Humanitarian Law Center

24 March 1999 - 31 December 2000


1. Missing

Todic, Miroslav (M, 50), Serb, from Velika Hoca, Orahovac Municipality, employee of Orvin company in Orahovac - last seen on 23 March 1999 in his field between Velika Hoca and Brestovac (Brestoc) villages.

Mrs. Todic stated that her husband went to his company at 8 a.m. on 23 March and then to his vineyard where he worked until 2 p.m. He then took the tractor to work in a field he owned between Velika Hoca and the all-Albanian village of Brestovac. When he left home, he told his wife that a old Albanian friend, Ismet Beriša (Ismet Berisha) from Brestovac, had invited him to drop by for coffee when he finished in the field. Beriša's house is located about 500 meters from the field. Her husband did not return home.

After KFOR's deployment in Kosovo, Mrs. Todic asked members of the German contingent stationed in Velika Hoca to take her to Brestovac to speak with Beriša. KFOR members escorted her to a point midway between the two villages where Beriša was waiting by agreement. He told her that he and his family were in Albania at the time of her husband's abduction, and promised to make inquiries about Todic and let her know if he heard anything. Their conversation was curtailed by the arrival of two KLA members in black uniforms and carrying Heckler guns. They approached the KFOR soldiers and talked with them in German. Beriša was frightened and refused to say anything more to Mrs. Todic. The KFOR soldiers then told to her to get in the armored personnel carrier. The KLA men drove Beriša away in their car.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Isaku, Skeljzen (Isaku Shkelzen) (M), Rom, from Orahovac - disappeared after 24 March 1999.
Source: Roma in the Kosovo Conflict, ERRC, November 1999

Begovic, Jovan (M, 75); Begovic, Nikola (M, 45); Begovic, Simo (M); Begovic, Blažo (M), Croatian Serbs, refugees - disappeared on 16 June 1999 in Orahovac.

It is generally believed in Orahovac that the bodies of these four refugees are among the unidentified remains recovered by KFOR at Brnjaca (Bernjakë) on 22 June. No relatives or close friends were able to come to Orahovac to identify the remains.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Bulic, Budimir (M, 47), Montenegrin Montenegrin, from Berane, resided in Orahovac (2/4 Peke Tepavcevica St.), employee of Social Work Center - disappeared on the night of 18/19 June 1999.

Mrs. Bulic stated that she and her son moved to the Serb quarter in Orahovac on 18 June, intending to proceed with a group of people to Serbia the next day. Her son realized that he had forgotten to take some personal papers from their apartment and returned for them about 7 p.m. Somewhat later, she called from a friend's apartment to check if her son had arrived at their home and to tell him where she would be waiting for him. He answered the phone, told her he had retrieved the papers and was on his way back. He did not turn up.

The next day, Mrs. Bulic went to their apartment to look for her son. She saw their television set and other belongings in the lobby. The door of her apartment was open, belongings were strewn around and there was no one inside. She heard noises from the next-door apartment, which belonged to an Albanian who lived and worked in Switzerland and, believing he had returned, rang the doorbell. Four unknown Albanians, two of whom in KLA uniforms, opened the door and asked why she had come there without permission. When one moved toward her she said a KFOR escort was waiting for her outside and quickly left. Mrs. Bulic fled Orahovac to Montenegro.

Orahovac Serbs believe that a body found on 22 June was that of Budimir Bulic. Since it had been decapitated, neighbors did not allow Mrs. Bulic to view the remains and no positive identification was made.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Simic, Arsa (M, 76), Serb, from Orahovac - last seen on 19 June 1999.
Source: Church Committee, Kosovo

Halimi, Ali Tasim (Hallimi, Alli Tasim) (M, 25), Rom, from Orahovac - last seen on 21 June 1999.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Hamza, Haljit Škeljzen (Hamza, Halit Shkelzen) (M, 34), Rom, from Orahovac, employee of 18 Novembar plastics factory - last seen on 21 June 1999.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Kazic, Siniša (M, 35), Serb, from Orahovac, deaf-mute - disappeared on 30 June 1999.

