Document - FRY (Kosovo): Amnesty International memorandum to UN Security Council

KOSOVO PROVINCE,

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA


Amnesty International Memorandum to UN Security Council


Since the beginning of NATO air attacks on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) on 24 March, Yugoslav security forces have intensified their efforts to forcibly expel ethnic Albanians en massefrom their homes. More than four weeks later, ethnic Albanian refugees continue to flee Kosovo in large numbers. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that 770,000 persons have now crossed the borders into neighbouring countries.


The vast number of those who have succeeded in fleeing the country are women, children and elderly men. It is not possible to determine the precise reasons for the imbalance. While it seems that some men of military age remained behind to join the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), many refugees continue to report that during the expulsion or their flight they were stopped by members of the Serbian police, armed forces or paramilitaries, who separated the men from the women and children. The men were either detained while the women and children were ordered to continue on their journey, or rounded up and taken away. Their fate cannot be confirmed, but there are great concerns for their safety after numerous reports of extrajudicial executions and of the existence of mass graves in Kosovo.


Many of those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries bring reports of having witnessed systematic extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations carried out by Serb security forces and paramilitary groups in towns and villages. A team of Amnesty International delegates is gathering information about these and other reported human rights violations from refugees in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania. The organization will shortly also start to collect testimonies in host countries outside the immediate region. Some of the alleged violations of human rights gathered to date by Amnesty International delegates from the testimonies of refugees are documented in the following pages.


Refugees interviewed by Amnesty International delegates working in the region have given harrowing accounts of killings, beatings and the burning of houses committed by security forces and paramilitaries in the course of expelling ethnic Albanian inhabitants from their homes. Most of the interviewed have also reported robbery and extortion at the hands of those same forces and paramilitary units, and the confiscation or destruction of identity papers. Others have reported being detained and being used as human shields by the security forces in clashes with the KLA. The denial of access to Kosovo for international observers makes it impossible to confirm directly the accuracy of these reports, but most of them are consistent and credible. Similar accounts have been given by refugees interviewed independently by other human rights organizations and journalists.


The witness testimony gathered by Amnesty International suggests that further violations of human rights, including deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, arbitrary detention and forcible expulsion continue to be committed by members of the Serbian security forces in Kosovo.


Kosovo - alleged forcible expulsions, beatings, unlawful killings: information gathered to date by Amnesty International


Kacanik area - alleged unlawful killings and "disappearances"


Amnesty International delegates in FYROM have received information about a series of offensives by Serbian police and the Yugoslav army in the Kacanik area of southern Kosovo which led to the killing of at least four men and the "disappearance" of at least 22 men at the hands of Serbian police. Refugees from the area interviewed by the Amnesty International delegates have given consistent accounts of the offensives, which started in early March 1999 and appeared to target each village in the region in turn. Although the KLA had a presence in the villages, there had apparently not been any serious fighting in the area prior to this.


The information gathered by Amnesty International appears to indicate that there was an organized plan by which Yugoslav forces began by attacking outlying villages in the Kacanik area, and gradually moved closer to the town. Amnesty International is urgently investigating further reports from Kacanik and neighbouring villages, and is seeking to confirm further details of these incidents.


Prizren area - 15-year old reportedly unlawfully killed; nine-year old wounded


In one instance reported to the Amnesty International delegates working with the Albanian Human Rights Group in the Kukës and Krume regions of northern Albania, a 15-year-old girl was killed and a nine-year-old boy seriously injured when a group of unidentified masked men opened fire on a column of deportees. According to Azime Ninaj, the boy's mother, Serbian forces surrounded the village of Maljaj (in Albanian, Malaj) which lies west of Prizren very close to the Albanian border, on the afternoon of March 28. They ordered the inhabitants to leave within one hour, and a column left on foot, heading eastwards on the road leading to the village of Planeja, about five kilometres distant. Members of the Serbian forces were posted at intervals on both sides of this road. At a location between the two villages a group of about 10 men, masked but in uniform, opened fire on the refugees with automatic weapons. These men were in two unmarked white cars, one on each side of the road. A 15-year-old girl, Nura Ninaj, was killed in the shooting. Azime Ninaj described seeing her fall, but was unable to see how or where she was hit. Azime's nine-year-old son Burim suffered a bullet wound to his neck


Azime Nuraj, her husband and nephew were able to reach the village of Djonaj (Gjonaj) village where Burim received some medical attention. The family remained there for four days, hiding in the hills surrounding the village before they continued their journey. On the way Azime Ninaj was reportedly forced to pay the sum of 500 Deutschmark (US$280) as a "ransom" to a group of Serbs who detained her husband and nephew, threatening to kill them.


