18. War Crimes in Kosovo 1998-1999

The 1998-99 Kosovo conflict saw thousands of fatalities on both the sides before and during the NATO intervention. These fatalities in the majority were directly the result of local fighting, attacks and killings, in particular against unarmed civilians. These crimes against humanity made up the majority of cases. About 8,000 Albanians and 1,100 Serbs in Kosovo lost their lives over those two years. About 500 people in Kosovo and Serbia lost their lives as a direct result of the NATO bombing. Over 200,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians left Kosovo after the arrival of KFOR in June 1999.

Kosovo and Serbia textbooks only present the crimes of the ‘other side’, offering labels instead of facts and arguments for the crimes. The Kosovan and Serbian textbooks also exaggerate the crimes of the ‘other side’ and leave space for misinterpretation.

FRY/Serbia

Between January and December 1998 more than 2000 Albanians were killed, not including a very large number of missing. In the period of the NATO bombings (24 March to 10 June 1999) the Serbian army killed around 15 000 Albanians. In the Kosovan textbooks the number the deportation of Albanians from Kosovo during the NATO bombing is more than a million Albanians.

KLA

There is no mention of any Serb killed by KLA or NATO forces during or after the armed conflict. Also, these textbooks do not note the number of Serbs and other non-Albanians who moved from Kosovo after the arrival of KFOR.

FRY/Serbia

There is no mention of any Albanians killed by the Serb/ Yugoslav forces during the armed conflict in Kosovo. The Serbian textbooks do not report the deportation of Albanians from Kosovo during the NATO bombing.

KLA

From the moment that NATO forces entered Kosovo 899 people have been killed and 834 people have been kidnapped, but the Serbian textbooks do not give these people’s ethnicity or the fate of the people who were kidnapped. The Serbian textbooks give the number of Serbs and other non-Albanians who moved from Kosovo after the arrival of KFOR as over 220 000.

FRY/Serbia

The multi-volume publication, the Kosovo Memory Book 1998 – 2000 of the Humanitarian Law Centre, HLC, gives a total figure of 7864 Albanian civilians killed in the period January 1998 – December 2000, which includes the 78 days of NATO’s bombing. According to UNHCR, the number the deportation of Albanians from Kosovo during the NATO bombing is 862, 979 people.

KLA

The multi-volume publication, the Kosovo Memory Book 1998 – 2000 of the Humanitarian Law Centre, HLC, notes 1123 Serb civilians killed in that period (January 1998 to December 1999), of whom 786 were killed after NATO troops arrived (June 1999 – December 1999). The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) gives the number of Serbs and other non-Albanians who moved from Kosovo after the arrival of KFOR as 210 000.