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CDHRF: Report on the violation of human rights and freedoms in Kosova in
the course of 1998
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 13:33:13 -0800
"Council for The Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms-Prishtina" <email@example.com>
PËR MBROJTJEN E TË DREJTAVE DHE TË LIRIVE TË NJERIUT
COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Rr. Vellusha 46, 38000 Prishtinë - Kosovë; tel&fax: 381 (0)
38 36 965 & 530 409
http//:www.albanian.com/kmdlnj e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
on the violation of human rights and freedoms
in Kosova in the course of
SCORCHED LAND TACTICS - NO RETURN !
By killing, massacre and physical liquidations
of 1934 Albanians, among whom 229 female, 213 children and 395 elderly,
by kidnapping, arrests, ill-treatments, persecutions and displacement of
500.000 Albanians, by destruction and burning of 41.538 houses and flats,
by looting of the wealth - Serbian regime wants to make it impossible for
us to stay in our land and impede the return of the displaced and refugees
all over Europe and worldwide.
As an aftermath of the consistent pattern and
reliable attested human rights violation and organized state violence for
many years now of the Serbian regime towards the Albanian population in
Kosova, the armed conflict burst out in the beginning of 1998 and covered
half of the territory of Kosova. Hundreds of people were killed, massacred,
summarily executed, wounded, reported missing, taken hostage, kidnapped,
arrested, convicted, persecuted and displaced. Many villages were looted,
burned and destroyed to the ground. During the very same period, everything
was destroyed in the regions affected by the conflict and there are no
living conditions in the very same.
The massacres in Likoshan, Qirez, Prekaz, Lybeniq,
Poklek, Rahovec, Goluboc, Galica and Abria shocked the Albanian and the
worldwide public opinion for their wanton killings, cruelty and lack of
any human feelings.
During 1998, CDHRF has registered 1934 killed
and mutilated Albanians, among whom 229 female, 213 children and 395 elderly.
Among the killed, 436 are unidentified. Due to the conditions created as
an aftermath of war, CDHRF has evidenced 92 cases of death, among whom
pregnant women, new-born babies, elderly, ill people who lacked medical
assistance, etc. 2626 Albanians were detained, among whom 1260 people were
kept in detention. 132 were convicted, whereas 1128 are still in pre-trial
detention. During the very same period, 450 settlements were burned, destroyed
and looted. 41.538 houses, 1995 business premises and other buildings were
ruined, damaged, looted and burned. About 500.000 people were forced to
flee their homes.
There were many cases when the corpses of the
killed were left unburied for months or were buried by police order without
being identified. Such cases occurred in all the parts of Kosova, where
conflicts took place.
During the very same period, many storage, factories,
mines, schools and monasteries were turned into weaponry depots, investigating
prisons, concentration camps, where many Albanians were subjected to unprecedented
brutality and torture.
The missing and kidnapped - killed and mutilated
CDHRF receives information on the missing and
kidnapped on daily basis. From the beginning of the year up to September,
more than 1440 persons were reported missing. However, after the Serb offensives,
the local people and our field associates discovered a dozens of victims,killed
or massacred during the Serbian attacks,who were reported as missing. CDHRF
has information that a considerable number of persons are in the Serb prisons.
CDHRF has never regarded the list of the missing as complete as it was
not in a position to confirm all the cases. By the end of the year, CDHRF
compiled a list with the names of 605 people who went missing or were kidnapped,
including whole families. The names of 42 Serbs and Montenegrins are reported
in the list.
Deeply concerned, CDHRF has monitored all these
events and has informed duly the public opinion, humanitarian organizations
and other relevant factors.
The campaign of arrests, sentences and convictions
The campaign of arrests, sentences and convictions
continued in the course of 1998. The District Courts in Prishtina, Peja,
Prizren, Gjilan and Mitrovica, as well as the Military Court in Nish have
initiated the investigative and penal proceedings and have convicted many
Albanians under the charges of terrorism and threatening the territorial
integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia, charges which have been faced by the
Albanians for decades. In the course of 1998, CDHRF based in Prishtina
has compiled a list of 2626 arrested persons, of whom 132 were convicted
for criminal acts pursuant to Art.136 and 125. 1128 are being kept in pre-trial
detention. During the investigative proceedings and while in pre-trial
detention, those arrested were continuously tortured. As an aftermath of
torture, 7 violent deaths occurred in the investigative prisons during
1998. Among those killed is Rexhep Bislimi, member of the Board of the
Sub-CDHRF in Ferizaj. According to the available data, 14.905 persons were
ill-treated in different forms, an average of 41 persons per day.