Djakovica - the alleged unlawful killing of Xhevdet Rakoqi and others

Refugees from the town of Djakovica (Albanian Gjakovë) and those who passed through it on their flight have provided Amnesty International researchers based in Albania with a considerable number of disturbing reports of gross violations of human rights. Their statements are highly consistent with those given to foreign reporters and other human rights organizations collecting testimony on the area, and suggest that the forcible expulsion of Djakovica's ethnic Albanian residents was carried out with great brutality. These reports indicate that a first wave of violent intimidation and killings accompanying the expulsions beginning in the period around 24 March was followed by a second wave at the beginning of April.


One woman from the village of Vogorr who had earlier made her way with her family to what was then the relative safety of Djakovica described witnessing the killing of a man named Xhevdet Rakoqi early in the morning of 25 March. While she and 26 others, including men, women and children, had taken refuge in a cellar, six men, three carrying knives and wearing masks and three unmasked and armed with automatic weapons entered the cellar, telling them that they would be expelled from Kosovo and sent to Albania. She believed them to be police. She reported that they shot Xhevdet Rakoqi in her presence. "I can't believe it. I'm astonished that he's dead. He was leaning on me. My daughter caught hold of his hand. She said, 'Xhevdet is going.' She dropped his hand. He died in our presence, he collapsed," she said. The rest of those sheltering were permitted to leave the cellar.


Another witness from Djakovica, whose name is known to Amnesty International, described how on April 2 men wearing black masks and armed with knives and automatic weapons came to his district and killed five of his relations in the yard in front of their house after demanding money from them. The bodies were left lying in the street. Another of those interviewed, who had not fled in the first wave of violence, reported that on the same day he saw from his building six men shot and killed in the street by masked men in black uniforms. Although it has not been possible to confirm these statements independently, Amnesty International is seeking to ascertain further details of these incidents and considers the information received thus far to be consistent with similar reports from the town.


Others from the town report having seen bodies, singly or in groups, lying in the streets. In addition, many of those passing through the town after being forced to leave their homes in other areas reported seeing bodies lying in the streets, or in fields along the road leading to Djakovica. Zylfia Arifi, a woman who was in a column of refugees passing through Djakovica reported that when they arrived at the town four men, one of whom was her brother-in-law Bajram Arifi, the other three being unknown to her, were pulled out of the column. She saw the men being beaten with truncheons, kicked and punched. The column was ordered to proceed on its way and after a short period of time she heard a shot, followed a burst of gunfire. She did not dare to return to see what had happened.


Belobrod - the alleged unlawful killing of Shkëlqim Ymeri


Refugees interviewed by Amnesty International delegates in northern Albania have also spoken about the killing of Shkëlqim Ymeri, a student in his late teens from the village of Bljac (Blaç), in southwestern Kosovo. According to the reports, on 31 March a group of soldiers, wearing masks or with red and black scarves tied around their heads and accompanied by military vehicles arrived in the village and gave its inhabitants an hour and a half to leave, telling them to go to Albania. When the inhabitants had assembled the Serbian forces began to shell the nearby village of Zapluzje (Zaplluzhë), destroying three or four houses, and the column began to move off, travelling in trailers drawn by tractors. Shkëlqim Ymeri was one of those in the trailers.


