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Kosovo Exhumations Resume

Tribunal investigators prepare to excavate more than 300 suspected mass graves in Kosovo over the next four months

Hague investigators will resume exhumations in Kosovo next week, Paul Risley, the spokesman of the Office of the Prosecutor, OTP, announced last Wednesday.

Exhumations were temporarily suspended last autumn due to poor weather conditions.

Prosecutors last year indicted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and four other senior Serbian officials for alleged crimes committed in Kosovo. They said more indictments would follow after the current round of investigations.

The Tribunal's forensic team will begin work in at least three locations on 18 April. They will be joined by other teams in May. Del Ponte wants to complete the investigation by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government has built a morgue facility outside Orahovac, which the investigators will use to store exhumed bodies.

"We have set up a very ambitious schedule," Risley said. "We'll attempt to clear over 300 suspected sites over the next four months."

Just over 2,000 bodies were found in 195 locations last year.

Commenting on the Croatian government's decision to approve the exhumation of suspected mass graves in the Gospic area, Risley said, "This is probably the first field investigation that we have had in Croatia for two years. It is certainly a sign of new cooperation by the new government of Croatia."