|INDICTED continued part 7
At the end of the debate, President of the FRY and Chairman of the SDC suggested that the conclusions of the session be summarized in one sentence:
Yugoslavia is firmly committed to peace, and ready to solve all issues in a peaceful manner. If we are attacked, however, we will defend the country by any means necessary.
This was deemed necessary because of the general political climate in the country. He repeated that Yugoslavia would do everything to avoid conflict, adding, If need be, we must defend the country. That is our duty. Both members of the SDC president of Serbia Milan Milutinovic and president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, agreed with this proposed conclusion.
Finally, the SDC agreed that Yugoslavia was facing an imminent threat of war.
This is how the unit headquarters within the PrK reacted to requests for reports of the alleged massacres of civilians and claims of various representatives of the so-called international community that forces of the FRY and Serbia had used excessive force in battling the Albanian terrorists.
Report that the 549th Motorized Brigade (classified, #2351-2, of 5 October, 1998) sent to the PrK Command (regarding the classified order #880-274 of 3 October 1998), says:
Item 2: We have no information of any massacres committed against the civilian population in our zone of operations. Our units gave a wide berth to groups of displaced civilians. Neither they nor their vicinity were targeted. Triage and check-ups were performed by members of the Serbian MUP.
Chief of Staff of the PrK, reporting from the advanced Command Post on October 5, (classified #873-1125/2) on combat operations between the 26th and 27th of September, said:
1. Operations conducted on 26 and 27 September, 1998 followed the orders and instructions of the PrK Command without deviation.
2. PrK units committed no massacres against civilians in their zones of operation. We do not have information on the actions of MUP forces, which we had supported in pacifying the village of Gornje Obrinje.
3. Between 1 April 1998 and 29 September 1998, there were no deviations from PrK orders regulating the procedures and actions of PrK units in the area affected by the operations of terrorists and saboteurs.
After receiving reports of civilian discontent after the approved return of displaced persons, the PrK command issued the following order from its advanced CP (classified #873-1147/1) on October 6, 1998:
1. Immediately vacate furnished private homes.
2. All private property found in homes is not to be touched, and their seizure is expressly forbidden.
3. Units are to be billeted on public property, and possibly in private homes that had been abandoned and vacated of furnishings.
4. Responsibility for complying with this order lies personally with commanding officers of brigades and task forces.
Humanitarian Disaster as a Consequence of NATO Aggression
After the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement and the arrival of OSCEs Kosovo Verification Mission, led by W. Walker, leaders of the Albanian secessionist movement, KLA commanders and their foreign allies saw an even better opportunity than before to reorganize, replenish and re-arm the terrorist paramilitaries, thus preparing them for becoming the first echelon of NATO aggression, which had already been decided upon.
In early 1998, the KLA numbered some 7,000 armed terrorists, growing by July of that year to over 20,000. These terrorist forces had been largely destroyed and scattered by the counter-terrorist operations of the forces of the FRY and Serbia by the end of September 1998. After the Milosevic - Holbrooke agreement was signed and the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission was deployed, in almost four months the KLA grew back to 25,000 men. This terrorist organization was stronger in numbers and better equipped in January 1999 than it had been in June 1998. Instead of observing the situation in the province, the KVM had established favorable conditions for the revival of the KLA, which had been shaped into the first wave of NATOs aggression against the FRY. With the help of the KVM, terrorists seized control over much of Kosovo-Metohija. They even infiltrated cities, which made it possible to organize some of the cities population to become refugees, in order to convincingly stage a humanitarian disaster of vast proportions.
The Albanian terrorist paramilitary grew in numbers not only from an unhindered mobilization the KLA had organized throughout Kosovo, but also in the form of mercenaries and volunteers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, some Western European and Islamic countries. According to verifiable VJ intelligence, at any time the KLA had between 300 and 800 foreign mercenaries, paid some DM 2000 a month, and issued forged identity papers in order to conceal their identities in case of capture.
