THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
THE PROSECUTOR OF THE TRIBUNAL
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, pursuant to her authority under Article 18 of the Statute of the Tribunal, charges:
with CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY and VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS OR CUSTOMS OF WAR as set forth below:
1. The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is located in the southern part of the Republic of Serbia, a constituent republic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (hereinafter FRY). The territory now comprising the FRY was part of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (hereinafter SFRY). The Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is bordered on the north and north-west by the Republic of Montenegro, another constituent republic of the FRY. On the south-west, the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is bordered by the Republic of Albania, and to the south, by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The capital of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is Pristina.
2. In 1990 the Socialist Republic of Serbia promulgated a new Constitution which, among other things, changed the names of the republic and the autonomous provinces. The name of the Socialist Republic of Serbia was changed to the Republic of Serbia (both hereinafter Serbia); the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo was changed to the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (both hereinafter Kosovo); and the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina was changed to the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (hereinafter Vojvodina). During this same period, the Socialist Republic of Montenegro changed its name to the Republic of Montenegro (hereinafter Montenegro).
3. In 1974, a new SFRY Constitution had provided for a devolution of power from the central government to the six constituent republics of the country. Within Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina were given considerable autonomy including control of their educational systems, judiciary, and police. They were also given their own provincial assemblies, and were represented in the Assembly, the Constitutional Court, and the Presidency of the SFRY.
4. In 1981, the last census with near universal participation, the total population of Kosovo was approximately 1,585,000 of which 1,227,000 (77%) were Albanians, and 210,000 (13%) were Serbs. Only estimates for the population of Kosovo in 1991 are available because Kosovo Albanians boycotted the census administered that year. General estimates are that the current population of Kosovo is between 1,800,000 and 2,100,000 of which approximately 85-90% are Kosovo Albanians and 5-10% are Serbs.
5. During the 1980s, Serbs voiced concern about discrimination against them by the Kosovo Albanian-led provincial government while Kosovo Albanians voiced concern about economic underdevelopment and called for greater political liberalisation and republican status for Kosovo. From 1981 onwards, Kosovo Albanians staged demonstrations which were suppressed by SFRY military and police forces of Serbia.
6. In April 1987, Slobodan MILOSEVIC, who had been elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1986, travelled to Kosovo. In meetings with local Serb leaders and in a speech before a crowd of Serbs, Slobodan MILOSEVIC endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda. In so doing, he broke with the party and government policy which had restricted nationalist expression in the SFRY since the time of its founding by Josip Broz Tito after the Second World War. Thereafter, Slobodan MILOSEVIC exploited a growing wave of Serbian nationalism in order to strengthen centralised rule in the SFRY.
7. In September 1987 Slobodan MILOSEVIC and his supporters gained control of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. In 1988, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was re-elected as Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. From that influential position, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was able to further develop his political power.
8. From July 1988 to March 1989, a series of demonstrations and rallies supportive of Slobodan MILOSEVIC's policies --the so-called "Anti-Bureaucratic Revolution" -- took place in Vojvodina and Montenegro. These protests led to the ouster of the respective provincial and republican governments; the new governments were then supportive of, and indebted to, Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
9. Simultaneously, within Serbia, calls for bringing Kosovo under stronger Serbian rule intensified and numerous demonstrations addressing this issue were held. On 17 November 1988, high-ranking Kosovo Albanian political figures were dismissed from their positions within the provincial leadership and were replaced by appointees loyal to Slobodan MILOSEVIC. In early 1989, the Serbian Assembly proposed amendments to the Constitution of Serbia which would strip Kosovo of most of its autonomous powers, including control of the police, educational and economic policy, and choice of official language, as well as its veto powers over further changes to the Constitution of Serbia. Kosovo Albanians demonstrated in large numbers against the proposed changes. Beginning in February 1989, a strike by Kosovo Albanian miners further increased tensions.
