War crimes investigation reports finding of remains

Monday, November 26, 2001

TETOVO, Macedonia -- Forensic experts have found human remains at a site where Macedonian officials suspect ethnic Albanian rebels buried several people they killed during a six-month insurgency this year, a government official said Sunday.

Investigators recovered "parts of human bodies and bones" at the site between the villages of Trebos and Dzepciste in the ethnically tense northwest, said Aleksandra Zafirovska, a Macedonian investigative judge. She did not say how many bodies were found.

Macedonian forensics started digging Wednesday at the site, 22 miles west of the capital, Skopje, and not far from Tetovo, Macedonia's second largest city. The government contends that 13 Macedonian civilians missing since April are buried somewhere near Tetovo.

Experts from the Netherlands-based U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and European Union representatives have been observing the excavation, with NATO troops providing security.

Carla Del Ponte, the U.N. court's chief prosecutor, visited Skopje last week to announce two investigations -- one into crimes allegedly committed by Macedonian soldiers against ethnic Albanian civilians, and the second related to crimes allegedly committed by the militants.

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