On the 24th anniversary of the massacre of Racak committed by Serbian forces against Kosovo Albanians in 1999, Prime Minister Albin Kurti called out Serbian President Aleksander Vucic’s previous denial of the event.
The Racak massacre saw the death of 45 Kosovo Albanians during the 1998-1999 Kosovo-Serbia war, including a woman and a 12-year-old.
Serbian forces surrounded the village in the early hours of the morning and bombarded it before entering and conducting raids. The massacre represented a turning point in the war and played a pivotal role in NATO’s decision to take action against Yugoslavia, which resulted in the war’s end and the subsequent independence of Kosovo.
“Three years ago, the president of Serbia declared that the massacre in Racak is fabrication and forgery. Two years later, the head of intelligence of the Serbian state, on the day of universal rights on December 10, repeats what the president says. Those who deny the genocide dream of its repetition”, said Kurti.
“Witnessed by many local and international media, the massacre of Recak turned into one of the most indisputable arguments”, he added.
US Foreign Services diplomat and at-the-time head of the OSCE verification mission William G.Walker described the atrocities found at the scene.
“In a gully above the village, I saw the first body. It was covered with a blanket, and when it was pulled back, I saw there was no head on the corpse — just an incredibly bloody mess on the neck. Someone told me that the skull was on the other side of the gully and asked if I wanted to see that. But I said, “No, I’ve pretty much got this story.”
The Serbian government rejected this version of events.
On the day after the killings, the Serbian Interior Ministry issued a statement that its police units had come under fire from “ethnic Albanian terrorist groups … on routes leading to Racak village in the Stimlje municipality.” In the subsequent counter-attack, “several dozen terrorists were killed in the clashes with the police. Most of them were in uniforms bearing the insignia of the ethnic Albanian terrorist organisation calling itself the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).”
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) indicted a number of Serbian and Yugoslav officials, including president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic and president of Serbia, Milan Milutinovic. Current President Aleksander Vucic has repeatedly denied the massacre.
As recently as 2021, Serbian Internal Affairs Minister Aleksander Vuiln also denied the massacre.
“Racak is a huge lie, a terrible forgery, a great insult to all humanity and for everyone who uttered the lie but Racak is also our opportunity to show how we have been unjustly destroyed, killed as a people, how much we have been punished for the sins of others and how we accepted other people’s lies as our truth,” Vulin stated.
Vucic previously stated ““it was all fabricated by that global fraudster, scammer and swindler, Walker”.
At the time, the European Commission stated that “Denial and revisionism are contrary to the values of the European Union and are contrary to the project of integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union. Sentencing has to be proportionate and take into account all elements of the case”.
Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka also released a statement about the atrocity which she described as an attack “by the Serbian regime in an act of deliberate & indiscriminate murder.”
“ Today their memory & the memory of the thousands of men, women & children killed in countless other war crimes committed by the #Serbian regime in Kosova still calls for justice & reconciliation,” she added on Twitter.