Kazic's brother said Siniša went to see his sister about 11 a.m. on 30 June, and after that visited with a friend, Nebojša Grkovic who lived in the Serb quarter near the church. He left for home at about 2 p.m. but never arrived. His family reported his disappearance to KFOR the same day.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Grkovic, Ljubiša (M, 44), Serb, from Orahovac, porter at the 18 November plastics factory, mildly retarded - last seen about 4 p.m. on 4 July 1999 in a street in the Albanian quarter of Orahovac.

A relative who was the last person to see Grkovic believes that he went to the Albanian quarter to check up on the apartments of his brothers who had fled Kosovo on 16 June.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Krstic, Snežana (F, 30), Serb, from Orahovac, deaf-mute - last seen on 5 July 1999 in Orahovac.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Velickovic, Trifun (M, 74), Serb, from Orahovac - last seen on 28 July 1999.

Velickovic's son recounted that his father took his goats to their vineyard at the reservoir near the Muslim cemetery at 5.30 p.m. on 28 July. He usually stayed until 7.30 p.m. and on the way home went to see three other Serbs who also pastured their goats in the vineyards on the hills above Orahovac. When he did not return at his usual time, the son reported his disappearance and went to search for him with a KFOR patrol at 11.30 p.m. The next day, Velickovic's brother, who had also been searching for him since 4 a.m., found his shoe near the house of Hasan Malabazi (Hasan Mallabazi). When the son went to inquire with Milabazi about his father, the Albanian began to cry and swore he knew nothing. A neighbor of Velickovic told him he had seen the unattended goats at the reservoir about 6 p.m. that day.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Stojanovic, Stojan (M); his wife Stojanovic, Brankica, Serbs, from Nakarada, Kosovo Polje Municipality - disappeared on 16 August 1999 on the road to Orahovac where they were to attend the funeral of a relative.
Source: Ubijena dva deteta, šest osoba ranjeno [Two Children Killed, Six Persons Wounded], BLIC, 18 August 1999

Mavric, Mladjan (M, 36), Serb, from Velika Hoca, Orahovac Municipality - disappeared on 12 October 1999 on the road to Velika Hoca.

Mavric's brother stated that Mladjan left Velika Hoca for the Serb quarter of Orahovac at 9.30 a.m. to buy some things he needed for his cafe. He finished shopping at around noon and was last seen by a friend, Zoran, when he set off for Velika Hoca in his car. The family reported his disappearance to KFOR the same day.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Murselji, Mazlum (Murseli, Mazllum) (49), Rom, from Orahovac - disappeared on 16 October 1999 in the Orahovac area.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Lukic, Radivoje (30), Serb, from Orahovac, disappeared on 27 December 1999 in the Serb quarter in Orahovac.

Lukic's brother recounted that Lukic went to see a friend at 7.30 p.m. on 27 December. He left his friend's house at 9 p.m. and disappeared. His family immediately reported his disappearance to KFOR.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Rašic, Milorad (M), Serb, from Orahovac (Dragoljuba Jankovica St.), employee of Termovent company - disappeared on 25 February 2000.

Rasic's brother said Rasic was visiting with a friend on 19 February. He left at 1 p.m. and went to a billiard parlor located some 100 meters from the Albanian quarter of the town. He was there for a very short time as he saw through the window his old Albanian friend and colleague at Termovent, Bajram Zlonoga, and went outside to greet him. Zlonoga invited him to his home for coffee and they proceeded together to his house. Rasic was not seen again. His family reported his disappearance to KFOR the next day.
Source: HLC, witness statement

2. Abducted

Grkovic, Svetislav (M. 66), employee of 18 Novembar plastics factory; Vitoševic, Marko (61), Serbs, from Orahovac (Svetosavska St.) - abducted by the KLA on 16 June 1999.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Hamza, Jusuf (M, 35), Rom, from Orahovac (Slobodana Penezica St.), deaf-mute - abducted by the KLA from his home on 18 June 1999.