Later the column from Bljac joined a larger column made up of others who had been expelled from villages in the area and were heading for the border with Albania. Eyewitnesses described how in the early evening of 31 March the column passed by a group of men armed with automatic weapons, masked and wearing red scarves in the village of Belobrod (Bollobrad), some five kilometres west of Bljac, who ordered the tractor ahead of the Ymeris' to stop. When it failed to do so they smashed its lights and forced it to stop. They then approached the Ymeris' tractor, and one of them pointed a gun at Sherif Ymeri's chest, demanding to know the name of the village he came from. He pulled the door open, striking Sherif on the face with the gun butt. The same man reportedly then hit Shkëlqim Ymeri with the gun butt again, so that he fell from the trailer to the ground, where he was shot in the head twice. The tractor was then ordered to move on, leaving the body lying in the road, where it was later buried by another group of relatives from a different village who also passed that way. A woman travelling in the same trailer was reportedly wounded by gunshots during this incident.


Ljubizda - 14 unlawful killings reported


Two informants interviewed on separate occasions in Albania gave a consistent version of the killing of a group of 14 civilians in the village of Ljubizda (Lubisht i Hasit), about 20 miles northwest of Prizren. On 31 March Serbian forces began an attack on the village. No resistance was offered, and when Serbian forces entered they reportedly warned its population to leave, stating that otherwise they would be killed. The population fled into the mountains, where they remained for 12 days, returning to the village at night to obtain food. During this period Serbian forces shot indiscriminately into the woods where the villagers were hiding, and at least two men were reported to have been wounded.


On 12 April one group of those who had taken refuge in the mountains was surrounded by Serbian forces, described as wearing blue uniforms and unmasked. Although the circumstances remain unclear, 14 people are reported to have been killed and others wounded. One witness, who was hiding in the vicinity, reported hearing the sound of shots and later seeing bodies lying in a stream. Another witness believed that those who were killed were those who had refused to surrender. Both agree that the villagers were unarmed, and that no resistance had been offered. Those who had been surrounded were forced to return to the villages by the Serbian forces, who beat and insulted them, while firing gunshots above their heads. When they reached the village they were separated into three groups: men, women and children, and the elderly. Some of the men were taken to a house near the village, where they were detained for three days in a ground floor room that used to house animals, before being robbed of their money and identity documents, loaded onto buses along with the women and children and taken to the border with Albania. The whereabouts of the others remains unknown.


Izbica and area - alleged summary executions


Although it is not yet possible to confirm all the details, Amnesty International delegates in Albania received credible reports from recently arrived refugees that a number of civilians in the villages around Izbica in north-central Kosovo were summarily executed in the course of a Serbian offensive in the area during the last week of March. Witnesses reported that they had collected between 150 and 200 bodies from the area, which they buried in graves in the villages of Izbica, Kladernica (Klodernica) and Kastriot. Although those buried there include members of the KLA who had died in combat, there are strong indications that others died as the result of indiscriminate attacks on the part of Serbian forces, or were extrajudicially executed. Amnesty International is continuing to seek further information concerning these incidents.


Pristina area - reported expulsions, beatings and killings


Amnesty International delegates in FYROM have interviewed a number of ethnic Albanian refugees who have given detailed accounts of their forcible expulsion from their homes in the Pristina area. Their testimony includes allegations of having experienced or witnessed harassment, beatings, and extrajudicial executions carried out by Serbian police and paramilitaries prior to and in the course of the expulsions, as well as consistent reports of Serbian police demanding documents and money from individuals as they were forced from their homes or driven across the border into Macedonia.


One man interviewed by the delegates, whose name is known to Amnesty International, told of how 32 ethnic Albanians had taken shelter in an apartment in Kosovo Polje (near Pristina) on the night of 26 March after Serbian police had allegedly begun shooting at and setting fire to the homes and shops of ethnic Albanians in the area. At 11.30pm, 10 heavily armed policeman wearing special police uniforms and black masks knocked on the door of the flat and ordered all of the (seven) adult men out of the flat and into the apartment hallway, threatening them that they would be killed.


The seven men were then forced to line up in the hallway with their faces to the wall. After demanding that the men hand over their documents and any other articles in their pockets, the police then began to beat the men with the butts of their weapons and to kick them. Two baseball bats were also used during the assault, and the interviewee spoke of having been beaten all over his body. While the men were being beaten in the hallway, two of the policemen entered the flat and beat four youths inside with baseball bats. They were 12, 14, 16 and 20 years old. One was the interviewee's brother.


