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Investigators prepare to exhume mass graves in Serbia

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Possible mass grave found in Serbia
  • Potential graves located in town of Rudnica, just north of Kosovo's border
  • Prosecutors said bodies may have been originally buried in Kosovo
  • Yugoslav, Serb forces accused of shelling towns, burning homes, killing Kosovo Albanian civilians
  • A number of high-ranking Serbian officials have been found guilty of war crimes in Kosovo

(CNN) -- Investigators are preparing to exhume a possible mass grave site in Serbia where witnesses say the bodies of 250 ethnic Albanians are buried, prosecutors said.

The potential graves are beneath a company building and a parking lot in the town of Rudnica, a few miles north of Kosovo's border, the Office of the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecutors said bodies may have been originally buried in Kosovo and later exhumed and transferred to Serbia.

At least five mass graves have been discovered in Serbia in the past decade, the prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors are working with investigators from the European Union Rule of Law Mission Kosovo to search the site.

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"We have been working on this particular case for some time. We have provided information and intelligence relating to the possible site of a mass grave ... But we are still waiting for confirmation if this site has indeed been located," EULEX Kosovo spokeswoman Kristiina Herodes said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the building at the site was built after 1999.


Cases presented to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have alleged that military forces of the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia systematically shelled towns and villages, burned homes and farms, killed Kosovo Albanian civilians and sexually assaulted Kosovo Albanian women during a 1999 campaign.

Vlastimir Djordjevic, a top official in Serbia's Ministry of Internal Affairs at the time, is currently on trial before the tribunal for alleged offenses in Kosovo. Other former high-ranking Serbian officials have been tried and found guilty of war crimes in Kosovo.

Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosovic was on trial between 2002 and 2006 for alleged crimes in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He died from natural causes in March 2006, before the trial ended and before a judgment was made.