Reports of Serb war crimes in Kosovo-including the detention and summary execution of
military-aged men, and the destruction of civilian housing-continued this week, despite
the Serbs' declaration of a unilateral cease-fire on 6 April. We also have clear
indications of the magnitude and intensity of the Serbian effort to displace the ethnic
Albanian majority in Kosovo. At least 700,000 Kosovar Albanians have left the province
since the Serb security crackdown that began in March of last year. Based on the scope and
intensity of Serb activities throughout the province, at least an additional 700,000
Kosovars appear to be internally displaced persons (IDPs). Nearly 1.5 million ethnic
Albanians -- three-fourths of the estimated 1998 population of the province -- have been
forcibly expelled from their homes.
We have incontrovertible evidence that thousands of homes in at least 400 cities,
towns, and villages have been damaged. We cannot confirm reports of starvation among IDPs
in Kosovo, but presume there are pockets of deprivation, especially among those who have
been in the hills for weeks. In addition, refugees are now reporting that Serb forces
continue to harass them with grenades thrown from helicopters and bombs from fighter
Kosovar Albanian refugees continue to report mass executions in at least 60 towns and
villages throughout the province, and they have reported mass graves in Drenica, Kaaniku,
Malisevo, Pusto Selo, Rezalla and the Pagarusa valley. We have confirmed the presence of a
mass burial site at Pusto Selo and another north of Klina. According to a survivor who
later filmed the scene, the ethnic Albanian residents of the village of Velika Krusa were
removed from their homes at gunpoint, the men separated from their families, and the
approximately one hundred adult males summarily executed at point-blank range. We cannot
confirm reports of widespread executions, but refugee reports claim over 3,500 ethnic
Albanian deaths as a result of Serbian executions. Accounts of both organized and
individual Serb rape of ethnic Albanian women are being reported in increasing numbers by
Kosovar refugees. According to refugees, Serb forces have conducted systematic rapes in
Dakovica and at the Hotel Karagac in Pec.
Because the Serbs expelled international observers and most of the nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) and journalists from the province, it has been difficult to obtain
independent corroboration of many of the specific allegations of violations of
international humanitarian law reported in Kosovo. Nonetheless, the overwhelmingly
consistent nature of the thousands of reports from official observers across the border in
Albania and Macedonia, from journalists and NGOs still in contact with their local staff
in Kosovo, and from Kosovar Albanians themselves (both refugees and the Kosovo Liberation
Army-KLA) paint an unambiguous picture of the scope and intensity of the campaign of
ethnic cleansing the Serbs have waged in the province.
The following is a partial list of what appear to be war crimes or violations of
international humanitarian law reported throughout Kosovo:
The Serbs are conducting a campaign of forced population movement on a scale not seen
in Europe since the Second World War. They appear to have driven the bulk of the ethnic
Albanian population from their homes, even though many of them have not yet been forced
out of Kosovo. Belgrade's claim that this unprecedented population outflow is the result
of voluntary flight in fear of NATO airstrikes is absurd. Refugees consistently report
being expelled from their homes by Serb forces at gunpoint, in contrast to the fighting
last year, when the bulk of the IDPs and refugees fled voluntarily to escape the crossfire
or to avoid reprisals by Serb security forces.
In contrast to last year, when Serb tactics in Kosovo were dominated by attacks by the
security forces on small villages, Yugoslav Army units and armed civilians have now joined
the police in systematically expelling ethnic Albanians at gunpoint from both villages and
the larger towns of Kosovo. There are numerous reports from refugees and the press of Serb
forces going house-to-house to rob the residents before looting and burning their homes.
Despite expulsion from their homes at gunpoint, Serbian authorities have been forcing
these refugees to sign disclaimers saying they left Kosovo of their own free will.
Refugees also report that the Serb forces have been confiscating their documentation,
including their national identity papers, and telling them to take a last look around
because they will never return to Kosovo. Many of the places targeted had not been the
scene of any previous fighting or KLA activity, which indicates that the Serb expulsions
are not part of a legitimate security or counter-insurgency operation, but instead a plan
to cleanse the province of its ethnic Albanian population.
At least 700,000 Kosovars have become refugees in Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Over three-fourths of these refugees have arrived since late March, with columns awaiting
processing into Albanian and Macedonia reportedly stretching back nearly fifteen miles at
On 6 April, the Serbs began to force IDPs back from the border. Refugees claimed that
security forces on 7 April laid mines at Morina, the main border crossing between Kosovo
and Albania, to prevent refugees from crossing. The whereabouts and fate of the 700,000 or
more IDPs in Kosovo is unknown.
In addition to reports of Serbs looting their homes and businesses, Kosovar Albanian
refugees claimed that Serb forces were robbing them of all their personal belongings
before they crossed the borders.
Some 400 residential areas have been at least partially burned since late March, over
200 villages have been burned since 4 April. Most Serb homes and stores have remained
intact, and Serb civilians in the town of Vucitrn painted a Cyrillic "S" on
their doors so that Serb forces would not attack their homes by mistake. The destruction
is much more extensive and thorough than occurred last summer. Many settlements are being
totally destroyed in an apparent attempt to ensure that the ethnic Albanian population
cannot return. Serb forces have reportedly burned all houses previously rented to the OSCE
in Vucitrn, Stimlje, and Mitrovica.
Refugees have claimed that Serb forces are systematically separating military-aged men
from the groups, and the vast majority of refugees crossing international borders out of
Kosovo, especially into Albania, have been women and children. We are gravely concerned
about the fate of the missing men. Their number ranges from a low of 100,000, looking only
at the men missing from among refugee families in Albania, up to nearly 500,000, if
reports of widespread separation of men among the IDPs within Kosovo are true.
The following locations within Kosovo have been reported as the sites of mass detention
Refugees have provided accounts of summary executions in at least 60 towns and villages
throughout Kosovo. Mass executions continue to be reported by Kosovar Albanian refugees
from throughout the province, and they have spoken of mass graves in Drenica, Kaaniku,
Rezalla, Malisevo, Pusto Selo, and the Pagarusa valley. Approximately 150 bodies
reportedly were discovered in Drenica and 34 in Malisevo. Serb security forces reportedly
locked an entire family into a house in a village in Drenica and burned them alive. Even
with scanty media or outside government access to Kosovo, at least two reports -- the
summary executions at Velika Krusa and Pusto Selo -- appear to have been corroborated. In
addition to random executions, the Serbs appear to be targeting members of the Kosovar
Albanian intelligentsia including lawyers, doctors, and political leaders.
Accounts of both organized and individual Serb rape of ethnic Albanian women are being
reported in increasing numbers by Kosovar refugees. According to refugees, Serb forces
have conducted systematic rapes in Dakovica and Pec. Ethnic Albanian women were reportedly
separated from their families and sent to an army camp near Dakovica where they were
repeatedly raped by Serb soldiers. In Pec, refugees allege that Serb forces rounded up
young Albanian women and took them to the Hotel Karagac, where they are raped repeatedly.
The commander of the local base reportedly uses a roster of soldiers' names to allow all
of his troops an evening in the hotel. In addition to these two specific accounts,
numerous refugees claim that during Serb raids in their villages, young women have been
gang raped in homes and on the sides of roads.
There are probably many more incidents than have been reported because of the stigma
attached to this offense in traditional Kosovar society.
The following is a partial list of what appear to be war crimes or violations of
international humanitarian law reported throughout Kosovo since late March 1999:
Acareva -- Serb forces reportedly burned this village in the Drenica region on
Bela Cervka -- Serb forces reportedly killed 35 people, then dumped their bodies
near the Bellaja River between the Rogova and Bela Cervka railroad. By March 28, Serb
forces reportedly had killed as many as 500 civilians in this town.
Bruznic -- Serb forces reportedly burned down this village near Vucitrn last
week, and a Kosovar Albanian refugee also claimed that Serb forces killed 100 ethnic
Albanians there following the Rambouillet conference.
