INDICTED continued part 6
Based on available information, we are expecting a mass movement of ethnic Albanian minority citizens from the municipalities of Decane, Djakovica and Prizren towards the Republic of Albania.
Mass movement of some 40,000 to 50,000 is possible in the directions: Decani-Gegaj, Djakovica-Zogaj and Prizren-Kuks, probably via tractors, wagons, cars and beasts of burden.
This action by ethnic Albanian minority citizens has as its purpose to create an image of forced exodus for the international community and world opinion, so as to provoke their reaction.
In order to prevent mass movement of ethnic Albanian minority citizens from FRY territory to the Republic of Albania along the indicated roads,
1. Establish contact with police in the cited areas of responsibility, for the purpose of timely discovery of rallying points and organizers of the mass movement of citizens, requesting the MUP units to engage in preventing the entry of civilians into the border zone. This shall be the responsibility of the PrK CSO.
4. Upon learning of movement, and if MUP units are unable to stop and turn back the ethnic Albanian minority citizens, take the following measures:
- close the crossing points by deploying the necessary forces, while avoiding the deployment of combat vehicles such as tanks;
- barricade the roads towards crossing points;
- announce over the loudspeakers that the border zone is a restricted area, and that force will be used if the movement continues;
- in case of violence towards VJ personnel, fire warning shots into the air;
- if necessary, fire smoke;
Use force only in self-defense and protection of personnel and vehicles. It is absolutely mandatory to video-tape the entire action.
5. In case any VJ personnel come under fire, return fire, making sure to identify and target the attacker, and not the non-combatants (women, children, elderly and other civilians). If this is not possible, or if it jeopardizes the safety of civilians, find a way to immobilize the attacker without opening fire.
6. Inform the HQ of all new developments and activities via coded messages and regular battle reports.
"KLA commanders responded to this measure with renewed terrorist attacks, especially in the areas where refugee columns were concentrated (near border outposts Djeravica and Kosare), having been prevented from crossing the border. This prompted another extremely urgent order, for the purpose of efficiently performing the mission, complete protection of units involved and prevention of civilian casualties (classified #873-458/1 of 17 June 1998):
...2. Enable the displaced population to return to their homes. If possible, contact the local population directly and explain their obligations and the role of the VJ.
While securing the international border, act with special care in areas where displaced population has gathered.
3. In areas of deployment and directions of advance, make preparations for access of humanitarian and other organizations per decisions of state authorities. In possible contacts with personnel of humanitarian and other organizations, prevent any unauthorized personnel from giving any statements.
As fighting over civilians between the KLA commanders who wanted to manipulate them and the PrK which wanted to pacify and protect them grew more complicated, further directions for mission performance were issued to VJ personnel in the territory encompassed by terrorist activities. One such instruction was issued by Military Police Command 7357 Pristina (classified #10/21, dated 22 June 1998) to all PrK units. We cite parts of the instruction sent to MP Command 4445 Pristina, with a note to make copies and distribute to commanders of companies and batteries
Section 4 of the instruction deals with procedures and behavior while detaining the members of terrorist- saboteur groups (TSGs): As long as members of TSG are using weapons and offering resistance, treat them according to the rules of combat. After they lay down their arms and cease resisting, deal with them in the following way:
- collect them and gather them in one place, stripping them of all weapons and armament,
- separate them by sex, age, rank and role in the TSG,
- ascertain their identities by gathering basic information,
- ascertain the role of every individual in the TSG; depending on that and reasonable suspicion, decide about release or further detention,
- every TSG member, their associates, helpers or inciters shall be detained and interrogated about the circumstances and role of their membership in the TSG,
- everyone has the right to detain a TSG member caught in the act of engaging in terrorism, and turn them over to a magistrate,
- while detaining individuals, search them thoroughly and impound all items, objects, notes, inscriptions on clothing, strip-searching the detainee for any markings,
- start a file for every detainee, containing basic information (full name, fathers name, date and place of birth, education, occupation, workplace, ethnicity, language proficiency, military training - if and if, where, and which specialty - if they were trained abroad - if yes, when and how - since when theyve belonged to the TSG), then demand of them to make a statement about involvement in the TSG, their organization, armament, bases and supply lines,
- unit commanders have the right to interrogate detainees about matters of military nature,
- after interrogation by commanders, military police and security forces have the right, as Interior Affairs officials, to gather information of prior crimes by the detained TSG member, and extend their detention on that basis,
- persons for which there is reasonable suspicion that they committed criminal acts should be turned over to the military magistrate, with a criminal charge filed,
- transfer of detainees to the magistrate should be humane, adhering in all respects to appropriate Military Police regulations,
- detainees should be subjected to examination by a physician, who should ascertain their health condition and establish a medical file,
- families of the detained should be notified, and immediately placed under surveillance, for the purpose of finding out whom they will contact with the information that the specific TSG member had been detained.
