June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO warcrimes in Yugoslavia
KFORS COLLABORATION WITH THE KLA
by Gregory Elich
Professor Greg Elich, who has written extensively on problems in the Balkans, recently returned to the U.S. from a visit to Yugoslavia. He spoke on the unhumanitarian nature of NATOs occupation of Kosovo.
Last year, on August 13, Jeff Goldberg and I interviewed Serbian refugees at Mt. Avala, just outside of Belgrade. Several of the refugees testified to Western collusion with the KLA.
One young man told us, "KFOR came in. The first soldiers were American soldiers and German soldiers. They took the weapons from the Serbian people, and in front of our eyes, gave them to Albanian people to kill the Serbian people. We saw that."
I asked, "You saw KFOR turning arms over to the KLA?" and he responded, "Yes. And giving them to KLA terrorists."
Refugee Dostena Filipovic also witnessed this. During her flight, she was among a group of refugees who camped overnight in a village, and were visited by KFOR soldiers. She told us, "KFOR called all the Serbian men to surrender their weapons to KFOR. KFOR then handed all the weapons over to the KLA We were at the mercy of the KLA terrorists They had support from KFOR. They gave them arms. They took the arms from us."
Stana Antics 13-year old son was kidnapped by the KLA in September 1998. During the period of the OSCE verification mission, she went to ask the head of the mission, William Walker, for help. William Walker contacted the KLA, and when Antic and her family returned to meet with him, this is what happened. "In Pristina, when we went to William Walkers office to kindly ask him to intervene with the KLA, he said, Okay, he will be liberated, but you must go instead of him, to replace him as a hostage. When Antic did not agree to this, William Walker refused to do anything more for her. Shortly thereafter, she received the dead body of her 13-year old son.
During Dostena Filipovics flight, she and her column of refugees were attacked by the KLA, in the presence of KFOR. She told us, "The roads were so jammed that we couldnt move from Prizren. Even though KFOR was in Prizren, the KLA attacked us in Prizren, firing on our column."
I asked her, "And KFOR did nothing?"
She replied, "Nothing. Nothing! Just watching and laughing."
Sava Jovanovic showed us photographs of his demolished home, including a photo of a man plundering his home. In the background, not far away was an armored car with German markings, and a mans head poking from the top, watching the looter. As Sava Jovanovic showed us the photo, he commented, "This is my house. This is KFOR, the Germans. This is how they protect my house. This is an Albanian, stealing my belongings, and here is KFOR protecting him." Another man interjected, "Actually, they were all KLA, and KFOR lent them their vehicle. The KLA were just using the KFOR vehicle with the permission of KFOR."
Sava Jovanovic characterized the period since KFORs arrival in Kosovo as follows: "My father remembers the stories from his grandfather, from the time when he lived while the region was still under the Ottoman Empire. And my father lived under German occupation during the world war. They didnt have to leave their homes. Now is the first time we were forced to leave. What is happening today is worse than under the Ottomans and the Germans."
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