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.
Three Kosovar Albanian survivors relate what happened during the massacre at
Precaz on February 26, 1998 and at Racak on January 15, 1999.
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 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.
Volunteer and conscripted Serb soldiers describe their participation in the
persecution of Kosovar Albanians.
Three KLA fighters speak about why they took up arms against Serbian
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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]