The withdrawal of PrK units into garrisons and the removal of many MUP checkpoints had significantly weakened the control of Yugoslavias borders with Albania and Macedonia, along the border itself as well as deeper inside Kosovo. This created favorable conditions for growth of the KLA beyond what it had been before the KVMs arrival, and the influx of new, modern weapons and equipment from abroad. The terrorists were now supplied with Sig-Sauer 7.62 mm sniper rifles with fragmentation bullets, German sniper rifles SSO 99, American M-16 assault rifles, Browning .50-cal. heavy machine guns, Armbrust anti-tank missiles, British-made mine detectors, U.S.-made sniper rifles with a range of up to 2 kilometers, communication systems (hand-held radios and long-range devices as well), satellite telephones and medical supplies from NATOs inventory, large quantities of medication from humanitarian aid packages, X-ray machines, surgical equipment and operating tables, etc. It is a grave, but completely true, allegation that the KLA was replenished through members of the KVM, and humanitarian organizations which had intensified their operations in Kosovo-Metohija. Especially notable was the role of an organization known as Mother Theresa.
Death tolls testified of increasing terrorist activities by the regenerated KLA. Here are some statistics just for the first three months of 1999 (January 1 to March 24): there was a total of 606 terrorist attacks, 355 of which were aimed at buildings and members of the MUP, and 251 at civilians and their property. In these attacks, a total of 138 people were killed - 25 police and 113 civilians while 274 were injured (106 police and 168 civilians).
Using the environment established by the Milosevic - Holbrooke agreement and the presence of the KVM, the North Atlantic Council embarked on several important operations in this period: Eagle Eye, Determined Guarantor and Determined Force.
Operation Eagle Eye followed directly from the Milosevic Holbrooke Agreement. Its main purpose was to provide the KVM with additional information through NATOs daily one-hour reconnaissance flights. Based on that information (and the reports of KVM verifies in the field) NATO was able to plan and coordinate its activities. The purpose behind this was to diminish the effectiveness of the VJ and MUP in battling terrorism, and enable the KLA to consolidate and continue escalating the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija.
Eagle Eye was blind in the eye that was supposed to monitor the consolidation and terrorist activities of the KLA Members of the KVM from NATO countries showed an emphatic lack of interest in the systematic violence perpetrated by the KLA. Certain U.S. verifiers even offered military expertise and other aid to the terrorists, contrary to their mission parameters.
The North Atlantic Council approved the plans for Operation Determined Guarantor, in November 1998, with the purpose of extracting KVM verifiers from Kosovo-Metohija in case their safety was endangered. A decision to deploy extraction forces into Macedonia was made in early December. On the other hand, terrorist formations of the KLA were incited to act with support in arms and training, which was mentioned previously. This operation, in addition to its public aim to protect the verifiers, aimed to continue the pressure on FRY and create conditions to deploy NATO troops in Kosovo-Metohija and maintain a long-term NATO presence in the region.
In late October 1998, NATO had initiated the procedure for implementation of plans for a military intervention against the FRY, within the Operation Determined Force. There were, essentially, two plans for a military intervention against the FRY: 1) a limited operation in Kosovo-Metohija alone, which predicted cruise missile strikes with the possibility of using air force, and 2) a radical option for attacking the entire territory of Serbia, involving missile strikes and aerial bombardment of civilian and military targets throughout Serbia.
OSCEs KVM was preceded by another diplomatic mission to Kosovo-Metohija the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM), made up of accredited diplomats from the Contact Group, and formed to deal with the situation in Kosovo-Metohija. Members of this mission came from the United States, Germany, France, Britain and Russia. With the permission of VJs General Staff, KDOM members toured all battle groups and PrK units in their garrisons on October 27 and 28, 1998, inspecting their heavy weapons. In their contacts with VJ officers, members of the mission indicated that their report to the North Atlantic Council in Brussels would determine whether the NATO decision to attack selected targets in Yugoslavia would be rescinded.
This decision to allow KDOM members to enter the garrisons and inspect weapons was later shown to have been a major mistake. It was later shown that this mission was mapping the position of VJ garrisons and battle groups in Kosovo-Metohija through portable GPS devices, establishing their exact position for later NATO air strikes.
In addition to sporadic border incidents since November 1998, KLA terrorists also began attacking army convoys. By conducting an intensive campaign of psychological warfare and propaganda through incessant provocations, open movement throughout the province and intimidation of loyal Albanians, the KLA hoped to cause defeatism and derail political activities aiming at stabilizing the situation in the province.
