Skip to main content
September 12, 1998
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 362
Kosovo Atrocities

Places of Execution in Past Battles

by Z. Nikolic

There are eight bodies lying in a ditch, beside a concrete canal which diverts water from the Decanska Bistrica River into the manmade Lake Radoljic.  The bodies are in a state of decomposition, partially covered with mud which was brought on by the recent rains.  On two of the corpses, the pants and the remains of scalp hair have rotted, being the only signs which indicate the gender of the corpses at first sight.  One of the corpses has only its bare feet sticking out of the mud.  On the concrete wall behind the corpses is riddled with bullet holes.  On the flat are above the canal, beside an abandoned fruit plantation, in several places there are empty rifle cartridges and piles of garbage.  “So far we found a total of 12 corpses,” stated Colonel Dragutin Adamovic, Chief of SUP for Djakovica, speaking to journalists who visited the scene on Wednesday.  “Here there are eight, one of them is on the other side of the canal.  When we arrived here yesterday, we found three more bodies in the canal itself, but the water carried them away overnight.”
The second place of execution of civilians discovered in the past two weeks is located near the village of Donji Ratic, in an area where fierce battles waged during the summer, with their traces being evident in Decani and the surrounding villages.  In the past two months, in the area between Klin, Djakovica and Pec, called Baranski Lug, there were no bigger conflicts, so that considerable UCK forces withdrew in that area during the military-police offensive.  The remaining, shattered UCK force from the neighborhoods of Malisevo and Orahovac attempted to capture Baranski Lug during last week, threatening the Djakvocia-Klin Highway with their operations.  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the police pushed off the attackers several kilometers away from the Highway.  During this operation in the communities of Orahovac, Klin, Djakovica and Malisevo, 450 people have been captured.  One of those captured near Orahovac told the police about the existence of three places of execution in Baranski Lug.  Spurred on by this knowledge, on Tuesday the police began its otherwise planned offensive directed toward the biggest region in Kosovo which is still beyond Government control.

As soon as the police discovered corpses in a canal, members of the Diplomatic Observers Mission in Kosovo and journalists were immediately called to the scene.  Those who managed to reach the place could see three corpses floating in a canal.  They said that one of the bodies was decapitated.

IN FRONT OF THE FIRING SQUAD: Colonel Adamovic explained to journalists that the position of the bodies, the bullet holes, the traces of blood and the empty cartridges indicate that the victims were most probably executed by a firing squad which stood at ten meters distance from the flat area above the canal.  Victims which continued to give signs of life even after the execution salvo were finished off with pistols, at least as far as empty pistol cartridges lying beside the concrete wall tell.
It is feared that beneath the layers of mud and gravel there are more bodies to be found.  The canal ends about twenty meters from the place of execution, with an artificial waterfall which continues into the Ratiski Brook, which flows into the Lake Radoljic.  Policemen are already investigating the banks of Ratiski Brook, not far from the scene of the crime, and are forced to drive away hungry dogs from the prostrate corpses.  A thorough investigation of the banks of the Brook will follow once the canal is blocked off and water stops flowing into the canal.  Colonel Adamovic states that the police intends to look for bodies of the executed in the lake itself.  “We have divers, and we’ll find everything,” stated the Chief of Police in Djakovica.

Identification of the bodies will certainly not be easy.  Still, the technician who took part in the investigation, which unfolded in front of the eyes of the journalists, stated that the corpses look like they have been there between two to four months.  Colonel Adamovic stated that the corpses which were carried off by the water during the night were ten to fifteen days old.  This territory was under UCK control during that entire period, so that it is quite understandable that suspicion for this atrocity is directed at its members.  These circumstances lead to the conclusion that the victims are some of the individuals, but not exclusively so, of Serbian nationality who have been kidnaped by this organization.

FIRST THE JOURNALISTS: Unfortunately, this time, just like in the massacre in Klecka, journalists were permitted access to the scene of the crime before the investigation had been carried out.  Luckily, near the Ratiski Brook, there were no hearings of the accused before cameras.

On Tuesday, Dr. Aleksandar Dobricanin, Dean of Forensic Medicine at the University of Pristina, stated for Politika the first results of the investigation of the posthumous remains of the Klacka victims.

Two males have been identified, one female and two children, ages seven and twelve.  There are grounds for conjecture on the identity of one more female.  Still, the official results of the investigation will be announced after the examination of the victims’ bones in London and Moscow.

Aslan Klecku, who is pictured in a photograph found at the place of the massacre, sporting Arabic attire with a bloody knife between his teeth, was killed by police in the neighborhood of Orahovac this Tuesday.

© Copyright VREME NDA (1991-2001), all rights reserved.