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Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo - U.S. State Department Report

Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo - U.S. State Department Report

Fact Sheet based on information from U.S. Government sources, released June 4, 1999

The following is a general account of atrocities committed by Serbian forces against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo between 24 March and 4 June. Most of the incidents are drawn from refugee accounts, supplemented by diplomatic and other reporting.

Reports of Serb war crimes in Kosovo-including the detention and summary execution of military-aged men, destruction of civilian housing, and forcible expulsion-continue to mount. Kosovar Albanian refugees report mass executions in at least 85 towns and villages throughout the province since late March, as well as mass graves in Dobrosevac, Drenica, Glogovac, Lipljan, Kaaniku, Malisevo, Poklek, Pusto Selo, Radavac, Rezala, and the Pagarusa valley. We have confirmed the presence of a mass burial site at Pusto Selo, Izbica, and Glogovac. Numerous refugee reports indicate Serb forces are taking steps to reduce forensic evidence of their crimes. This includes execution methods that would allow the Serbs to claim their victims were collateral casualties of military operations and disposal of bodies that will hamper war crimes investigations. Kosovar Albanian refugees continue to report both mass and individual summary executions throughout the province. Refugee reports of Serbian mass executions claim over 6,000 ethnic Albanian deaths; the number would be far higher if we added the countless tales of individual murder. The organized and individual rape of ethnic Albanian women by Serb security forces is continuing to be reported by Kosovar refugees. According to refugees, Serb forces have conducted systematic rapes in Dakovica and at the Karagac and Metohia hotels in Pec.

We also have clear indications of the magnitude and intensity of the Serbian effort to displace the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo. At least one million Kosovar Albanians have left the province since the Serbs launched their first security crackdown in March 1998, with most having fled since March 1999. Based on the scope and intensity of Serb activities throughout the province, some 480,000 additional Kosovars appear to be internally displaced persons (IDPs). In sum, over 1.5 million ethnic Albanians- at least 90 percent of the estimated 1998 Kosovo population of the province-have been forcibly expelled from their homes.

Refugees have claimed that Serb forces have been systematically separating "military-aged" ethnic Albanian men-those ranging from as young as age 14 up to 59 years old-from the population as they expel the Kosovars from their homes. The number of unaccounted for ethnic Albanian men ranges from a low of 225,000-looking only at the missing from among refugee families in Albanian and Macedonia-to over 400,000 if the reports of widespread separation of men among the IDP population within Kosovo are true. This estimate includes some who are almost certainly combatants with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as well as others who are among the thousands reportedly slain by Serb forces. We have incontrovertible evidence that thousands of homes in at least 600 cities, towns, and villages have been damaged. Refugee reports describe widespread starvation and disease among IDPs in Kosovo, especially among those who have been in the hills for weeks. In addition, refugees are reporting that Serb forces continue to harass them with forced extortion and beatings and that some have been strafed by Serb aircraft.

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 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:

Forcible Displacement of Ethnic Albanian Civilians

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 vast majority of the ethnic Albanian population from their homes, even though roughly a third of those displaced 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 not supported by the accounts of the refugees. They 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 addition, numerous refugee reports indicate that Serb forces have expelled the majority of ethnic Albanians from urban areas such as Dakovica. Refugees say that those who were forced to remain are being used as human shields. Serb forces have also begun disguising themselves as refugees to prevent targeting from NATO aircraft. Refugees claim that on 6 May, Serb forces dressed in white hats and jackets with Red Cross and Red Crescent logos moved with convoys of IDPs between Dakovica and Brekovac. In order to conceal their military cargo, Serb forces covered their wagons with plastic tarpaulins taken from NGOs.

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 joined the police in systematically expelling ethnic Albanians at gunpoint from both villages and the larger towns of Kosovo. 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 personal belongings and 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 735,000 Kosovar Albanians are currently refugees in Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro. The remaining 300,000 refugees have been displaced to other countries. Over three-fourths of these refugees have arrived since late March, with columns awaiting processing into Albania and Macedonia reportedly stretching back nearly fifteen miles from the border at their peak.

Looting of Homes and Businesses

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. In addition, Kosovar Albanian refugees claimed that Serb forces were robbing them of all their personal belongings before they crossed the borders.

