The Ambassadors of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States have released a statement to commemorate the memory of those who were massacred by Serbian forces in Reçak on 15 January 1999.
Some 45 people were murdered in the massacre when Serbian forces surrounded the village of Reçak, attacked it, and raided houses. Men were dragged from their homes, beaten and then shot, women were sexually assaulted and raped. Serbia initially stated that those killed were Kosovo Liberation Army militants but this was not the case. The incident triggered the NATO intervention in Kosovo, which forced Serbia to end their military campaign.
The international statement, released yesterday honours the memory of “those who were lost in Reçak and all the other massacres in Kosovo” and laid out hopes for a “future of peace, justice, and prosperity for the next generations”.
They also called on the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to “ensure victims and their families have full access to justice and to information about the fate of their loved ones”.
Signatories also reiterated their aim to continuously support Kosovo on its path towards confronting the painful legacy of the past while protecting, promoting, and honouring the diversity of its people.
At the time of the massacre, OSCE ceasefire verification chief William Walker called it a “crime against humanity”.
Even in the present day, those involved in committing the crimes still deny any fault. Serbian special police commander Goran Radosavljevic who led the operation claims those murdered were “terrorists”. Then, in December 2019, a Prishtina court convicted Ivan Todosijevic, an MP with the Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista for saying that the massacre was “fabricated” by “Albanian terrorists”.
Serbian President Aleksander Vučić reacted to the conviction by denying the massacre took place and calling Walker a “global fraudster, scammer, and swindler”.
Today, 21 years after the massacre took place, commemorations are being held in Reçak and across Kosovo to remember those who lost their lives.