Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

KOSOVO / KOSOVA As Seen, As Told
PART V : The municipalities

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A human rights map of Kosovo October 1998 to June 1999

The purpose of this section is to give a detailed "map" of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Kosovo, as they were observed by and reported to the OSCE-KVM. It indicates the impact of the conflict, as it unfolded during the time that the OSCE-KVM was operational, on hundreds of communities, large and small, throughout Kosovo. It describes changes in patterns of human rights violations over the reporting period. It also seeks to place the reported human rights violations against the background of the prevailing local security situation, and what can be surmised of the military objectives being pursued by both parties to the conflict.

All 29 of Kosovo's municipalities have a separate entry here, presented alphabetically; in addition there is an entry for Pristina/Prishtina city. In the reporting period not all were affected on an equivalent scale, or in the same way.

Each municipality entry opens with basic population data, followed by a brief description of the security and human rights climate prevailing at the time of the OSCE-KVM's deployment. Thereafter, events in the municipality are surveyed, location by location, drawing on the information gathered by the OSCE-KVM while deployed inside Kosovo, and on statements given by refugees to the OSCE-KVM after its evacuation.

The information presented here deriving from refugee statements (indicated by the four-digit footnotes with alphabetical prefix, which is the file number of the refugee's confidential interview record, made in either Albania - prefix A/ - or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - prefix M/) should be read with the clear understanding that this is as it was recounted to the OSCE-KVM (see also the "Methodology" section in the Introduction, and Chapter 2: The OSCE-KVM human rights operation). In many cases descriptions are based on the statements of several victims or witnesses to the same incident. Other descriptions are based on the statement of one person only. This is made clear in the text and/or by the footnotes. Where information is acknowledged by the interviewee to be hearsay, rather than the statement of a direct victim or witness, this is noted, as are inconsistencies in the details given by different interviewees about particular incidents.

Efforts have been made to verify as many of the reports as possible, mainly through the activities of the human rights division of the OSCE-MiK, the OSCE-KVM's successor, which was deployed into Kosovo (initially as the Transitional Task Force) from 14 June 1999. OSCE-MiK human rights officers have visited locations previously identified in refugee statements, and have conducted further interviews. There has also been follow-up investigation in Kosovo by analysts working for the OSCE/ODIHR on this report, with the support of the OSCE-MiK. The findings of these verification efforts are cited here wherever relevant.

It must be stressed, however, that it has not been possible to verify fully the mass of information available, especially as the OSCE has been confronted since its re-entry into Kosovo with the priority need to address a continuing serious human rights situation there, of a quite different but often no less grave character than the one described here. The OSCE is developing further human rights reporting on Kosovo to bring to public attention the continuing human rights violations there. The information and statements gathered by the OSCE-KVM both in Kosovo and among refugees nevertheless present a clear and credible picture of the situation inside Kosovo from October 1998 to 9 June 1999.


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