Accessed 27 May 2000




The killings, woundings and disappearances continued during the month of January. The cycle of violence was extended with the killing of Albanian citizens as well as that of other nationalities. According to the available data at the CDHRF, 17 citizens were killed, among whom, 6 Albanians, 4 Serbs, 4 Bosniacs and 3 unidentified. An Albanian citizen was wounded. An Albanian prisoner died in the prison of Pozharevc. A 10-year-old child was kidnapped in Prizren. Unknown persons kidnapped Salih Hysen Emini from Reēak (Shtime), whose corpse was found in Petrova (Shtime) on 3 January. The Serbian courts went on convicting the Albanian citizens, whereas a very small number of them was released. During the month of January, a minefield was identified in the “Suka” quarter in the vicinity of the village of Bllaca (Suhareka). There were explosions in several towns of Kosova.

Killings during the month of January 2000

There were many killings in Kosova during the month of January under different circumstances.
On 11 January, in the “Tusus” quarter, unknown persons killed 4 members of the Skėnderi family, a Bosniac family, of whom spouses Sezair (52) and Anife (50), their daughter Ardiana (21) and Sezair’s mother Gjyla (78). The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms in Prishtina has strongly condemned this violent act.
On 13 January, the corpse of Merita Hamdi Shabiu (12) from the village of Debėlldeja, living in Vitia, was found in the outskirts of Vitia. Merita went missing on 12 January. The victim was raped. The American soldier Frank J. Ronghi (36) was accused of the crime. The officer was kept in detention in the prison of the Bondsteel Camp in Sojeva (Ferizaj). Later on, he was transferred to the prison in the American military base in Manhajm in Germany. There, military prosecutors will investigate him.

Killings under unknown circumstances

During the very same period, killings under unknown circumstances were very common. On 4 January, at about 9.30 am, Mėhill Binak Ukaj (1962) from the village of Zhub was killed in the vicinity of the “Zef Lush Marku” Primary School in the village of Brekoc near Gjakova.
On 7 January, the corpse of an unidentified male was found in Prizren. After the investigation, it was confirmed that the killed was a Serb and that he had been shot on his head.
On 14 January, at about midnight, two unidentified corpses (shot with fire arms) were found by a KFOR patrol.
On 16 January, unknown persons killed three Serbs from the village of Partesh (Gjilan). The very same day, an Albanian was killed in Gjilan. In Ferizaj, a person was wounded. KFOR took him to hospital, where he died.
On 17 January, unknown persons killed Ajet Istogu. The corpse of Sali Lutolli (40), a KLA soldier from Llapashtica e Epėrme, was found in Llapashtica e Epėrme (Podujeva).
CDHRF based in Prishtina is very concerned regarding the increasing number of killings and has condemned these acts of arbitrary killings. It has also appealed to the international community for a concrete and urgent engagement in order to prevent the spread of the cycle of violence, whereas to the Kosovar citizens, it appealed for self-restraint highlighting that it is a duty of each citizen to contribute to the prevention of crime and in catching the criminals.

Mass gravesites – exhumations and the identification of the killed

In the beginning of January 2000, according to different clothing items and other personal belongings of the killed, which were exhibited in the building of the Municipal Council in Skėnderaj, families could identify 8 more Albanians, who were killed on 28 March by the Serbian forces in Izbica (Skėnderaj). The number of the identified in this massacre is 40 so far.
KFOR French soldiers found several corpses in the Ibri River in the vicinity of the village of Serbovc. Fahredin Ramė Sokoli (59) was identified among them. He and a group of 14 Albanians were arrested by the Serbian militaries
and paramilitaries on 8 June 1999 and ever since there are no information on their whereabouts. It is believed that all of them were executed.
4 of the 6 corpses found in the graves in Bresje (Fushė Kosova) on 6 December 1999, killed by the Serbian forces in March 1999, were identified after the expertise done according to photos.

