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The facts behind the “massacre” in the village of Racak in Kosovo


The facts behind the “massacre”
in the village of Racak in Kosovo

Thanks to the report of a special team of journalists with the Kragujevac daily LID, Tiker News Agency reproduces a part of the report from a special issue of this newspaper.

THE RACAK FILE:
TRUTHS AND MANIPULATION

The events in the Kosmet village of Racak marked the beginning of the year in our part of the world. The stories from the Sarajevo marketplace of Markale and from Vase Miskina Street were repeated. The scenario was almost completely identical. The Serbs need to be accused of misdeeds and a massacre of civilians in order to find justification for their renewed punishment. In the first two cases, the world learned the truth too late, only after the Serbs had already been punished for something that they did not do. In the hope that we have learned something from previously lost battles in the media war, we have prepared for the readers of LID a special report, “The Racak File”, in which we will attempt, on the basis of sources available to us, to unmask the initiators behind the new conspiracy against the Serbian people.

FIGARO QUESTIONS OSCE CLAIMS REGARDING EVENTS IN RACAK:[1]

A Film refutes Walker and terrorists

Eyewitness accounts by Albanians are refuted by film shot by reporters of Associated Press, the French paper stresses, stating that the gully where the bodies were was discovered only on the day after the fighting, even though observers were present in Racak within half an hour after the fighting ended. The French daily Figaro today [Jan. 23] casts doubt on the statements of OSCE regarding events in the village of Racak, asking the question whether terrorists of the KLA staged the so-called massacre in an attempt to turn their military defeat into a political victory.

In a text bearing the heading “Kosovo – Shadow of Doubt Falls on a Massacre”, Figaro writes that the version offered to the world by OSCE regarding events in Racak should be re-examined and that, by analyzing available facts, an answer should be found to the question of what really happened in Racak. The available facts – film shot both during the fighting at Racak and yesterday on location by Renaud Girard, special reporter for Figaro – refute the claims of OSCE and of the Albanian separatists that Serbian security forces massacred 45 civilians on Friday, points out the French daily.

William Walker with his hands in his pockets conducting a so-called “investigation of the massacre”. Walker refused to allow representatives of the domestic media to be present during his “investigation process” and personally selected the teams of reporters who could accompany him

Yugoslav experts in forensic medicine, who yesterday began to perform autopsies of the bodies of those killed in Racak, declared that “not one of the bodies showed evidence that the victim was executed,” writes Figaro.

Since questions exist as to what actually happened in Racak, this paper felt that it was important to try to reconstruct the chronology of events on the critical date. According to Figaro, at dawn the Serb police surrounded and attacked the village of Racak, known to be a base of the separatist KLA. The police had nothing to hide, since at 8:30 a.m. they invited a television crew (two reporters of the American Associated Press) to film the operation. Members of the OSCE mission were also present: on location were two vehicles with American diplomatic plates. The OSCE observers stayed on location the whole day, situated in a valley from where they were able to observe the village, writes Figaro.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., a police report was made public via the International Press Center in Pristina, which stated that, during the course of fighting at Racak, 15 “KLA terrorists were killed and a significant quantity of weapons was confiscated”. At 3:30 p.m. the police forces, accompanied by the television crew of Associated Press, left the village, taking with them a heavy artillery piece of 12.7 mm caliber, two hand-held artillery pieces, two sniper rifles and approximately 30 Kalashnikovs manufactured in China. At 4:30 p.m., a French reporter drove through the village, where he encountered three orange OSCE vehicles. The international observers were calmly talking with three adult Albanians in civilian clothes. They were looking for possible injured civilians. Upon returning to the village at 6:00 p.m., the French reporter saw the observers taking away two women and two old men, who were very lightly injured.

The observers, who did not appear to be too excited, did not say anything significant to the reporter. They only said that they “were not able to assess the outcome of the fighting”.

The spectacle of bodies of Albanian civilians in a gully, which shocked the world, was not discovered until the next day, at about 9:00 a.m., when reporters appeared on location, who were soon followed by OSCE observers, writes Figaro.

The village at that moment was under the control of armed members of the KLA, who were directing foreign visitors toward the scene of the so-called massacre. Around noon, William Walker, the chief of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, appeared and expressed his indignation regarding what he had seen, the paper reminds us. All eyewitness accounts from Albanians, according to Figaro, confirm one version of the story: in the middle of the day, the police raided the village, separated women from men, and took the latter into the hills where they subsequently killed them.

