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EU opens probe into Kosovo war atrocity

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(PRISTINA) - The EU mission in Kosovo said Wednesday its prosecutors have launched an investigation into one of the worst atrocities of the the 1998-1999 war.

The probe concerns war crimes in the village of Mala Krusha in March 1999, "allegedly one of the largest mass killings that took place during the conflict in Kosovo", EULEX said in a statement.

The mission said it would look into the killing of 113 villagers, the deportation of Krusha's entire population of women and children, as well as pillage and the destruction of property during the conflict between forces of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic and ethnic Albanian rebels.

"So far, the prosecution has identified 56 potential defendants who would be facing charges of war crimes against the civilian population," said EULEX, which was launched to oversee the rule of law in Kosovo and tackle high-profile cases that are sensitive for the local judiciary.

The massacre occurred at the start of a NATO bombing campaign that ousted Milosevic's troops and put Kosovo under the UN administration until 2008 when it unilaterally declared independence, despite Serbia's opposition.

The Krusha massacre was included in the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia's war crimes indictment against Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial before the court in The Hague.

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