The rights of the ill-treated were violated in
different forms. 17.413 such cases were registered. Yet, we believe that
the figures presented are incomplete as thousands of cases were not registered
due to the lack of information, the fear and hesitation of those being
Extrajudicial executions and massacres
Ever since the crisis in Kosova escalated and
turned into an armed conflict, the Serb armed forces perpetrated extrajudicial
executions and massacres not sparing even the women, children, elderly
or the ill. Such executions took place in Likoshan (28 February 1998),
Qirez (February), Prekaz i Poshtëm (March), Poklek i Ri (May), Deçan,
Lybeniq, Rahovec (July), Dobratin (September), Gërçina (October),
Abri (September), Galica (September), in the vicinity of the Magura tunnel,
Radisheva, Golluboc, Ranca near Shtime, Lugishta near Has, etc.
The mass killings of Albanians began in the villages
of Likoshan, district of Gllogoc, and that of Qirez, district of Skënderaj.
On 28 February, an attack was launched in these two villages. The attack
lasted 24 hours and a large number of masked Serb policemen, soldiers and
paramilitaries were involved in it. Heavy weaponry and helicopters were
used in this attack. The Serbian Ministry of Interior Affairs established
an air bridge between Belgrade and their bases in Kosova. Helicopters opened
fire on the Albanian villages. Albanian civilians were killed and mutilated
inside the houses. The age of the killed and mutilated is between 16 and
70. Policemen went into the house of the Ahmetaj family (36 members) and
forced them out. Men, women and children were told to lie down. The men
were separated from the rest of the group, taken out of the yard, beaten
and extrajudicially executed one by one.
The tragedy continued on 5 March 1998. At about
5.00 a.m., Serb police forces launched an attack on the villages of Prekaz
i Poshtëm, Llausha, Polac, Marina, Vojnika and Rakinica, district
of Skënderaj. As a consequence of this attack, 46 Albanians were killed
and mutilated, of whom 20 from the family of Shaban Jashari. Among the
killed, 15 were children aged between 7-16 and 17 were female. There were
also elderly up to the age of 74. The victims were buried by the police
on 10 March. They were not buried according to the tradition and the autopsy
was not conducted.
During this period, there were incessant attacks
in the regions of Deçan and Peja. On 25 May, police and military
forces launched an attack on the villages of this region. The attack resulted
with the extrajudicial execution of 7 members of the Hamza family, 1 member
of the Gogaj-Cacaj family and 1 member of the Delimetaj family in the village
of Lybeniq near Peja.
On 31 May, at about 1.30 p.m., Serbian police
and paramilitary forces launched an attack on the village of Poklek i Ri,
killing and mutilating 11 persons. Apart from the corpse of Ardian Haxhi
Deliu (18), who was buried, the corpses of the others were loaded in a
police lorry. Ever since, there are no information on their whereabouts.
It is assumed that the corpses were buried in a mass grave or were destroyed
in order to tamper evidence. CDHRF believes that the skeletons presented
by the Serb media in the village of Kleçka can be those of the victims
killed in Poklek.
On 18 July, Serbian military forces perpetrated
a massacre on the border zone with Albania. Women, children and elderly,
who were trying to return to their homes, were massacred. This happened
at the place called Rrasa e Zogut in the vicinity of the mountain huts
in Junik. It is believed that at least 60 Albanians were killed. Whereas
Serb media, based on the military sources, claimed that over 100 Albanians
were killed. The number of the wounded is much higher. The corpses were
still not given to their families. Their identities are still unknown.
