German Foreign Office report on Kosovo (November 1998)
Translated by J.P. Maher: N. B. November 1998
Subject: German text. Foreign Office report on Kosovo. Urgent.
In the Foreign Office report (514-516/80/3 YUG; LAG-JUG8.DOC) of November
1998 on Asylum and expulsion related situation in the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia it is stated inter alia:
2. Kosovo. ...almost all Kosovo Albanian politicians are for secession and
The Albanian population of Kosovo almost without exception do not
participate in elections. The affected parliamentary seats accordingly go to
Milosevic's Socialist Party. ...
Page 3: ...Since April 1996 there was series of yet unclarified attacks on
police, in which dozens of people were wounded or killed. Most attacks were
admitted by the KLA [UCK].
Page 4: ... As a result of the withdrawal of Serb security forces, there has
been a flood of refugees returning to their villages. But there is accordingly
also a rebuilding of UCK structures. The UCK, as of the end of July 1988, had
brought under its control of 20% of Kosovo. In UCK-controlled areas there
were and still are numerous acts of violence against Kosovo Serbs, including
kidnappings and murders. In view of the return of the UCK to their former
positions there is a danger of a big upsurge of armed confrontations in Kosovo.
Page 5: ...
I. Direct state persecution on the basis of race, nationality, religion.
1.1. Kosovo Albanians.
Accordingly, Kosovo Albanians are methodically pushing for independent state
and administration structures. In this regard politically active Albanians
are not being persecuted for their ethnicity, but as "separatists". Mere
membership in the LDK or other political parties raises the likelihood of
persecution only insignificantly.
Page 6: ...Thus, since the beginning of armed clashes about 30,000-50,000
Serbs have abandoned Kosovo.
...According to data from the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and
Freedoms, Pristina, human rights organizations led by Kosovo Albanians ...
comprehensive documentation indicates that in 1997 ca. 5,600 persons,
statistically 0.29% of the estimated Albanian population of 2 million were
affected by repressive measures.
Page 7: ... After the outbreak of open battles in parts of Kosovo many
Albanians were captured in these battles, both UCK-fighters and "civilians"
active in the battles. ...
The military character of the conflicts that occurred in several places, with
heavy participation of civilians, will make individual legal proceedings
In police actions in the Drenica area in late February / early March 1998
special police units clearly directed against Kosovo Albanians in
fortress-like locations; they were seen by the police as terrorists.
Page 8: ...
1.2. Ethnic Albanians in other parts of Yugoslavia
... In nearly all cities in Serbia are bigger or smaller colonies of Kosovo
Albanians, who are engaged in traditional occupations. In Belgrade alone
several tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians. Open rejection by the populace
at large or by the authorities can be demonstrated only in very few instances.
... 2.1 Ethnic Albanians.
... The UCK in Kosovo attacks other Albanians who declare their loyalty to
the Yugoslav state. For example, in early April 1998 at Orahovac 6 Kosovo
Albanians who in an open letter to the Serbian president had declared their
loyalty were murdered. In addition, in various regions the UCK puts heavy
pressure on local Serbs and Montenegrins and others in the form of road
blocks, threats, kidnapping of civilians, which has resulted in the ethnic
cleansing of this region.
... Victims of clashes between the UCK and security forces have always been
the civilian population. In many places, the Albanian population abandoned
their dwellings after battles against the UCK, probably under UCK orders.
Page 12: ... Military call-ups of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are only
occasionally carried out.
It can be suspected that in such cases the Serbian side wishes to increase
pressure on the Albanian-speaking population. Military authorities have no
interest in giving military training to young Kosovo Albanians, who are
... 6. State-Internal Escape Alternatives.
Central Serbia and Monte Negro are preferred. Reports of discrimination or
mistreatment on ethnic minorities are practically nil in Belgrade, despite
the extreme burden of housing refugees.
... 4. Sex-related Human Rights Violations...
The Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms alleged hearing of
individual cases of rape, but presented no official reports.
5. Conditions of Life.
Despite the poor economic situation of Yugoslavia, conditions are not
life-threatening for the population. There are still over a half million
refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Krajina in federal Yugoslavia. Many of
these refugees, especially those who can find no work, live in dire circumstances.
In Kosovo itself, the difficult situation has actually eased somewhat.
[before the NAT0 bombing]
The Yugoslav authorities allow humanitarian organizations access to the needy.
Limitations occur in case of danger to the aid workers. ...
6.2.1 Kosovo-Conflict - Hostilities.
... Since April 1998 there was a strong upsurge in the number of attacks on
policemen and police installations. The Police had as a result to withdraw
from affected large areas, which were exclusively controlled by the UCK. In
"liberated areas" there was a total breakdown of civil order. State organs
[police, Post Office, city halls etc.] were shut down.
The UCK attempted in several offensives to extend the territory under its
control to towns and mines west of Pristina, without lasting success, however.
On the region bordering Albania... there were battles between Yugoslavian
border guards and armed groups attempting to get supplies of arms and
fighters from Albania. In some case, groups up to 1000 men attempted to break
In the course of these battles the Yugoslav army seized tones of weapons and
war materiel. The UCK tried repeatedly to connect "liberated areas" with
Albania in order to secure supply routes. In these engagements the UCK
repeated withdrew into villages, to conduct further battles under the shelter
of the villages, and often with support of the civilian population.
... By the end of August 1998, according to the CDHRF, about ca. 600
Albanians were killed. There is no distinction between UCK fighters and
civilians in this accounting.
The goal of the Serbian armed forces since then has been to prevent UCK units
that fled to the forests from attacking road connections and to block their
re-entry into retaken villages.
... 6.2.2. Effect on the population.
The battles manifest a typical military character and were executed to take
back territory from the UCK.
The UCK had broad support in the civilian population of the "liberated areas".
According even to Albanian accounts, civilians took active part in the
Even women took part in the fighting; International Verifiers even reported
finding a 15 year old girl in the ranks.
Therefore [N. B.]
FOR THE SECURITY FORCES AND FOR OBJECTIVE EVALUATION IT IS DIFFICULT TO
DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN UCK-FIGHTERS, CIVILIAN FIGHTERS IN THEIR RANKS,
AND PURE CIVILIANS.
I the course of the counter-offensive of the Security Forces, the UCK units
retreated. Nearly the whole civilian population of the villages involved fled
with them, with the result that broad areas of the conflict zone was
emptied of its population.
The UCK-units and population withdrew into remote mountain and forest areas.
Verifiers in the town of Malisevo, which fell to the security forces without
a struggle, only one single inhabitant of the 20 thousand who had lived
there. THE SERB SECURITY FORCES DID NOT IMPEDE THE EXODUS OF THE POPULATION.
... On entering re-captured villages the Serb security forces occasionally
attacked the remaining inhabitants. Press reports of "massacres" and "mass
graves" contributed to the alarm of the refugees, but could NOT be
The conflict does NOT affect all Kosovo. Life goes on normally in cities like
Pristina, Gnjilane and Urosevac.
...Treatment of deported citizens on their return.
At present, deportations are not being carried out on account of the EU
sanctions against the Yugoslav state airline JAT.
The probability that Kosovo deportees returning home will be exposed to
massive state repression is to be judged as remote.
...It is well-known to the German Foreign Office that a significant number of
UCK-fighters commands the German language. It is therefore to be assumed that
UCK-fighters, legally or illegally, have returned from Germany to Yugoslavia
to join the UCK.