Hamza's son stated that two armed KLA members in camouflage uniforms and caps came into their yard at 7 a.m. on 18 June, while another remained at the gate. One of them, of larger build and with insignia of rank on his shoulder board, had a stammer. They asked if there were weapons in the house. Hamza searched for a medical certificate that he was deaf-mute but, before he was able to find it, the KLA men led him out of the yard and through the vineyards toward the town center. His son immediately reported the abduction to KFOR.

Three days later, on 21 June, two members of the Egyptian ethnic community from Orahovac, Beni and Dia, came to the Hamza home and told his son to go to the town center to get his father. The son did not trust them and did not go.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Jelic, Marko (M, 31), Serb, from Orahovac, economist, employee of Termovent company in Orahovac - abducted from his home by the KLA on 20 June 1999.

Three armed men of about 30 years of age came to Jelic's apartment on 20 June. In the presence of his parents, wife and five children, they said in Albanian that they were members of the KLA and had come to take him to their headquarters for questioning. They said he would be brought home immediately afterwards. They led him away on foot. Jelic never returned.

His family stayed in Orahovac to the end of August 1999 when they fled to Montenegro.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Majmarevic, Gradimir (M, 54), employee of municipal sanitation department in Orahovac; Vitoševic, Siniša (38), electrician, employee of power distribution company in Orahovac, Serbs - abducted in Krajište near Orahovac on 22 June 1999.

Mrs. Majmarevic recounted that her husband and Vitoševic went to Vitoševic's weekend cottage in Krajište about noon on 22 June in a red Renault 4 car to water the farm animals Vitoševic kept there. They said they would be back very soon. When they had not returned for some time, her son went to look for them. He found the cottage door broken down and no one inside. A neighbor told Mrs. Majmarevic he had seen with the aid of binoculars when two Albanians, one of whom he identified as Jupu Vebiju (Jupu Vehbiu), led her husband and Vitoševic out of the cottage and took them to the police station in Orahovac. The Majamarevic's car remained parked outside the police station that day but was moved to the firehouse on 23 June. The abduction was witnessed also by an Albanian neighbor, D.G., who was working in his vineyard near the cottage. He immediately informed a group of Serbs who were pasturing their animals in the vineyards. Mrs. Majmarevic reported the abduction to KFOR the next day.

Four days later, I.C., an Albanian friend of the family, told Mrs. Majmarevic that the names of her husband and Vitoševic were on a KLA list of war criminals and that they would be tried. In the month following the abduction, a man who spoke poor Serbian telephoned Mrs Majmarevic every evening about 8 o'clock and asked for the names of Serbian police officers. Two months after her husband's abduction, she received an anonymous phone call from a man who threatened to kill her and her children.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Jeftic, Milica (F, 80), Serb, from Orahovac - last seen on 5 July 1999 when she left the Serb quarter to check up on her house near the Orvin Hotel in the town center.

Mrs Jeftic's friends heard that she was stopped by KLA members who took her away.
Source: HLC, witness statement

(Last name unknown) Skeljzen (Shkelzen) (M), Rom - abducted by the KLA before 5 July 1999.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Dedic, Boban (M, 37), Serb, from Orahovac, accountant, employee of Žitopromet agricultural combine in Orahovac - abducted about 1 p.m. on 17 July. His father, Predrag Dedic, was detained when he went to inquire about Dedic at the KLA headquarters, but was set free the same day by a KFOR member.

Mrs Dedic stated that she and her son went to their apartment to pick up some belongings. Their car broke down on the way. A KLA member approached and whispered a warning to them to leave immediately. She and her son went into an abandoned Serb house close by but were followed by a group of KLA men who led out Dedic out of the house, pushed him into their car and drove him away. They told Mrs Dedic that her son would be brought back in 15 minutes.
Dedic's father, Predrag, who had in the meantime heard of his son's abduction, went to the KLA headquarters to demand his release. As soon as Predrag Dedic entered the building, he too was taken prisoner. When her husband and son failed to return, Mrs Dedic notified KFOR. Stefan, a soldier of the German tank unit with KFOR, went to the KLA headquarters and demanded that Dedic and his father be released. The KLA members claimed that no persons by those names were in the building. The German soldier shouted the name of Predrag Dedic who heard him, managed to get away from the KLA members holding him and ran into the corridor. The KFOR soldier took Dedic by the arm and led him out. Two KLA men caught up with them at the exit, seized Dedic and took him in the direction of the Jugopetrol gasoline station. The German soldier went after them in his tank, pulled Dedic inside and drove him to the Serb quarter. After the incident, the KLA never allowed the German soldier into the building again. Boban Dedic's whereabouts remain unknown.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Zenuni, Iljber (Zenuni, Ylber) (M, 23), Rom, from Novo Selo, Djakovica Municipality - disappeared on 18 July 1999.