10. Due to the political unrest, on 3 March 1989, the SFRY Presidency declared that the situation in the province had deteriorated and had become a threat to the constitution, integrity, and sovereignty of the country. The government then imposed "special measures" which assigned responsibility for public security to the federal government instead of the government of Serbia.
11. On 23 March 1989, the Assembly of Kosovo met in Pristina and, with the majority of Kosovo Albanian delegates abstaining, voted to accept the proposed amendments to the constitution. Although lacking the required two-thirds majority in the Assembly, the President of the Assembly nonetheless declared that the amendments had passed. On 28 March 1989, the Assembly of Serbia voted to approve the constitutional changes effectively revoking the autonomy granted in the 1974 constitution.
12. At the same time these changes were occurring in Kosovo, Slobodan MILOSEVIC further increased his political power when he became the President of Serbia. Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the Presidency of Serbia on 8 May 1989 and his post was formally confirmed on 6 December 1989.
13. In early 1990, Kosovo Albanians held mass demonstrations calling for an end to the "special measures." In April 1990, the SFRY Presidency lifted the "special measures" and removed most of the federal police forces as Serbia took over responsibility for police enforcement in Kosovo.
14. In July 1990, the Assembly of Serbia passed a decision to suspend the Assembly of Kosovo shortly after 114 of the 123 Kosovo Albanian delegates from that Assembly had passed an unofficial resolution declaring Kosovo an equal and independent entity within the SFRY. In September 1990, many of these same Kosovo Albanian delegates proclaimed a constitution for a "Republic of Kosovo." One year later, in September 1991, Kosovo Albanians held an unofficial referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly for independence. On 24 May 1992, Kosovo Albanians held unofficial elections for an assembly and president for the "Republic of Kosovo."
15. On 16 July 1990, the League of Communists of Serbia and the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia joined to form the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected its President. As the successor to the League of Communists, the SPS became the dominant political party in Serbia and Slobodan MILOSEVIC, as President of the SPS, was able to wield considerable power and influence over many branches of the government as well as the private sector. Milan MILUTINOVIC and Nikola SAINOVIC have both held prominent positions within the SPS. Nikola SAINOVIC was a member of the Main Committee and the Executive Council as well as a vice-chairman; and Milan MILUTINOVIC successfully ran for President of Serbia in 1997 as the SPS candidate.
16. After the adoption of the new Constitution of Serbia on 28 September 1990, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of Serbia in multi-party elections held on 9 and 26 December 1990; he was re-elected on 20 December 1992. In December 1991, Nikola SAINOVIC was appointed a Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia.
17. After Kosovo's autonomy was effectively revoked in 1989, the political situation in Kosovo became more and more divisive. Throughout late 1990 and 1991 thousands of Kosovo Albanian doctors, teachers, professors, workers, police and civil servants were dismissed from their positions. The local court in Kosovo was abolished and many judges removed. Police violence against Kosovo Albanians increased.
18. During this period, the unofficial Kosovo Albanian leadership pursued a policy of non-violent civil resistance and began establishing a system of unofficial, parallel institutions in the health care and education sectors.
19. In late June 1991 the SFRY began to disintegrate in a succession of wars fought in the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter Slovenia), the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter Croatia), and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter Bosnia and Herzegovina). On 25 June 1991, Slovenia declared independence from the SFRY, which led to the outbreak of war; a peace agreement was reached on 8 July 1991. Croatia declared its independence on 25 June 1991, leading to fighting between Croatian military forces on the one side and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), paramilitary units and the "Army of the Republic of Srpska Krajina" on the other.
20. On 6 March 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence, resulting in wide scale war after 6 April 1992. On 27 April 1992, the SFRY was reconstituted as the FRY. At this time, the JNA was re-formed as the Armed Forces of the FRY (hereinafter VJ). In the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the JNA, and later the VJ, fought along with the "Army of Republika Srpska" against military forces of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the "Croat Defence Council." Active hostilities ceased with the signing of the Dayton peace agreement in December 1995.
