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The BBC's Jon Leyne
"The war and the suffering are still not over"
 real 28k

Monday, 6 December, 1999, 12:38 GMT
Kosovo catalogue of horrors
Brutalities reported against Kosovo Albanian women and children

Here are excerpts from the two OSCE reports documenting extensive human rights violations in Kosovo.

Young men singled out

The war in Kosovo
The OSCE says young men were the group that was by far the most targeted in the conflict in Kosovo.

"Clearly, there were many young men involved in the UCK (the Kosovo Liberation Army) but every young Kosovo Albanian man was suspected of being a terrorist."

Thousands fled the violence
The OSCE details specific examples of violations against young men:

"At Iglarevo/Gllareve (Klina), the young men were not allowed to leave as the rest of the villagers were expelled by Serb forces on 17 March 1999.

"The next day one of the villagers went back to the village to see what had happened to the boys. He saw the burned body of a boy tied up to hay; only the bones and parts of the legs were left. Eleven other boys had all been shot at the same spot, executed. They buried the young men right there."

Four of the young men were shot in their backs as they were lying face down on the asphalt
Kosovo Albanian
The report details an incident in Podgradje/Pogragje (Gnjilane), when 30 paramilitaries drove through the village on a stolen tractor. Five young men, Kosovo Albanians, were at that time coming from the other direction. The paramilitaries stopped them, ordering them to lie down on the road so that all the villagers could see. Then the paramilitaries trod on the backs of the young men for a while and beat them with rifles.

"After that four of the young men were shot in their backs as they were lying face down on the asphalt. The paramilitaries told the fifth one to go in the village and get some fuel so that they could burn the bodies. When he refused to do so, they put him on top of the bodies and shot at him. He was wounded but survived."

Violence against women

In its report, the OSCE says that much of the violence towards women seems to have been intended to humiliate the whole of Kosovo Albanian society.

"Instead of being arbitrarily killed, as were many men, women suffered rape and other forms of sexual violence, since the perpetrators knew that this attached extreme stigma in many women's eyes."

In one case study, a 21-year-old Kosovo Albanian woman described how she and a female relative were subjected to a six-hour ordeal of abduction and rape by Serbian police in mid-February 1999, after being arbitrarily detained as they were on their way to attend a wedding.

They took our clothes off and each of them raped us. We were raped more than once by each of them
Rape victim
"At 18:00, as we were having some food in the bus station while waiting for the bus, five [police officers] arrived. They were around 25-30, except one who was 50, bald and had some insignia of rank on his arm. They asked what we had in our suitcase. 'You have bombs,' they said. They searched the suitcase, and said 'You have to come with us to the police station'.

"We drove for three hours outside Prizren. We arrived in an open field near an Orthodox church and a lake. It was still snowy and cold. We had to empty our pockets and my ID was torn. They took our clothes off and each of them raped us. We were raped more than once by each of them.

"After we were raped we had to enter the lake. The water went up to our chests. It was freezing. They also put our heads under the water for a while. They raped us again.

"They made jokes on us. Then they played with the barrel of their rifle on our breasts. I told them that I would inform the police and they answered that, if I did, they would kill all the members of my family and burn our house. I spat on them and they beat me. They left at midnight."

Impact of the conflict on children

The OSCE says the suffering of children was often extreme.

It provides an example of a 13-year-old boy from the town of Suva Reka who gave the following statement:

"There was a shooting incident between [the] UCK and the police near my neighbourhood. The UCK was trying to prevent the police from coming in. The police finally arrived and kicked into our house.

I shook my dad three times. No reaction. He was not dead yet because he is strong. His arms were destroyed, he was full of blood
13-year-old boy
"My sister and I and my father were on the ground floor. My mother was upstairs and saw them coming in. She shouted for my dad to leave the house. As my dad opened the door to leave, they shot him.

"Then the four policemen entered our house. They hit my sister with the big part of the automatic weapon. They turned and pointed the gun at me. I fainted. The police did not shoot me. They were looking for money or they'd kill us. Ten minutes later, I became conscious again. My dad was lying on the floor just outside.

"I shook my dad three times. No reaction. He was not dead yet because he is strong. His arms were destroyed, he was full of blood. I was scared and ran away. I heard two shots at my father. The policemen were going into houses and killing people. They were using silent guns [silencers]. I heard them in a house and later went in and saw five people dead in that house.

"I left our house but my sister stayed behind and cared for my dad. She said that a policeman told her to go inside right away. As she did, a bullet flew by her head, just missing her.

"I went to my neighbour's house. My sister joined me in the afternoon. We went later to my house and my father's body was gone. There was blood on the stairs like he was pulled. I have not seen him since. My mother is also gone. I don't know where she is."

Kosovo Serbs

Serbs left under K-For escort
The OSCE also highlights a number of unidentified victims of seemingly inexplicable killings. It says that in some cases there was a suspicion that KLA forces killed not only moderate Kosovo Albanians but also Serbs who were well liked by both communities:

"On 14 December 1998, unidentified gunmen killed six young Kosovo Serbs in the Panda Bar in Pec. The attack was considered to be in revenge for the killing of 30 UCK members who had been shot while crossing the border illegally a few days earlier.

"On 17 December, the Serb deputy mayor of Kosovo Polje/Fushe Kosove was abducted and murdered. The UCK claimed that they were not responsible for the killing. The deputy mayor of Kosovo Polje was a moderate Kosovo Serb politician who had done much to improve social conditions in his area."

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See also:
06 Dec 99 |  Europe
Horrors of Kosovo revealed
12 Nov 99 |  Europe
Q & A: Counting Kosovo's dead
15 Jun 99 |  Europe
A land of desecration and death
23 Jul 99 |  Kosovo
Living with fear in Pristina
21 May 99 |  Europe
Children's tales of horror
15 Jun 99 |  Europe
Recrimination in Prizren
30 Mar 99 |  Europe
Horror stories from the borders

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