At the end of November 1998, the KLA Headquarters issued a general call for mobilization to the entire Albanian population in Kosovo-Metohija. KLA set up checkpoints on side roads throughout the province. By December, KLA would set up checkpoints on all roads in Kosovo during the night, stopping all travelers.
By early January 1999, masked KLA members began appearing in urban areas. Terrorists thus made an effort to move the confrontation with security forces from the open country into urban close quarters, in order to provoke a response by the security forces and civilian casualties thus provoking a reaction by the international community. Albanian émigrés in Germany and Switzerland had formed a fund, Homeland Calling, which raised money to finance terrorist activities in Kosovo-Metohija.
Meanwhile, intense training of new terrorists took place in Albania, while large quantities of weapons from Germany were smuggled into that country. In mid-January 1999, some 6,000 terrorists waited in Albania to be infiltrated across the border to Kosovo-Metohija and join the KLA. Because the border between Kosovo and Albania had been mined, infiltration was redirected through Montenegro and Macedonia, along the following paths: Tropola - Gusinje - Rugovska ravine - Pec; Shkoder Shkoder lake - Tuzi and Tetovo - Globocica - Urosevac.
Through the KVM, the terrorists were pressuring the Serbian authorities to withdraw all security forces from municipalities inhabited almost entirely by Albanians (Kacanik, Stimlje, Glogovac, Srbica, Orahovac, Malisevo). This was the heartland of Kosovo, which the terrorists intended to declare liberated territory so they could bring in weapons from Macedonia without hindrance. To support the terrorists and further pressure the FRY, the Albanian arm mobilized on January 16, 1999, and deployed along the Yugoslav border.
In certain Kosovo-Metohija villages which had been "ethnically cleaned" of non-Albanians villages, residents were systematically organized to burn leaves and tires, offering the KVM images of mass exodus as a result of alleged repression by "the regime," wishing to provoke/justify additional NATO pressure on the FRY and Serbia. At the same time, the KLA escalated its terrorist activities, attempting to provoke the security forces into reacting and thus causing foreign intervention and the establishment of an international protectorate in Kosovo-Metohija.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Jane's Defense, the pro-NATO British publication, commented that the KLA strategy involved:
" the harassment and assassination of Serb officials and civilians from Kosovo's Serb minority. This has included sniper attacks, Serbs dragged from their vehicles and beaten, together with pressure on them to leave their homes. The killing of a Serb policeman, Milan Jovic in Podujevo, a mainly Albanian town 40km north of Pristina, by men with automatic weapons on 21 December was one such incident. This UCK tactic has the double benefit of forcing Serbs to quit the province and provoking Serb police into retaliation and subsequent censure by OSCE observers." (Jane's Defense Review, 2/1/99)
Jane's leaves out that many if not most of the "KLA" victims were Albanians, described as collaborators for paying utility bills or sending their children to the government operated schools - held in the Albanian language - thus violating the secessionist boycott, or working for the government, even in jobs such as postman or woodcutter, or, most important, for defying KLA orders or participating in government self-defense groups. -- END EDITOR'S NOTE.]
Deviating from their mandate to suit the plans and purposes of certain world powers, representatives of the KVM attempted to accelerate the escalation of the Kosovo crisis through allegations of massacres, mass graves and humanitarian disaster, baselessly accusing the Yugoslav government and terming its actions against the terrorist KLA as terror against Albanian civilians. Threats of NATO aggression became increasingly present.
Judging that the so-called negotiations in Rambouillet and Paris (December 2-24, 1999) were most likely to end with the Serb and FRY authorities rejecting the humiliating ultimatum contained in Appendix B, and in order to further pressure the FRY and bolster the already full-fledged anti-Serb campaign in the media, the KVM began leaving Kosovo-Metohija on February 19, 1999 obviously, following someones instructions. This was a certain indicator that NATOs aggression against the FRY was imminent.
In addition to helping the KLA regain strength, KVM verifiers had left behind 480 locator beacons, used shortly after their departure by NATO planes in striking selected targets in Kosovo-Metohija. These locator beacons certainly served their sinister purpose, thus making some of the KVM verifiers certified accomplices to NATOs terrorist aggression.
In preparing a defense from NATOs aggression, forces of the FRY and Serbia logically initiated offensive operations immediately after the verifiers departure, with the goal of fracturing and destroying Albanian terrorists forces, as quoted in the February 16 order of the PrK cited at the beginning of the response to Paragraph 30 of the Indictment.
