To the Yugoslav Government:
Compliance With International Humanitarian Law
· Put an end to summary executions. Investigate and prosecute those responsible for carrying out those acts;
· Stop the disproportionate use of force against the civilian population and the targeting of civilians for attacks during military and police operations; take all necessary steps to protect civilian populations from the effects of military and police operations;
· Stop the systematic destruction of civilian property. This includes the burning, pillage, and destruction of homes and food supplies, the burning and looting of crops and fodder, pollution of water sources, and the killing of livestock. The destruction of civilian objects constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war, and the perpetrators of such abuses should be prosecuted;
· Withdraw immediately from the Kosovo region all Serbian and Yugoslav forces and any paramilitary units that have or are suspected of having perpetrated human rights or humanitarian law violations; and
· Conduct an investigation in full cooperation with the ICTY, including any requests to defer prosecutions to the ICTY, and hold accountable those members of the police and security forces found responsible for violations of human rights and humanitarian law, including the summary executions of civilians at Gornje Obrinje and Golubovac. Such investigations should not serve as a cover to intimidate witnesses or to destroy relevant evidence.
Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Cooperate fully with the ICTY in its efforts to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law on both sides in Kosovo. In particular:
· Adopt the measures necessary under Yugoslav law to implement the provisions of Security Council Resolution 827 and the statutes of the ICTY;
· Recognize the right of the ICTY to investigate all war crimes committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, including the area of Kosovo, as stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 827 (1993), and repeatedly reaffirmed with particular reference to the Kosovo crisis in U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1160, 1199, and 1207;
· Immediately and unconditionally grant visas to all members of the ICTY investigative team, including members of the ICTY prosecutors office and any independent experts working in conjunction with the ICTY;
· Allow the ICTY investigators full and unimpeded access to the full territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including all areas of Kosovo;
· Recognize the authority of the ICTY to interview any witnesses and gather evidence of war crimes, including physical and forensic evidence;
· Assist the ICTY by making available relevant evidence and information about troop presence and command structures of the Yugoslav Army, Serbian police, and any other police or security unit that operated in Kosovo during the period of armed conflict, as well as such information regarding the police;
· Cooperate with the ICTY by locating and arresting any person under indictment by the ICTY.
Access for the OSCE, Human Rights and Humanitarian Organizations, and Media
· Guarantee safe passage and unencumbered access for humanitarian aid delivery and distribution;
· Provide unrestricted access for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia to investigate violations of humanitarian law and human rights by both sides in the Kosovo region;
· Grant independent human rights monitors immediate, full, and unfettered access to the Kosovo region in order to investigate allegations of humanitarian and human rights abuses. Grant independent human rights monitors the necessary visas to enable them to carry out their investigative work in the Kosovo region;
· Re-admit the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europes (OSCEs) long-term monitoring mission to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;
· Provide immediate and unimpeded access for teams of forensic experts to carry out investigations into allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Kosovo;
· Allow full and unimpeded access to local and foreign journalists covering the conflict in Kosovo.
Treatment of and Access to Detainees
· End the widespread physical abuse and torture of persons in the custody of Yugoslav authorities, and stop the practice of arbitrarily arresting ethnic Albanian civilians during military and police operations;
· Fully disclose the names of all persons currently detained in the course of the conflict, their ages, the circumstances of their arrest, their current place of detention, the status of their prosecution or investigation, and any other relevant details. Investigate and clarify the whereabouts and fate of all persons believed to be in the custody of the authorities who remain unaccounted for;
· Maintain up-to-date registers of all detainees in every place of detention, locally and centrally; this information should be made available to relatives, lawyers and others;
· Allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) unhindered, ongoing, and complete access to all detainees, including those who are being investigated but have not yet been charged with a crime;
· Allow diplomatic and independent monitors regular and unhindered access to persons in detention and to places of detention, in order to ensure that the treatment of detainees and conditions of detention are consistent with international obligations;
· Guarantee that detainees have regular access to their lawyers and family members, that they are able to meet with their lawyers in private, and that they have adequate time to prepare their defense;
· Conduct an investigation into the allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment in detention. Those found responsible for such abuse should be held accountable before the law;
· Accord due process to all persons detained and/or accused of crimes, including ethnic Albanians accused of violating the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia or terrorist activities; and
· Drop all charges against and release from detention those who have been indicted for the peaceful expression of opinion or for membership in a group that has only performed acts which, under international human rights law, may not be criminalized, such as peaceful criticism of the government; and refrain from making arrests on such grounds.
