Carla Del Ponte fails to discover mass graves in Kosovo and Metohija
November 11, 1999
I will decide if there are reasons to start investigation (against NATO) or not, said Carla Del Ponte at the press conference in UN headquarters.
She said she would decide whether there were grounds to launch an investigation against the alliance or not. She refused to further comment on the matter, despite a Yugoslav reporter's remark that the killing of more than 1,000 civilians during NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia should be a good enough reason for the tribunal to launch an investigation against the alliance.
Del Ponte, who reported to the Security Council on alleged mass graves in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's Kosovo and Metohija province o Wednesday, evidently did not want to condemn NATO.
What Del Ponte reiterated at the news conference clearly indicates that there are no mass graves with bodies of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. She said that a large number of bodies had not been found in any single location.
She said that 2,108 bodies had been so far discovered throughout the province. Reporters responded by asking why she insisted on 11,000 missing persons if there was no evidence that the number of persons listed as missing was that high.
Del Ponte conceded that she did know who launched the figure, trying to pin the blame on others. She said that the tribunal and she received reports on and estimates about the number of victims mainly from humanitarian and non-governmental organizations.
The US magazines also published stories on number of alleged victims in Kosovo. The "Washington Times" published yesterday a text in which is said the number of victims is obviously politically motivated.
Such estimations were practically confirmed by Carla Del Ponte, eventhough it was not her aim. She admitted, under the barrage of questions, that she didn't know "who started to bandy these figures".
Trying to throw a guilt on others, she added that the Hague Tribunal and herself get reports and estimates on number of victims, mostly from "humanitarian and non-governmental organizations".
"Do you have precise data, names or anything else on these 7.000 allegedly missing persons", was the question of the journalist of the US agency AP. Carla Del Ponte answered:"No, I don't".
Asked to comment on who these victims were, Del Ponte said that they were not all ethnic Albanians and that they included also Serbs.
Under pressure by reporters, Del Ponte conceded also that a number of victims were suspected to have been killed by the ethnic Albanian terrorist organization calling itself Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and by Moslems.
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