of young women were mutilated. For example, they had their breasts cut off," said Jordan, adding that the bodies his team discovered at several sites included people aged "from just a few months to more than 80 years old."

Jordan was speaking at a press conference after presenting the findings to the tribunal's prosecutor's office.

One investigator who did not want to be named said he was convinced the women had been raped before being murdered.

The ICTY last year began digging up sites in Kosovo where it was suspected that Serb forces had buried their victims after mass killings.

The ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte told the UN Security Council in November 1999, at the end of the first stage of the excavations, that 2,108 bodies had been exhumed from 195 sites across Kosovo.

The tribunal began a second stage of excavations in April and several countries, including Canada, Sweden, France and Austria have said they are ready to assign qualified investigators to help with the searches.

Switzerland is to send more investigators to Kosovo in September, Jordan said.

Original article