Evidence of possible war crimes en route to international tribunal
April 8, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department said Thursday that evidence of possible war crimes conducted by Yugoslav forces against the Kosovo Albanians is en route to the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague.
"There are many reports to verify. That is what our war crimes office and, obviously, the tribunal in The Hague is trying to do," State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters.
A State Department report, based on interviews with Kosovo Albanian refugees, concludes "ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity" are taking place in Kosovo -- including routine killings and beatings of refugees by Yugoslav forces.
A summary of the report, assembled following a diplomatic mission to Blace, Macedonia, by David Scheffer, ambassador-at-large for war crimes, was released Wednesday by the State Department.
Rubin on Wednesday branded nine of Yugoslavia's military commanders as possible war criminals "not only for crimes they themselves commit, but also for failing to prevent crimes occurring or for failure to prosecute those who commit crimes."
Rubin told reporters that while the United States was gathering evidence, it would be up to the international tribunal at to decide if indictments are warranted.
Reconnaissance and eye-witness evidence
Rubin presented evidence Thursday in the form of both aerial and visual imagery and "remarkably consistent" interviews with refugees who fled Kosovo.
Those interviews present a picture of mass killings and towns set ablaze by Yugoslav forces, a picture of "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, he said.
The aerial imagery shows that areas populated mostly by Kosovo Albanians were heavily damaged while areas populated mostly by Serbs suffered lighter damage.
The visual imagery of before-and-after pictures, used to track damage in eight towns, showed entire villages burnt, roofs blown off homes -- and where refugees had previously been crowded into one area, that area was now empty.
U.S. names suspected Serb war criminals
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
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