It is disturbing, however, that these eyewitness accounts are in complete contradiction with the film shot by the Associated Press crew, stresses the French paper. The film shows an empty village which the police had raided in the morning, moving along the walls of the houses for protection. Shooting began because the police encountered resistance from the trenches which the KLA separatists had dug nearby. The fighting was more intense on the higher ground around the village. Standing in a sheltered place by the mosque, the AP reporters concluded that the KLA separatists, who were surrounded, were desperately trying to break out. About 20 of them succeeded in doing so, a fact which the police confirmed.

“What, in fact, happened? Did the KLA during the night collect the bodies of those killed in the fighting in order to prepare the spectacle of a so-called cold-blooded execution? Another disturbing fact is that on Saturday morning the reporters found very few cartridge shells around the gully where the so-called massacre took place”, concludes Figaro.

The report by Figaro’s journalist generated a great deal of interest in France: Girard was interviewed by Evropa-1 Radio and by France Info Radio, and many French and Swiss radio stations requested permission to retransmit the interview. Radio Frans Info today [Jan. 23] transmitted this interview every hour.

THE LONDON “GUARDIAN”:
BODIES OF THOSE KILLED AT RACAK WERE MOVED

It is becoming increasingly clear that many details of events in the village of Racak, which have been the direct cause of the newest tensions in Kosovo and Metohija and the launching of a media campaign, did not happen as the world until now had been told that they happened, it is stressed in London. After the two French reporters, the London Guardian also leaves much room for doubt in the current version of those events. The paper quotes the statement of officials of the international verification mission, who wished to remain anonymous, to the effect that they were convinced that some of the bodies of the deceased at Racak were later moved.

Foreign and domestic experts have determined the unnatural position of the bodies of the victims and the absence of empty cartridge shells in the location where the victims were reportedly killed.

The verifiers, notes the Guardian, inspected 15 bodies of those killed at Racak and determined that some of them were moved. “We do not know who moved them or why,” one of those officials stated. In addition to this, a reporter at the Guardian quotes the statement of a British member of the verification mission, Neal Strechan, who said he was officially invited to Racak, which represents the first public admission that the verifiers were duly informed.

Strechan says that a local Albanian, who was injured, told him that there were 20 bodies in the village. That was all he knew and, he emphasized, he “could not tell him any more than that”.

All this promises to cast serious doubt upon the official reports of the verification mission in Britain, as well, and brings into question the true intentions of the very aggressive media and political campaign.

 

THE GREEK DAILY “EXUSIA”:
WALKER DIDN’T “SEE” TERRORISTS

On January 19, the Greek daily Exusia, in article entitled “Serb killed by ‘unarmed’ Albanians”, notes that “in yesterday’s fighting near the village of Racak, William Walker again failed to ‘see’ the Albanian terrorists”.

Terrorist weapons found close to the village of Racak after the intervention of security forces and documented by members of the international mission.

The reason for the latest fighting, writes Exusia, was an attack, according to Walker, by “unarmed” Albanians on a team of Serbian specialists who were attempting to investigate. The paper informs us that in yesterday’s fighting with Albanian terrorists, another member of the Serbian police forces was killed and two others were injured.

A member of the so-called KLA provides security for the “investigation mission” of William Walker.

“Regardless of the fact that the Albanian side is responsible for the latest fighting, warnings continue to be directed only to Belgrade, along with the threat that NATO forces will be activated for military intervention,” writes the daily Exusia.

 

LE MONDE:
A SERIES OF QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS

The French daily Le Monde, in the Thursday, January 21, issue, questions assertions of a “cold-blooded massacre” of Albanian civilians after the fighting between Serbian forces with the terrorists on January 15 in the village of Racak in Kosmet.

The accusation is irrevocable, writes Le Monde, but adds that unanswered questions remain nonetheless. How did the Serbian police manage to gather a group of men and to peacefully lead them to the place of execution when they were under constant fire by the terrorists?

How is it possible that the people living in the village, who returned before nightfall and the observers who spent over two hours in the village did not see the gully in which the bodies were found?

The residents of the abandoned village of Racak did not recognize among the victims of the so-called “massacre” any of their neighbors from the village

Why were so few cartridges found surrounding the bodies and why was there so little blood in the location where 23 people were found with multiple bullets in their heads?