On 19 July, as an aftermath of a premeditated
attack of the Serbian forces many Albanians were killed and wounded in
Rahovec. Many women, children and elderly, who had taken shelter in Sheh
Muhedini's masjid were massacred in the most barbaric way. The bodies of
two professors and 6 other bodies burned beyond recognition were found
at the place called "Tuba". CDHRF has registered the names of 150 killed
people. Eye-witnesses claim that Serbian police, military and paramilitary
forces perpetrated extrajudicial executions. Many Albanians were reported
missing, taken hostage and arrested, whose whereabouts are still unknown.
On 22 July, the Serbian authorities in Prizren opened two mass graves in
which they buried the corpses of many Albanians killed during the offensive
On 26 August, while fleeing in a tractor, 11
members of the Asllani family from the village of Ranca were killed by
a Serbian tank. Among the killed, 8 were children and 3 were women. 3 men
On 16 September, on returning to their houses
in the village of Dragobil, Osman Metë Paçarizi (60) and Fehmi
Miftar Paçarizi (45) were caught by the Serb forces, taken to Malisheva
On 25 September, Serb forces went into the village
of Galica, district of Vushtrri, and executed 14 men, mainly youngsters,
and a woman.
On 26 September, in the vicinity of the Magura
tunnel, district of Klina, Serb forces separated several Albanians from
the crowd of the displacement people and executed Smajl Millaku (72) and
his son Sefer (49) from Ujmir. The very same day, 8 Albanian youngsters
were executed by the Serb forces in Golluboc.
On 27 September, in the Deliaj quarter in Abria
e Epërme, district of Gllogovc, the corpses of 22 members of the Deliaj
family, including women, children and elderly, were found a kilometer away
from their house. Diturie Deliaj, a 3-month-old baby, was found alive under
her mother's body. Due to the difficult living conditions, she died a month
On 4 October, the mutilated corpses of Antigona
(14) and Mihane Hysen Deliu (16) were found. Prior to being executed, the
two were raped.
Similar massacres are perpetrated by the Serb
forces in most of the attacked regions.
Scorched land tactics
According to the tactics, means and methods used
in the war operations, one can conclude that the Serbian forces have been
applying the scorched land tactics. Since the beginning of the military
operations in February 1998, more than 450 settlements were targeted by
the Serbian forces. In most of the villages, after the shelling and the
fleeing of the Albanian population, Serbian armed forces, aided by armed
Serb civilians, looted all valuables and set fire to the houses. Over 41.000
houses were destroyed due to shelling or fire. The mass destruction of
the Albanian settlements shows the aim of the Serbian regime to prevent
the return of the displaced, which leads towards the ethnic cleansing of
Kosova or whatever we call it.
It has been estimated that least 500.000 Albanians
have fled their homes
During the military operations, in which heavy
artillery and airplanes were used, entire villages were abandoned.
Due to this war machinery, hundreds of thousands
of people were forced to flee the affected regions and villages, which
continue to be targeted by the Serb forces. Since February 1998, the number
of the displaced reaches the figure of half a million. The experience of
the displaced, who had to flee under the threat of weapons and in terrible
weather is hard to describe. Thousands of Albanians lived many months in
the open or in plastic sheet shelters, in very difficult living conditions.
Due to the lack of living conditions, medicines and medical assistance,
92 Albanians died, among whom pregnant women, elderly and children.
It is estimated that some 26.500 Albanians have
sought shelter in Albania, 21.800 in Montenegro, 5000 in Macedonia and
6000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A large number of Albanians, while trying
to flee to West European countries, were stationed in refugee camps in
Hungary, Czekia and Italy. CDHRF has information that those who were stationed
in refugee camps in Hungary live in very difficult conditions. There are
many pregnant women and children among them. Many have requested from the
CDHRF to appeal to the Hungarian authorities to improve the living conditions.
During the very same period, some 90.000 Albanians
have sought shelter in different West European countries. Some 400.000
Albanians were displaced and have sought shelter in safer regions within
Kosova. The attempts of many displaced people to return to the ruins of
their homes were hindered by the police. Since the arrival of the international
verifiers a large number of people have returned to the ruins of their
houses and are trying to rebuild them. There are cases when 20 people live
in a 16m2 room.
