THE DEAD SET A STATE BORDER IN
By Tamara Kaliterna
Three years ago, at the day of the season when people care about leaves
and care about the health of children unknown to them, while marking the World
Environmental Day, international forensic experts started digging at the location the
witnesses from Kosovo identified as the 17th mass grave of Kosovo Albanians in Serbia. All
they found were scattered pieces of clothing and footwear. Four days later, dredgers of
many colors left the forsaken quarry nearby Rudnica, some hundred meters away from the
Raska-Kosovska Mitrovica highway, at the "administrative" border between Kosovo
and the rest of Serbia at the time.
This year, on the day the world was celebrating the Victory Day over
Fascism, Serbia's War Crime Prosecutor Office announced that there was a mass grave, once
again in Rudnica, and some fifty-odd meters away from the location dug in vain by forensic
experts in 2007. The place revealed bodily remains of 200-450 Kosovo Albanians killed in
1998-99 and buried beyond human dignity.
The mass grave was beneath the building of the Kosmet Put Company,
erected later on, and a yard cemented by the model of Italian mafia that used the same
method for hiding unwelcome companions and witnesses. Only one kilometer away is the
today's border between Kosovo and Serbia and a checkpoint of the Serbian police. The
cemented pit contained bodily remnants of the Albanians firstly buried in three mass
graves - nearby Prizren, in Janjevo and in the yard of the Prishtina-based Transportation
In 2010, on the day marking the liberation of the Dachau concentration
camp in 1945, Kosovo officials visited the village of Tupale nearby Medvedja, the
municipality bordering on Kosovo, another suspected location of the mass grave with bodily
remnants of citizens of Kosovo of Albanian origin, firstly abducted and then murdered.
An eyewitness from Prishtina, who had lived in Medvedja, described
transporters, dredgers, people digging feverishly at night, spotlights.Everything he told
resembled the developments in Srebrenica in July 1995. 1,820 people from Kosovo are still
on the list of "missing" and 420 bodily remnants have not been identified yet.
This amounts to more than one-fifth of all Kosovo victims.
In 2001, three mass graves were revealed in Serbia, with 830 Albanians:
in Batajnica, nearby Belgrade, in Petrovo Selo and in the Danube River. Only the police
are allowed access to the first two locations.
More than 700 dead were excavated in Batajnica. The cemented mass grave
nearby Raska is almost of the same size as the one in Batajnica, released the official
The first information about murdered Albanians leaked when a
refrigerator truck of the Prizren-seated slaughterhouse emerged from the Danube, nearby
Kladovo, on April 6, 1999. Three decapitated heads were found among 83 bodies. Two
children, ages four and six, were found among the dead. The investigation revealed that
the dead were transported to Serbia before NATO bombardment. Compassionate people
experienced this horrible revelation as another bombardment of Belgrade after 58 years.
There are 75 graves in the locust woods nearby Petrovo Selo, owned by
the Kladovo police. A locust tree symbolizes chastity. Some 120 people in their sixties
now live in Petrovo Selo. The police training grounds in Dobre Vode, nearby Vranje, is
suspected to hide yet another mass grave. Dead citizens of Kosovo are also beneath the
highway once known under the name "Brotherhood and Unity."
"The difference between Serbs and dogs is that Serbs dig up and
dogs in bones," joked Ljubisa Ristic, entertainer from the Yugoslav United Left, the
party led by the only cigarette smuggler in Serbia with a doctorate in social science.
The geopolitical strategy for "Serb territories where Serb graves
are" has turned into a lesson in moral defeat. And into Belgrade's withdrawal of
Resolution 1244 and eventual recognition of sovereign Kosovo bordered by cemented mass
The first minister of police in the post-Milosevic era, Dusan
Mihajlovic, reported to his allies from the democratic opposition 17 mass graves of ethnic
Albanians in the territory of Serbia. Goran Svilanovic, former leader of the Civic
Alliance of Serbia, recalls that at the meeting "everybody turned ashen-faced."
The police minister elect, Dragan Jocic, Kostunica's man of trust, shrugged his shoulders
claiming that the information about 17 mass graves was "weird and most
irresponsible," whereas investigation "too expensive." Neither Jocic's
ministry nor the one now led by Ivica Dacic have fully investigated these mass graves and
brought suspects to justice.
As for grave diggers, Slobodan Milosevic was buried "an innocent
man" in his own backyard, five indictees out of "Kosovo six" were sentenced
in the first instance, one was acquitted (Milan Milutinovic) and the high-ranking
policeman, Vlastimir Djordjevic, is still on trial.
Nobody has been convicted for murder of Kosovo Albanians before domestic
courts. Several low-ranking policemen have been on trial. Four of them were indicted of
the Suva Reka case: having followed the order, "Go on, on the double, kill,
transport." they were sentenced to total 68 years of imprisonment in the first
instance. Two policemen accused of the Batiqi brothers murder were acquitted in the first
instance. That's the ten-year repentance score of the democratic regime.
Out of 46 members of the Berisha family murdered in March 1999 in Suva
Reka, 37 were excavated in Batajnica. A 12-month baby and a woman in the eight month of
pregnancy were among them. More bodily parts than people were found in Batajnica.
According to Newsweek, Vlastimir /Rodja/ Djordjevic, head of the Public
Security Department, Radomir Markovic, head of the Interior Affairs Department, never even
accused of war crimes, and Vlajko Stojiljkovic, police minister who killed himself later
on, were at a meeting with their host, Slobodan Milosevic, in March 1999. They decided
that the case of refrigerator truck, driven by "public servants," should be
state secret called "Depth II." Dead Albanians from Kosovo were transported to
Serbia in trucks taken away from Albanians.
The crime "Depth II" must have been preceded by the crime
Five members of the Krasniqi family from Kosovske Meje - where at least
one hundred men were killed on April 27, 1999 - were identified in Batajnica, Serbia. They
had been transported to Batajnica via Rozaje, Montenegro.
In late April the official Prishtina claimed that the 18th mass grave
was in Perucac Lake. At that time the media in Serbia were reporting 5,000 cubic meters of
rubbish collected from the lake each year were the ugliest sight of all. Only the Ministry
of Environment is interested in the lake in this national park. The media announced a
regatta on the lake on July 15 through 17, accompanied by a swimming competition, a
competition for the "best fish stew," a "health fair" and a
"whole-day music program." The days marked off for the regatta coincide with the
date when the allied forces of Serbia and Republika Srpska were working hard on a murder
plan for 8,372 Bosniak boys, men and elders.
"How can one live in a country in which you stumble upon unburied
bones of your dearest?" ask himself Czeslaw Milosz, an emigrant for more than a half
of his lifetime. One part of his emigration he spent in a country with eight recognized
religions, and the other in a country that forbids any collection of information about
citizens' religion and race - ever since the French Revolution in 1789.