The interviewee reported how, on 2 April, after moving to Pristina shortly after this incident to take shelter with relatives there, a group of armed civilians wearing masks expelled him and other family members from their apartment, telling them that Kosovo was Serbian land and that they should leave for Albania. The group arrived at the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia border on a tightly-packed train from Pristina on the afternoon of 2 April - where according to the interviewee refugees waiting to be registered were allegedly ill-treated by the FYROM police.


Ramadan Ibrahimi, a 28-year-old taxi driver from Kosovo Polje, told Amnesty International delegates that on 24 March (the first day of the NATO air strikes) his father and uncle had left the family home to take a television to a shop for repairs. They never returned. Ramadan Ibrahimi had become concerned that something might have happened to the two men after hearing automatic gunfire at the nearby police station at the time when the men had been expected to return home. On 25 March Ramadan Ibrahimi received information that several bodies had been found on the road to the village of Dardhista. He then telephoned the police station to ask them to investigate the report, but they refused to do so on the grounds that it was evening and too dangerous. Two hand grenades exploded that same evening outside Ramadan Ibrahimi's house.


Ramadan Ibrahimi telephoned the police again the following morning, when they agreed to look for the bodies. Half an hour later, the police arrived at Ramadan Ibrahimi's house to report that the bodies of his father and uncle had been recovered and could be collected at the police station. Arriving at the police station, Ramadan Ibrahimi saw the television which his father and uncle had been transporting abandoned and broken in front of the station. While waiting outside the station as he had been instructed, Ramadan Ibrahimi was allegedly ill-treated by two officers. Fearing for his own safety, Ramadan Ibrahim left the station without taking the bodies of his father and uncle. The bodies were later collected by a relative and a neighbour of the family, who then brought them to Ramadan Ibrahimi's home.


Upon inspection, Ramadan Ibrahimi reported that his uncle's body had a large bullet wound on one side of his head - with a large exit wound on the other side of the head. His face also looked as if it had been beaten. There were seven or eight additional bullet wounds on the body - most of them in the chest. His hand had been shot in three places and was disintegrating. Ramadan Ibrahimi's father's body had three bullet wounds on the right side and two bullet wounds on the left side of the chest. His teeth had been broken, and there was further evidence that he had been beaten.


Fearing that the police would target the house containing the bodies for an attack, the family moved to a neighbour's house across the street. At approximately 9pm that evening, the police arrived at the family home where the bodies were being kept and set fire to the house. Ramadan Ibrahimi telephoned the police station to ask why this action had been taken, and was simply told that he should "keep smiling for half an hour, and then he could relax."


Amnesty International concerns in other parts of FRY: repression of the media, fears for safety of journalists


The independent media within Serbia have suffered further repression. In the early hours of the morning of Friday, 2 April, police entered the offices of Radio B92, the country's foremost independent radio station, ordered the staff to leave and sealed the premises. The manager of the station was reportedly replaced by a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), which effectively brings the station under government control. The police were also reported to have confiscated a part of the transmitter of an independent radio station in Smederevska Palanka.

Slavko Curuvija, the editor of newspapers critical of the Yugoslav government, was murdered by unknown assailants on 11 April outside his home in Belgrade. Serbian state television and the pro-government press had recently accused him of welcoming NATO air strikes, which friends say he opposed. To date no arrest has been made and the FRY government has not responded to calls for a prompt and independent inquiry. His death heightens concern for other independent journalists and members of Serbia's opposition. On 8 March Slavko Curuvija, as editor of the Dnevni Telegraf, and two Dnevni Telegrafjournalists, Zoran Lukovic and Srdjan Jankovic, had been convicted by a Belgrade court of "spreading false information", under Article 218 of the Serbian Criminal Code. The charges against the three arose from an article alleging that Milovan Bubic, one of the Deputy Prime Ministers in the Serbian government, was implicated in the murder of the director of a Belgrade medical institute. The law under which they were convicted refers to "spreading false information" in a context in which it might "endanger public order or the peace". However it is clear that in this case the legal action was aimed at protecting the reputation of a government minister and not the public interest.


