WAR IN THE BALKANS: Milosevic: crimes against humanity

The Indictment
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The Independent Online
THE UNITED Nations war crimes tribunal has indicted President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia for human rights atrocities in Kosovo. The following are edited excerpts of the 9,000-word document that details the forced deportations and mass murders of Kosovo civilians, for which he and his four top associates are held collectively responsible:

The first 89 paragraphs detail the rise to power of the indictees and their moves to strip Kosovo of its autonomy. The document then deals with war crimes of the last three months.

90. 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 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

91. The operations targeting the Kosovo Albanians were undertaken with the objective of removing a substantial portion of the Kosovo Albanian population from Kosovo in an effort to ensure continued Serbian control over the province.

92. 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, 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.

93. 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.

94. 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.

95. 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.

96. Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have systematically seized and destroyed the personal identity documents and licences of vehicles belonging to Kosovo Albanian civilians. 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.

97. Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 the forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement, or with the support of Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC have perpetrated actions ... which have resulted in the forced deportation of approximately 740,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians. These actions have been undertaken in all areas of Kosovo, including the following municipalities:

[There follows a detailed list of the forced deportations of ethnic Albanians from the Kosovo municipalities of Djakovica, Gnjilane, Kosovska Mitrovica, Orahovac, Pec and Pristina, Srbica, Suva Reka and Prizren. The Independent reproduces only the account of the deportation of Pristina.]

Pristina: On or about 1 April 1999, Serbian police went to the homes of Kosovo Albanians in the city of Pristina 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 neighbourhoods. Hundreds of ethnic Albanians, guided by Serb police at all the intersections, gathered at the train station and then were loaded on to 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.

During the same period, forces of the FRY and Serbia entered the villages of Pristina municipality where they beat and killed many Kosovo Albanians, robbed them of their money, looted their property and burnt their homes.

[There follows a detailed list of mass murders for which the Yugoslav President and his four aides are being held responsible by the UN.]

98. Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement, 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. Included among the incidents of mass killings are the following:

a. On or about 15 January 1999, the village of Racak (Stimlje 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. 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. (The names are attached to the document.)

b. On or about 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia attacked the village of Bela Crkva. Many of the residents 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 persons, including 10 women and children. The police then ordered the remaining villagers out of the stream bed, 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 stream bed. After they complied, the police opened fire on the men, killing approximately 65 Kosovo Albanians. (The names are attached to the document.)

c. On or about 25 March 1999, the villages of Velika Krusa and Mali Krusa (Orahovac municipality) were attacked by forces of the FRY and Serbia. Village residents took refuge in a forested area outside Velika Krusa, where they were able to observe the police systematically looting and then burning the villagers' houses. On the morning of 26 March, 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. 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 to burn the bodies. Approximately 105 Kosovo Albanian men and boys were killed. (The names are attached to the document.)

d. On the evening of 26 March, in Djakovica, Serb gunmen came to a house on Ymer Grezda Street. The women and children inside the house were separated from the men, and were ordered to go upstairs. Serb gunmen then shot and killed the six Kosovo Albanian men who were in the house. (The names are attached.)

e. On 27 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia attacked the village of Crkolez (Istok municipality). As the forces entered the village, they fired on houses and on villagers who attempted to flee. Eight members of the Beke IMERAJ family were forced from their home and killed in front of their house. Other residents were killed at their homes and in a stream bed near the village. Altogether, forces of the FRY and Serbia killed approximately 20 Kosovo Albanians. (The names are attached to the document)

f. On 27 March 1999, FRY and Republic of Serbia forces attacked the village of Izbica (Srbica 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 stream bed. Both groups of men were then fired upon by the forces of the FRY and Serbia, and approximately 130 Kosovo Albanian men were killed. (The names are attached to the document.)

g. On 2 April 1999, Serb police launched an operation against the Qerim district of Djakovica. 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. (The names of those killed are attached.)

Louise Arbour, Prosecutor, 22 May 1999

The Hague

The entire text is on: www.un.org/icty/index.html

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