Widespread Burning of Homes

Some 600 residential areas have been at least partially burned since late March, including over 400 villages 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. Reports of mass burning of villages have waned in recent weeks, probably because there is little need to burn Albanian homes that have been abandoned. Many of those homes still intact have been taken over by Serb soldiers.

Human Shields

Since late March, ethnic Albanian refugees have claimed that Serb forces are using Kosovar Albanians to escort Serb military convoys and shield facilities throughout the province. It is difficult to measure the extent to which Serb units are using civilians to shield military assets, since it is impossible to distinguish between this activity and Serb units escorting or herding ethnic Albanians in the course of their military operations.

Beginning in mid-April, refugees reported that Serb forces were using ethnic Albanian men to shield military convoys from NATO airstrikes. Serb forces reportedly removed young ethnic Albanian men from refugee columns and forced them to form a buffer around Serb convoys. Numerous refugees claim to have witnessed and participated in this activity on roads between Pec, Dakovica, and Kosovska Mitrovica.

Unconfirmed refugee and KLA reports claim that Serb forces are intentionally positioning ethnic Albanians at sites they believe are targets for NATO airstrikes. The ethnic Albanians reportedly are not being used in an ostentatious manner to deter attacks, but rather are kept concealed in NATO target areas apparently in order to generate civilian casualties that can be blamed on NATO. In addition, refugee reports claim that Serb forces have forced ethnic Albanian men to don Serb military uniforms, probably so they cannot be distinguished by NATO and KLA surveillance.

Detentions

Refugees have claimed that Serb forces have been systematically separating "military-aged" -- ethnic Albanian men -- those ranging from as young as age 14 up to 59 years old -- from the population as they expel the Kosovar Albanians from their homes.

Refugees reported earlier in April that Serb forces were using the Ferro-Nickel factory in Glogovac as a detention center for a large number of Kosovar Albanians. New refugees in Albania report that the factory is no longer being used as a detention center, and that Serb forces are now using the facility as a temporary housing area.

According to refugees, a cement factory in Deneral Jankovic had also been used as a detention center for 5,000 ethnic Albanians. The prisoners were reportedly released in late April.

Since 21 May, some 2,000 Kosovar Albanian men have arrived in Albania after being detained by Serb forces for three weeks in a prison in Smerkovnica near Srbica. The Serbs were apparently looking for KLA members and sympathizers among the prisoners. While detaining the men, the Serbs forced them to dig trenches and physically abused many of them. After interrogating the detainees, the Serbs loaded them on buses and drove them to Zhure, leaving them to walk to the border.

Summary Executions

Refugees have provided accounts of summary executions in at least 85 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 Dobrosevac, Drenica, Lipljan, Kaaniku, Rezala, Malisevo, Poklek, Pusto Selo, Pristina, 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, overhead imagery has corroborated at least three reports -- the mass burials at Izbica, Glogovac, and Pusto Selo. In addition to random executions, the Serbs appear to be targeting members of the Kosovar Albanian intelligentsia including lawyers, doctors, and political leaders. Refugees report Serb forces are burning bodies exhumed from mass graves in an apparent attempt to destroy forensic evidence of war crimes.

Refugee accounts of Serb mass executions include at least 179 ethnic Albanians executed in the Urosevac, Stimlje, and Kacanik areas between late March and early May. Other refugee accounts of Serb mass executions concern ethnic Albanian men departing the Dakovica area on 27 April. They describe how Serb forces reportedly removed at least 200 men from a refugee convoy, forced them to their knees, and executed them at close-range. The absence of military-aged males from these refugees and the fact that some groups reported seeing the bodies of men whose abductions had been described by previous groups appear to corroborate their claim.

Exhumation of Mass Graves

Kosovar Albanian refugees claim that Serb forces have exhumed bodies from mass grave sites since early April, apparently in an attempt to minimize evidence of atrocities against ethnic Albanians. Several refugee reports indicate Serb forces are reinterring bodies of executed ethnic Albanians in individual graves; rumors suggest some corpses are being burned. Moving bodies from mass graves to individual graves will make impede the location of execution sites and will hamper the ability of forensic investigators to discriminate between -- regular -- graves and graves containing massacre victims.

According to refugee reports, Serb forces in Lipljan, probably in early May, exhumed the bodies of ethnic Albanians who had been executed on 18 April. After moving the bodies to a building in the village, the Serb forces reportedly ordered the surviving family members to rebury them in individual graves.