Zenuni came to Orahovac for his wife who was visiting her parents. The family subsequently learned that he was stopped near the hotel by four Albanians who pushed him into a car and drove him away.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Pelevic, Ratko (M. 64), Serb, from Orahovac - abducted from his home during the summer of 1999.
Source: Church Committee, Kosovo

Matic, Slobodan (M), Serb, from Orahovac - abducted by unidentified Albanians before 30 October 1999 in Orahovac.
Source: Kosovo Serbs and Gypsies Feel Trapped in Orahovac, KOSOVO DAILY NEWS, 31 October 1999

2.1. Killed

Pelevic, Peko (M, 64), Serb, from Orahovac (Svetosavska St.) - abducted by the KLA on 16 June 1999 and beaten to death.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Grkovic, Panta (M, 64), Serb, from Orahovac (34, Svetosavska St.), retired, abducted from his home by the KLA on 17 June 1999. His body was found on 22 June 1999 in the woods at Brnjaca near the Termovent plant, Potocane (Potoçan), Orahovac Municipality.

Mrs. Grkovic recounted that she and her husband went to the home of a neighbor, Miroslava Filipovic, to wait there for KFOR to escort them and two Serb women to the Serb quarter of the town. Six KLA members came to the Filipovic house at 9.30 p.m., some of whom lived in the same street: Faredin "Faduš" Hondozi (Faredin "Fadush" Hondozi) (18), Ramadan Bugari (24), the son of Seli Bugari (Sellie Bugari), and a Roman Catholic Albanian known by the nickname "Blacksmith." The other three KLA men were also young and spoke Serbian. They demanded weapons and money from those present. As Grkovic's sons by his first marriage were police officers, the KLA men believed that he had a large quantity of weapons. After searching the Filipovic house and yard, the KLA men led out Grkovic, pushed him into a Zastava car and drove away in the direction of the Jugopetrol gasoline station.

When the KFOR escort failed to appear, Mrs. Grkovic went home and found that it had been looted during the night. She reported her husband's abduction to KFOR the next morning. Over the next few days, KLA members came daily to her home, asking about weapons and the whereabouts of her stepsons.

On 22 June, local Albanians reported to KFOR that they had found four bodies in a woods at Brnjaca near the Termovent factory. KFOR asked Orahovac Mayor Andjelko Kolašinac to view the remains and to summon family members for identification. Mrs Grkovic identified her husband's remains. She stated that all the bodies bore signs of violence; one was decapitated and could not be identified. The other two bodies were believed by locals to be Serb refugees from Croatia. No positive identification was made as their family members were not in Orahovac. The decapitated body was believed to be that of Budimir Bulic. To spare her the shock, neighbors did not allow his mother to view the remains so that no positive identification was made.

Mrs Grkovic left Orahovac with UNHCR assistance on 8 September and fled to Serbia.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Velimirovic, Mihajlo (M, 55), Croatian Serb, refugee - abducted on 18 June 1999.
Velimirovic was abducted on his way back from the Serb quarter where he had taken his mother. His body was subsequently found in Orahovac.
Source: HLC, witness statement; U dvostrukom paklu [In a Double Hell], VECERNJE NOVOSTI, 23 March 2000

2.2. Free

2.2.1. Released by the KLA

C.M. (M, 70), Serb, from Orahovac, retired - abducted by the KLA from his home on 17 June 1999, questioned and released several hours later.

