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Yugoslavia: Funeral Of Slain Serbs Postponed

Pristina, 26 July (RFE/RL) - The funeral of 14 Serbs massacred last week was postponed to allow time for the completion of autopsies, though a brief memorial service is to take place in a central Kosovo village. Louis Garneau, spokesman for the Kosovo peacekeeping force (KFOR), said in Pristina that none of the bodies would be released for burial. Garneau also said that 400 KFOR troops, backed by armored vehicles and helicopters, would eventually be deployed to provide security at the funeral. Ceremonies are to be conducted by Serbian Orthodox priests.

The 14 Serbian victims were killed Friday as they were working in fields near the predominantly Serbian village of Gracko. General Michael Jackson, commander of the peacekeeping troops, has rejected claims that the killing of the Serbian farmers shows his troops are failing to do their jobs. Jackson said in a broadcast interview today by the BBC that critics must remember what Kosovo was like before the international peacekeepers took over earlier this year.

Jackson said what happened was a tragedy but added progress has been made in the province toward peace and security. He said the return of 750,000 refugees was a measure of what had been achieved.