Magazine article Newsweek International

Grisly Math: The Atrocity Count Falls

Magazine article Newsweek International

Grisly Math: The Atrocity Count Falls

Article excerpt

Last April the U.S. State Department said 500,000 ethnic Albanians were missing and feared dead in Kosovo. A month later Defense Secretary William Cohen told a television interviewer that "about 100,000 military-aged men" were missing. "They may have been murdered," he said. After the 78-day air war on Yugoslavia ended in June, NATO produced a much lower estimate of the number of Albanians killed by the Serbs: just 10,000. Now it appears that, despite some genuinely gruesome atrocities committed by the Serbs, even that figure may be a little too high.

In an interim report to the Security Council last week, the chief prosecutor for the United Nations war-crimes tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, said forensic teams had dug up 195 sites where massacre victims were said to be buried and had found only 2,108 bodies. She said many of the sites were not mass graves at all but individual burial plots, and that only 11 of the locations examined to date contained more than 50 corpses each. …

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