Serbian Courts convicted 12 Albanians to 63 years of imprisonment

Muhamet Ukė Miftari (1948), arrested on 28 May 1999, died in the prison of Pozharevc. During the very same period, Serbian courts went on convicting tens of Albanians.
During January, these courts convicted 12 Albanians to 63 years of imprisonment. In the meantime, a small number of Albanians was released from the prisons.
On 4 January, the District Court in Prokuple (Serbia) convicted the following: Hajredin and Ylber Zyberaj as well as Qazim Morina to 5 years of imprisonment; Sylė Morina, Reshit Morina and Xhemė Berisha to 3 years of imprisonment; as well as Amrush Hoti to 2 years of imprisonment.
On 26 January, the District Court in Nish (Serbia) convicted Adrian Haxhaj from Gllareva (Klina), a student and reporter with the “Bota e Re” newspaper, who was arrested in September 1998, to 3 years of imprisonment. The very same court convicted Musli Rexhepi (44) from Podujeva to 1 year of imprisonment.
On 27 January, the following were sentenced by the District Court in Pozharevc (Serbia): Safet Kabashi and Sead Kabashi from Opterusha (Rahovec) to 14 years of imprisonment and Kapllan Mazrreku to 10 years of imprisonment.
Demė Ramosaj from Carrabreg i Poshtėm, who was arrested on 20 June 1998 by the Serbian forces, was released from the prison of Mitrovica e Sremit. Dema was a witness of the massacre of the Serbian forces in the prison of Dubrava in Istog in May last year. Dema stated that he and a group of three Albanians were ordered by the Serbian forces to gather the corpses of the 173 Albanians killed by Serbian policemen, guardians, paramilitaries and prisoners.

The situation of human rights in the municipalities of Presheva, Bujanoc and Medvegja

The situation in this region continues to be very grave due to the frequent interventions of the Serbian police forces and after the killing of brothers Isa (1964) and Shaip Saqipi (1968) from the village of Dobrosin (Bujanoc), while they were on their way back from the forest (where they had gone to cut wood). After this incident, many inhabitants fled their homes. On 5 January, the District Court in Bujanoc started the trial against Sevdail Hyseni for the 22nd time. He is accused of insulting the “Serbian people and the other nationalities of Yugoslavia” in his poem “With Saikaca (a Serb cap) towards Europe” from his book “When fate is on you side”. The trial was postponed for later on the suggestion of the defendant of the accused party. On 4 January, at 12, the District Court in Presheva continued the trial against Riza Halimi, the mayor of Presheva and chairman of the Party for Democratic Action, for the 8th time, under the charges that during the peaceful protests against the Serbian massacres in Drenica on 5 March 1998, he had prevented officials to carry out their work.
Many drivers are looted at the Serbian police checkpoints on the border with Kosova. They are forced to give money, petrol and food to the policemen in order to pass the checkpoints without any trouble. Otherwise, they cannot pass; they are insulted on a national and family basis and are physically ill-treated.

Attacks, ill-treatments, provocations

Since the arrival of KFOR troops in Kosova, the Sub-CDHRF in Mitrovica reports on ill-treatments of the Albanians, who remained in the northern part of Mitrovica, which is currently controlled by the Serbs. According to the witnesses in the northern part of Mitrovica, armed Serbian paramilitaries walk freely in the streets and continuously torture and terrorise the Albanian inhabitants. Members of the peacekeeping force do not prevent the violence. Furthermore, they take part in the ill-treatments of the population. Many cases and facts prove on the events, which take place in Mitrovica, Graēanica, Obiliq, Vitia and Kamenica, as well as in all other Serbian enclaves, which have become a permanent source of conflicts.