To the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA):
Because the fighting in Kosovo is an internal armed conflict covered by international humanitarian law, both government forces and the KLA are obliged to respect, at a minimum, the provisions of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which require that civilians and other protected persons be treated humanely, with specific prohibitions on murder, torture, or cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment. Human Rights Watch, therefore, calls on the KLA to:
· Release all civilians in detention, refrain from attacks on members of the civilian population and from using any detainees or civilians as hostages, and treat humanely Serbian soldiers or policemen in custody;
· Condemn hostage-taking and the ill-treatment of civilians or others placed hors de combat and renounce such tactics;
· Impose a code of military conduct that punishes KLA hostage-taking, using humans as shields, and other conduct prohibited by international humanitarian law; take steps to inform troops of binding rules that violators among KLA troops will be held accountable;
· Bring to justice commanders and troops guilty of these violations in conformity with international standards of due process;
· Grant humanitarian organizations full and ongoing access to the conflict zone under KLA control and to people in KLA detention;
·Allow full and unconditional access to ICTY investigators, KVM verifiers, independent human rights investigators, diplomatic monitors, humanitarian workers, and the press to all areas under KLA control; and
·Cooperate fully with the ICTY and independent human rights investigators in bringing the perpetrators of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law to justice.
To the International Community:
·Ensure that any negotiations about the future status of Kosovo do not serve as a mechanism to further impunity in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Negotiated solutions must include provisions to hold political leaders and members of the security forces accountable for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law committed during the Kosovo conflict;
Preventing Further Humanitarian Law Violations
·Respond to atrocities committed against civilians with decisive and immediate action;
·Insist that the conditions set forth in the Contact Group statement of March 9 and in the Holbrooke-Miloevic Agreement of October 1998 are met by the Yugoslav government, and immediately respond to any violations of these agreements;
Supporting the work of the ICTY
·Put the issue of compliance with the mandate of the ICTY on the top of the international agenda, and in all interactions with the Yugoslav authorities insist on full cooperation with the ICTY;
·Insist that ICTY investigators and representatives be allowed to conduct investigations, including forensic investigations, in Kosovo with unimpeded access to all sites and witnesses. Immediately protest any Yugoslav government actions which impede or attempt to interfere in the work of the ICTY;
·Guarantee ongoing financial and political support to ensure that the ICTY can undertake timely and thorough investigations into allegations of humanitarian law violations in Kosovo;
·Assist the ICTY in identifying important witnesses and evidence, and work closely with the ICTY in securing evidence and ensuring the protection of important witnesses;
·Provide the ICTY with any intelligence information obtained that relates to the commission of war crimes, including the identification of specific units engaged in operations in areas in which abuses occur, and convey relevant satellite intelligence information to the ICTY;
·Attach humanitarian law and human rights experts to the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), and ensure that any information gathered by these experts is shared with the ICTY;
·Ensure that all evidence relating to Slobodan Milosovics and other political leaders responsibility for war crimes in Kosovo, as well as in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia, is turned over to the ICTY for investigation;
·Send a clear message that war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide will not be tolerated by arresting those already indicted by the ICTY for atrocities committed during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia; and
·Raise awareness about the mandate and work of the ICTY and the obligations created by international humanitarian law through a public education campaign in both the Serbian and Albanian languages.
To the United Nations:
To the Security Council
The ongoing conflict in Kosovo remains a threat to regional stability and security, and the absence of a political solution to the conflict could lead to a renewed escalation with widespread atrocities. Human Rights Watch therefore calls on the United Nations Security Council to:
· Ensure the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 1160, 1199 and 1207, which called for, among other things, an immediate cessation of hostilities and for the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to implement his own commitments from the June 16 joint statement with the president of the Russian Federation not to carry out any repressive actions against the peaceful population, to facilitate refugee return, and to cooperate with the ICTY;
· Call on the government of Slobodan Miloevic to invite the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, and the U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances urgently to conduct an investigation in Kosovo and to report back to the Security Council;
· Facilitate and encourage the work of the ICTY to investigate violations of international humanitarian law in Kosovo and guarantee ongoing financial and political support to ensure that the ICTY can undertake the necessary investigations; and
· Urge the Yugoslav government to cooperate with the ICTY, to adopt measures necessary under Yugoslav law to implement the provisions of Security Council Resolution 827 and the statutes of the tribunal, to transfer to the ICTYs custody those indicted persons on Yugoslav territory, and to facilitate an independent investigation of allegations of war crimes in Kosovo.
To the Commission on Human Rights
· Condemn the serious abuses committed in Kosovo and renew the mandate of the commissions special rapporteur on human rights in the former Yugoslavia to vigorously monitor human rights conditions throughout the conflict-affected region.
To the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia
· Investigate and condemn violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and communicate unequivocally to the parties to the conflict that there can be no justification, under international law, for such abuses.
To the High Commissioner on Human Rights
· Maintain a substantial staff in Kosovo to monitor abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law; and
· Use your authority to encourage U.N. treaty bodies and mechanisms to be engaged in Kosovo and to facilitate access for these bodies and mechanisms to Kosovo.
