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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 19:08 GMT 20:08 UK
Kosovan children found in mass grave
Kosovo Albanian funeral
The bodies are thought to have been brought from Kosovo
Investigators in Yugoslavia have exhumed at least 36 bodies - including those of children - from a mass grave near the capital, Belgrade.

The bodies are thought to be those of Kosovo Albanians removed from Kosovo as part of a cover-up allegedly ordered by former President Slobodan Milosevic during his military campaign in 1999.

So far it has been established there were nine bodies of children under seven [amongst the bodies], including the body of an eight-month old foetus

Belgrade district court
Mr Milosevic has now been handed over to the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague to face allegations of war crimes carried out during the campaign.

Belgrade's B92 radio quoted interior ministry sources as saying that the victims found in the grave were from the Kosovo village of Suva Reka - one of the places mentioned in Mr Milosevic's indictment.

A district court in Belgrade said that further analysis was needed to determine the victims' cause of death.

"So far it has been established there were nine bodies of children under seven [amongst the bodies], including the body of an eight-month old foetus," the court said.

The bodies are in an advanced state of decay.

Public opinion

In May the Serbian Interior Ministry revealed it had evidence that Mr Milosevic had ordered the removal of evidence which would indicate atrocities against civilians.

Exhumation site
Evidence of a number of mass graves in Serbia has emerged recently
"Milosevic ordered former Interior Minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic to take measures in order to eliminate all the traces which could lead to any evidence of crimes committed," said Dragan Karleusa, a top official at the ministry.

Mr Stojiljkovic has also been indicted by the tribunal.

There have been a series of gruesome revelations in the Yugoslav media over recent weeks about mass graves within Serbia's own boundaries.

One lorry driver told Vreme magazine last week of 10 journeys he made from eastern Kosovo into Serbia - on one of which he found his lorry stacked to the ceiling with corpses.

The revelations are believed to have swayed public opinion in favour of the extradition of Mr Milosevic to The Hague.

"They're disgusted not so much by the crime itself but by this pathetic and grisly cover-up attempt and I think they want to see people responsible for this taken to justice," said Dejan Anastasijevic, a journalist at Vreme magazine

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22 Jun 01 | Europe
Serbs shocked by mass graves
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