Some of the returnees were forced to flee their
homes due to the large presence of Serb forces and due to the incessant
shelling of their villages (Malisheva, Dollova, Këpuz, Reka e Keqe,
the villages in the district of Deçan, Loxha, Raushiq, Prekaz i
Fresh forces and heavy weaponry were redeployed
in Kosova despite of the agreement between Millosheviq and Holbrook
Despite of the Agreement for the withdrawal of
the Serb forces from Kosova, we were informed that fresh forces and heavy
weaponry were redeployed in Kosova.
A very grave phenomenon is the increase in the
number of incidents caused by Serb civilians. 294 incidents occurred in
the course of 1998. Serbian police and military forces have distributed
weapons to Serb civilians. These heavily armed civilians parade through
the streets provoking Albanians. There were many cases when fire was opened
on the Albanian houses.
Hundreds of injured people in a peaceful protests
During the months of March, April and May, peaceful
protests were held all over Kosova against the Serb massacres perpetrated
in Drenica and the other regions of Kosova. Hundreds of protesters, mainly
pupils and students, were ill-treated by policemen and Serb civilians.
Many suffered severe body injuries (as was the case with the professors
of the Faculty of Philosophy in Prishtina, on June 10, 1998).
The persecution of medical and humanitarian
In the course of 1998, many medical and humanitarian
workers were subjected to different forms of violence. They were kidnapped,
killed, killed by torture, went missing, arrested, sentenced and ill-treated.
Rexhep Bislimi, an activist of the Sub-CDHRF
in Ferizaj, and Cen Dugolli, an activist, died as an aftermath of being
tortured while in police custody.
Dr. Hafir Shala, a physician, an activist of
the "Mother Theresa" Humanitarian & Charitable Society, was arrested
by the Serb forces on April 10. Ever since, there are no information on
his whereabouts. Xhavit Haziri, an activist of the CDHRF in Prishtina,
was kidnapped on September 17. Ever since, there are no information on
Hajriz and Adem Morina, activists of the "Mother
Theresa" Humanitarian & Charitable Society, were killed due to shelling,
while distributing aid in the villages of Malisheva.
Dr. Lec B. Uka, a physician, was mutilated by
the Serb forces on September 25, 1998.
On October 1, in the vicinity of Likoc, a vehicle
of the ICRC hit a mine. Dr. Shpetim Robaj,a physician, was killed and 3
other humanitarian workers were wounded (including one from New Zealand).
These were just some of the cases in which medical
and humanitarian activists were killed.
Many humanitarians activists were sentenced to
prison terms: Xhevat Haziri, Zahrije Podrimçaku, Rufki Suma, Enver
Berisha, Ferit Tafallari, etc. CDHRF has registered 114 cases of ill-treatment
of humanitarian activists. The work of humanitarian activists as well as
that of the activists of the CDHRF is becoming more and more difficult.
The dismissal and eviction of Kosovar Albanians
The dismissal of Albanian workers as well as
their eviction from their flats continued in the course of 1998. 70 Albanian
workers were dismissed from the "Saloniti" Plant in Hani i Elezit.
24 Albanian families were evicted from their
flats and Serb families were settled in them.
In the course of 1998, there was no single pattern
of human rights and freedoms which was not violated by the Serbian regime.
The scarce of this violation will remain in the
heats and the minds of the future survivors or reflected in the minds of
the people of Kosova.
In the course of 1998:
1934 Albanians were killed, mutilated and extrajudicially
818 were wounded;
148 murder attempts;
2 underage girls were raped and mutilated;
650 families were raided;
419 Albanians were taken informative talks;
1128 are in pre-trial detention;
132 were sentenced for "penal deeds" (21 in absentia);
5 Albanians were sentenced by the military court;
87 for petty offence;
3758 cases of physical torture (1047 cases resulting
with severe body injuries);
924 persons underwent routine checking;
799 were reported missing;
58 cases of usurpation;
171 persons were searched for;
229 persons were summoned to report to the police
24 Albanian families were evicted from their
135 Albanians were dismissed from work;
25 cases of seizure of travel documents (passports);
Out of the total number of the ill-treated:
913 were women;
66 CDHRF activists;
48 humanitarian activists;
163 educational activists;
CDHRF assumes that the data presented in this
report is incomplete as it could not register all the cases of the violation
of human rights and freedoms in the course of 1998.
Pishtina, 22 January, l999
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