Naturally, the KLA forces that had grown during the KVM mission could not have been completely destroyed before the NATO aggression began, so operations against the continued during the air strikes.
Having deployed part of its forces along the borders with Albania and Macedonia, in order to defend from ground attacks, forces of the PrK and the Third Army could not tolerate a presence of a 25,000-strong terrorist paramilitary in their rear. The outset of NATOs air and missile strikes, which focused on civilian and military targets in Kosovo-Metohija throughout the aggression, further complicated the position of the Third Army. History is hard pressed to come up with another example of circumstances as complex and demanding as those which the Yugoslav Army faced throughout the FRY and especially in Kosovo-Metohija during the aggression. The VJ was forced to simultaneously conduct defensive operations on three fronts:
1. to protect its personnel and weapons from substantial harm, and protect civilians from casualties due to the intensive air strikes against both military and civilian targets;
2. to foil several attempts of Albanian ground invasion, accompanied by repeated threats of NATO forces to invade from Albania as well;
3. to fracture and destroy the terrorist KLA, which had been prepared by the KVM to act as the first wave of the aggressors land invasion deep inside Kosovo-Metohija.
Even with such long odds, the VJ managed to save its troops and materiel from major losses. Contrary to expectations and daily pronouncements of NATO officials, echoed by sympathetic world media, that the Yugoslav Army had suffered significant casualties both in men and materiel, when the aggression ceased after 78 days it turned out that those losses were minimal, and that almost all combat material had been saved. Meanwhile, the VJ had incessantly protected civilians from massive, indiscriminate air strikes. It also repelled several attempts of invasion from Albania and simultaneously crushed the KLA terrorists in Kosovo-Metohija. Only some 1,500 terrorists remained active at the moment when hostilities ceased, hiding in the ravines and mountains of Kosovo.
Even under such unimaginable conditions, the Third Army and the PrK never acted against the civilian population, but rather continuously cared for its safety not only with statements, but with specific actions evident from battle reports and command archives from that time.
Three days after the NATO aggression began (March 27, 1999) the Third Army Command issued an order (classified #250-152/7) explicitly forbidding theft, looting and pillaging:
In order to prevent theft, looting and pillaging of private and state property in the 3rd Armys area of responsibility I,
1. Prevent all forms of theft, looting, pillaging and other destruction of private and state property inside and outside the combat operation areas, especially focusing on profiteering.
2. Find the perpetrators of said actions in the shortest possible time frame, and turn them over to investigative authorities, Corps courts-martial and military district commanders.
3. Military courts have a duty to sentence the perpetrators to the highest possible penalties under the law, observing the rules of express procedure.
4. Inform the public appropriately, through local media, of efforts to prevent profiteering and theft, and publicize the penalties for such acts while a state of war is in force.
5. Responsibility for carrying out this order will be on unit commanders, military police, military courts and departments of public relations.
(This order was telegraphed to all units, which indicates its urgency)
Yet the Third Army did not only order its units to care for civilian lives and property, or protect them from the ravage of war. After a successful operation against the KLA in the region of Drenica, PrK orders (classified #706-1 of 29 March 1999) demanded from the local unit commanders to submit special battle reports on the issue of
... 6. Treatment of civilians during combat operations, notably the respect for international laws and customs of war....
This is how one of the units responded to the Corps request that very day, and a day later (CO of the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade, classified #660-3/2 and #660-3/4 of 29 and 30 March 1999):
The city of Djakovica has been largely deserted and all shop windows have been shattered. Looting takes place in broad daylight. The garrison commander communicated through the local media the order strictly forbidding all looting. We have already mobilized a platoon of military police, but the call-up rate has only been 47%, so we lack sufficient forces to stop all the looting in the city.
The March 30 reports says: ... in order to prevent looting in the city, we have formed joint units from military police and members of the Djakovica law enforcement. We have already seen some results.
Based on these and other reports of its units, the PrK issued an order on March 30, 1999 (classified # 455-101) which was coded and sent via couriers to all units. It said:
In the past few days, our attention has been called to incorrect behavior of certain units towards civilians abandoning the high-risk areas due to attacks by Albanian terrorists and NATO air operations. In order to protect civilians leaving the high-risk areas, and prevent incorrect behavior of individuals and units towards them, I
1. All civilians leaving the high-risk areas shall be given free passage on roads leading from Kosovo-Metohija to Albania and Macedonia.
