KLA investigated over war crimes

Wednesday, 21 June, 2000

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla group is being investigated over alleged war crimes committed during last year's conflict in the province.
The United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is examining five cases where members of the KLA are believed to have been involved in murders of the province's minority Serb population.
The tribunal has been working on numerous cases of atrocities committed by Serb security forces during last year's conflict. Over 2000 bodies have been recovered from mass graves.
This, however, is the first time the court has revealed investigations into murders believed to have been committed by the KLA.
The announcement was made by the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, who is visiting Kosovo.
Exact details of the crimes are not expected to be released until the court issues indictments.
Indictments of former KLA members could have serious repercussions for the UN's administration in Kosovo.

Weapons stash
Many members of the guerrilla army now hold positions in the UN's power-sharing administration. Others are members of the Kosovo protection corps, a civilian-based national guard endorsed by the UN.
The investigations into the KLA follow the discovery earlier this month of five bunkers of arms during a search in the Drenica Valley, a KLA stronghold.
The haul came just two days after another huge stash of weapons was found in the Drenica Valley.
The war crimes tribunal, set up in 1993, has indicted 96 people and convicted 16 of the 36 in custody.
But Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the tribunal, said completing the cases had been hampered by a ban on the court working in Serbia which meant prosecutors were unable to gain access to Serb victims and witnesses.
Among the 27 Serbs being sought by the tribunal is Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
According to reports in the US, attempts to bring Mr Milosevic to justice could be dropped in exchange for his resignation.
However, Mrs Del Ponte reiterated the court's refusal to lift the indictment against Mr Milosevic.

Original article