The Struggle for Kosovo

Excerpts from the May 22, 1999 U.N. indictment of
Slobodan Milosevic and four other Yugoslavian officials
alleging crimes against humanity and violation of
the laws and customs of war



Counts of the Indictment:

  • COUNT 1 (Deportation), a crime against humanity, punishable under Article 5(d) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

  • COUNT 2 (Murder), a crime against humanity, punishable under Article 5 (a) of the Statute of the Tribunal.

  • COUNT 3 (Murder), a violation of the laws or customs of war, punishable under Article 3 of the Statute of the Tribunal and recognized by Article 3(1)(a) (murder) of the Geneva Conventions.

  • COUNT 4 (Persecutions), a crime against humanity: Persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, punishable under Article 5(h) of the Statute of the Tribunal.


NOTES:
All headings displayed in red below were added for editing purposes.
Place names were usually shown in both Serbian and Albanian.

General Allegations

"Beginning in January 1999 and continuing to the date of this indictment, Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic and Vlajko Stojiljkovic planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in a campaign of terror and violence directed at Kosovo Albanian civilians living in Kosovo in the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)."

"The forces of the FRY and Serbia, have in a systematic manner, forcibly expelled and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes across the entire province of Kosovo. To facilitate these expulsions and displacements, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have intentionally created an atmosphere of fear and oppression through the use of force, threats of force and acts of violence."

"Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have looted and pillaged the personal and commercial property belonging to Kosovo Albanians forced from their homes. Policemen, soldiers and military officers have used wholesale searches, threats of force and acts of violence to rob Kosovo Albanians of money and valuables, and, in a systematic manner, authorities at FRY border posts have stolen personal vehicles and other property from Kosovo Albanians being deported from the province."

"Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have engaged in a systematic campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians. This has been accomplished through the widespread shelling of towns and villages; the burning of homes, farms, and businesses, and the destruction of personal property. As a result of these orchestrated actions, villages, towns and entire regions have been made uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians."

"Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have harassed, humiliated and degraded Kosovo Albanian civilians through physical and verbal abuse. Policemen, soldiers and military officers have persistently subjected Kosovo Albanians to insults, racial slurs, degrading acts, beatings and other forms of physical mistreatment based on their racial, religious and political identification."

"Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have systematically seized and destroyed the personal identity documents and licenses of vehicles belonging to Kosovo Albanian civilians. As Kosovo Albanians have been forced from their homes and directed toward Kosovo's borders, they have been subjected to demands to surrender identity documents at selected points en route to border crossings and at border crossings into Albania and Macedonia. These actions have been undertaken in order to erase any record of the deported Kosovo Albanians presence in Kosovo and to deny them the right to return to their homes."

Deportations

Dakovica/GjakovJe

"On or about 2 April 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia began forcing residents of the town of Dakovica/GjakovJe to leave. Forces of the FRY and Serbia spread out through the town and went house to house ordering Kosovo Albanians from their homes. In some instances, people were killed, and most people were threatened with death. Many of the houses and shops belonging to Kosovo Albanians were set on fire, while those belonging to Serbs were protected. During the period from 2 to 4 April 1999, thousands of Kosovo Albanians living in Dakovica/GjakovJe and neighboring villages joined a large convoy, either on foot or driving in cars, trucks and tractors, and moved to the border with Albania. Forces of the FRY and Serbia directed those fleeing along prearranged routes and, at police checkpoints along the way, most Kosovo Albanians had their identification papers and license plates seized. In some instances, Yugoslav army trucks were used to transport persons to the border with Albania."