C.M. recounted that four armed and uniformed KLA members came to his apartment about 8 a.m. on 17 June. He recognized Verhan Cena, called "Blacksmith," who was the oldest. The other three were between 20 and 25 years of age. They searched the apartment, took the 2,000 dinars they found, and demanded that C.M. hand over his weapons. C.M. gave them his hunting rifle, two pistols and a pair of binoculars. He described what happened next:

"Blacksmith hit me twice with a club, on the head and body. I demanded to see their commander. They took me first to the firehouse where I was held under guard for about an hour. Then they took me to the former police station where I was questioned by Ismet Tara, commander of the 124th Brigade of the KLA. He behaved correctly during the two hours he questioned me. Another three KLA members were present, one in uniform and two in civilian clothes. Then somebody called on the phone to say that Tara was wanted urgently in Prizren and he left. I continued making my statement to the other KLA commander. As I was doing this, they brought Cvetko Šoric, an Orahovac man, into the office. I realized then that all those held at the firehouse were either taken to the police station to be questioned by the KLA and then released, or to the camp on the Brestovacke slopes. I left the police station together with Cvetko Šoric and commander Tara, the one who had questioned me, gave me a permit to move around Orahovac freely."

A few days after the incident, C.M. and his wife left Orahovac and fled to Serbia.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Isaku, Adrian (M, 19), Rom, from Orahovac - abducted by the KLA on 27 June 1999.

Isaku's friend stated that he was abducted on the road between Djakovica and Orahovac. He was reportedly released in September 1999, after which he and his parents fled to Serbia. No independent confirmation of the report was available.
Source: HLC, witness statement; Roma in the Kosovo Conflict, ERRC, November 1999

T.L. (M, 22), Rom, from Prizren, abducted by the KLA in Velika Kruša, Orahovac Municipality, and held for several hours.

In his statement to the European Roma Rights Center, T.L. said a red tractor on which two men and a woman were riding stopped outside his father's house in Velika Kruša (Krushe e Madhe) at 4.30 p.m. on 5 July. Saying they were KLA members, they demanded that T.L. go with them their headquarters to make a statement on how many Roma were killed during the war. He refused and one of the men drew a knife and forced him to climb on the tractor. Then T.L.'s relatives and friends gathered around. The KLA members said they had no intention of beating up T.L. and that his relatives could come with them to make sure. T.L.'s father and a female relative joined them on the tractor.
They drove to a private house on which the flag of neighboring Albania had been hoisted, and led T.L. into one of the rooms. Two KLA men, one in uniform and the other in civilian clothes who was typing, were in the room. The uniformed one asked T.L. where he had been during the war and if he had taken part in the fighting. He said they had a witness who had confirmed that T.L. was a member of Željko "Arkan" Ražnatovic's paramilitary group. T.L. was then taken into another room where he saw a Roma man from Orahovac he knew only by the first name of Škeljzen (Shkelzen). Škeljzen, who was heavily bruised and bleeding, told the KLA men that T.L. was a paramilitary. The KLA men showed T.L. a notebook in which Škeljzen had written this down. The KLA members then started beating and torturing both the Roma men. After some time, T.L. was forced to put on a Yugoslav Army uniform. The Roma men were beaten for four hours, after which T.L. was taken out to the tractor where his father and relative were still waiting. They were driven to the nearby hills and, after threatening him with death if he told anyone what had happened to him, the KLA men left them there. T.L. never learned the fate of Škeljzen.
Source: Roma From Kosovo Testify, ERRC, 2 August 1999

Rustemi, Fadilj (Rustemi, Fadil) (M) Rom, from Orahovac - abducted by the KLA on several occasions during the summer of 1999, questioned and beaten and then released.
Source: Church Committee, Kosovo

2.2.2. Escaped

P.S. (M, 73), Serb, from Mala Kruša (Krushe e Vogël), Orahovac Municipality - abducted by the KLA on 13 June 1999; S.P. (M, 77), Serb, from Orahovac, retired - abducted by the KLA on 15 June 1999; K.N. (M, 60), Serb, from Orahovac (13/5 Milorada Popovica St.), post office employee - abducted by the KLA on 16 June 1999; all three escaped on 22 June 1999.