Were the bodies of Albanians killed in the fighting with the Serbian police later gathered in a single place in order to create a horrific spectacle which was supposed to elicit the condemnation of public opinion?

Was the adamancy and speed of the reaction of the Belgrade government, which gave the head of the verification mission 48 hours to depart from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, indicative of its certainty in what it claimed, asks Le Monde. The French daily states that only an international investigation can establish the truth beyond all shadow of a doubt. In Pristina, the arrival of Finnish and Belorussian forensic experts is expected who will assist their Yugoslav colleagues in expert assessment of the bodies, writes the paper.

 

THE FACTS:
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS IN THE VILLAGE OF RACAK

In the early morning hours of January 15, members of the police surrounded the village of Racak, district of Stimlje, with the goal of arresting a terrorist group which, five days before, had killed a policeman, Svetislav Przic.

That terrorist group had carried out multiple criminal acts of terrorism as per Article 125 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and was responsible for the murders of policemen Sinisa Mihajlovic, Nazmija Aluri and Svetislav Przic, members of the police reserve forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs at Urosevac, PC Stimlje (killed in attacks on September 10 and October 29, 1998, and on January 10, 1999); Sasa Jankovic and Ranko Djordjevic, members of the police reserve forces of Ministry of Internal Affairs at Gnjilane (killed on August 2 and October 12, 1998); and the murder of civilians Miftar Reseni (on December 31, 1998) and Enver Gasi (January 2, 1999). The same terrorist group kidnapped members of the ethnic Albanian and Roma [Gypsy] communities in the districts of Urosevac and Stimlje, and set fire to the house of an ethnic Albanian, Djemalj Batici of Racak (on November 18, 1998).

Security forces informed officials of the international observation mission at the beginning of the campaign against the terrorists and it was watched by observers and reporters of foreign news agencies.

Upon entering the village of Racak, terrorist groups attacked the members of the police from trenches, barricades and fortifications using automatic weapons, and hand-held missile and grenade launchers. During the attack, policeman Goran Vucicevic was injured and many official vehicles belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia were damaged. Members of the police used weapons in order to fend of the attack and break up the terrorist groups. Several tens of terrorists were killed in the fighting, most of whom were in uniforms bearing the markings of the terrorist KLA. On this occasion, members of the police confiscated: a Browing heavy artillery piece of 12.7 mm caliber, two hand-held artillery pieces, 36 automatic rifles, two sniper rifles, and a large quantity of munitions and hand grenades, radio stations, and other military equipment and supplies.

During the course of this police action, terrorist Sadik Mujota (born in 1943) from the village of Malopolje, district of Stimlje, was killed, as well as his daughter who was an active member of the so-called KLA terrorist organization. Mujota, along with his brothers, three sons and a daughter, headed a terrorist group consisting of many people which participated in carrying out multiple terrorist attacks on members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia and the Yugoslav Army in the region of the district of Stimlje. The OSCE KVM was advised of the beginning of the action to arrest the terrorists and was present on location. Immediately following the police action, an investigative team headed by an investigating judge of the Pristina District Court, Danica Marinkovic, and by the Deputy District Public Prosecutor, Ismet Sufto, appeared on location but the terrorists who were on the surrounding highlands opened fire and made it impossible to conduct the investigation. The following day, January 16, 1999, the investigation was again rendered impossible because OSCE KVM insisted that the investigating judge conduct the investigation without the presence of the police, with the explanation that fighting might ensue.

During this (classic) police operation of finding and arresting a terrorist group which had committed terrorist attacks, murder and kidnapping of members of the police, and of civilians, in the regions of Urosevac and Stimlje, the head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, William Walker, immediately accused “Yugoslav security forces” of massacring 45 civilians in the village of Racak, an act of which he was “personally convinced” and sent an ultimative demand that investigators from the Hague Tribunal be permitted to come to Kosovo and Metohija within 24 hours. At the same time, Walker personally visited the village of Racak, without informing the Yugoslav authorities, accompanied by reporters whom he hand-picked.

By his behavior, his incorrect and malicious interpretations and disrespect for the authority of Yugoslav officials and laws, Walker overstepped his mandate of verifier and the agreement with OSCE in the worst possible manner. On January 17, 1999, the chairman of the Coordinating Team of the Federal Government’s Commission for Cooperation with OSCE Kosovo and Metohija Verification Mission, Dusan Loncar, sent a note of protest to the head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, William Walker, because of his inappropriate behavior and particularly because he made it impossible to conduct an investigation in the village of Racak by authorized, legally empowered authorities.

