Belgrade dismisses OSCE report on Kosovo

BELGRADE, Feb 8, 2000 -- (Reuters) The Yugoslav government on Monday dismissed an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) report on human rights in Kosovo as a "gross political pamphlet," the official Tanjug news agency reported.

The OSCE report, published in December, described crimes committed in Kosovo by Serbian paramilitaries and police, as "disquieting, disturbing, at times appalling" and catalogued atrocities committed mainly against ethnic Albanians.

The report said that the Serbian leadership responsible for atrocities had to be brought to justice to dispel the prevailing notion of the collective guilt of the Serbian community.

"It's not a regular document, but a gross political pamphlet to justify the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia," the Yugoslav government said in a statement run by Tanjug.

The voluminous OSCE report covered human rights abuses committed in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, before and after the NATO forces intervened to stop Serb aggression there against Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority.

According to the Yugoslav government, the OSCE report was founded on "fabricated accusations on supposed mass graves and fabricated mass executions of Albanians in Kosovo."

"All the investigations and reports of independent medical experts have proved the non-existence of mass crimes and mass executions against Albanians in Kosovo," the government said in its statement.

At the end of the Kosovo war in June 1999, the British government estimated that 10,000 people had been killed in the conflict. Larger Western estimates were published during the conflict.

International Criminal Court experts suspended a program of exhumations from mass graves this winter, with the toll standing at 2,100 corpses.

"Even a report which is so biased and unilateral was not able to hide the facts... that there had been no humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo before the NATO aggression," the Yugoslav government statement said.

Belgrade will distribute copies of its opinions on the OSCE report to the United Nations and the OSCE.

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