The granddaughter of P.S. recounted that her grandfather was just about to take his cows to pasture when a large group of armed and uniformed KLA members came into their yard, broke down the front door of the house and dragged P.S. inside. They asked in Albanian where the other Mala Kruša Serbs were and where they had concealed their weapons. When P.S. replied that he did not know, one KLA man knocked him unconscious with a blow to the head with a thick wooden pole. P.S. was put on a tractor and taken to Celina (Celinë) village, Orahovac Municipality. He spent two days locked in a shed of a private house which had been taken over by the KLA. He was questioned, beaten and denied food and water. On 15 June, an Albanian journalist from Prizren came, grabbed P.S. by the throat and started choking him, saying repeatedly," Do you Serbs know what you did to us?" and then told the KLA guards to kill P.S. immediately.
Later that day, P.S. was taken to Nogavac (Nagafc), Orahovac Municipality, and held in a private house until 17 June. Among the KLA members there, he recognized three of his neighbors in Mala Kruša, Murat and another two he knew only by sight. None of them were over the age of 20. They did not abuse him severely and gave him food and water.

In the morning of 17 June, P.S. was taken to the KLA prison in the former police station in Orahovac. KLA men led him into a cell, ordered him to strip naked, and started beating him. At one point, two Serbs, S.P. and K.N., were brought into the cell. P.S. told his granddaughter that he was flogged with thick ropes every day. When he lost consciousness, the KLA men revived him by throwing water over him, and then resumed beating him. There was only one wooden bench in the cell on which P.S. slept; S.P. and K.N. slept on the bare concrete floor.

The son of S.P. told the HLC that about 10 KLA members in camouflage uniforms and carrying automatic rifles came to their house on 15 June. They demanded that S.P. hand over to them his weapons - a hunting rifle, pistol and M48 rifle. Among the KLA men, the witness recognized Ziber Miftari (Zymber Myftari), a farmer from Orahovac, who was in a KLA police uniform - black shirt and black cap with a KLA badge. Though a search of the house produced no weapons, S.P. was taken to the former police station in Orahovac. The next day, his son handed over the weapons to the KLA men who had taken his father. The receipt he was given was signed by Hajlili Cardakuj (Halili Çarabakuja).

K.N.'s daughter stated that a large group of armed and uniformed men came to the family's home on 16 June. They beat K.N. with their rifle butts on the head, back and legs and, after searching the apartment, led him away in his pyjamas.

At 9 p.m. on 22 June, P.S., S.P. and K.N. saw a KFOR soldier in the corridor of the police station. Somewhat later, an acquaintance of S.P. and a member of the KLA came into their cell and told them they could escape. He unlocked the door and told them which streets to take to avoid KLA patrols. The three Serbs left the building without encountering any KLA members and fled. P.S. was unable to walk and was carried by K.N. and S.P. through the streets of the town to an abandoned cottage in the hills on its outskirts. They spent the night in the cottage and brought P.S., who was very ill and lost consciousness several times, to the apartment of his daughter at 5 a.m. the next morning.

P.S. and his granddaughter fled Orahovac to Serbia on 10 September 1999. K.N. and S.P. fled to Serbia immediately after their escape.
Source: HLC, witness statement

M.T. (M, 70), Serb, from Orahovac - abducted by the KLA on 16 June 1999 at the same time as Vitoševic, Marko (M, 61); and Pelevic, Peko (M, 64), also Serbs from Orahovac. All were taken to the KLA headquarters in the Orahovac firehouse where Pelevic was beaten to death. After being questioned, M.T., Vitoševic and Grkovic were taken in a van toward Brestovac where Pelevic's body was disposed of. M.T. seized an opportunity to escape. The whereabouts of Vitoševic and Grkovic remain unknown.