The investigation, which was scheduled for January 17, 1999, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and to which Walker (KVM) were invited to verify the process by which the investigation was performed, was never begun due to the fact that the Albanian terrorists opened fire from mortars and heavy artillery from the region of the villages of Rance and Petrovo. On that occasion, one of the fired mortar shells fell close to the investigating judge, Mrs. Danica Marinkovic, while other shells fired by the terrorists posed an immediate danger to the lives of the policemen protecting the investigating judge.

An official protest was sent to Walker due to the impossibility of performing the investigation by the investigating judge and it was asked that the verifiers limit their engagement to the function of verifying the process and the work of our investigating judge and her protection force.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES:
THE AMERICANS ALREADY KNEW?

On Friday, the day before American ambassador William Walker sensationally “discovered” the so-called massacre in the village of Racak in Kosmet, State Secretary Madeleine Albright held a meeting behind closed doors in Washington, at which she revealed to a few members of the team close to her that the agreement on normalization of relations in Kosmet was due to fall apart at any moment, The New York Times wrote on January 19.

The New York paper cites the statement of an anonymous official in the American administration who pointed out that Albright, obviously, had reliable information regarding events in Racak and practically announced them.

Last Sunday, the American secretary of state, claims the same source, revealed to functionaries of the White House and the Pentagon that “the administration is facing a critical moment” with respect to reaching a decision on Kosmet and outlined that Washington had three options: to give up, to continue “wallowing in the mud” or to take “decisive action”. The secretary of state, claims the New York paper, told her colleagues that she favored “strong pressure”.

Today’s text in The New York Times clearly shows that Washington knew in advance of the whole scenario of the so-called massacre in the village of Racak, which is now being used to justify new pressures on Yugoslavia and Serbia.

America is prepared to punish the Serbs. Regardless of the facts, the threat remains intact.

More than symptomatic is the fact that Madeleine Albright, in warning the functionaries in the Pentagon and the White House that the climax of the Kosmet crisis was soon coming, delivered a series of compliments regarding the head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosmet, William Walker, who, only one day later, would take upon himself the key role in the realization of the scenario of the so-called massacre.

 

AUTOPSY OF FIVE BODIES SHOWED NO TRACE OF MASSACRE

The director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine in Pristina, Dr. Slavisa Dobricanin, stated on Wednesday that a team of eminent pathologists had already performed autopsies of five bodies brought from the village of Racak, and that the bodies bore signs of injury caused exclusively by firearms.

In a statement before numerous domestic and foreign reporters, Dobricanin stressed that the bodies which had been autopsied bore no sign of injuries “which would support that they had been massacred or otherwise tampered with, except for injuries resulting from small rodents, most probably mice, and birds”.

He reminded that 40 bodies were delivered to the Institute for Forensic Medicine the day before yesterday, that a team of eminent forensic experts had been formed, among whom were two forensic pathologists from Belorussia, and that it had begun to work on autopsying the bodies upon the order of the investigating judge, Danica Marinkovic.

The work, added Dobricanin, was expected to last for several days, and the full results would be known after additional analysis, after which a public statement would be made. According to Dr. Dobricanin, two members of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo and Metohija were constantly present at the autopsy and a team of Finnish pathologists, who were already in Belgrade, were expected to arrive the following day.

“We will continue working on the rest of the bodies together with them,” said Dobricanin and added that the Finnish experts would bring with them “all materials necessary for further work”. Besides Dobricanin, the team of pathologists consists of experts from the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Novi Sad, the Nis Institute, and the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Belgrade.

 

WILLY WEIMER,
Vice-President of the OSCE Parlamentary Assembly
,
REJECTS MANIPULATION BY TV PICTURES

Willy Weimer, vice-president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, told the private German television station NTV that he rejects with disgust manipulation by television pictures intended to provoke an intervention by NATO in Kosovo and Metohija. “Everything is directed toward causing a certain reaction so that, once we see certain pictures, we get the wish to immediately issue orders to our soldiers to go into action. I am deeply disturbed by these shameful manipulations of our feels of humanity,” declared Willy Weimer on Tuesday, in the contact program “Headlines” (“Schlagzeilen”).

