Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of "Ethnic Cleansing"

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Human Rights Watch began investigating the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence by all sides in the conflict in 1998 and continued to document rape accounts throughout the refugee crisis in 1999. The research found that rape and other forms of sexual violence were used in Kosovo in 1999 as weapons of war and instruments of systematic "ethnic cleansing." Rapes were not rare and isolated acts committed by individual Serbian or Yugoslav forces, but rather were used deliberately as an instrument to terrorize the civilian population, extort money from families, and push people to flee their homes. Rape furthered the goal of forcing ethnic Albanians from Kosovo

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