Cirez -- 20,000 Albanian Kosovars were reportedly used as human shields against
Dakovica -- Serb civilian militia groups are active in the town and reportedly
burned a building where a group of ethnic Albanians were taking cover during a NATO
airstrike. In addition, over 100 ethnic Albanians were reportedly executed by MUP and
paramilitary units in this city. Seventy bodies were reportedly found in two houses and 33
were found in a nearby river. The men are reportedly being separated from the women and
children. All Albanian Kosovars remaining in the town were warned to leave by 29 March,
and Serb forces began burning ethnic Albanian homes, shops, and markets. Serb snipers
reportedly have taken up positions in downtown buildings. Nearly 14,000 refugees from
Dakovica walked to the Albanian border crossing point at Prushit on 5 April.
General Jankovic -- Several Kosovar Albanian refugees claim that Serb security
forces have detained as many as 5,000 ethnic Albanians in a cement factory in this border
Glodane -- A large concentration of Kosovar IDPs has been observed in this town
under guard by Serb forces.
Glogovac -- The Albanian residential area has been burned, sending displaced
persons into the Cicavica mountains. On 12 April, Serb forces reportedly executed 50
ethnic Albanian refugees as they were leaving town. Glogovac also reportedly houses a mass
detention and execution center for Kosovar men.
Goden -- Serb forces executed 20 men, including schoolteachers, on 25 March
before burning the village.
Gornje Obrinje -- A Kosovar Albanian refugee claimed that Serb forces executed
12 ethnic Albanians on 5 April.
Istok -- One thousand refugees from this town arrived at the border with
Macedonia on 8 April. Some refugees said that an unknown number of people had died en
route and others were turned back by Serb police near Raska and Novi Pazar.
Izbica -- Serb forces reportedly killed 270 ethnic Albanians since mid-March.
Kosovar Albanian refugees reportedly saw bodies that appeared to have been tortured and
Jovic -- Serb forces reportedly separated men from the columns of ethnic
Albanian civilians, and a Kosovar Albanian refugee claimed that he saw 34 corpses in the
Kaaniku -- Kosovar Albanian refugees claim that Serb forces massacred 45 ethnic
Albanians on 9 April and dumped their bodies in a mass grave.
Kacanik -- A Kosovar Albanian refugee claimed that as many as 300 masked VJ and
MUP soldiers forcibly expelled the ethnic Albanian villagers towards Prizren.
Klina -- The expulsion of the entire ethnic Albanian population began on 28
March, with Serb forces removing the villagers from their homes and ordering them out of
the country. Serb forces reportedly used 500 Kosovar Albanian men as human shields during
fighting with KLA forces. A refugee who survived the fighting claimed that the men were
robbed of their possessions and forced to strip naked and lie in a field for two hours
while Serb artillery fired on nearby KLA positions.
Kosovo Polje -- Serb forces reportedly forced ethnic Albanians into their homes
and then threw hand grenades inside. Other refugee reports claimed that ethnic Albanians
were burned alive in their homes, and that on 28 March, Serb paramilitary forces killed at
least 70 Kosovar Albanian civilians. In addition, refugees traveling from Pristina via
trains report that Serb paramilitary units boarded the cars and stole all of their
Kosovska Mitrovica -- Serb forces have reportedly expelled all Kosovar Albanians
from this city since 23 March. In addition, over 200 Albanian homes and shops have been
torched, and Serb forces reportedly have killed prominent Albanian Kosovars. Latif
Berisha, a poet and President of the Democratic Alliance of the Mitrovica Municipality,
was executed in his home, and Agim Hajrizi, Chairman of the Assembly of the Independent
Workers' Union, was murdered along with his mother and 12-year-old son. Serb forces
reportedly looted Kosovar Albanian shops and burned Albanian homes around a barracks that
was targeted by NATO air strikes in an apparent attempt to blame NATO for the damage. Serb
forces reportedly were continuing to burn villages around this town as of 2 April.
