January 19, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 19-01-04

"Racak case" in public focus again

ERP KIM Info-service
Gracanica, January 19, 2004

(Verdict before a detailed investigation - William Walker)

"Racak case" has come into public focus again after the recent incident in the Kosovo and Metohija Parliament when on occasion of the 6th anniversary of the event Serb MP's from POVRATAK Coalition refused to join Kosovo Albanian MP's in a minute of silence "for the fallen Albanian civilians" in Racak. Later some of the Serb MP's explained that this was unnecessary politization of the issue because there are many proofs that the victims were in fact armed KLA rebels who were killed during an armed conflict with the Serbian police.

Since January 1999 the incident which occurred in the village of Racak, near Stimlje, was (mis)interpreted in different ways. The ruling chief of the OSCE Verifying Mission in Kosovo Amb. William Walker (U.S), a person of highly disputed moral reputation, immediately said that it was a massacre carried by the Serbian MUP against innocent and unarmed ethnic Albanian civilians. This statement and the media campaign which erupted after the event initiated the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, which had been prepared months before. The official version of the Belgrade Government was that it was a typical setup. The Government agreed that there was a conflict between the police and the armed KLA members in Racak, but insisted that most of Albanian bodies were moved to one location and placed in a way that was intended to make it like a massacre of unarmed civilians. To the wider public it was almost unknown that during the fight with the KLA group in Racak "several Serbian soldiers were also shot" as Dr. Ranta confirmed for Berliner Zeitung. Definitely, someone was shooting at them.

Dr. Helena Ranta was a chief of the Finnish pathologist team which carried out post mortem of the Albanian bodies found in Racak. Although during the war-time hysteria it was said that Dr. Ranta could not deny the "fact" that the fallen Albanians were unarmed civilians, six years later a respected German daily published serious concerns by Dr. Ranta regarding the work of the Hague Tribunal which used the Racak case as one of the key evidences in proving "ethnic cleansing and massacres of unarmed Kosovo Albanians" prior to the NATO bombing campaign.

In our today's report we are enclosing both the English translation of the article in the Berliner Zeitung and the German original, which is available on the Internet. The intention of the ERP KIM Info-Service is neither to deny nor confirm what happened in Racak but only to shed some more light on one of the most controversies events which was used in order to justify NATO's air raids against Serbia in March 1999.


Berliner Zeitung, Saturday, January 17, 2004

No interest in fallen Serbs

Work of the Hague tribunal in Racak case criticized

Markus Bickel

(photo ERP KIM Archive: William Walker with his hands in his pockets conducting a so-called "investigation of the massacre")

SARAJEVO/HELSINKI, January - Finnish pathologist Helena Ranta has expressed lack of comprehension regarding the work of the UN's Hague tribunal in the case of the so-called massacre of Racak. In an interview with "Berliner Zeitung", the head of the forensic team sent by the EU to investigate occurrences in the Kosovo village of Racak in January, 1999, criticized that indications of serious fighting between Serbian soldiers and Albanian fighters on the night of 15th to 16th of January, 1999, in the Racak area had been inadequately pursued.

The tragedy in the Kosovo village exactly five years ago in which more than 40 Albanians died was used by Western politicians to convince the public of the necessity of the approaching NATO attack on Yugoslavia. U.S. diplomat William Walker played a central role.

The chief of OSCE's Kosovo mission immediately accused the Serbs of having summarily executed 45 unarmed Albanian civilians in Racak. The Serbian side rejected this view and spoke about UCK fighters fallen in battle.

Photos not published

Ranta said she knows that "UCK fighters were buried near to Racak" at that time. "I had already gotten information proving that there several Serbian soldiers were also shot. Unfortunately, we will probably never find out the exact number of the Serbs that fell on that night." The question needs to be asked "why the Tribunal is not interested in this number."

Ranta criticized that the indictment against the Yugoslav ex-president Milosevic in the Racak case largely follows the version of events put forward by Walker. "If ambassador Walker says that there has been a massacre in Racak, that statement has no legal effect. Even at that time I expressed that the OSCE observers had forgotten all the steps one usually expects by way of protection of the scene: its isolation, the exclusion of unauthorized persons as well as gathering of evidence."

Ranta demanded the publishing of the pictures of two other photographers in addition to the OSCE photos of the scene which were also taken a few hours before the arrival of the OSCE observers. The pictures showed "that at least one of the bodies was later moved. This body did not appear in the OSCE pictures."

Left in a lurch

During the days before beginning of the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia it was clear "that a whole series of governments had an interest in a version of Racak events which held only the Serbian side responsible," said Ranta. "However, I could not provide them with this version."

She had gotten her instructions from the German diplomat, Ambassador Paul, the representative of the German EU presidency of that time, who asked her to prepare a written statement. "Afterwards I had to show this individual statement to William Walker, who was obviously far from enthusiastic when he read it." Nevertheless, she agreed to participate in the important news conference on March 17, 1999. "On that occasion, I sat together with the German ambassador in Belgrade, Gruber, and a Finnish diplomat on the stage. I hoped that both men would support me." Unfortunately, that was not the case. "Instead, I had the feeling of having been left in a lurch," said Ranta.