IT IS FORBIDDEN:
- to kill detainees,
- to injure, mutilate, torture and mistreat them,
- to sentence them and carry out those sentences without a verdict by a court-martial,
- Note that female TSG members should be treated with all courtesy due to their gender.
Further, this order regulates actions towards citizens and property during combat operations against TSGs as follows: (Paragraph 4):
During combat operations against the TSG seek to avoid using weapons and force against noncombatant civilians, religious facilities (churches, mosques, monasteries, etc.), industrial facilities whose destruction would cause major damage to property and environment, medical facilities (first-aid stations, emergency care, hospitals), schools, barns and so forth;
- however, if civilians join TSG members in armed insurrection, offer food and shelter to the TSG, supply the TSG with weapons and ammunition, in that case they are to be considered members of the TSG and treated as such.
- if schools, hospitals, religious or industrial facilities are used by the TSG for observation, reconnaissance and opening fire, consider these facilities to be TSG positions and deal with them as with all TSG positions used to attack the [Army] forces.
- All property without established ownership found in the theater of combat shall be gathered, assessed, entered into evidence and turned over to the authorities.
...6. Procedures for dealing with casualties (KIA)
Upon finding casualties, immediately inform the local military courts investigators, so they may investigate the scene. If the military investigators are unable to survey the scene, inform the civilian investigators. In case they, also, are unable to investigate the scene, establish a team for that purpose, composed of a forensic technician (team leader), a physician and another official.
As the counter-terrorist operations of the VJ and MUP escalated in July and August 1998, a series of orders were issued to prevent any renegade acts and unintended consequences (classified orders #1104-6 of 6 June, #880-74 of 7 July, and #880-80-101 of 16 July), which:
Forbid any operations without the knowledge and approval of the Joint Command Authority every operation must be accompanied by approved documents: maps, orders and an operational plan. It is strictly forbidden to use 122-, 128- and 155-mm artillery, as well as 100-mm main tank guns without the approval of Corps Command.
Fire from other weapons can be used at brigade commanders discretion, solely for the purpose of eliminating targets that endanger lives, such as bunkers, buildings where no civilians are present, mortar positions (60 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm) and large groups of personnel attacking the positions of VJ and MUP units.
...3. Open fire on Albanian terrorist targets only if absolutely certain there are no foreign diplomats or observers among them. Show maximum restraint in opening fire, except in dire need.
4. Inform all unit commanders and commands of this order.
While opening fire, exclusively engage targets outside of residential areas, where no civilians, humanitarian aid workers, reporters and observers are present.
During August and September of 1998, joint forces of the PrK and the Serbian police conducted several major counter-terrorist operations:
1) destruction of the terrorist KLA forces in the general area of Crnobreg - Rznic, Glodjane - Gramocelj - Prilep, in zones Pec 3 and 4, Djakovica 1 and 2, shown on the 1:50,000 map, (PrK command, classified order #873-758/3 of August 10);
2) destruction of the KLA forces in the area of Lipovic, in zones K. Mitrovica 4, Pristina 3, Prizren 2 and Urosevac 1, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command #1104-14 of August 20);
3) destruction of KLA forces in the area of Dobrodeljane, zone Prizren 1, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-207 of August 27);
4) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in and near the village of Ratis, zone Pec 4 and Djakovica 2 shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-214 of September 5);
5) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in the area of Lug, zones Pec 4, Djakovica 2 and K. Mitrovica 3, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-220 of September 9);
6) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in the area of Jezerce, zones Urosevac 1 and 3, Prizren 3 and 4, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-256 of September 25, 1998).
All the orders cited above, following the strict VJ regulations for composition of battle documents, regulated the issues of dealing with the civilian population. We cite the relevant excerpts, in the order they were issued:
To the loyal ethnic Albanian civilians emphasize the need for correct behavior of the troops, especially towards refugees and civilian property. Prevent all media access to combat areas without special permission.
"Extract civilians from areas of combat operations, making sure they are not used as human shields by the retreating terrorists. Open fire only at buildings from which the terrorist are firing, and prohibit the entry of troops into other homes and buildings during combat operations, to prevent looting of property.
"During combat operations, shelter and protect displaced civilians. Secure and bypass locations where larger groups of displaced civilians have taken shelter, and inform units charged with aiding the displaced. MUP units tasked with aiding the displaced shall perform triage, offer medical aid, shelter them from inclement weather, distribute the necessary food, water, clothing, and offer any other humanitarian aid. After sweeping the residential areas which the civilians fled, organize their return to their homes.