Abuses by armed opposition groups


In applying international humanitarian law in the context of Kosovo, Amnesty International in its 1998 publications reported on a number of apparent violations of international humanitarian law by the KLA, and will continue to monitor closely the KLA's activities in relation to its obligations to uphold those principles binding on all parties to a situation of armed conflict.


NATO - possible breaches of international humanitarian law


Amnesty International has written to NATO Secretary General Javier Solana raising questions about the incident on 12 April where a train carrying civilian passengers in the FRY was twice hit by missiles launched by an aircraft under the command of NATO. The incident occurred during an attack on a railway bridge, and at least 10 passengers were killed as a result. Amnesty International's letter to NATO queried the alliance's strict adherence in this operation to the principles of international humanitarian law. The organization has also expressed grave concern at the attack in the early hours of 23 April on the headquarters of Serbian state television in Belgrade, during which 15 people, all of them apparently civilians, are said to have been killed. Amnesty International does not see how this attack can be justified under international humanitarian law.


Amnesty International has also asked NATO to provide details of their investigation into, and is continuing to assess information concerning possible breaches of humanitarian law in connection with, the incidents on 14 April where refugee convoys came under attack in western Kosovo. NATO has admitted responsibility for some of the resulting civilian casualties in these incidents, but the possible involvement of Yugoslav forces in other civilian casualties cannot at this stage be ruled out. The incident remains to be fully clarified.


Conclusions and recommendations


At the start of the present conflict, Amnesty International emphasized the need for the most rigorous respect for international humanitarian law in Kosovo and the rest of the FRY in a letter sent to NATO, President Slobodan Milosevic and the KLA. The letter urged all parties to respect in full their obligations to protect civilian lives and to give proper treatment to prisoners and others playing no active part in the hostilities, including wounded and captured combatants. Amnesty International also called on all parties to take all measures to protect civilians, including not using them as human shields in any way and by refraining from any direct attacks on non-combatants, as well as from any indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.


Amnesty International takes no position on the political issues surrounding the status of Kosovo within the FRY or on the military intervention of NATO which began in March. The organization strongly supports the United Nations (UN) Secretary General's appeal to members of the Security Council in his briefing of 19 April 1999 to rebuild their unity on the matter of Kosovo. Amnesty International shares the Secretary General's conviction that the UN should play a significant role both in promoting a solution to the current crisis that will provide long-term guarantees for the protection of the human rights of all those living in the region, and in providing ongoing protection and assistance to those affected by the current crisis.


Regretfully, the human tragedy in Kosovo in recent weeks has come as no surprise to Amnesty International. For more than a decade, the organization has been documenting and publicizing its concerns about the systematic violation of human rights in the province. Throughout this period, few of the scores of victims of human rights violations in Kosovo whose names and cases appeared in Amnesty International reports received any form of redress for the crimes which had been committed against them by Yugoslav police and security forces. In providing the international community with a carefully-researched record of the denial of many of the most fundamental human rights of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population since the 1980s, Amnesty International has consistently warned the international community of a human rights disaster waiting to happen.


It can be argued that the chronic neglect of that warning and the almost complete absence of redress for allKosovo's people has been one of the chief catalysts for the current conflict. If a lasting peace in Kosovo is to be secured, this long chain of impunity must at last be broken. Only by ensuring that all those responsible for human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law are held accountable for their actions in Kosovo - in the present situation and during the preceding decade - can we hope to see future conflicts averted and a genuine culture of rights take root in the region. That challenge can only be met if the international community, including through the United Nations, takes responsibility for insisting that such a commitment to justice is placed at the heart of any peace agreement.


Furthermore, concern for human rights protection and promotion must underpin all current efforts towards a settlement of the critical situation in Kosovo. The international community should insist that any agreement between the various parties contains strong provisions that reflect a serious, consistent and long-term commitment to protect and promote human rights effectively in Kosovo, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a whole.


Recommendations


To the FRY government


The government of the FRY should abide by international human rights standards and international humanitarian law and immediately cease all violations of human rights in Kosovo including forcible expulsion, extrajudicial executions, torture including rape, detention without charge or trial and intimidation of human rights defenders.