Systematic violence

On 2 January, Serbian paramilitaries in Graēanica attacked the “Pėrparimi” bus from Kamenica. During the recent holidays, the “Alpescomerc” and “Kosovatransi” buses travelling between Gjilan and Prishtina were attacked as well. Considerable material damage was caused, but luckily no one was injured.
On 3 January, at about noon, a group of Serbs beat and physically ill-treated Ramiz Xheladin Hoti (39) and his sister Naxhie (41). The incident occurred in the vicinity of the place called Polet, in the “Ibri” quarter, in the northern part of the town. Ramiz suffered heavy injuries.
During the evening, Serbian snipers from the northern part of the town opened fire towards the southern part of Mitrovica.
Such cases of violence occurred frequently in Mitrovica during the month of January.
On 7 January, at about 14.00, in Kishnica, local Serbs blocked the road between Prishtina-Gjilan and in the presence of KFOR troops threw stones to the bus and vehicles with Albanian passengers. With the help of KFOR troops, the bus and the vehicles passed. But, while travelling through Graēanica, the local Serbs provoked the Albanians, whereas some attempted to attack an Albanian old man wearing a turf, who had just got out of the car. Yet, they were prevented by KFOR troops. At that time, some Albanian youngsters went out of the bus in order to protect the old man. Local Serbs started to throw stones and bottles on them. The very same were returned towards Serbs. KFOR troops prevented further fighting.
On 24 January, in front of the checkpoint of the KFOR Russian forces in Berivojca (Kamenica), local Serbs attacked and ill-treated passers-by, among whom Fadil Kovani from Koretin (Kamenica). This was done in the presence of Russian troops, who did not undertake anything to prevent them.
On 23 January, at about 20.00-20.30, a group of 15 Serbs attacked brothers Bajram and Behram Krasniqi and Behram’s son Gani (16) from Sibovc, living in Obiliq, as well as Ramadan Rrahmani from Kozarica. Serbs beat several Albanian children, too. KFOR Norwegian forces came to the spot. The assaulters ran away, whereas Gani Krasniqi was arrested.

During the very same period, CDHRF registered KFOR and UNMIK police interventions in some Albanian villages and houses. They raided, arrested (under different pretext) and ill-treated people. Such interventions were registered in Malisheva, Gjakova, Mitrovica, Prishtina, Kamenica, Vitia, Fushė Kosova, Suhareka, Skėnderaj, Lipjan, Deēan and Gllogoc.
On 16 January, two KFOR Russian soldiers stopped and provoked Hysen Merovci, chairman of the Sub-CDHRF in Fushė Kosova, and Shaban Berisha, chairman of the “Mother Theresa” branch in Fushė Kosova, even though they had their identification documents proving that they are workers of certain NGOs.
CDHRF also concludes that the general security situation concerning minorities did not have any positive change. Moreover, they are still threatened, insecure and their freedom of movement is limited. CDHRF thinks that the international community was not successful in the protection of minorities. On the contrary, it has created confusion. The approach to the solution of this problem is wrong by creating ghettos and enclaves.
The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms has drawn the attention on the escalation of violence, the victims of which are the citizens of Kosova regardless of their nationality. CDHRF, as an institution dealing with the defence of human rights and freedoms, sticks to the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which is the basis of our activity.

During the month of January 2000, CDHRF registered:

    -17 killed in different ways, of whom:
    -6 Albanians, 4 Serbs, 4 Bosniacs, 3 unidentified
    -2 wounded (one Albanian and one Serb)
    -1 rape
    -1 kidnapping
    -12 convicted by the Serbian courts
    -31 ill-treated by the Serbs in the northern part of Mitrovica, who suffered injuries
    -4 burned houses and 7 others shelled by the Serbs in Mitrovica
     Explosive devices were set in Fushė Kosova, Prishtina, Prizren, Suhareka, etc. Apart from material losses, there were no human victims.

Rr. Zdrini, 38000 Prishtinė-Kosovė; tel. 381 (0) 549006  fax: 381 (0) 38 549007

Prishtina, 14 February 2000                   Information Service

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 31/05/2000
©S D Stein
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