A Kosovar Albanian refugee claimed that Serb forces separated young ethnic Albanian men
from the general population, tied their hands together, and led them into the street.
Although the refugee did not witness any mass executions, she did witness one VJ soldier
shooting an ethnic Albanian while he sat in a car. A refugee from a nearby village claims
to have witnessed Serb civilians executing a young ethnic Albanian boy. Serb forces
reportedly burned villages around this town. The ethnic Albanians who were expelled from
these villages remained in the Cicavica Mountains, east of the town.
Kotlina -- According to refugees from this town near Kacanik, 50-60 ethnic
Albanian men remain missing. The rest were reportedly loaded onto trains and sent to
Macedonia. Ethnic Albanians on 8 April discovered a mass grave suspected of containing the
bodies of some 26 persons, according to refugee reports. The victims allegedly were
murdered in mid-March by a Serb paramilitary group. The paramilitaries reportedly entered
the town and separated the ethnic Albanian men from their families.
Kralan -- Kosovar Albanian refugees claim that Serb forces executed 100 ethnic
Albanian civilians on 4 April.
Kuraz -- Serb forces reportedly killed 21 schoolteachers in this village near
Srbica. Refugees also claim that as many as 200 ethnic Albanians were being detained there
by Serb security forces as of 5 April.
Likovac -- Serb forces reportedly burned this village south of Srbica on 30
Ljubenica -- Refugees reported on 8 April that Serb forces murdered at least 100
ethnic Albanians from this village in western Kosovo.
Malakrusa (Krusa-e-Vogel) -- One hundred twelve men were shot and their bodies
burned in an apparent attempt to conceal the evidence, according to a wounded and burnt
survivor of the executions.
Malisevo -- Serb forces reportedly razed most of the town and its surrounding
villages. Refugees from the town claim to have witnessed Serb forces burning ethnic
Albanians alive. Women refugees claim that Serb forces were separating men from the
groups. Serb forces reportedly executed approximately 50 men in this town on 27 March.
Part of the town was set on fire on 30 March. By 1 April the Serbs appeared to have
completed their cleansing, and refugees report that the 50,000-140,000 IDPs in the
Malisevo-Dulje area have been bombed and strafed by Serb aircraft and helicopters.
Morina -- Refugees claim that on 7 April Serb security forces laid mines at this
main border post between Kosovo and Albania to prevent refugees from crossing
Negrovce -- According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed five ethnic
Albanians on 5 April.
Orahovac -- Refugees reported that an unknown number of ethnic Albanian
civilians were killed during the ethnic cleansing of the city. A group of Romas (gypsies)
who arrived at the Albanian border on 8 April claimed they were expelled because Serb
authorities said they were originally from Albania and not "true" Kosovars. The
group also reported that Serb forces massacred some 50 ethnic Albanians, including women,
children, and the elderly.
According to refugees, as many as 700 men were used as human shields last week. The
ethnic Albanian men were forced to stand in front of tanks in the rain for two days with
their hands tied behind their backs. A few of them eventually escaped by paying the
soldiers 10,000 German marks.
Orlate -- According to refugees, this small village located on the crossroads
between Pristina, Pec, and Malisevo was set on fire by Serbian forces on 30 March after
some 200 ethnic Albanian men had been executed.
Pastasel -- The bodies of some 70 ethnic Albanians ranging in age from 14-50
were reportedly discovered by IDPs on 1 April. Serb authorities reportedly executed a
survivor who sought medical treatment nearby.
Pec -- Serb forces may have expelled 50,000 Albanian Kosovars from Pec, and
reportedly attacked a column of refugees leaving Pec on 6 April. At least 50 ethnic
Albanians were killed and then buried in the yards of their homes on the evening of 27
March. On the same day, all ethnic Albanians were reportedly herded into a five-story
building in the center of town. MUP forces then loaded them on buses and transported them
out of the city. On 28 March, 200 ethnic Albanians who sought sanctuary in the Albanian
Catholic Church of Pec were removed and forced out of town. To further terrorize ethnic
Albanians, Serbs reportedly looted and burned their homes and shops throughout the town.