21. Although Slobodan MILOSEVIC was the President of Serbia during the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was nonetheless the dominant Serbian political figure exercising de facto control of the federal government as well as the republican government and was the person with whom the international community negotiated a variety of peace plans and agreements related to these wars.
22. Between 1991 and 1997 Milan MILUTINOVIC and Nikola SAINOVIC both held a number of high ranking positions within the federal and republican governments and continued to work closely with Slobodan MILOSEVIC. During this period, Milan MILUTINOVIC worked in the Foreign Ministry of the FRY, and at one time was Ambassador to Greece; in 1995, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRY, a position he held until 1997. Nikola SAINOVIC was Prime Minister of Serbia in 1993 and Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY in 1994.
23. While the wars were being conducted in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in Kosovo, while tense, did not erupt into the violence and intense fighting seen in the other countries. In the mid-1990s, however, a faction of the Kosovo Albanians organised a group known as Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës (UÇK) or, known in English as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). This group advocated a campaign of armed insurgency and violent resistance to the Serbian authorities. In mid-1996, the KLA began launching attacks primarily targeting FRY and Serbian police forces. Thereafter, and throughout 1997, FRY and Serbian police forces responded with forceful operations against suspected KLA bases and supporters in Kosovo.
24. After concluding his term as President of Serbia, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the FRY 15 July 1997, and assumed office on 23 July 1997. Thereafter, elections for the office of the President of Serbia were held; Milan MILUTINOVIC ran as the SPS candidate and was elected President of Serbia on 21 December 1997. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, Nikola SAINOVIC was re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY. In part through his close alliance with Milan MILUTINOVIC, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was able to retain his influence over the Government of Serbia.
25. Beginning in late February 1998, the conflict intensified between the KLA on the one hand and the VJ, the police forces of the FRY, police forces of Serbia, and paramilitary units (all hereinafter forces of the FRY and Serbia), on the other hand. A number of Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs were killed and wounded during this time. Forces of the FRY and Serbia engaged in a campaign of shelling predominantly Kosovo Albanian towns and villages, widespread destruction of property, and expulsions of the civilian population from areas in which the KLA was active. Many residents fled the territory as a result of the fighting and destruction or were forced to move to other areas within Kosovo. The United Nations estimates that by mid-October 1998, over 298,000 persons, roughly fifteen percent of the population, had been internally displaced within Kosovo or had left the province.
26. In response to the intensifying conflict, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1160 in March 1998 "condemning the use of excessive force by Serbian police forces against civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo," and imposed an arms embargo on the FRY. Six months later the UNSC passed Resolution 1199 (1998) which stated that "the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region." The Security Council demanded that all parties cease hostilities and that "the security forces used for civilian repression" be withdrawn.
27. In an attempt to diffuse tensions in Kosovo, negotiations between Slobodan MILOSEVIC, and representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were conducted in October 1998. An "Agreement on the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission" was signed on 16 October 1998. This agreement and the "Clark-Naumann agreement," which was signed by Nikola SAINOVIC, provided for the partial withdrawal of forces of the FRY and Serbia from Kosovo, a limitation on the introduction of additional forces and equipment into the area, and the deployment of unarmed OSCE verifiers.
28. Although scores of OSCE verifiers were deployed throughout Kosovo, hostilities continued. During this period, a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians were documented by the international verifiers and human rights organisations. In one such incident, on 15 January 1999, 45 unarmed Kosovo Albanians were murdered in the village of Racak in the municipality of Stimlje/ Shtime.
29. In a further response to the continuing conflict in Kosovo, an international peace conference was organised in Rambouillet, France beginning on 7 February 1999. Nikola SAINOVIC, the Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY, was a member of the Serbian delegation at the peace talks and Milan MILUTINOVIC, President of Serbia, was also present during the negotiations. The Kosovo Albanians were represented by the KLA and a delegation of Kosovo Albanian political and civic leaders. Despite intensive negotiations over several weeks, the peace talks collapsed in mid-March 1999.
