Source: Human Rights Watch
Accessed 05/04/99

Massacre at Krusha e Madhe


(New York, April 4, 1999, 12:00am EST) -- Human Rights
Watch interviewed six refugees late on April 2 who reported that
Yugoslav forces shot and killed forty male ethnic Albanian
villagers in the town of Velika Krusa (Krusha e Madhe in
Albanian) on Friday, March 26. The village, on the main road
between Dakovica and Prizren, was reputed to have had
sympathies for the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) over the
past year. Human Rights Watch fears the men may have been
slain in reprisal for their village's suspected support for the
Albanian insurgents.

The six witnesses -- three men and three women -- had driven
through the mountains on a tractor for seven days before
crossing into Albania at the Morina crossing point near Kukes in
northern Albania, where they were interviewed by Human Rights
Watch. One of the men was wounded, having suffered shrapnel
wounds in his legs and lower back.

The refugees said Yugoslav infantry raided their village on the
afternoon of Thursday, March 25, the day after the NATO air
campaign began. One of the witnesses, who was in the fields
tending cattle, was shot and wounded as he ran towards the
village. He hid that night with the five others, he said, who were
discovered early the next morning by Yugoslav security forces
wearing green camouflage uniforms.

"They gathered us together with the rest of the people from the
village," said X.S., aged sixty-four. "Then, at about seven in the
morning, they separated out forty younger males and shot them
with machine guns."

The five other witnesses -- C. R., a forty-seven-year-old male,
N. G., a seventy-seven-year old male, R. R., a fifty-year-old
woman, Z. R., a fifty-year-old woman, and X. G., a
sixty-five-year-old woman -- told similar stories.

On April 3, the BBC broadcast exclusive footage of an alleged
massacre in Velika Krusa. The video, smuggled out by an
amatuer cameraman and edited because of its graphic content,
shows the bodies of several young men who were, according to
the BBC, "killed with a single bullet to the head after trying to
escape." According to the cameraman, more than one hundred
people were killed when Serb forces shelled the area. He told
the BBC: "A group of Serbs were on top of the hill. Others came
from behind. Our men were captured and the Serbs killed them
one after the other." The cameraman gave the BBC a list of
twenty-six victims, many of whom were known to him, which is
reprinted below. He claimed that there were thirty-one bodies in
total, but five of the corpses were burned beyond recognition.

The consistent and credible reports of killings at Velika Krusa
supplement the testimonies of three other refugees interviewed
by Human Rights Watch on March 30 and 31, who said that
they had seen at least fifteen ethnic Albanians killed on the road
around Velika Krusa (see Human Rights Watch Flash #14).
According to these refugees, the killings took place near a police
and army checkpoint on the main road between the villages of
Zrce and Velika Krusa.

In recent days, two international journalists have gathered the
testimonies of eyewitnesses from Mala Kruse (Krushe e Vogel in
Albanian), another village located a few miles to the southeast of
Velika Krusa. CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour
interviewed a badly burned refugee late last night form the
village, who said he had been placed in a pile of 112 bodies that
were covered with petrol and set on fire by Yugoslav forces.
The witness survived, however, and made it out to the border.

New York Times correspondent John Kifner interviewed
another witness from Mala Krusa on March 30. The refugee,
N.Z., reported having seen a mass killing, although no details
were provided ("Kosovars Flee to Beat Serb Deadline of
Death," The New York Times, March 31). The article said that
her claims "conformed with other accounts given by refugees"
and with accounts heard by the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe.

Based on its own research, as well as the coverage of the
international media, Human Rights Watch believes that two
separate massacres may have taken place in the two villages,
Velika Krusa and Mala Krusa. It is possible the the killings were
security force reprisals or "revenge killings" for the villages'
suspected support for the KLA. Human Rights Watch
researchers have determined that such a pattern of reprisal
killings is indeed underway in south-western Kosovo, and it has
been a pattern over the past year of the Kosovo conflict.

Reportedly Killed in Velika Krusa:

1.Ramadan Krasniqi
2.Ramadan Shait Hoti
3.Eqrem Jemin Duraku
4.Ibrahim Myrteza Duraku
5.Gjevgjet Syljman Duraku
6.Fahri Haxhilaf Hoti
7.Bajram Ali Duraku
8.Haxhi Halim Hoti
9.Hasaf Nexhat Hoti
10.Habib Haxhilat Duraku
11.Fraidin S. Dina
12.Flyrin S. Dina
13.Nimetullahli i Hoxhes
14.Shaban Rasim Duraku
15.Ali Selim Duraku
16.Azem Jonuz Duraku
17.Haxhi Arif Shala
18.Jeton Abdyl Duraku
19.Faredin Shemsedin Hoti
20.Kresnik Faredin Hoti
21.Sami Sadik Nalli
22.Sali Sadik Nalli
23.Selim Bajrami
24.Dahim Bajrami
25.Qamil Bajrami
26.Ismet Jemin Duraku

Kosovo Human Rights Flash is an information bulletin from
Human Rights Watch. It includes human rights updates on the
situation in Yugoslavia generally and in Kosovo specifically. For
further information contact Fred Abrahams at (212) 216-1270

Document compiled by Dr S D Stein
Last update 05/04/99
ęS D Stein
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