U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
U.S. Department of State

  Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo: An Accounting
   U.S. State Department Report • December 1999

Executive Summary
Documenting the Abuses

The Refugee Interview Process
Postscript: Albanian Retribution and Missing Persons
Atrocities and War Crimes by Location
Appendix: List of Annotated Web Sites

The Refugee Interview Process

An ad hoc coalition of NGOs, governments and international organizations began conducting systematic interviews of refugees who had fled Kosovo for the relative safety of refugee camps and homes in Macedonia and Albania.

Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and the Program on Forced Migration and Health of Columbia University's Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health designed a human rights oriented, epidemiological study to establish patterns of human rights violations among Kosovar refugees by Serbian forces using a population-based approach. Rather than seeking out victims or witnesses of abuse, PHR sought to assess the pervasiveness of abuses. Representatives of these organizations interviewed 1,209 Kosovar refugees in 31 refugee camps and collective centers in Albania and Macedonia between April 19 and May 3, 1999. The survey assessed human rights abuses among 11,458 household members at the time that they were living in Kosovo.

Grave Site
Vlastica. These graves contain the remains of seven of the 20 villagers killed by Serbian paramilitary forces in April 1999. They were buried at this site overlooking Vlastica by Kosovar Albanians who returned to the village in June 1999. Photo date August 1999.

The results of this assessment are contained in Physicians for Human Rights' report War Crimes in Kosovo, published in August 1999. PHR notes that the findings of their study indicate that Serbian forces engaged in a systematic and brutal campaign to forcibly expel the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo throughout the province. In the course of these mass deportations, and over the past year in Kosovo, Serbian forces have committed widespread violations of human rights against Kosovar Albanians including: killings, beatings, torture, sexual assault, separation and disappearances, shootings, looting and destruction of property, and violations of medical neutrality. One in three households reported at least one of these abuses in the past year, with the majority of abuses occurring in March and April of 1999.

ABA/CEELI's War Crimes Documentation Project
The American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) and Coalition for International Justice (CIJ) established a war crimes documentation project in May 1999 which is ongoing. The purpose of the project is twofold. The first objective is to assist efforts to investigate war crimes and prosecute perpetrators. To this end, ABA/CEELI conducted refugee interviews in Macedonia, Albania and Fort Dix, New Jersey from May to July 1999. The second objective of the project is to increase public awareness of war crimes, their prosecution, and the role of the ICTY.

The information collected during the refugee interviews was entered into a computer database approved by the ICTY. ABA/CEELI issued a report in August on the uses of this database and the nature of its data. The database currently includes 1,582 witness statements with 4,328 discrete incidents reported. Reported crimes include torture, destruction of property, arrests and detentions, forced displacement, harassment, sexual assaults, and killings. This information has assisted ICTY investigators with locating witnesses, identifying potential crime scenes and conducting strategic planning for their investigations.

ABA/CEELI continues to work with the ICTY to refine the interview process and the computer database to suit ongoing needs. Consistent with the nature of criminal investigations, the data has not been collected using scientific sampling techniques, but has revealed areas where additional human rights documentation will likely be needed.

Other Documentation Efforts
Medecins sans Frontieres released an April 30 report of refugee accounts and conducted an epidemiological survey on a population of 1,537 persons who had arrived at the Rozaje refugee camp in Montenegro. The survey covered events in more than 50 villages in Kosovo between March 24 and April 15, 1999. This report concludes that the main cause of Kosovo's mass population movements was deportation under the threat of death; deportation was accompanied by looting and destruction of victims' possessions; the methods of enforced deportation were almost identical across Kosovo; identity papers were systematically confiscated and destroyed by Serbian forces and the separation of men and women was a common practice during expulsions. More than half of Medecins sans Frontieres witnesses described murders.