war in europe
ethnic cleansing and atrocities

ethnic cleansing and atrocities in kosovo

home
interviews
how it was fought
ethnic cleansing
for moral values?
discussion

A British Soldier looks over the site of a possible mass grave in Kacanik

Personal Accounts of  Serbs  and Kosovar Albanians

NOTE: The reporters for "War in Europe" interviewed Serb soldiers, KLA fighters, and Albanian survivors. All spoke on the condition that they remain anonymous. Names, dates and details of specific events that could be used to identify them have been edited from these transcripts.
survivors

Three Kosovar Albanian survivors relate what happened during the massacre at Precaz on February 26, 1998 and at Racak on January 15, 1999.
Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic

As commander of the Yugoslav 3rd Army, Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic held overall responsibility for the prosecution of the war in Kosovo. Since the Serbian withdrawal, Pavkovic has claimed that NATO did only minimal damage to Yugoslav troops and has repeatedly threatened to renew fighting in Kosovo. A Milosevic loyalist, he is now the Yugoslav army chief of staff.
Hashim Thaci

Hashim Thaci is a former Kosovar Albanian student leader who helped to found the underground movement that became the KLA. Nicknamed "Snake," he returned from Switzerland in 1998 to fight against the Serbs. At the Rambouillet peace conference, the 30-year-old Thaci garnered international attention as the KLA representative who stubbornly refused to compromise the rebel group's agenda. Since the war, Thaci has served as the prime minister of the KLA's self-styled provisional government.
serb soldiers

Volunteer and conscripted Serb soldiers describe their participation in the persecution of Kosovar Albanians.
kla soldiers

Three KLA fighters speak about why they took up arms against Serbian forces.

Reports and Documentation
Kosovo/Kosova As Seen, As Told

This is the official report the human rights findings of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, led by Ambassador Bill Walker between October 1998 to June 1999. The extensive report details "a pattern of human rights and humanitarian law violations on a staggering scale, often committed with extreme and appalling violence." It includes a municipality-by-municipality accounting of atrocities and a picture gallery.
Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: an Accounting

This report was issued in December 1999 by the U.S. State Department. Based on refugee accounts, NGO documentation, and unclassified government sources, it describes war crimes committed by Serbian forces, including summary execution, burning of homes, and forcible displacement of Kosovar Albanians. It also includes an account of retributive violence carried out by Albanians against Serbs in the aftermath of the war.
Kosovo War Crimes Chronology

A chronology of the major war crimes from January 1998 to April 1999 documented by Human Rights Watch, with links to detailed reports on each incident. The majority are crimes attributed to Serbian and Yugoslav government forces, but the list also includes abuses committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Pictures from Racak Massacre

The Kosova Information Center hosts a number of very graphic photographs of atrocities from the massacre at Racak, January 15, 1999, when Serb security forces killed 45 Kosovo Albanians in retaliation for a KLA attack on four Serb policemen.

Debating the Death Toll

The investigation into the number of Kosovar Albanians killed by Serbian forces has not been completed, but has given rise to a controversial debate. Opponents to NATO's intervention in Kosovo have claimed that the number of casualties was exaggerated in order to justify the bombing of Serbia. In October, 1999, the Texas-based analytical group Stratfor issued a report called Where are Kosovo's Killing Fields? which claimed that casualty figures were manipulated to serve political ends. Their argument was based on early results of the International Criminal Tribunal investigation which turned up fewer bodies than initially predicted. Ian Williams, UN correspondent for The Nation magazine, responds to Stratfor's allegations of exaggerated numbers and examines the difficulty in determining an exact figure in his article, The Kosovo Numbers Game, in the Balkans Reports of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

A related issue is the number of civilians killed by NATO bombs. According to Human Rights Watch, the Pentagon has suggested that only twenty to thirty incidents resulted in civilian deaths during Operation Allied Force, while the Yugoslav government has claimed that NATO was responsible for between 1,200 and 5,000 civilian deaths. However, a Human Rights Watch report issued in February 2000, Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign, concludes that at least 500 Yugoslav civilians died in ninety separate incidents during the 78 day bombing campaign. The report also finds that NATO committed violations of international humanitarian law in its targeting and bombing practices.


Yugoslav Forces and Kosovo Liberation Army
Military and Security Units

The OSCE report Kosovo/Kosova As Seen, As Told includes a section on the structure, weaponry, and activities of the military/security units involved in both sides of the war in Kosovo.
The KLA: braced to defend and control

This article from Jane's Intelligence Review describes the evolution of the KLA from a small band of guerillas to an organized military and political force. [The article was published in April 1999, before the KLA, under pressure from NATO, agreed to disarm in June]


home . interviews . how it was fought . ethnic cleansing . fighting for morals . video . discussion
facts & figures . readings . chronology . links . map
synopsis . press . tapes & transcripts . FRONTLINE . pbs

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation


SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

RECENT STORIES

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS