Published: October 14, 2006
PRISTINA, Serbia More than two dozen Serbs civilians, including women and children found in a mass grave in Kosovo, were laid to rest in Belgrade on Saturday after their remains were handed over to relatives.
The 29 bodies — including an 11-member Serb family allegedly executed by ethnic Albanian separatists during the 1998-99 Kosovo war — were identified through DNA analysis and handed over Friday by U.N. authorities from the southern province.
A few hundred people attended the funeral at the cemetery on the outskirts of the Serbian capital — mostly the victims' relatives, but also families of some of the 670 Serbs still missing from the conflict.
Government official Sanda Raskovic-Ivic called for punishment of all who committed crimes during the war in the contested province, whose future status is currently being negotiated.
The Kosovo war left an estimated 10,000 people dead.
More than 800 slain ethnic Albanian were found at several locations in Serbia and handed over to their families in Kosovo. Meanwhile, 212 Serbs have been exhumed in Kosovo and reburied outside the province, mostly in Serbian cities where their surviving family members fled after the war.
More than 2,000 people remain unaccounted for in what remains one of the most sensitive and emotionally charged issues between the two former foes.
Kosovo, legally part of Serbia, has been under U.N. administration since mid-1999, when NATO's air war halted Serb forces' crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.