News 25 Apr 13

EU Prosecutors Probe ‘Worst Kosovo War Massacre’

The EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo has formally launched an investigation into what is alleged to be the largest mass killing by Serbian forces during the late 1990s conflict.

Edona Peci

The EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX, announced that it had identified around 20 people who could be charged with committing war crimes in the Kosovo municipality of Gjakove/Djakovica on April 27 and 28, 1999, when hundreds of ethnic Albanians are believed to have been killed by Serbian forces.

EULEX said that the investigation would cover the villages of Meje/Meja, Orize/Oriza and other places in the Reka/Caragoj valley.

“The massacre in and around Meje/Meja is allegedly the largest mass killing that took place during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo,” EULEX said in a statement on Wednesday.

Most of the victims were exhumed from mass graves in Batajnica in Serbia.

“So far, prosecutors have identified approximately 20 [potential] defendants, who may be subject to charges of war crimes against the civilian population, including the killings of 372 victims in an attack on the ethnic Albanian civilian population that was subjected to torture, inhuman treatment, immense suffering, dislocation and displacement, property confiscation and pillage that was not justified by military needs,” the EULEX statement said.

More than 13,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the Kosovo conflict in 1999, and more than 1,700 remain missing.

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