To the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia
· Continue to seek to dispatch a high-level delegation, including Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, to Belgrade and Pritina to put both sides on notice of the ICTYs mandate and the likely repercussions of international humanitarian law violations;
· Intensify efforts to investigate atrocities committed in Kosovo in a timely manner, including by dispatching teams of investigators to Kosovo, as well as to refugee-receiving areas, to interview victims and witnesses to atrocities and to gather relevant physical evidence and by coordinating the ICTY investigation with other international actors currently enjoying access to the conflict area;
· Ensure that witnesses, particularly those still based in Kosovo, are provided with adequate protection; and
· Engage in a public education campaign in Kosovo, aimed at informing parties to the conflict about their obligations under international humanitarian law and ensuring that civilians are aware of the work of the ICTY and ways to contact the ICTY with relevant information.
To the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
Human Rights Watch believes that in order to help prevent a recurrence of the type of abuses described in this report and to be effective in the implementation of its mandate, the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) must maintain a strong human rights orientation in its work. The human rights mandate of the OSCE KVM mission should empower and oblige the mission to:
Freely monitor and investigate human rights abuses
· Receive complaints of human rights abuses from any person or group in Kosovo;
· Travel freely and visit any site, including any suspected or known place of detention;
· Interview people freely and in private, including detainees who have not yet been charged with a crime;
Monitor, report, and publicize abuses committed by the security forces
· Monitor the behavior of the Serbian police and Yugoslav army and investigate incidents of harassment or violence against the civilian population; raise cases of abuse with the appropriate authorities; recommend corrective action, including dismissal or prosecution; and publicize the abuses, particularly in cases where the authorities fail to take appropriate corrective action;
Monitor, report, and publicize KLA abuses
· Monitor and investigate any harassment or abuse by the Kosovo Liberation Army against ethnic Albanians, Serbs, and others; report those abuses to the KLA and the Yugoslav authorities; recommend accountability or other corrective action in conformity with international standards; and publicize the abuses, particularly where the KLA or Yugoslav authorities fail to take appropriate action;
Monitor, report, and publicize conditions of detention
· In cooperation with ICRC, monitor the treatment of those in detention through regular visits to prisons, police stations, and suspected places of detention, including those located outside of Kosovo but holding persons detained in connection with the conflict; interview detainees, freely and in private, including those who have not yet been charged with a crime; raise objections with the authorities when access to detention facilities is denied or conditions deviate from international standards; recommend corrective action, including dismissal or prosecution; and publicize those conditions when the authorities fail to take corrective action, including the prosecution of responsible officials;
Monitor, report, and publicize conduct of trials
· Observe trials, especially those of ethnic Albanians accused of terrorism or other crimes related to state security; raise objections with the authorities when access to trials is denied and when procedural irregularities are identified; recommend remedial measures; and publicize procedural violations, particularly when the authorities fail to take remedial action;
Monitor, report, and publicize conditions for return of displaced persons
· Monitor and investigate obstacles to the right of return for the estimated 250,000 internally displaced persons in Kosovo; bring those obstacles to the attention of the authorities; recommend remedial measures; and publicize the problem, particularly when the authorities fail to remedy it;
Monitor, report, and publicize restrictions on the media
· Monitor and investigate restrictions on freedom of the press in Serbia, both on the Albanian- and Serbian-language media; publicize deficiencies in freedom of expression and recommend needed reform to the authorities;
Work with local and international human rights organizations
· Maintain close contact with local and international human rights organizations working in Kosovo and develop procedures for regular consultation and information sharing;
Cooperate with the ICTY
· Cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia by identifying possible witnesses and evidence of violations of international humanitarian law. To facilitate this cooperation, mission members should be briefed on the specific evidentiary needs of the ICTY and instructed to forward relevant information;
Contribute to human rights institution building
· Lead or participate in efforts to assist in the development of national institutionsboth governmental and nongovernmentalwhich can protect and promote human rights after the international monitoring has ended; and
Vet the police force for human right abusers
· As part of police force development as envisioned by the October agreement between FRY and the OSCE establishing the KVM mandate, ensure that police officers responsible for war crimes or other serious human rights violations are not allowed to serve in any capacity in law enforcement. For purposes of the vetting of police officers, the OSCE should seek information regarding individual police officers human rights records from the ICTY, local and international human rights groups, and the public, as well as from the OSCE's own human rights monitors.
In conclusion, Human Rights Watch notes that the OSCE should not limit its engagement in FRY to the verification mission. First, the new OSCE mission to Kosovo should not be considered a replacement for the long-term, Yugoslav-wide OSCE mission that was expelled from the country in 1992. Such a mission to monitor human rights conditions throughout Yugoslavia is essential to any viable long-term political solution in FRY and should remain a central demand of the international community. Second, while recognizing limitations on his mandate, Human Rights Watch believes that the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities might play an important role in Kosovo, providing an early warning mechanism for possible renewed violence stemming from abuses committed against Albanians, Serbs or other minorities resident in the region. Finally, the OSCE should support recent efforts of its Representative on Freedom of the Media to address the serious violations of free expression that undermine prospects for any lasting political solution in FRY.