Refugees claim that the indicted war criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic (aka "Arkan")
was responsible for the atrocities.
Podujevo -- Serb security forces reportedly are continuing to burn villages east
and southeast of this town as of 5 April. Serb forces may have executed 200 Kosovar
Albanian men of military age. In addition, Serb reportedly were removing ethnic Albanians
from their cars and shooting them on the spot. Ninety percent of the town reportedly has
Pristina -- Kosovar Albanian refugees were forcibly expelled first from their
homes and then from Pristina via train. Several refugees claim that Serb soldiers used
loudspeakers to warn ethnic Albanians to leave town or die. On 2 April, a Kosovar Albanian
claims to have seen three truckloads of dead bodies accompanied by three or four armored
vehicles in a graveyard in Pristina. Kosovar Albanian refugees continued to report being
forcibly expelled from their homes and then from Pristina via train. Over 200,000 ethnic
Albanians reportedly were detained pending transport. According to refugee reports, most
of these IDPs were without food, water, medicine, or shelter.
Serb forces appear to have completed military operations in the city and were focusing
on ethnically cleansing the IDP-swollen city as of 4 April. Male ethnic Albanians,
including prominent human rights lawyer Bjram Kelmendi and his two sons, reportedly have
been executed. Serb paramilitary units have burned and looted Albanian homes and stores
throughout the city. Mixed Serb police and paramilitary units separated men from women and
children, and Serbs have distributed pamphlets admonishing Kosovars to leave or be killed.
Approximately 25,000 ethnic Albanians were sent by rail from Pristina to Macedonia on 1
April and over 200,000 reportedly were detained pending transport. Most of these IDPs
reportedly were without food, water, medicine, or shelter.
The civilians reportedly were processed at the Pristina Sports Complex and then marched
to the train station, however, Russian Ambassador to Yugoslavia Yuri Kotov visited the
Pristina Stadium on 5 April and claimed that there was no truth to the reports that Serb
forces were using the stadium as a detention center. Buses and large cargo trucks also
were used to transport IDPs to within three to six miles of the border, where they were
left to make their way out on foot. Refugees report that the ethnic Albanian neighborhoods
of Pristina resemble a ghost town. Pristina police reportedly arrested as many as 20
former OSCE/KVM local employees, and authorities were said to have searched for any
Kosovar Albanian who held an official government position, worked for an international
organization, or worked with foreign journalists.
Prizren -- Serb forces reportedly executed 20 to 30 civilians and transported
ethnic Albanians to the border. Serb paramilitary units operated freely throughout the
town, according to refugee accounts. At the border, Serb forces confiscated all personal
documentation, removed all license plates, and warned them never to return to Kosovo.
A Kosovar Albanian who traveled to Prizren for a funeral on 2 April reportedly
witnessed ethnic Albanian civilians being forcibly evicted from their homes. The families
were given two hours to vacate their property. The houses were then either set ablaze or
used to shelter Serb forces. Another refugee from Prizren reportedly witnessed Serb forces
burying numerous ethnic Albanian bodies and burning homes throughout the town. Many ethnic
Albanians remain in hiding because they fear Serb reprisals.
Popovo -- Serbian aircraft reportedly bombed this village southwest of Podujevo,
killing 10 ethnic Albanians.
Pusto Selo -- We have confirmed the presence of a mass burial site.
Rezalla -- Serb forces reportedly burned this village south of Srbica on 30
March. According to ethnic Albanian refugees, a mass grave containing 70 bodies was
discovered on 14 April.
Rugovo -- Serb forces reportedly executed at least 50 ethnic Albanians.
Sojevo -- Serb snipers reportedly killed eight ethnic Albanians, and forcibly
expelled the remaining villagers into a nearby field.
Srbica -- Serb forces reportedly emptied the town of its Kosovar inhabitants and
executed 115 ethnic Albanian males over the age of 18. Twenty thousand prisoners are
reportedly housed in an ammunition factory in town.