Kosovska Mitrovica/MitrovicJe

"In late March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia began moving systematically through the town of Kosovska Mitrovica/MitrovicJe. They entered the homes of Kosovo Albanians and ordered the residents to leave their houses at once and to go to the bus station. Some houses were set on fire, forcing the residents to flee to other parts of the town. Over a two-week period the forces of the FRY and Serbia continued to expel the Kosovo Albanian residents of the town. During this period, properties belonging to Kosovo Albanians were destroyed and Kosovo Albanians were robbed of money, vehicles and other valuables. A similar pattern was repeated in other villages in the Kosovska Mitrovica/MitrovicJe municipality, where Kosovo Albanians were forced from their homes, followed by the destruction of their villages by forces of the FRY and Serbia. The Kosovo Albanian residents of the municipality were forced to join convoys going to the Albanian border. En route to the border, Serb soldiers, policemen and military officers robbed them of valuables and seized their identity documents."

Celine

"On the morning of 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the village of Celine with tanks and armored vehicles. After shelling the village, troops entered the village and systematically looted and pillaged everything of value from the houses. Most of the Kosovo Albanian villagers had fled to a nearby forest before the army and police arrived. On 28 March, a number of Serb police forced the thousands of people hiding in the forest to come out. After marching the civilians to a nearby village, the men were separated from the women and were beaten, robbed and had all of their identity documents taken from them. The men were then marched to Prizren and eventually forced to go to the Albanian border."

Nagafe

"On 25 March 1999, a large group of Kosovo Albanians went to a mountain near the village of Nagafc, also in Orahovac/Rahovec municipality, seeking safety from attacks on nearby villages. Forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded them and on the following day, ordered the 8,000 people who had sought shelter on the mountain to leave. The Kosovo Albanians were forced to go to a nearby school and then they were forcibly dispersed into nearby villages. After three or four days, the forces of the FRY and Serbia entered the villages, went house to house, and ordered people out. Eventually, they were forced back into houses and told not to leave. Those who could not fit inside the houses were forced to stay in cars and tractors parked nearby. On 2 April 1999, the forces of the FRY and Serbia started shelling the villages, killing a number of people who had been sleeping in tractors and cars. Those who survived, headed for the Albanian border. As they passed through other Kosovo Albanian villages, which had been destroyed, they were taunted by Serb soldiers. When the villagers arrived at the border, all their identification papers were taken from them."

Pristina/PrishtinJe

"On or about 1 April 1999, Serbian police went to the homes of Kosovo Albanians in the city of Pristina/PrishtinJe and forced the residents to leave in a matter of minutes. During the course of these forced expulsions, a number of people were killed. Many of those forced from their homes went directly to the train station, while others sought shelter in nearby neighborhoods. Hundreds of ethnic Albanians, guided by Serb police at all the intersections, gathered at the train station and then were loaded onto overcrowded trains or buses after a long wait where no food or water was provided. Those on the trains went as far as General Jankovic, a village near the Macedonian border. During the train ride many people had their identification papers taken from them. After getting off the trains, the Kosovo Albanians were told by the Serb police to walk along the tracks into Macedonia since the surrounding land had been mined. Those who tried to hide in Pristina/PrishtinJe were expelled a few days later in a similar fashion."

Pirana

"On 25 March 1999, the village of Pirana was surrounded by forces of the FRY and Serbia, tanks and various military vehicles. The village was shelled and a number of the residents were killed. Thereafter, police entered the village and burned the homes of Kosovo Albanians. After the attack, the remaining villagers left Pirana and went to surrounding villages. Some of the Kosovo Albanians fleeing toward Srbica were killed or wounded by snipers. Serb forces then launched an offensive in the area of Srbica and shelled the villages of Reti e Utlet, Reti and Randobrava. Kosovo Albanian villagers were forced from their homes and sent to the Albanian border. From 28 March 1999, in the city of Prizren itself, Serb policemen went from house to house, ordering Kosovo Albanian residents to leave. They were forced to join convoys of vehicles and persons traveling on foot to the Albanian border. At the border, all personal documents were taken away by Serb policemen."