M.T. related that five men between 20 and 25 years of age, in civilian clothes and wearing caps with KLA badges, came to his home at 12.30 p.m. on 16 June. He could not recall their names but knew they were from Orahovac and kept pigeons. The KLA men ordered M.T. to hand over his weapons. He gave them his rifle and they searched the house to check whether there were any more firearms. The KLA men then led M.T. to the homes of his neighbors, Svetislav Grkovic and Marko Vitoševic, who also turned in their weapons, and told all three men to come with them to the KLA headquarters for receipts for the guns. They were driven to the KLA headquarters in the firehouse by one Balja (Bala), a Roma photographer, in his white Zastava 125 car, which had been parked outside the Grkovic house. At the firehouse, the three were taken up to the third floor - Grkovic to the office of the KLA commander Ismet Tara, and Vitoševic and

M.T. to the toilet. M.T. described what happened next:
"There were about 10 young KLA men in the toilet. They began beating us on the head and body with ceramic tiles. Marko blacked out and fell into the excrement in the filthy squatter toilet. Some time later they stopped beating us. A tall woman I knew by the last name Siljka (Silka) - she is known in Orahovac by the nickname Ljilja (Lila) and is married to Adžija Šarkovic - came in. One of her family was killed in 1998. She had a wooden club with which she started battering me. I tried to protect my head with my hands, and she broke my left wrist. When I said in Albanian that she had worked with my daughter-in-law Vesna at the supermarket and that my wife had helped her mother get her pension, she stopped, threw away the bat and ran out. The KLA men who had been watching began to beat me again. I couldn't recognize any of them because I kept my head down and tried to ward off the blows with my hands. When I fell to the floor after several blows, they went out and locked the door behind them. I somehow managed to get on my feet and gather the tiles so they wouldn't use them to beat me again. I put them into small piles and covered them with the excrement. Marko was still lying there unconscious. It was then that I saw a man who had been beaten up at the door of a small bathroom with a shower stall. I went to him and he told me his name was Peka Pelevic and asked me to get him some water. I got a glass of water from the wash basin and he drank with great difficulty. Then Zijadin Bugari, who worked as a porter at the clinic, appeared at the door. He was a good friend of mine and I asked him for help, but he just slammed the door.

"Later on, a young man in civilian clothes and a red beret with the KLA badge came in. He pointed his automatic rifle at me and said he would kill me if I didn't give him money. I gave him my wallet and he took 1,500 dinars. He ordered me to pick up Marko, who was slowly coming to. I sat him up beside me. The KLA man asked Marko where his son, Beli, who used to work as a mailman, was. Marko didn't hear him and I explained to the KLA man that he was hard of hearing. He cursed my Serb mother and threatened to kill me. When he repeated the question, Marko said his son had been in Australia since 1998. The man demanded money from Marko too, but he didn't have any on him. Then he left.

"Some time later, R. from Orahovac, an acquaintance of mine, came in. He was surprised to see me. I said I had done nothing wrong and had been brought there for no reason. R. told me to bang on the floor with my feet and scream as if I was being beaten. Five minutes later, another man in civilian clothes came in and R. said there was no need for him to stay, that he could manage beating me on his own. He told me two of his brothers had been killed recently and that he was looking for their killers. He said he couldn't let me go because there were a lot of soldiers at the headquarters and it would be worth his life if he tried. Then he left.

"I went to Peko to see how he was but there was no sign of life in him any more. At about 11 p.m., two KLA men came and wrapped Peko's body in a blanket. They led me and Marko out of the toilet and Sveto out of the office of Ismet Tara, and took all three of us to a van parked outside the building. They put Peko's body inside with us. In the van, Sveta told us Siljka had beaten him too, and that Ismet Tara had told him Marko would be shot because his son supposedly killed some Albanians, and that he would spare Sveta and me.

