Mentor Cana on Wed, 28 Jul 1999 23:10:48 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> [kcc-news] Kosovo Atrocities Recounted In Detail: Glogovac Report by HRW

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Kosovo Atrocities Recounted In Detail

(New York, July 27, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today released a detailed
report on how Serbian and Yugoslav forces besieged and terrorized the
ethnic Albanian population of Glogovac town and the surrounding villages
in Kosovo. 

Human Rights Watch urged the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia to locate and interview the police officer identified in
the report as "Lutka," who may have valuable information about the
identities of those who committed summary executions and other atrocities
in the area. 

The twenty-five-page report describes summary executions, including a
massacre of twenty-three children, arbitrary detentions, regular beatings,
widespread looting, and the destruction of schools, hospitals, and other
civilian objects during the Serbian government's three-month campaign of
"ethnic cleansing" from March - June 1999. As a stronghold of the KLA and
an area of constant fighting with government forces, the Glogovac
municipality was particularly hard-hit between March 19, when
international observers (the OSCE's Kosovo Verification Mission)  withdrew
from Kosovo before the NATO bombing campaign, and June 15, when

Serbian and Yugoslav forces withdrew from the region. 

The most serious atrocities documented in the report took place in two
villages near Glogovac: Staro Cikatovo and Stari Poklek, both places where
the KLA was active.  In Poklek, the police blocked a group of ethnic
Albanians -- mostly members of the extended Muqolli family -- from fleeing
their village and forced them into the house of a relative.  After a few
hours, the owner of the house, Sinan Muqolli, and another man were taken
outside, executed and thrown into the family well. 

Shortly thereafter, a grenade was thrown into the room holding at least
forty-seven persons, including twenty-three children under the age of
fifteen.  One man in uniform raked the room with automatic gunfire, a
survivor said, killing everyone inside except six people.  A member of the
Muqolli family is a local commander of the KLA. 

A Human Rights Watch researcher visited Sinan Muqolli's largely burnt
house on June 25, 1999.  The room where the killing took place had bullet
marks along the walls and bullet casings from a large-caliber weapon
scattered on the floor.  The basement below the room had dried blood
stains dripping from the ceiling and walls and a large pool of dried blood
on the floor.  Surviving family members displayed a cardboard box
containing some of the bones allegedly collected from the room and showed
the nearby well where they claimed some of the bodies had been dumped. 

In Staro Cikatovo on April 17 the police attacked the village and
separated the men from the women and children.  By the end of the day,
twenty-three men from the Morina family had been killed.  Another four
were still missing as of June 25 and presumed dead by their families.  The
survivors from Staro Cikatovo insist that none of the dead men were
involved in the KLA, although several members of the family are KLA
soldiers, including two who were wounded in the assault.  As in Poklek,
this may be one explanation for the executions. 

Human Rights Watch visited Staro Cikatovo on June 25, 1999.  Between 40
and 50 percent of the approximately one hundred homes had been badly
damaged or destroyed. Most houses had been burned from the inside,
indicating that they were purposefully burned rather than damaged in
combat.  Several structures had also been demolished by bulldozers. 

The actions in the Glogovac municipality were clearly coordinated between
the regular Serbian police, the Yugoslav Army, and paramilitaries, whom
witnesses identified as having long hair and beards, with colored bandanas
on their heads and sleeves.  While the police were responsible for many of
the beatings in Glogovac, as well as the organized mass expulsion, it is
the paramilitaries who are implicated in most of the serious violence,
such as in Poklek and Staro Cikatovo. 

The only person identifiable by witnesses was a deputy police chief from
Glogovac known as "Lutka," a known policeman in the town.  Residents said
that he did not behave brutally, unlike many of the paramilitaries,
although he was involved in thefts, and he was a principal organizer of
the forced depopulation in early May, telling Albanians that they should
"get on the buses or go to Albania by foot." 

It should be noted that these abuses are hardly the first war crimes
committed by Serbian or Yugoslav forces in the Glogovac municipality. 
Since February 1998, the Drenica region has been the sight of numerous
executions, arbitrary detentions, beatings, and the systematic destruction
of civilian objects, such as schools, medical clinics, and mosques. 

Human Rights Watch called on the international community to support the
work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) by guaranteeing ongoing financial and political support to the
Tribunal, assisting the Tribunal to identify witnesses and evidence, and
working closely with the Tribunal to secure evidence and ensure the
protection of witnesses. 

The organization also urged the international community to provide the
Tribunal with any intelligence information obtained that relates to the
commission of war crimes, including the identification of specific units
engaged in operations in areas in which abuses occur, and to convey
relevant satellite intelligence information to the Tribunal. 

For more information please contact:
In Pristina, Ben Ward: +32-476-495-453
        Fred Abrahams: +32-755-288-90
In New York, Holly Cartner: +1 212 216-1277
In Brussels, Jean-Paul Marthoz:+32-2-732-2009
In London, Urmi Shah: +44-171-713-1995

*For a copy of the report, please call Skye Donald at (212) 216-1832 or
Alexandra Perina at (212) 216-1845. The report is available on the web

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