Ex-officer Testifies about Kosovo War Crimes

By: Jovana Gec
By: Jovana Gec

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- Slobodan Milosevic's police transported the bodies of slain Kosovo Albanians to Serbia during the war and buried them in mass graves to cover up atrocities, a former senior Serbian security officer said in court Wednesday.

Bodies from a massacre in the village of Suva Reka were driven away in a freezer truck that was dumped in the Danube in 1999, retired officer Dragan Karleusa said. But the truck emerged later, floating, and the bodies were then moved to the mass graves, he said.

Karleusa was testifying in the war crimes trial of eight former policemen charged with killing 48 Kosovo Albanian civilians in Suva Reka in March 1999.

The incident is considered the worst massacre of the 1998-99 war in Kosovo. The bodies were discovered in Serbia in 2001 by the pro-Western government that had ousted Milosevic the previous year. Karleusa, who worked in state security during the Milosevic era but sided with pro-democracy leaders in 2000, handled the investigation.

He told the Serbian war crimes court that the bodies were transported under orders from Milosevic's top police officials. Karleusa said as many as 900 bodies were discovered in the graves.

The Suva Reka massacre took place just days after NATO launched air attacks on Serbia to force Milosevic to end his crackdown against Kosovo's ethnic Albanian separatists. The victims included 14 children, two infants, a pregnant woman and a 100-year-old woman, according to the indictment of the Serb officers.

Milosevic died of a heart attack in U.N. detention in the Netherlands in 2006.

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