Kosovo: Forced Removal, Rape, Genocide

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IMPORTANT: This archived action campaign has been completed or discontinued, and the information contained in it may not be current. Please see Take Action for current and ongoing campaigns.
1 Apr 1999

A genocidal campaign of "ethnic cleansing" has displaced hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo. There have been steady reports of killings, forced removals, and burning of villages. Now the first report of rape has emerged—young ethnic Albanian women being raped by Yugoslav soldiers at an army training camp near the town of Dakovica and as many as twenty women killed. But rape is not a new weapon of war in the Serbian arsenal. Equality Now first called attention in August 1992 to the systematic use of rape by Bosnian Serbs as part of their genocidal "ethnic cleansing" policy against Bosnian Muslim civilians. In July 1995, the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, and Ratko Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army, charging them with genocide and crimes against humanity. The indictment includes rapes and sexual assaults in the list of acts and omissions attributed to Karadzic and Mladic, and further specifies that "in many instances, women and girls who were detained were raped at the camps or were taken from the detention centres and raped or otherwise sexually abused at other locations."

For seven years, Equality Now has been calling for the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. The establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal and its indictment of Karadzic and Mladic gave the world community hope that those who violated human rights would be held accountable. Yet almost four years after the indictment of Karadzic and Mladic, these war criminals remain at large. Widely thought to be one of the masterminds of "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has heard and responded to the signal from NATO and other authorities which have failed to arrest Karadzic and Mladic, despite clear authority to do so, that impunity will be allowed for those at the highest level of responsibility for atrocities. His response is a new genocidal campaign in Kosovo—more killing, more "ethnic cleansing," and more rape. Recently the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia refused to accept a letter from Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour to Slobodan Milosevic and twelve other top political and military officials, warning them of her concern that "serious violations of international humanitarian law continue to be committed."

The indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and the arrest and trial of Karadzic and Mladic are critical to the restoration of peace and justice in the war-torn republics of the former Yugoslavia. More immediately, the swift indictment and arrest of Milosevic could stop the current destruction of the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia offers the rule of law in this human rights crisis as a viable and powerful alternative to the use of military force.

What You Can Do: 

Through the poster in this action, Equality Now hopes to highlight the fact that the atrocities which are occurring in Kosovo are being carried out under orders, and that there are individuals such as Slobodan Milosevic who are directly responsible for them. Distribute the poster as widely as possible and call on NATO to take immediate action to arrest indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, and to be prepared to take immediate action to arrest Slobodan Milosevic if and when he is indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Appeals should be addressed to Dr. Javier Solana, the Secretary General of NATO, and General Wesley K. Clark, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, at NATO Headquarters, 1110 Brussels, Belgium.

Slobodan Milosevic