War in the Balkans: Secret dossier on war crimes handed to UN

Click to follow
The Independent Online
BRITAIN HANDED a dossier of spy material to UN war crimes investigators yesterday, laying the groundwork for bringing to justice Serbs accused of atrocities in Kosovo.

The dossier, one of the largest releases of intelligence from this country, was passed to Judge Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, when she met Robin Cook in London. The Foreign Secretary promised more to come.

Details of more than 80 incidents, including sites of mass graves, had been gathered by British officials including diplomats in Belgrade. Much of the information will be kept secret for the time being to protect sources and prevent Serbian authorities from destroying or hiding evidence.

Mr Cook said: "It is a rare step to release intelligence material. We have taken it because we are determined that those responsible for turning Kosovo into a slaughterhouse should be brought to justice."

Slobodan Milosevic has embarked on a " final solution" in Kosovo, Mr Cook said, with more than a million people fleeing Serb death squads " who have burned, raped and shot their way through Kosovo".

Names of those believed to be responsible for administering the policy, including six commanders will be given to Ms Arbour. Political leaders, including Mr Milosevic could also be indicted, Mr Cook said.

"We want to be sure that those brought to justice are not only the thugs who committed the crimes but those who gave the orders," he added. "We will go on collating further intelligence as the horror unfolds and passing it to the tribunal.

"There will be no hiding place for those responsible for mass murder, mass rape, mass graves."

The information includes allegations of rape camps set up near Djakovica; rapes of 30 women in Globocica; massacre of more than 500 people in villages in the Orahovac area; another massacre of 70 at Pastasel, near Pristina and a Serb helicopter attack on a group of refugees in Prizren, which killed 40.

Ms Arbour's tribunal, which has already indicted General Ratko Mladic and the paramilitary leader Arkan (real name is Zeljko Raznjatovic) for war crimes in Bosnia, is also interviewing refugees.

She said: "We will take the cases to court on the basis of admissible, credible evidence that will support the charges ... at any level." Germany is giving $500,000 (pounds 300,000) to the UN High Commission for Human Rights to help finance the documenting of human rights abuses to be passed to the tribunal.