Mass Killings

"Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 and continuing until the date of this indictment, forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement of, or with the support of Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic and Vlajko Stojiljkovic, have murdered hundreds of Kosovo Albanian civilians. These killings have occurred in a widespread or systematic manner throughout the province of Kosovo and have resulted in the deaths of numerous men, women, and children. Included among the incidents of mass killings are the following:"

Racak
(Stimlje/Shtime municipality)

"On or about 15 January 1999, in the early morning hours, the village of Racak (Stimlje/Shtime municipality) was attacked by forces of the FRY and Serbia. After shelling by the VJ units, the Serb police entered the village later in the morning and began conducting house-to-house searches. Villagers, who attempted to flee from the Serb police, were shot throughout the village. A group of approximately 25 men attempted to hide in a building, but were discovered by the Serb police. They were beaten and then were removed to a nearby hill, where the policemen shot and killed them. Altogether, the forces of the FRY and Serbia killed approximately 45 Kosovo Albanians in and around Racak."

Bela Crkva
(Orahovac/Rahovec municipality)

"On or about 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia attacked the village of Bela Crkva (Orahovac/Rahovec municipality). Many of the residents of Bela Crkva fled into a stream bed outside the village and sought shelter under a railroad bridge. As additional villagers approached the bridge, a Serbian police patrol opened fire on them killing 12 people, including 10 women and children. The police then ordered the remaining villagers out of the streambed, at which time the men were separated from the women and small children. The police ordered the men to strip and then systematically robbed them of all valuables. The women and children were then ordered to leave. The village doctor attempted to speak with the police commander, but he was shot and killed, as was his nephew. The other men were then ordered back into the streambed. After they complied, the police opened fire on the men, killing approximately 65 Kosovo Albanians."

Velika Krusa
Mali Krusa/Krushe e Mahde
Krushe e Vogel
(Orahovac/Rahovec municipality)

"On or about 25 March 1999, the villages of Velika Krusa and Mali Krusa/Krushe e Mahde and Krushe e Vogel (Orahovac/Rahovec municipality) were attacked by forces of the FRY and Serbia. Village residents took refuge in a forested area outside Velika Krusa/Krushe e Mahde, where they were able to observe the police systematically looting and then burning the villagers' houses. On or about the morning of 26 March 1999, Serb police located the villagers in the forest. The police ordered the women and small children to leave the area and to go to Albania. The police then searched the men and boys and took their identity documents, after which they were made to walk to an uninhabited house between the forest and Mali Krusa/Krushe e Vogel. Once the men and boys were assembled inside the house, the Serb police opened fire on the group. After several minutes of gunfire, the police piled hay on the men and boys and set fire to it in order to burn the bodies. As a result of the shootings and the fire, approximately 105 Kosovo Albanian men and boys were killed by the Serb police."

Izbica
(Srbica/Skenderaj municipality)

"On or about 27 March 1999, FRY and Republic of Serbia forces attacked the village of Izbica (Srbica/Skenderaj municipality). Several thousand village residents took refuge in a meadow outside the village. On or about 28 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the villagers and then approached them, demanding money. After valuables were stolen by the soldiers and policemen, the men were separated from the women and small children. The men were then further divided into two groups, one of which was sent to a nearby hill, and the other of which was sent to a nearby streambed. Both groups of men were then fired upon by the forces of the FRY and Serbia, and approximately 130 Kosovo Albanian men were killed."

Qerim district of Dakovica/GjakovJe

"On or about the early morning hours of 2 April 1999, Serb police launched an operation against the Qerim district of Dakovica/GjakovJe. Over a period of several hours, Serb police forcibly entered houses of Kosovo Albanians in the Qerim district, killing the occupants, and then setting fire to the buildings. In the basement of a house on Millosh Gilic Street, the Serb police shot the 20 occupants and then set the house on fire. As a result of the shootings and the fires set by the Serb police, 20 Kosovo Albanians were killed, of whom 19 were women and children."


Web Law Review, 1999

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