Similarly, Serb forces exhumed the bodies of at least 50 ethnic Albanians in Glogovac and transported the bodies to the nearby village of Cikatovo on 15 May, according to refugee reports. The bodies were then buried in individual graves.

Rapes

Numerous reports by Kosovar refugees reveal the organized and individual rape of ethnic Albanian women by Serb forces is widespread. 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. A victim who escaped her captors reported the Serbs were using a second hotel in Pec, the Metohia, as a brothel for raping ethnic Albanian women. In addition to these three 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. Albanian hospitals have reported increasing numbers of abortions among refugee women raped by Serbian forces. An ethnic Albanian girl from Suhareke reportedly suffered life-threatening complications resulting from an abortion performed on her 14th birthday.

Atrocities and War Crimes by Location

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 30 March.

Bela Crvka

  • Serb forces reportedly killed 35 people, then dumped their bodies near the Bellaja River between the Rogova and Bela Crvka railroad. By 28 March, Serb forces reportedly had killed as many as 500 civilians in this town.

Bellenice

  • Serb forces reportedly executed 60 young male Kosovar Albanians on 1 April.

Bruznic

  • Serb forces reportedly burned down this village near Vucitrn in early April, and a Kosovar Albanian refugee also claimed that Serb forces killed 100 ethnic Albanians there following the Rambouillet conference.

Bujanovac

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces removed all the young ethnic Albanian males from this town on 26 and 27 April, dressed them in Serb military uniforms, and are using them as human shields or decoys to escort military convoys.

Cirez

  • Serb forces reportedly used 20,000 Albanian Kosovars as human shields against NATO bombings and killed 21 school teachers in late March. According to recent refugee reports, Serb forces have killed over 150 ethnic Albanian men and women near Cirez. The Serbs reportedly forced the remaining villagers to bury the corpses. Refugees also claim that as many as 200 ethnic Albanians were being detained there by Serb security forces as of 5 April.

Dakovica

  • Armed Serb civilians are active in the town and burned a building where a group of ethnic Albanians were taking cover during a NATO airstrike, according to refugee reports. In addition, over 100 ethnic Albanians were reportedly executed by Serb units in this city. Seventy bodies were reportedly found in two houses and 33 were found in a nearby river after Serb forces separated the men 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. Nearly 14,000 refugees from Dakovica fled to the Albanian border crossing point at Prushit on 5 April. On 27 April, Serb forces reportedly executed 200 military-aged ethnic Albanian men.

Deneral 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 town. All of the detainees were released in late April, according to a Kosovar Albanian refugee.

Dobrosevac

  • Refugees claim that on 2 May, Serb forces gathered over 150 ethnic Albanians in a mosque, where they separated at least 40 young men, drove them to Dobrosevac, and executed them. The Serbs reportedly buried the bodies in a mass grave north of Glogovac near Dobrosevac.

Donje Stanovce

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces went door to door on 19 April, robbed ethnic Albanians of their money, and told them they had 24 hours to leave. All of the ethnic Albanians had been forcibly expelled from this village by 23 April.

Draganica

  • Serb forces executed three ethnic Albanian men on 13 April, according to refugee reports.

Dragas

  • Serb forces reportedly surrounded this village on 29 March and ordered the ethnic Albanian residents to leave immediately. One refugee claimed to have seen Serb forces execute and mutilate eight ethnic Albanian men.

Gatnja

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed five ethnic Albanian men in this town on 2 April.

Glodane

  • A large concentration of Kosovar IDPs was observed in this town under guard by Serb forces in early April, but then disappeared.

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. Refugees say that Serb forces later targeted villages outside of Glogovac, where they killed 100 additional ethnic Albanians on 30 April. Glogovac also reportedly housed a mass detention and execution center for Kosovar men.
  • On 20 April, Albanian press reported that ethnic Albanians discovered the bodies of 76 civilians who had been killed by Serb forces in Glogovac. Kosovapress reporting from 23 April claimed that Serb forces had killed at least 64 ethnic Albanians between 18 and 19 April. According to refugee reports, Serb forces exhumed the bodies of at least 50 ethnic Albanians in Glogovac and transported them by truck to the nearby village of Cikatovo on 14 May. The bodies were then buried in individual graves. Although it could not be determined who buried the bodies, overhead imagery confirmed the presence of at least 70 new individual graves in a cemetery north of Glogovac in mid-May.

