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Signs of Genocide Seen in Kosovo

April 8, 1999

GENEVA (AP) _ U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he sees signs that Serbian authorities are committing genocide in Kosovo.

``Of all gross violations, genocide knows no parallel in human history,″ Annan told the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission on Wednesday. Each time, such as after the ``organized mass killings″ of Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, the world says ``never again,″ he said.

Still, genocide continues, Annan said.

``Though we have no independent observers on the ground, the signs are that it may be happening once more in Kosovo,″ Annan said. ``The vicious and systematic campaign of `ethnic cleansing’ conducted by the Serbian authorities in Kosovo appears to have one aim: to expel or kill as many ethnic Albanians in Kosovo as possible.″

The United Nations must develop a way to punish violating countries that claim their ethnic problems are an internal affair in which the world has no right to interfere, Annan said. Yugoslavia has made such claims about its treatment of ethnic Albanians.

The move to improve enforcement ``may have come to late for the desperate thousands″ of people expelled from Kosovo and the hundreds or thousands ``who have been murdered simply for who they are,″ he said.

``But it will not have come too late for the United Nations if it emboldens us to enter a new century with a renewed commitment to protecting the rights of every man, woman, child _ regardless of ethnic, national or religious belonging,″ he said.

Human rights observers applauded the speech. ``It’s the first time I can remember that a secretary-general has even referred to ongoing abuses before the commission, much less called those atrocities by their name,″ said Reed Brody of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

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