Historian Bojan Djokic: Bloody Trail of Ramush Haradinaj

Ramush Haradinaj (Photo: Beta Agency)

Ramush Haradinaj, one of the top commanders of the notorious Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA was listed by major Western governments prior to 1999 NATO war, as the terrorist organization), in last couple months became again the focus of domestic and international mainstream media. Since he was recently arrested in France (on extradition warrant from Serbia), I had no illusion that he- the man who can, within 24 hours, raise thousands of armed Albanian extremists; the man who is the president of political party „Alliance for Kosovo future“, which is sponsored by Western powers; and the man who is known to possess cash and property worth of tens of millions of Euros- will ever be extradited to Serbia. Therefore, I will focus here on the different subject…

Neither I will speculate, was Ramush Haradinaj just a „hot potato“ dropped in a lap of Serbian politicians, and if there was any correlation between Kosovo „president“ Hashim Thaci and French authorities, prior to Haradinaj’ arrest. And the last thing I would question here is- whether Serbian authorities failed again to submit all supportive evidence in Haradinaj’ case (as they did before) – still I reserve right to hold Serbian authorities accountable, if proven that they „failed“ again to produce all necessary evidence (for Haradinaj’ extradition). The political (ab)use of „Haradinaj’ case“ by Serbian politicians is different subject too, and I will not address this issue here, either. Still I am anxious to find out, how this case will be (ab)used during the second run of the upcoming Presidential elections in Serbia, if we even come to this point.

In this analysis I wanted to point at some undeniable facts, which clearly prove Ramush Haradinaj guilt for the crimes, he committed as KLA commander, and which are largely unknown to the public. During the armed conflict in Kosovo in 1998-99, he had unlimited control in Western Kosovo region known as Metohija. One article can not contain the description of all war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by KLA in Metohija region, therefore I will pay attention only at „Dukadjin zone“ where Haradinaj was „the master of life and death“.

According to the official statistics- Within the police jurisdiction of Pec’ county (cities: Pec, Klina, Istok) 239 persons were murdered by KLA members, during 1998 and 1999 year. Victims were: 156 persons of Serbian or Montenegrin nationality, 21 were Roma, 23 were Bosniaks (Slav-Muslims), 37 were Albanian, and 2 were of unknown nationality.  Among the victims were 45 policemen, 31 soldiers of Yugoslav army, and 163 civilians. If we research little deeper, we will find out that only under the Pec’ police jurisdiction, in 1998 up to June 1999, were murdered 129 persons. Only in month of June 1999, 68 persons were murdered by KLA, which makes 30% of killed people within this municipality. Indictment, issued by the Republic of Serbia, is specifically holding Haradinaj accountable for the crimes  committed during June 1999.

French police arresting Haradinaj (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

These are not the total numbers of all murdered people, because we have no account for all Albanians killed by their fellow countrymen in KLA uniforms. This number certainly is not small. That probably will be made public only when „Kosovar“ (Albanian) nation become ready to face the truth from own dark past- probably in distant future.  Yet, from the numbers I have presented here, we can draw some conclusions.

Within the police jurisdiction of Pec’ county, 65% of murdered were Serbs or Montenegrin (Montenegrin are of the Serbian ethnic origin), which clearly indicates that they were the primary target. 15% of murdered were Albanians (from Kosovo)– they were, during the armed conflict in 1998-99, targeted by KLA from various reasons, but the main cause was their alleged cooperation with the Serbian authorities. From KLA terror and violence were not spared other minority groups- Around 9% of killed, within the municipality Pec, were Roma people, and around 10% were Bosniaks (Slav-Muslims).

Haradinaj’ „legacy of death“ is impressive within the police jurisdiction of Djakovica’ County as well, which covered cities: Djakovica and Decane. KLA extremists murdered 286 persons, within this jurisdiction- 56 policemen, 117 Yugoslav army soldiers, 85 civilians, and for 28 murdered persons is unknown professional background. Again, the majority of murdered persons were Serbs/Montenegrin- 203 people or 70% of victims, 12 Roma people, 3 Bosniaks, 41 Albanians or 15% of victims, two persons are listed as „others“, while for 25 victims is unknown what nationalities they were. Until June 1999 within this county were murdered 227 people, only in month of June 22 people, killed by KLA.

We have to keep in our mind, that these statistics do not cover the number of kidnapped (by KLA) and missing people, so this tragedy is much larger, then it appears at first sight. Maybe these statistics will mean nothing to some „ignorant reader“, but behind each of these numbers was a human being, who had the right to live too, as we all do- and this right was violently taken away from him, or her…

Bojan Djokic (Photo: Personal Archive)

Author Bojan Djokic is historian, employed at „Museum of Genocide Victims“

Translated from Serbian into English, by FBR editor M. Novakovic, 11.3.2017

Note: Comments in brackets were made by the translator…

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