Gnjilane

  • Between 7 and 15 April, Serb forces reportedly extorted and physically abused ethnic Albanians in this town, according to refugee reports. Additional refugees claim that on 16 April, the paramilitary units ordered all ethnic Albanians out of the town, or be killed. At least 1,000 IDPs departed and were harassed by Serb forces along the way. Men were reportedly separated from the convoy and killed; Serb forces reportedly ordered other refugees to bury the bodies of at least six ethnic Albanians. Two of the bodies had been burned, while the other four had bullet wounds to the back of the head.

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.

Grabovac

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces massacred at least 20 ethnic Albanians on 20 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. According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed 45 ethnic Albanian civilians on 16 April.

Izbica

  • Serb forces have reportedly killed 270 ethnic Albanians since mid-March. Kosovar Albanian refugees reportedly saw bodies that appeared to have been tortured and burned. Overhead imagery confirmed the presence of a mass burial site. Video taken by a Kosovar Albanian in Izbica from mid-April showed the corpses of at least 100 ethnic Albanian men, most with wounds to the head.

Jovic

  • Serb forces reportedly separated men from columns of ethnic Albanian civilians, and a Kosovar Albanian refugee claimed that he saw 34 corpses in the town.

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 Serb soldiers forcibly expelled ethnic Albanian villagers toward Prizren in late March. An ethnic Albanian refugee reportedly witnessed Serb forces execute at least five Albanian civilians on 27 March. On 14 April, Serb forces reportedly drove men into a pasture, where they forced them to kneel and pledge allegiance to Serbia. The Serbs then fired at them, killing at least 12 ethnic Albanians. Refugees further reported that Serb forces killed and buried over 60 ethnic Albanian civilians on 1 and 2 May.
  • On 9 April, refugees observed five men dressed in dark colors digging a trench at a cemetery behind a gas station in Kacanik. The five men were unloading what appeared to be bodies in white bags into the trench from a small trailer.

Kamena Glava

  • On 6 April, Serb paramilitary units reportedly looted and burned the village. After driving the villagers into the woods for ten days, VJ forces ordered them to leave the area on 17 April.

Klina

  • The expulsion of the town -- s ethnic Albanian population began on 28 March, with Serb forces removing residents 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.

Kolic

  • Serb forces reportedly killed at least 70 Kosovar Albanian males on 23 April, according to refugee reports. In addition, a video tape of the incident was reportedly made by an ethnic Albanian refugee.

Komoglava

  • According to refugees who arrived in Macedonia on 29 April, Serb forces attacked this ethnic Albanian village in mid-April. After surrounding the village, Serb forces burned 90 percent of the 800 ethnic Albanian homes and expelled the villagers.

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 have killed prominent Albanian Kosovars, according to refugee reports. 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. According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed 15 Kosovar Albanian men on 15 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.

Kosovo Polje

  • Serb forces reportedly forced ethnic Albanians into their homes and then threw hand grenades inside, according to refugee reports. 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. Serb forces reportedly entered the village on 4 April, collected all the villagers, confiscated their personal documents and car keys, and then transported them to the border by train. During the initial attack, an ethnic Albanian refugee claimed to have witnessed Serb forces massacre and mutilate six Albanian civilians. According to refugee reports, Serb police at the Kosovo Polje train station raped five young Albanian women in the train station basement.

Kotlina

  • According to refugees from this town near Kacanik, 50-60 ethnic Albanian men are missing. The rest of the Kosovar inhabitants were reportedly loaded onto trains and sent to Macedonia. Ethnic Albanians on 8 April discovered a mass grave suspected of containing the bodies of 26 persons, according to refugee reports. The victims allegedly were murdered in mid-March by a Serb paramilitary group, which had 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.

Kroikovk

  • According to Kosovapress, Serb forces have rounded up numerous ethnic Albanian men in the Glogovoac area and detained them at a dairy farm in Kroikovk in late May. It is not known how many men are being detained.

Likovac

  • Serb forces reportedly burned this village south of Srbica on 30 March.