As a the result of this news conference dominated by Walker, most media considered the version of a Serbian massacre over Albanian civilians confirmed. Few days later the NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia began.



http://www.berlinonline.de/berliner-zeitung/politik/308862.html



Berliner Zeitung, Samstag, 17. Januar 2004

Kein Interesse an gefallenen Serben
Arbeit des Haager Tribunals im Fall Racak bemängelt

Markus Bickel

SARAJEVO/HELSINKI, im Januar. Unverständnis über die Arbeit des Haager UN-Tribunals im Fall des so genannten Massakers von Racak hat die finnische Pathologin Helena Ranta geäußert. Die damalige Leiterin des forensischen Teams, das von der EU zur Untersuchung der Vorgänge im Kosovo-Dorf Racak im Januar 1999 entsandt wurde, bemängelte im Gespräch mit der Berliner Zeitung, dass Hinweisen auf schwere Kämpfe zwischen serbischen Soldaten und albanischen Kämpfern in der Nacht vom 15. zum 16. Januar 1999 im Raum Racak durch das UN-Tribunal nur unzureichend nachgegangen wurde.

Die Tragödie in dem Kosovo-Dorf, bei dem vor genau fünf Jahren mehr als 40 Albaner starben, wurde von westlichen Politikern genutzt, um die Öffentlichkeit von der Notwendigkeit des bevorstehenden Nato-Angriffs auf Jugoslawien zu überzeugen. Eine zentrale Rolle spielte der US-Diplomat William Walker. Der Chef der Kosovo-Mission der OSZE bezichtigte umgehend die Serben, in Racak 45 unbewaffnete albanische Zivilisten aus nächster Nähe exekutiert zu haben. Die serbische Seite wies die Darstellung zurück und sprach von im Kampf gefallenen UCK-Kämpfern.

Fotos nicht veröffentlicht

Sie wisse, dass damals "UCK-Kämpfer in der Nähe von Racak begraben wurden", sagte Ranta. "Ich habe schon seinerzeit Informationen erhalten, die beweisen, dass dort auch mehrere serbische Soldaten erschossen wurden. Leider werden wir die genaue Zahl der in dieser Nacht gefallenen Serben wohl nie erfahren." Es sei "beim Tribunal nachzufragen, warum es sich für deren Zahl nicht interessiert".

Ranta bemängelte, dass die Anklageschrift gegen den jugoslawischen Ex-Präsidenten Milosevic im Fall Racak weitgehend der von Walker überlieferten Tatversion folgt. "Wenn Botschafter Walker sagt, dass es sich in Racak um ein Massaker gehandelt habe, hat diese Aussage keinerlei rechtliche Wirkung. Ich habe schon damals erklärt, dass die OSZE-Beobachter sämtliche Schritte, die man bei der Sicherung eines Tatorts normalerweise erwartet, vergessen haben: die Isolierung des Geländes etwa, den Ausschluss unautorisierter Personen sowie das Einsammeln aller Beweisstücke."

Ranta forderte, zusätzlich zu den OSZE-Fotos vom Tatort auch die Bilder von zwei weiteren Fotografen zu veröffentlichen, die einige Stunden vor Ankunft der OSZE-Beobachter gemacht wurden. Die Bilder zeigten, "dass mindestens einer der Körper nachträglich bewegt wurde - dieser Leichnam ist auf den OSZE-Bildern nicht zu sehen".

Im Stich gelassen

In den Tagen vor Beginn der Nato-Angriffe auf Jugoslawien sei klar gewesen, "dass eine ganze Reihe von Regierungen Interesse an einer Version der Ereignisse von Racak hatten, die allein die serbische Seite verantwortlich machten", so Ranta. "Diese Version konnte ich ihnen aber nicht liefern."

Ihre Instruktionen habe sie von dem deutschen Diplomaten Botschafter Pauls erhalten. Der Vertreter der damaligen deutschen EU-Präsidentschaft habe gebeten, eine schriftliche Stellungnahme vorzubereiten. "Danach musste ich diese persönlichen Äußerungen William Walker zeigen, der offensichtlich alles andere als begeistert war, als er sie las." Dennoch habe sie der Teilnahme an der wichtigen Pressekonferenz vom 17. März 1999 zugestimmt. "Bei dieser saß ich gemeinsam mit dem deutschen Botschafter in Belgrad, Gruber, und einem finnischen Diplomaten auf dem Podium. Ich hoffte, die beiden Herren würden mich unterstützen." Das sei leider nicht der Fall gewesen. "Ich hatte eher das Gefühl, im Stich gelassen worden zu sein", sagte Ranta.

Im Ergebnis der von Walker dominierten Pressekonferenz sahen die meisten Medien die Version von einem serbischen Massaker an albanischen Zivilisten bestätigt. Wenige Tage später begannen die Nato-Luftangriffe auf Jugoslawien.


We are enclosing several links with international press articles in which serious concerns were raised concerning the credibility of William Walker's version of the "Racak case".

More information on:
http://www.srpska-mreza.com/ddj/Racak/Tiker/RacakFile.html
 

[1] Le Figaro, Paris 20. January 1999
English:
"KOSOVO: OBSCURE AREAS OF A MASSACRE "

[2] Le Monde, Paris 21. January 1999
French:
"Les morts de Racak ont-ils vraiment été massacrés froidement ? "
English: "Were the Racak dead really clodly massacred?"

[3] Die Welt, Berlin 21. January 1999
German:
"Der Krieg um die 40 Toten von Racak im Kosovo Massaker oder "nur" die Opfer eines Tages? "

[4] Liberation, Paris 21. January 1999
French:
"Neuf questions sur les morts de Racak"
English: "Nine questions concerning the Racak dead"

[5] International Action Center, New York, Paris 21. January 1999
English:
"Who is William Walker: "WARHAWK BEHIND U.S. KOSOVO POLICY -
AMB. WALKER COVERED UP REAL MASSACRES IN EL SALVADOR"


TOP


ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

Disclaimer:
The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

Copyright 2004, ERP KIM Info-Service