We Need to Know: Gornje Obrinje, September 26, 1998

Serb forces killed 27 civilians, including children, in Gornje Obrinje / Obri e Epërme, Kosovo on September 26, 1998.

Joint forces of the Yugoslav Army and the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Interior (RS MoI) launched an offensive on September 25, 1998 against the KLA in the villages west from the town of Glogovac/Gllogoc ( including Likovac/Likoc, Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme, Donje Obrinje/Abri e Ulet and Trdevac/Tërdec).

Four members of the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Interior Special Counterterrorism Unit (SAJ) were killed on this day in Likovac/Likoc and two members of the RS MoI were killed several hours later in the neighboring village of Donje Obrinje/Abri e Ulet. In Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme the KLA put up a resistance until the afternoon of September 26, 1998 when they withdrew from the village, after which a line of the Yugoslav Army and RS MoI armored vehicles and Infantry entered the village.

During this time eighteen women, children, and the elderly from the Deliu family hid in nylon tents at the end of the village at a place known as Šuma korena/Zabeli i Prrenjëvë (Forest of Roots). When searching the village, members of Serb forces found sixty-eight year-old Ali Deliu, who at this point had been separated from his family. They demanded that he take them to the place where his other family members were hiding, which he did. When members of the Serb forces arrived at the tent where members of the Deliu family were hiding, they started without any warning shooting at the women, children and the elderly. Older men, Pajazit and Ali, older women Hamide and Hava Elshani, Lumnije Deliu and her 11-year old son Jeton and four-year old daughter Menduhije, Mihane Deliu and her two-year old son Valmir, Zahide Deliu and her seven-year old step-daughter Donjeta and her eight-year old step-daughter Gentiana, and Luleta Deliu, who was in her ninth month of pregnancy, were all killed. Four children, who at the time were located a bit further from the tent, survived.

Civilians Hysen Deliu and his two daughters Mihane (16) and Antigona (14), Hysen’s brother Habib Deliu, Fazli Deliu, Sherif Deliu, Zeqir Deliu, Adem Deliu, and Hjariz Deliu, whose body was found in a well, were all also killed on this day. Ali Kalludra and Hyrë Kalludra, Rrustem Hysenaj, Bilall Demaku, and Xhevdet Demiqi were killed as well. Members of the KLA Afrim Kiqina, Afrim Hajdaraj, Vesel Demaku, and Valdet Xhemajli were additionally killed on this day.

According to the Orders for Providing Support to MoI Forces in Breaking DTS in the Area of Kosmač, issued by the Yugoslav Army Priština Corps Command (a document presented as evidence in the Milan Milutinović et al. case before the ICTY), the 3rd Squad of the Special Police Units (PJP), the Kosovska Mitrovica PJP unit, and the RS MoI Special Operations Unit (JSO) all participated in the action at Gornje Obrinje /Obri e Epërme on that day, in joint cooperation with the 1st Battalion of the 125th Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army.

The respective bodies in the Republic of Serbia have not yet initiated a single criminal proceeding against persons responsible for the commission of these crimes.