Lipljan

  • Serb forces reportedly forced the ethnic Albanian population out of several villages in the area on 20 April. In addition, they burned and looted Albanian residences. According to Kosovar Albanian press, Serb forces in early May exhumed the corpses of ethnic Albanian civilians they had massacred on 18 April and interred in a mass grave. The Serbs later forced ethnic Albanian villagers to rebury the bodies in individual graves. Recently arrived refugees also report that Serb forces are using the Lipljan prison to detain, interrogate, and torture ethnic Albanian men. As many as 900 men are reportedly prisoned there.

Lismire

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces surrounded the village on 4 April and forced all ethnic Albanians out of their homes. After burning their homes, Serb forces deported the population to the Macedonian border by train.

Ljubenica

  • Refugees reported on 8 April that Serb forces murdered at least 100 ethnic Albanians from this village in western Kosovo.

Ljubiste

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed at least 20 ethnic Albanians in late April.

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.

Mali Alas

  • Serb forces reportedly surrounded this village on 21 April and separated the villagers by gender. According to refugee reports, the men were reportedly sent to a field, where Serb forces killed at least 35 of them. Several of the bodies were later burned.

Malo Ribare

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces raped four young girls and killed 19 ethnic Albanians in late April.

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 of refugees. 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 reported that the 50,000-140,000 IDPs then in the Malisevo-Dulje area were bombed and strafed by Serb aircraft and helicopters.

Morina

  • Ethnic Albanians in Morina near Srbica discovered three mass graves on 27 May. The villagers discovered at least 10 bodies, but could not continue their investigation because of the presence of Serb units operating in the area.

Nakarad

  • Serb forces reportedly killed at least 160 Kosovar Albanian civilians near the Serbian cemetary in late April.

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 in early April. 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. Serb forces killed 12 ethnic Albanian civilians in Orahovac on 9 May, according to Kosovar press reports.
  • An ethnic Albanian refugee reported that she and 24 other women were gang raped by Serb forces on 29 April.

Orize

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces killed over 200 ethnic Albanian men between 10 and 12 April.

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.

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 reportedly were killed and 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 a Catholic church in 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. On 1 May, Serb forces reportedly continued to burn ethnic Albanian homes in villages around Pec. According to Kosovar Albanian press reports, Serb forces executed 26 civilians near Pec in early May.

Podujevo

  • Serb security forces were burning villages east and southeast of this town as of 5 April, according to refugee reports. Serb forces may have executed 200 Kosovar Albanian men of military age. In addition, Serbs reportedly were removing ethnic Albanians from their cars and shooting them on the spot. Ninety percent of the town reportedly has been burned. On 19 April, Serb forces reportedly used ethnic Albanians as human shields along the road between Podujevo and Pristina. Serb forces killed at least 15 ethnic Albanian men between 26 and 28 May, according to Kosovapress.

Poklek

  • Ethnic Albanian refugees claim to have seen at least six corpses in a house in late April. Serb forces in the town warned the ethnic Albanians to leave, saying that their situation would be worse when the -- real war starts. Additional refugees claim that Serb forces buried at least 64 ethnic Albanian corpses in a mass grave.

Popovo

  • Serbian aircraft reportedly bombed this village southwest of Podujevo, killing 10 ethnic Albanians.

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. A Kosovar refugee reported seeing Serbian forces supervise a mass burial on 30 March; gypsies were throwing bodies encased in plastic bags into a large pit. On 2 April, a Kosovar Albanian claimed to have seen three truckloads of dead bodies accompanied by three or four armored vehicles in a graveyard in Pristina.
  • Serb forces appeared to have completed military operations in the city and were focusing on ethnically cleansing the IDP-swollen city by 4 April. Male ethnic Albanians, including prominent human rights lawyer Bjram Kelmendi and his two sons, reportedly were executed. Serb paramilitary units burned and looted Albanian homes and stores throughout the city. Mixed Serb police and paramilitary units separated men from women and children, and Serbs 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. In addition, refugees traveling from Pristina via trains report that Serb paramilitary units boarded the cars and stole all of their valuables.
  • The civilians reportedly were processed at the Pristina Sports Complex and then marched to the train station, Russian Ambassador to Yugoslavia Yuri Kotov, however, 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 executed 20 to 30 civilians and transported ethnic Albanians to the border in late March according to refugee accounts. At the border, Serb forces confiscated all personal documentation, removed all license plates from vehicles, and warned refugees 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 on two hours notice. 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.
  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces surrounded Prizren on 2 May. Those ethnic Albanians who were allowed to leave were stripped of their identity cards and forced to walk to the border. The remaining ethnic Albanians are reportedly experiencing widespread food shortages and Serb store owners have reportedly placed signs in their windows reading "No bread for Albanians."

