“The US State Department said on Tuesday that it has brought a report by the Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law Centre NGO about the cover-up of crimes in Kosovo to the attention of Serbia’s recently-appointed war crimes prosecutor.

‘We believe that those guilty of moving the bodies of Albanian civilians from Kosovo to clandestine mass graves in Serbia to conceal evidence of earlier massacres should be brought to justice,’ said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, in a response to a question from US Representative Eliot L. Engel.

Engel, who was among the first to have lobbied for Kosovo’s independence, questioned the State Department about whether or not it has asked the government of Serbia how it will prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres, or whether some form of international tribunal will be necessary.

He cited the January 2017 report by the Humanitarian Law Centre, HLC, which detailed mass graves in Serbia containing the bodies of 941 Kosovo Albanians, mainly civilians killed outside combat situations in Kosovo in 1999.

The HLC claimed that 110 people, including senior Serbian officials, remain unprosecuted for removing hundreds of corpses in a bid to cover up massacres during the Kosovo war.

“We have raised the issue with Serbian officials at all levels of government, including with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic,” the State Department replied to Engel.

‘In addition, we remind Serbian officials that prosecuting human rights abuses such as these is imperative for Serbia to fulfil its obligations under Chapter 23 of the EU acquis,’ it added.

Chapter 23 in the body of European legislation that Serbia has to adopt in order to join the EU concerns the judiciary and fundamental rights.” (BIRN)