Embargo: 12:00 CET, 9th April 2009
In what is certain to be the top story in the Balkans media today, BIRN will publish, at 12:00 CET a detailed investigation, quoting UN documents and independent eyewitness accounts into allegations of torture and extra-judicial killings in prison camps in Albania and Kosovo.
An abstract of the article follows:
KLA Ran Torture Camps in Albania
The KLA maintained a network of prisons in their bases in Albania and Kosovo during and after the conflict of 1999, eyewitnesses allege. Only now are the details of what occurred there emerging.
During the war of 1999, an industrial compound in Kukes in north west Albania was not merely the headquarters for guerrillas fighting the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, to secure the independence of Kosovo from Serbia.
It assumed more sinister purposes: dozens of civilians, mainly Kosovo Albanians suspected of collaboration, were held captive there, beaten and tortured. Some were killed, their remains never recovered. The men who allegedly directed the abuses were officers of the KLA.
At least 25 people were imprisoned in Kukes, mostly Kosovo Albanians suspected of collaborating with the Serbian authorities, Roma and possibly some Serbs. Amongst them were three Kosovo Albanian women. In the camp 18 people were killed, while others were later released.
It appears that Kukes was one of a number of detention centres in Albania and Kosovo, and that prisoners were transferred from one facility to another.
Even after the NATO interventions, a camp was maintained in Babaloq in Kosovo, holding around 30 Serb and Roma prisoners whose current whereabouts are unknown.
The names of several alleged perpetrators have been known to UNMIK for some time.
One of them is still holding a high position in the Kosovo judiciary, Balkan Insight understands.
The full story will be published on www.balkaninsight.com at 12:00 CET
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BIRN is a network of independent charities operating across the Balkans. Our mission is to help develop an active and independent media working to international standards and to report on events in the region without bias or favour.
BIRN publishes Balkan Insight (www.balkaninsight.com) the leading English language online news outlet covering the region. We also publish Belgrade Insight and Prishtina Insight, the only English language newspapers in their respective cities.
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