Pusto Selo

  • The bodies of some 70 ethnic Albanians ranging in age from 14 to 50 were reportedly discovered by IDPs on 1 April. Serb authorities reportedly executed a survivor who sought medical treatment nearby. Overhead imagery confirmed the presence of a mass burial site. According to KLA press, Serb forces began exhuming this mass burial site on 23 April, and sent the bodies to Orahovac by truck.

Racak

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces reportedly executed two ethnic Albanians on 13 April.

Radavac

  • Serb forces buried 27 ethnic Albanians in a mass grave near Radavac on 20 May, according to refugee reports.

Rezala

  • Serb forces reportedly burned this village south of Srbica on 30 March. According to ethnic Albanian refugees, Serb forces killed at least 80 civilians on 5 April. On 14 April, ethnic Albanians discovered a mass grave containing 70 bodies.

Resnik

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed nine ethnic Albanians on 29 March.

Rozaje

  • Serb forces reportedly fired on a column of IDPs in Rozaje on 21 April, killing at least 12 ethnic Albanians.

Rugovo

  • Serb forces reportedly executed at least 50 ethnic Albanians.

Sjenica

  • After forcibly expelling all ethnic Albanians from this village in late April, Serb forces occupied their homes.

Slakovce

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces forcibly expelled all the ethnic Albanians from this village on 15 April. After forcing all the villagers into the woods, Serb forces reportedly raped an unknown number of women. The villagers remained in the forest for two weeks before leaving for Urosevac.

Slatina

  • Serb forces reportedly abducted and executed 26 ethnic Albanian men in late March. According to refugees, the Serbs threw the corpses down a well and later collapsed the well with explosives. Additional refugee reports claim that Serb forces killed 13 ethnic Albanians on 20 April.

Slivovo

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces killed at least 16 ethnic Albanians and buried their bodies in a common grave in late April.

Slovinje

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces killed and mutilated at least 40 ethnic Albanian civilians on 15 April. On 30 April, police reportedly exhumed 16 corpses from two mass graves.

Smerkovnica

  • According to reports from Kosovar Albanian refugees recently released from Smerkovnica prison, the prison is being used to detain ethnic Albanian men rounded up in Kosovska Mitrovica and Vucitrn. The Serbs have detained large numbers of military-aged men in the vicinity and are interrogating them at the prison. It is not known how many men remain imprisoned.

Smira

  • On 7 April, Serb forces reportedly executed five ethnic Albanian civilians, according to refugee reports.

Sojevo

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces executed five ethnic Albanian civilians in late March.

Srbica

  • Serb forces reportedly emptied the town of its Kosovar inhabitants and executed 115 ethnic Albanian males over the age of 18 in late March and early April. On 3 April, Serb forces reportedly forced ethnic Albanians out of their homes, confiscated their identity papers, and loaded them on trains bound for Macedonia. According to additional refugee reports, Serb forces killed an additional 24 ethnic Albanian civilians in areas around Srbica on 26 April. An ammunition plant in Srbica was reportedly used as a temporary detention center in late March.

Stimlje

  • Serb forces in late March reportedly burned the headquarters of a human rights committee and the Democratic League of Kosovo, as well as the building housing the former OSCE mission. Serb forces 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 early April, Serb forces reportedly killed five ethnic Albanian civilians.

Suva Reka

  • On 25 March, Serb forces reportedly massacred at least 30 Kosovar Albanians, most by burning them alive in their homes and 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 have killed as many as 350 ethnic Albanians in this town, which has been cleansed of its Albanian population. According to Kosovar Albanian refugee reports, a group of Serb police and civilians robbed and killed an ethnic Albanian family living in a former OSCE office before burning their bodies. According to refugee reports, Serb forces killed at least 35 ethnic Albanian civilians on 13 May. One refugee claimed to have witnessed Serb forces using bulldozers to dig a grave and bury 30 bodies.

Trstenik

  • Serb forces reportedly executed three ethnic Albanians on 7 April, according to refugee reports.