Among the first proofs of manipulation, analysts noticed the fact that the “relatives” of the victims wore black with black mourning bands which is not a religious nor a traditional Muslim expression of mourning.

Answering a question with regard to events in the village of Racak, Willy Weimer said that he “knew full well the extent of the Serbs’ responsibility” but that he knew even better the responsibility of the Albanian terrorists who, he said “contributed significantly to OSCE’s not being able to perform its duties for the past several months”.

 

THE YUGOSLAV FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
WALKER – UNDESIRABLE

The federal government, in a special session held on January 18 which was chaired by premier Momir Bulatovic, discussed the latest developments in Kosovo and Metohija and the increased pressures from abroad on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The federal government concluded that a new campaign was underway by the international community and decisively rejected as unfounded the untruthful and malicious declarations regarding events in the village of Racak, the implication of which was to accuse government officers. As a separate item, the federal government reviewed the activities of William Walker, the director of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo and Metohija, and assessed that that they were in flagrant violation of the provisions of the Agreement regarding the OSCE mission. His activities far exceeded his mandate as director of the mission, as defined by the Agreement regarding the OSCE mission which he heads.

William Walker immediately determined who was guilty: the Serbs had carried out a “massacre”

The agreement indicates (in section 8 of part one) that the responsibilities defined by the Vienna Convention regarding diplomatic relations of 1961 would be honored. Starting from the point of honoring the provisions determined by the Vienna Convention, the federal government, on the basis of the agreement regarding the OSCE verification mission for Kosovo and Metohija (part one, section 8) in which it is precisely defined that the mission has diplomatic status on the basis of the Vienna Convention and Article 9 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, decided to declare William Walker an undesirable person (persona non grata) which implies that he had the responsibility to leave the territory of FR Yugoslavia within 48 hours.

William Walker: The Serbs are to blame and
the world will believe what I say!

After this decision was reached, leaders of international organizations and numerous diplomatic representatives contacted the highest representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the federal government decided at a session held on January 21 to “freeze” the previous decision regarding the declaration of Walker to be persona non grata.

 

SUMMARY

Since agreements were concluded between the President of the FRY, Slobodan Milosevic, and US special representative, ambassador Richard Holbrooke, during the period from October 13, 1998, and January 14, 1999, in the region of the autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, Albanian separatists carried out a total of 599 terrorist attacks and provocations, of which 186 were against civilians, while 413 were against members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic of Serbia.

In these attacks, a total of 53 persons were killed (37 civilians and 16 policemen) and 36 persons suffered serious bodily injury (13 civilians and 23 policemen). A total of 43 persons were kidnapped (39 civilians and 4 policemen); of those, three were killed (one civilian and two policemen), while the fate of the other 22 civilians and one policeman remains unknown.

The investigating judge Danica Marinkovic on January 18 visited the place of the event, continued the investigation and collected evidence regarding the facts of the event. Within that framework, Yugoslav forensic experts working with Finnish forensic experts and Belorussian pathologists continue to work on the identification of the bodies and the determination of the cause of death under the constant observation of representatives of the international mission and while the process is being videotaped.

Every day several Serbian families leave their homes in the region of villages under the pressure and threats of the so-called KLA;
in Kosovo we see the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from this southern Serbian province.

The Serbs are leaving … the Albanians are staying…
WHO is really the victim in Kosovo?

Copyright 1999 by LID/Tiker. All rights reserved.


References

[1] Le Figaro, Paris 20. January 1999
English: “KOSOVO: OBSCURE AREAS OF A MASSACRE “

[2] Le Monde, Paris 21. January 1999
French: “Les morts de Racak ont-ils vraiment été massacrés froidement ? “
English: “Were the Racak dead really clodly massacred?”

[3] Die Welt, Berlin 21. January 1999
German: “Der Krieg um die 40 Toten von Racak im Kosovo Massaker oder “nur” die Opfer eines Tages? “

[4] Liberation, Paris 21. January 1999
French: “Neuf questions sur les morts de Racak”
English: “Nine questions concerning the Racak dead”

[5] International Action Center, New York, Paris 21. January 1999
English: “Who is William Walker: “WARHAWK BEHIND U.S. KOSOVO POLICY –
AMB. WALKER COVERED UP REAL MASSACRES IN EL SALVADOR”

 http://www.srpska-mreza.com/ddj/Racak/Tiker/RacakFile.html

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