Dossier: “The cover-up of evidence of crimes during the war in Kosovo: THE CONCEALMENT OF BODIES OPERATION”

UklanjanjeDokaza-enSince 2001, mass graves containing the bodies of 941 Kosovo Albanians, mainly civilians killed outside combat situations in Kosovo during 1999, have been found on four locations in Serbia. 744 bodies of Kosovo Albanians have been discovered in Batajnica, on the outskirts of Belgrade, at least 61 in Petrovo Selo, and 84 at Lake Perućac. At least 52 bodies have been subsequently found in the mass grave at Rudnica.


Torture in Camps in Serbia Still Unpunished

Tortura_u_logorima_u_SrbijiOn December 22nd, 2016, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented its sixth dossier in a row on possible perpetrators of war crimes committed during the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The “Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje” Dossier presents evidence on the treatment of Bosniaks, who sought shelter in Serbia following the fall of Žepa in late July 1995, and on the responsibility of members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) for the crimes committed against the arrested and detained Bosniaks during their stay in Serbia. The Dossier is founded on statements given by surviving detainees, authentic documents of the Republic of Srpska Army, and military and police documents, which were admitted as evidence in a number of cases conducted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as on statements given by representatives of Serbian army and police and members of the international community, before the ICTY, the International Court of Justice and the First Basic Court in Belgrade.


Dossier „Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje“

Dosije-SljivovicaIMitrovoPolje-enAfter capturing Žepa in late July 1995 approximately 800 Bosniaks from Žepa crossed the River Drina and entered the territory of the Republic of Serbia, frightened for their lives after rumours had spread of the crimes committed by the Army of Republika Srpska in Srebrenica. Most of them were members of the Army of BiH, but there were also civilians, including dozens of underage boys. Almost immediately after crossing, the men were taken captive by border guards of the Yugoslav Army and members of Special Police Units.

After registration and interrogation, accompanied by ill-treatment, all detainees were taken to the Šljivovica camp in Braneško Polje, near Čajetina. As there was no room in Šljivovica for such a large number of people, a group of detainees was transferred to another camp, located in Mitrovo Polje (Aleksandrovac municipality). In both camps, detainees were subjected to torture, sexual violence, inhumane treatment, humiliation and starvation, and were robbed of their possessions. Three detainees died as a result of the torture.

The Mitrovo Polje camp was closed in February 1996. The camp in Šljivovica was closed in April 1996, when the last remaining detainees were freed.

To date, no one has been called to account for the torture, abuse and deaths of Žepa male detainees in the camps in Serbia. Although the names are known of the inspectors and guards who were in the camps, no proceedings have ever been brought before any domestic court to establish the criminal responsibility of these individuals for acting contrary to domestic and international law. Neither the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia nor the International Court of Justice has addressed the torture of the Bosniaks in Serbian camps, although both courts were presented with evidence concerning these crimes.

The dossier „Šljivovica and Mitrovo Polje“ is available here.


“Operation Reka“ Dossier Presented

Logo_FHP The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the „Operation Reka“ Dossier on October 23rd, 2015. The Dossier offers an overview of the events which occurred on April 27th and 28th, 1999, in the villages located west of the town of Đakovica in Kosovo, when the comprehensive joint operation by Yugoslav Army (VJ) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) called „Operation Reka“ was launched. During this Operation, members of the Serbian forces killed at least 350 civilians – Kosovo Albanians, and deported several thousand other civilians to Albania. The bodies of 309 victims were found in 2001 in secret mass grave sites in a suburb of Belgrade. The youngest victim was 15 years old.


“Operation Reka” Dossier

dosije_reka_logo_engOn 27 and 28 April 1999, the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and Serbian Ministry of Interior (MUP) conducted a joint, large-scale operation named “Operation Reka” in the Kosovo villages lying west of the town of Gjakovë/Đakovica. During the operation, members of Serbian forces killed at least 350 ethnic Albanian civilians, and expelled thousands more to Albania. The mortal remains of 309 victims were found in the secret mass graves in Belgrade suburb in 2001. With the number of victims, the attack against the civilian population in the Reka e Keq/Reka Valley was the gravest crime against civilians committed during the war in Kosovo, and among the gravest of all the crimes committed in the 1990s in the wars in the former Yugoslavia.


Reaction of the Humanitarian Law Center to Allegations made by General Ljubiša Diković in the “Teška Reč” TV Show

Logo FHPGeneral Ljubiša Diković appeared on the Pink TV show Teška Rečon February 2, 2015, after the “Rudnica File” had been made public, only to deny his responsibility for the war crimes committed in Kosovo and to accuse the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) of running a “smear campaign” against him personally and against the entire Army of the Republic of Serbia. General Diković claimed he had never “planned, organized, participated, or in any way instigated the commitment of war crimes.”


OWCP showed no genuine will to investigate crimes committed by the 37th Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army


The Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP) informed the public on Friday, January 30th, 2015 that it has requested from the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) the „entire documentation relating to the Rudnica Case“. The OWCP stated that 53 bodies have been identified at the Rudnica location so far, on the basis of which pre-trial proceedings have been launched, adding that they are requesting the documents from the HLC for the purpose of gathering further information on the crimes, which were, according to the allegations of the HLC, committed by members of the Yugoslav Army and Ministry of the Interior in April and May 1999“. The OWCP also reminded the general public that in January 2012 they established, on the basis of an inspection of the HLC’s allegations, that there were no grounds for the suspicion that General Ljubiša Diković was responsible for the war crimes alleged in the Ljubiša Diković Dossier.


Presentation of “Rudnica” Dossier

post_dosije_rudnicaOn January 29, 2015 the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) presented the “Rudnica” Dossier. The Dossier offers an insight into the evidence on four crimes committed in April and May 1999 in Kosovo by members of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), the victims of which were Kosovo Albanian civilians whose bodies were exhumed from the mass grave in Rudnica, as well as to present the evidence which points to those who participated in the operations of transporting and concealing the bodies at secret locations for 15 years.


Dossier: Rudnica

post_dosije_rudnica_engAt the time of the publication of this Dossier (January 2015), the mortal remains of 52 people were exhumed from Rudnica and identified. DNA analysis conducted on the remains has shown that they belong to Kosovo Albanians killed during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. According to a representative of the Commission on Missing Persons of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, search of the Rudnica site will continue if the relevant institutions come up with new data.


Dossier on “125th Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army”

The Dossier presents the operation of this Yugoslav Army unit during the war in Kosovo and the crimes committed in  this unit’s zone of responsibility, where 1,813 Kosovo Albanian civilians were killed, 216 of whom are still registered as missing. None of the perpetrators of these war crimes have been prosecuted to date.