30. During the peace negotiations in France, the violence in Kosovo continued. In late February and early March, forces of the FRY and Serbia launched a series of offensives against dozens of predominantly Kosovo Albanian villages and towns. The FRY military forces were comprised of elements of the 3rd Army, specifically the 52nd Corps, also known as the Pristina Corps, and several brigades and regiments under the command of the Pristina Corps. The Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, with command responsibilities over the 3rd Army and ultimately over the Pristina Corps, is Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC. The Supreme Commander of the VJ is Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
31. The police forces taking part in the actions in Kosovo are members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia in addition to some units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the FRY. All police forces employed by or working under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia are commanded by Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia. Under the FRY Act on the Armed Forces, those police forces engaged in military operations during a state of war or imminent threat of war are subordinated to the command of the VJ whose commanders are Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC and Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
32. Prior to December 1998, Slobodan MILOSEVIC designated Nikola SAINOVIC as his representative for the Kosovo situation. A number of diplomats and other international officials who needed to speak with a government official regarding events in Kosovo were directed to Nikola SAINOVIC. He took an active role in the negotiations establishing the OSCE verification mission for Kosovo and he participated in numerous other meetings regarding the Kosovo crisis. From January 1999 to the date of this indictment, Nikola SAINCOVIC has acted as the liaison between Slobodan MILOSEVIC and various Kosovo Albanian leaders.
33. Nikola SAINOVIC was most recently re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY on 20 May 1998. As such, he is a member of the Government of the FRY, which, among other duties and responsibilities, formulates domestic and foreign policy, enforces federal law, directs and co-ordinates the work of federal ministries, and organises defence preparations.
34. During their offensives, forces of the FRY and Serbia acting in concert have engaged in a well-planned and co-ordinated campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians. Towns and villages have been shelled, homes, farms, and businesses burned, and personal property destroyed. As a result of these orchestrated actions, towns, villages, and entire regions have been made uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians. Additionally, forces of the FRY and Serbia have harassed, humiliated, and degraded Kosovo Albanian civilians through physical and verbal abuse. The Kosovo Albanians have also been persistently subjected to insults, racial slurs, degrading acts based on ethnicity and religion, beatings, and other forms of physical mistreatment.
35. The unlawful deportation and forcible transfer of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes in Kosovo involved well-planned and co-ordinated efforts by the leaders of the FRY and Serbia, and forces of the FRY and Serbia, all acting in concert. Actions similar in nature took place during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995. During those wars, Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces forcibly expelled and deported non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from areas under Serbian control utilising the same method of operations as have been used in Kosovo in 1999: heavy shelling and armed attacks on villages; widespread killings; destruction of non-Serbian residential areas and cultural and religious sites; and forced transfer and deportation of non-Serbian populations.
36. On 24 March 1999, NATO began launching air strikes against targets in the FRY. The FRY issued decrees of an imminent threat of war on 23 March 1999 and a state of war on 24 March 1999. Since the air strikes commenced, forces of the FRY and Serbia have intensified their systematic campaign and have forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians.
37. In addition to the forced expulsions of Kosovo Albanians, forces of the FRY and Serbia have also engaged in a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians since 24 March 1999. Such killings occurred at numerous locations, including but not limited to, Bela Crkva, Mali Krusa/ Krushe e Vogel --Velika Krusa/ Krushe e Mahde, Dakovica/ Gjakovë, Crkovez/ Padalishte, and Izbica.
38. The planning, preparation and execution of the campaign undertaken by forces of the FRY and Serbia in Kosovo, was planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted by Slobodan MILOSEVIC, the President of the FRY; Milan MILUTINOVIC, the President of Serbia; Nikola SAINOVIC, the Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY; Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC, the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ; and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia.
39. By 20 May 1999, over 740,000 Kosovo Albanians, approximately one-third of the entire Kosovo Albanian population, were expelled from Kosovo. Thousands more are believed to be internally displaced. An unknown number of Kosovo Albanians have been killed in the operations by forces of the FRY and Serbia.