- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2002

THE HAGUE Serbian forces pillaged Kosovo villages in 1999, leaving the bodies of children in the smoldering ruins, a retired farmer testified at the war-crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic yesterday.

A second witness, a Kosovo Albanian physician, said he saw Serbian police gun down two of his cousins in the province's southwestern town of Suva Reka.

The former Yugoslav president's trial before a U.N. tribunal moved into a third week as prosecutors called more witnesses to testify about atrocities in the province. Thousands were killed and more than 800,000 deported during the violence.

Mr. Milosevic faces 66 counts of war crimes during conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo from 1991 to 1999. He could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted of any charge.

The retired farmer, Halil Morina, told the court that Serbian troops ransacked his property and burned homes in the southern Kosovo village of Landovice. His family of 39 fled for their lives.

"I saw them [Serbs] when they burned the village. They killed a Gypsy," Mr. Morina said. "An Albanian woman they set fire to her in her own home."

Mr. Morina said he searched the village for survivors, but found only bodies. Mosques were destroyed and "everything had been razed to the ground," he told the court.

Mr. Milosevic spent about an hour cross-examining the ethnic-Albanian man, asking him if he had seen Albanian rebels in the village or if the inhabitants had suffered during 78 days of NATO bombing.

Mr. Morina told Mr. Milosevic he was "just a farmer" and couldn't tell him about the Kosovo Liberation Army. He said he hadn't seen NATO bombers on their raids or the damage they inflicted.

"I don't know anything," he said.

Appearing frustrated, Mr. Milosevic said the witness must have seen crimes against the Serbs committed by the KLA independence fighters.

"No, there were none because the [Serbian] army was close to the village," the witness replied. "I had six sons and none of them were members of the KLA."

"All right, quite obviously you know nothing of what I am asking you," Mr. Milosevic snapped. He then told the prosecution: "You are obviously bringing in witnesses of this kind to ill treat me."


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