Stimlje -- Serb forces reportedly burned the headquarters of a human rights
committee and the Democratic League of Kosovo. Serb forces also reportedly burned Kosovar
Albanian homes, stores, and vehicles, and some 25,000 civilians were driven out of the
city to villages to the south. In addition, the building housing the former OSCE mission
reportedly was burned.
Suva Reka -- On 25 March, Serb forces reportedly massacred at least 30 Kosovar
Albanians, most by burning them alive in their homes. By 28 March, Serb forces reportedly
burned 60 percent of the town. A Kosovar Albanian refugee from the town claimed that Serb
forces killed 40 men on 4 April, and dumped their bodies into two mass graves. Serb
military and police forces reportedly killed as many as 350 ethnic Albanians in this town,
and Suva Reka reportedly has been cleansed of its Albanian population.
According to Kosovar Albanian refugee reports, a group of Serb police and civilians
killed and robbed the ethnic Albanian family living in a former OSCE office. The Serbs
then reportedly burned their bodies.
Urosevac -- Serb forces reportedly forcibly expelled ethnic Albanian civilians
from their homes on 10 April, and are now using the homes as barracks. Serbian police
(MUP) transferred the civilians to Blace by train. Former Albanian shops and homes were
reportedly given to Serb villagers. Serb forces reportedly are targeting the homes of
prominent politicians and intellectuals and raping young Albanian girls. As many as 40
ethnic Albanians have been killed. According to an ethnic Albanian refugee, Serb
paramilitary units are forcibly using Albanian males to dig defensive positions on the
southeast side of the city. Nearly 50 paramilitary forced 25 civilians from the nearby
town of Starosello to dig trenches for three days, from 10 to 12 April.
Varosh -- According to refugee reports, Serb paramilitary forces reportedly
entered ethnic Albanian homes, forcibly expelled them at knife-point, and stole their
belongings. They reportedly killed an unknown number of Kosovar Albanians and carried
their bodies away.
Velika Hoca -- Two paramilitary units, Arkan's "Tigers" and the
"White Eagles," are reportedly based in a housing complex in the town and
control the area between Orahovac and Suva Reka.
Velika Krusa -- Reports from refugees in late March that Serb forces killed
150-160 Albanian Kosovars and dumped 50 bodies in a mass grave appear to be corroborated
in a videotape shot by a survivor, who said about 100 had been shot and gave the names of
two dozen of the victims. The BBC aired the refugee's video showing several dead bodies
lying in ditches and in the streets. The refugee claimed that they were the bodies of
young ethnic Albanians. According to the BBC reporter, all of the victims had single
bullet wounds in the back of the head or neck. The refugee claimed that the men were shot
after being separated from the women and children. A female refugee from the same village
claimed that 40 men were executed by Serb forces. Some refugees allege that homes were set
ablaze, burning to death over 60 Kosovars-including women and children. Police reportedly
told residents of the nearby villages of Lashec, Kobanje, and Atmanxha that "as a
gift, we will only kill ten of you," and then told the survivors to "go to
Vrsevac -- Unconfirmed reports claimed that Serb police used IDPs as human
shields on 7 April.
Vucitrn -- Serb forces reportedly burned all houses previously rented by the
OSCE and continue to loot Kosovar Albanian. Refugees from the town also claim that men
were being separated from their groups. On 27 March, Serb forces reported killed four
young Albanian Kosovars, including a 14-year-old girl. By 29 March, Serb forces had
reportedly herded Albanian Kosovars into a school in the city, and refugees from the town
claim that the men were being separated from their families.
Zhuri -- On 28 March, local police reportedly ordered all ethnic Albanians to
leave town. As many as 7,000 Albanian Kosovars may have been displaced as a result.
Zulfaj -- Serb forces reportedly expelled all ethnic Albanians from this
village, then burned it down.
Zym -- Serb forces reportedly burned this southern Kosovo town.
Refugees have reported that over 400 villages have been burned since late March, and we
have confirmed that the following villages have been burned or mostly destroyed.