Thousands of ethnic Albanians were killed in the Kosovo conflict, while more than 1,000 are still missing.

Alleged cover-up

It is believed that security forces controlled by Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president, transported the remains of hundreds of ethnic Albanians to several locations in Serbia, in a bid to cover up mass killings and war crimes.

In 2001, the bodies of more than 800 Kosovo Albanians were found in pits on a police training ground as outside Belgrade and in eastern Serbia.

At least 700 bodies were uncovered in a mass grave located within a special anti-terrorist police unit's compound in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica suburb.

Another 77 bodies were found in the same police unit's training centre in the eastern Serbian town of Petrovo Selo, and 50 bodies were uncovered nearby the western Serbian town of Perucac.

Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former senior police official and Serbian deputy interior minister during the Kosovo conflict, is believed to have ordered the cover-up operation.

He is currently on trial before the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, the Netherlands, on charges of deportation, forcible transfer, murder and persecution of Kosovo Albanians.

War broke out in the province in 1998 after Serbian forces were sent into crush an independence campaign by ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 per cent of the area's population.

It ended after a Nato bombing campaign in 1999 ousted Serb armed forces from the province, which was then put under UN administration.

Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, and is recognised by about 67, mostly Western, nations.