Tutin

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces entered this village on 24 April and forcibly expelled all of the ethnic Albanian residents.

Urosevac

  • Serb forces reportedly forcibly expelled ethnic Albanian civilians from their homes on 10 April, and are now using some of the homes as barracks. Former Albanian shops and homes were reportedly given to Serb villagers. Serb forces reportedly are targeting the homes of prominent politicians and intellectuals. As many as 40 ethnic Albanians have been killed, and there have been refugee reports of the rape of young Albanian girls. According to an ethnic Albanian refugee, Serb forces have forced Albanian males to dig defensive positions on the southeast side of the city, with the Serbs forcing 25 civilians from the nearby town of Starosello to dig trenches from 10 to 12 April. According to Kosovapress from late May, Serb forces rounded up numerous ethnic Albanian civilians around Urosevac and were detaining them at a restaurant called Pranvera.

Varosh

  • According to refugee reports, Serb paramilitary forces reportedly entered ethnic Albanian homes, expelled the inhabitants at knife-point, and stole their belongings. They reportedly killed an unknown number of Kosovar Albanians and removed their bodies.

Vatay

  • According to refugee reports, Serb forces reportedly killed 14 ethnic Albanians on 13 April. One refugee claimed that he was forced to bury the bodies, and that all of the corpses he saw were shot in the back of the head.

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 Kosovar Albanian men after separating them from the women and children appear to be corroborated in a videotape shot by a survivor, who also gave the names of two dozen of the victims. The BBC aired the refugee -- s video showing dead bodies lying in ditches and in the streets; according to the refugee, all of the victims had single bullet wounds in the back of the head or neck. A female refugee claimed that 40 men were executed by Serb forces in Velika Krusa, while other refugees claim that homes were set ablaze, burning to death over 60 Kosovar Albanians -- including women and children. A mass grave containing some 50 bodies has been reported and, according to refugees, police 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 NATO."

Vrsevac

  • Refugees report that Serb police used ethnic Albanians as human shields here on 7 April.

Vucitrn

  • Serb forces reportedly burned all houses previously rented by the OSCE and looted Kosovar Albanian homes. Refugees from the town also claim that men were being separated from their families. On 27 March, Serb forces reportedly killed four young Kosovar Albanians, including a 14-year-old girl. By 29 March, Serb forces had reportedly herded Kosovar Albanians into a school in the city, and refugees from the town claim that the men were being separated from their families. Since mid-April, Serb forces have reportedly killed over 100 ethnic Albanians in villages north of Vucitrn. Additional refugees witnessed Serb forces removing young men from convoys and shooting them. According to Albanian press, Serb forces rounded up large numbers of Kosovar Albanian men from Vucitrn on 21 May and sent them to the Smerkovnica prison. In addition, Serb forces killed at least 23 ethnic Albanians in Vucitrn on 26 May, according to Kosovapress.

Zheger

  • Serb forces reportedly expelled all ethnic Albanians from this village, before burning it on 13 April.

Zhure

  • On 28 March, local police reportedly ordered all ethnic Albanians to leave town. As many as 7,000 Kosovar Albanians 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 500 villages have been burned since late March, and we have confirmed that the following villages have been mostly burned or entirely destroyed.

Bajcina Bajgora Banja Batlava
Bela Crvka Bradas Celina Crebnik
Crni Lug Dobr Do Donja Penduha Donja Lapistica
Donji Streoci Dumos Gajrak Gede
Godisnjak Gorane Gornja Zakut Gornje Pakistica
Gornji Crnobreg Gornji Streoci Jablanica Jovic
Kacandol Klincina Letance Lipovac
Luzane Mamusa Madare Mala Hoca
Malisevo Mirusa Neprebiste Novo Selo Begovo
Ostrozub Pakistica Pantina Pasoma
Radoste Randubrava Retimnje Rogovo
Skorosnik Slatina Smac Sopnic
Stanica Donje Ljupce Suvi Do Vlaski Drenovac Vucitrn
Vujitun Zrze    

Fact Sheet based on information from U.S. Government sources, released June 4, 1999
http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/rpt_990604_ksvo_ethnic.html
http://www.usia.gov/kosovo/99060708.htm
http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/Kosovo/Kosovo-Ethnic_Cleansing15.htm

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