Independent forensic autopsies in an armed conflict:
investigation of the victims from Racak, Kosovo
In January 1999, a team of Finnish forensic experts under the mandate of the European Union (EU forensic expert team, EU-FET) performed forensic investigations in a sovereign state, in Kosovo, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). The team served as a neutral participant in the forensic investigation of victims of an incident at Racak, which was receiving considerable international attention. The Finnish team performed forensic autopsies, monitored forensic autopsies performed by local experts and verified findings of earlier executed autopsies. The victims had sustained varying numbers of gunshot wounds, which were established to be the cause of death. The manner of death remained undetermined by the EU-FET, because the scene investigation and the chain of custody for the bodies from the site of the incident to the autopsy were impossible to verify by the team. The events at Racak were the first of those leading to charges by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) against the highest authorities in power in the FRY for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

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