"F.H., a KLA man I knew, got in the van with us and started to tie our hands. I asked me not to tie mine because of my broken wrist and offered him 200 deutsche marks. He took the money and told me to keep my hands behind my back and pretend they were bound. The van drove off toward Brestovac village, by way of the road to Velika Kruša. Inside, besides F.H., there were Hisen Cena (Hysen Cena) and three young men with automatic rifles. When we turned off the main road to Brestovac, Hisen Cena asked if we wanted to be killed at the place where the Yugoslav Army and police had killed Albanians or somewhere else. I said we didn't deserve to be killed, that we condemned what had happened, to which Cena replied by cursing our Serb mothers. The van stopped by the vineyards below the Brestovac Slopes. It was dark and raining. As F.H. and Cena were pulling Peko's body from the van, I took advantage of a moment when no one was watching me, jumped out and ran. They started firing after me and I dropped to the ground and crawled on. I hid in the woods and 15 minutes later heard four individual shots, which weren't fired in my direction. After that I heard Cena calling to me to give myself up. Soon afterwards I heard the van drive away. I stayed in the woods for another hour, afraid that they would come looking for me. Then I started out through the woods in the direction of Prizren, to Mala Hoca."

Mrs. Grkovic stated that five KLA members came to their home at 12.30 p.m. on 16 June. She recognized two of them as Orahovac Albanians - Ukšini (Ukshin) and Afrim, the son of a local photographer. They demanded that her husband Svetislav hand over his weapons. He did and asked for a receipt he could present to other KLA members if they came looking for guns. Ukšini replied that he had to come with them for a receipt. The KLA men left with her husband. Mrs. Grkovic saw their neighbors from Svetosavska St. - M.T., Peko Pelevic and Marko Vitoševic - being taken away at the same time as her husband. The next day, Ukšini came again and told Mrs. Grkovic that her husband had said she was to give him his pistol and car keys. On 31 August, Mrs. Grkovic filed a complaint with the Prizren Public Prosecutor's Office against Mahmut Ukšini, Afrim Balja and three unidentified KLA members, charging them with unlawful detention and saying there was reason to believe that they had also committed murder.

Marko Vitoševic's son and wife moved to the Serb quarter of Orahovac on 15 June while he remained in their apartment. The son last spoke with his father about noon on 16 June. Later that day, KFOR escorted two Serb women who lived in the Vitoševic's street to the Serb quarter. The women told him that four Albanians, among whom Mahmut Ukšini, started searching Serb apartments in the street at noon that day.

After his escape, M.T. first found refuge in a Serbian Orthodox seminary and fled Kosovo to Serbia on 29 October 1999. Mrs. Grkovic left Orahovac in early November and came to Serbia. The body of Peko Pelevic was not found, and the whereabouts of Svetislav Grkovic and Marko Vitoševic remain unknown.
Source: HLC, witness statement

2.2.3. Set free

Štrbac, Marica (F, 70), Croatian Serb, refugee - imprisoned on 15 June 1999 at the refugee camp in Orahovac after it was occupied by the KLA. Two women and a man, all Serb refugees from Croatia, were also imprisoned there until set free by KFOR on 20 June 1999.

Mrs. Štrbac was staying at the refugee camp near the Orvin plant with her husband, a friend stated. A few days before the camp was taken by the KLA on 15 June, her husband moved to the Serb quarter of the town. Mrs. Štrbac refused to accompany him. When the KLA came, they held her, another two women and a man imprisoned in the camp. They were set free by KFOR five days later and taken to the Serb quarter. With Red Cross assistance, Mrs. Štrbac and her husband fled Kosovo to Serbia.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Dedic, Predrag (M), Serb, from Orahovac - detained at the KLA headquarters when he went to inquire about his son who had been abducted. He was set free later that day by a member of KFOR.
Source: HLC, witness statement

Related links:

Humanitarian Law Center, THE LESSON OF ORAHOVAC by Natasa Kandic, KLA violence in presence of KFOR


Human Rights Violations Against Kosovo Serbs in 1998 HRW
Dissapearances of Serbs and other non-Albanians Jan - July 1998 HLC

The leader of KLA Mr. Thaci has many times rejected any connection with the KLA violence against minorities. The following photos are taken during his visit to Orahovac in August and September 1999, after the war.

Hashim Thaci with Tara, the UCK leader of Orahovac
Thaci and Tara, the local UCK leader of Orahovac. Could he not know
what was the KLA behavior in Orahovac against Serbs and minorities

Hashim Thaci in Orahovac, Sep 99
Hashim Thaci in his visit to Orahovac, July 1999