2. Issue orders that will protect the population from inappropriate behavior of individuals and groups, ensuring safe passage along the desired routes. Relations towards civilians shall be governed by strict adherence to international laws of war and the Geneva Convention.
3. If individuals violate international laws of war, their superior officers must initiate the procedure to penalize them according to the law.
4. Population leaving the high-risk areas, on foot or by motor vehicles, shall be channeled along the roads towards Albania and Macedonia. All inappropriate behavior towards civilians is strictly prohibited.
5. Upon finding dead bodies of civilians killed in any units area of responsibility, inform the military investigators so they could establish the cause of death and submit the proper documentation. Clean up of the battlefield shall be conducted according to standing operating procedures.
6. Inform all unit members of this order.
To establish order and provide safety to the remaining population in Djakovica, on March 31, 1999 the PrK ordered (classified #12-277/2) that Djakovica territorial defense (militia) should be put under VJ command and engaged in aiding the civilians. This order also says:
Starting March 31, 1999 at 1600 hrs, the Djakovica VT [militia] will be put under direct command of the Pristina Corps Command group and engaged in the following operations: providing security for vital facilities in Djakovica the post office, city hospital, the emergency room and municipal government building; together with the Djakovica law enforcement, it shall patrol the city in order to prevent looting of private property and businesses...
Even though the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade reported on March 29 that The City of Djakovica has been largely deserted... some 5-6000 residents did remain in the city despite the intensive bombing in the first few days of the aggression.
Measures cited above were supplemented with additional orders, issued to match developments in the field. Thus the PrK commanding officer issued an order to ensure the safety of civilians on April 16, 1999 (classified #814-1), saying:
Due to the targeting of civilians by the NATO air forces and the remaining Albanian terrorists, civilians in the PrK zone of operations have been subjected to everyday attacks, which gravely endanger its safety. For the purpose of preventing and minimizing civilian casualties due to the aggressors attacks, I
1. All units of the Corps will form special units part of the order of battle to ensure the safety of civilians. Their task shall be to: in close cooperation with MUP and the civil defense, forewarn the civilians of impending attacks by the NATO aggressors and Albanian terrorists; aid the civilians in finding shelter and evacuating; ensure the optimal conditions for sheltering of the civilian population; assist in providing supplies, health care and economic assistance, maintain order and protect life and property, prevent any violations of civilians freedoms and rights, unless they endanger their security or the safety of PrK units.
2. In all areas of responsibility establish full cooperation with local administration and military judicial authorities in ensuring the safety of civilians. Appoint commissioners among the civilians, for the purpose of more efficient organization.
3. With the help of local authorities, establish the number of civilians in every units area of deployment, and on that basis make up lists of necessary food supplies and other necessities.
4. In all areas of responsibility establish full control of the territory and prevent further actions by Albanian terrorists, their reinforcement or escape.
5. In all other segments of interaction with civilians deal with them humanely, responsibly and according to all VJ regulations, international laws and customs of war.
6. Notify all Corps personnel of this order. I will hold unit commanders personally responsible for its consistent implementation.
7. All violators of this order will be subjected to the harshest disciplinary measures.
8. Reports on the implementation of this order shall accompany regular battle reports.
Removing The Traces of Crime or Battlefield Cleanup?
In accordance with the cited instructions of the VJ General Staff, the issues of caring for casualties and battlefield cleanup in Kosovo-Metohija were handled through appropriate orders of the Third Army and PrK commanders. Ethical, humanitarian and economic concerns over a sharp increase in the number of dead civilians and animals, among the VJ and police, the KLA, but also among the civilians, demanded additional measures and procedures. It is preposterous that, in order to accuse the VJ of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, one routine and well-known practice known in all armies throughout history cleanup of the battlefield has been twisted through propaganda into removing the evidence of crimes! This wide-spread campaign was launched after an announcement by the spokesman of the VJ General Staff (on April 25, 2001) that a number of VJ members have been arraigned on charges of murder, looting, rape, arson, etc, in the course of fighting against the Albanian terrorists and defense from the NATO aggression (1998/1999).
here to continue, part 8