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War Crimes

Serbia Reopens Batajnica Mass Grave Probe

A scene from a police video of the exhumation of a mass grave at Batajnica, 15 Kilometres North of Belgrade, shows the hand of one the bodies exhumed. Many of the bodies in this grave came from the massacres at Suva Reka and Meja in Kosovo.

A scene from a police video of the exhumation of a mass grave at Batajnica, 15 Kilometres North of Belgrade, shows the hand of one the bodies exhumed. Many of the bodies in this grave came from the massacres at Suva Reka and Meja in Kosovo.

Serbia reopened its investigation into the Batajnica police training centre, where hundreds of bodies of Kosovo Albanians were found buried, searching for another mass grave at the site.

Marija Ristic
BIRN

Belgrade

The Serbian war crimes prosecution on Monday ordered a new examination of the site at the Centre May 13 police training centre in the Belgrade neighbourhood of Batajnica after receiving information that one more mass grave could be located there.

“We believe that there is a potential mass grave location where a tent for autopsies was before, just near the location of the mass grave where 900 Kosovo Albanians were found,” chief prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic told news agency Tanjug.

During 2001 and 2002, eight mass graves were found at the training centre for the Special Anti-Terrorist Police Unit containing remains which were brought to Serbia to cover up the killings by Belgrade’s forces during the Kosovo war.

According to the International Commission for Missing Persons, 704 complete bodies of Kosovo Albanians killed during the 1990s were found.

Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former Serbian interior ministry assistant was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Hague Tribunal for transporting the bodies of the victims killed during the Kosovo conflict to Serbia.

“Yes, I was involved when trucks with bodies were coming to Batajnica, but I didn’t know when the crimes were committed. I didn’t confront those who tried to mask and hide the crimes and I didn’t take any measures to find those responsible for war crimes, which I was supposed to do,” Djordjevic admitted during his trial.

So far no one has been prosecuted in Serbia itself for removing the bodies, although the prosecutor’s office has said that it is investigating the case.

Beside the bodies found in Batajnica, the remains of Kosovo Albanians killed in the war then moved to Serbia have been found in Lake Perucac, at a police centre in Petrovo Selo and at the Rudnica quarry near Raska.

Some 1,700 people, both Kosovo Albanians and Serbs, are still listed as missing since the war.

source

More information on Batajnica.

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