Threats of Aggression Save the KLA from Defeat
In the six aforementioned counter-terrorist operations which the PrK-VJ conducted on its own or in coordination with the MUP forces, all the terrorist strongholds were destroyed and heavy casualties inflicted upon the KLA. Adding these August and September defeats to those from July 1998, it becomes clear that the KLA was facing final defeat at the end of this period. The terrorist Headquarters in Switzerland called the defeat catastrophic at the time, and for good reason.
Parallel to the growing awareness of defeat, pressure mounted from the so-called international community, with the aim to save the separatist forces from complete destruction since that would have derailed all other designs on Kosovo-Metohija. An entire machinery of propaganda was put on the case, first recasting the counter-terrorist operation of the Yugoslav forces as repression against the disenfranchised Albanian civilians, with excessive use of force. Subsequently, entire villages were ordered to disperse by the KLA, which at the time had to flee its fortified positions in these villages before the Army and police forces, often without firing a shot. This was then described as a humanitarian disaster caused by excessive force.
Synchronized with this pressure were numerous other initiatives. Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz tried on behalf of the KLA to arrange a ceasefire and negotiations in late July. Members of the U.S. Congress, Sattack [sp] and Dole, after investigating the situation, began a campaign in the U.S. to halt the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo. Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, appealed at the end of August to all relevant bodies of the international community to urgently intervene in order to stop the operations of Serb forces in Kosovo and force the Belgrade regime to withdraw its forces from Kosovo in order to avoid an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. Among others, we will mention Albanian president Rexhep Meidani, Austrian Foreign Minister (at the behest of Veton Surroi) and the head of EUs observer mission, Franz Parak [sp].
All the factors [Editors note: that is, NATO and U.S. officials, the mass media, so-called human rights groups, and so on] involved in the campaign to stop the excessive use of force and withdraw the Serb forces from Kosovo did so at the same time, using the same claims presented as urgent arguments, constantly repeating the same phrases. Like a Sword of Damocles, above all the appeals and staged complaints, accompanied by appropriate horrifying images, supplied by the omnipresent and all-powerful CNN, was the threat of a U.S./NATO air attack on Yugoslavia in case their demands were not met.
One analysis of a Republican committee in the U.S. Senate indicates that plans for a NATO intervention were well along in August 1998, but that at the time there was no acceptable media event that could serve as a political alibi for an interventions. The road from showing concern for the fate of refugees fleeing Serbian repression and terror to UNSCR 1199 and open preparations for air and ground attack on Kosovo-Metohija was very short indeed.
It was in this climate, which threatened to degenerate into terrorist air strikes by NATO forces against Yugoslavia, that the 11-point Milosevic Holbrooke agreement was reached on October 13, 1998.
A session of the Supreme Defense Council was held after the talks between President Milosevic with Ambassador Holbrooke on October 4. Opening the session, the President said that the VJ General Staff had made estimates of the current military and political situation in the region, especially the threats by parts of the international community against the FRY in regard to the situation in Kosovo-Metohija.
Later during the meeting, the chairman of the SDC first reiterated the general commitment of the FRY to resolve all issues peacefully, and stated several arguments proving this commitment. First among them was the cessation of hostilities; second, the withdrawal of forces into garrisons upon the cessation of terrorist activities, as agreed with the Russian president Yeltsin; third, freedom of movement for representatives of UNHCR and International Red Cross, in order to help the resolution of humanitarian problems, and fourth, our readiness for dialogue and resolving the situation peacefully.
Yugoslavia had fulfilled all the demands despite all the objections to the Resolution [UNSCR 1199], he continued, since the FRY represented no threat to peace and other countries security. Yugoslavias neighbors understood that such allegations were not true, since they had underestimated the terrorism in Kosovo. He added that combat operations had stopped six days before the session; counter-terrorist units were returned to garrisons; full freedom of movement was given not only to UNHCR and ICRC, but also to diplomatic missions and the media something the resolution never required.
Yet the Albanian side had not fulfilled any of its obligations articles 1, 2, 3 and 6. Article 7 concerned Albania, but it continued to smuggle military equipment, arms and ammunition into Yugoslavia, though hindered by efforts of Yugoslav border patrol.
Yugoslavia had, therefore, respected all the demands in UNSCR 1199, and that had been summarized in the Foreign Ministers letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
President Milosevic reminded the SDC members of the meeting with the Contact Group ambassadors, at which he reiterated the positions of the Serbian Parliament regarding the resolution of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis. He also informed them of Russias position, having met with the Russian delegation that very day. The Russian delegation was headed by Foreign minister Ivanov and Defense Minister, Marshall Sergeyev, who said that Russia would user her Security Council veto if a resolution to attack the FRY were proposed. They expected Yugoslavia to prove the commitment to implement UNSCR 1199, and readiness for dialogue.
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