The FRY government should grant immediate and unhindered access to Kosovo to all United Nations agencies and to the International Committee of the Red Cross - in order that they might carry out the full range of their responsibilities in this situation. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) should also be given access to enable it to carry out monitoring and reporting of the human rights situation in the province. These reports should be communicated regularly to all relevant international organizations and the findings made public. The information and analysis in these reports should be considered central to the management of the ongoing political situation. Unhindered access should also be granted to the UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Only accurate and timely reporting by independent monitors can dispel the rumours and disinformation which flourish during a conflict.

To NATO governments


NATO should also be held to the highest standards of accountability for its actions, and must be vigilant in ensuring that its operations conform to the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. Any alleged breaches of international humanitarian law committed in the course of NATO operations should be followed by swift, transparent, independent and impartial investigations, and those found responsible for such breaches should be held fully accountable for their actions. Victims of any such breaches should also receive adequate compensation.


To the KLA


The KLA should ensure that all forces under its control abide by basic humanitarian law principles as set out in common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. This prohibits the killing, ill-treatment or hostage-taking of civilians and captured enemy forces.


The KLA is reminded that refugee camps and settlements are to remain humanitarian in nature and civilian in character and should never be used as a place of recruitment or non-civilian activities. In particular, the physical security of refugee children and adolescents must be safeguarded and, among other rights, they have a right when affected by armed conflict to special protection and treatment, and not to be exploited.

To the international community


1) Support for the ICTY


The international community should give highest priority to full accountability and the bringing to justice of those responsible for all human rights violations committed in Kosovo. To this end, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) should be given all possible support including:


  1. full access to all locations in Kosovo and all necessary conditions to investigate suspected grave sites and other possible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity;


  1. access to any civilian or military suspect or potential witness to crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICTY;


  1. all NATO member states should cooperate fully with ICTY investigations of gross human rights violations in Kosovo by making available all relevant information gathered by NATO in the past year - including satellite photographs, information from Yugoslav security forces' radio communications intercepted by listening devices, and any evidence obtained from other sources of intelligence;


  1. the ICTY should receive adequate financial resources from governments in order to be able to carry out a greatly expanded program of investigations and prosecutions connected with events in Kosovo.


2)Refugees and displaced persons - durable solutions and responsibility-sharing


The international community should make every effort to provide the necessary political, financial, material and logistical support to enable any return process to take place. In seeking solutions to the current crisis, the international community should bear in mind that durable solutions in refugee crises include integration in the first country of asylum, resettlement and voluntary repatriation. Mindful of this, the international community should make every effort to provide the necessary political, financial, material and logistical support to enable the pursuit of durable solutions. No repatriation process should take place until it is safe for return and any return must be voluntary. Those refugees who have reasons not to feel safe to return and wish to remain outside the country should be granted full legal protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention and all other relevant international and regional standards.


Amnesty International urges all states to share in the responsibility of refugee protection and assistance. The organization calls upon all governments accepting Kosovar Albanian refugees under the Humanitarian Evacuation Program to ensure that their refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention is fully recognized and that all rights granted them under this Convention are fully respected. Amnesty International calls on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure that these governments fulfil their international obligations in this respect. The international community should also ensure that refugees and displaced persons able to return to their places of origin are fully compensated for homes which have been damaged or destroyed in the conflict.


Amnesty International also calls upon the international community, guided by numerous provisions in UNHCR Executive Committee (EXCOM) Conclusions, to ensure that the humanitarian nature and civilian character of refugee camps and settlements are preserved. In particular, states and all concerned parties are urged to take all possible measures to protect child and adolescent refugees in accordance with EXCOM Conclusion No. 84 (XLVIII), 1997.


3) Peace-keeping operations


In the event of a return to Kosovo of Kosovar Albanians, strong safeguards will need to be put in place to protect all non-combatants from human rights abuses.


Certain current proposals include the placing of an international peace-keeping force in Kosovo to ensure the security of the ethnic Albanian population. While Amnesty International does not take a position on the deployment of such a force, it urges the international community to ensure that any such operation includes a human rights monitoring component and has clearly defined responsibilities for the sharing of all human rights information, as well as clear channels of reporting to the OHCHR and the Security Council.


If the international community decides to implement a peace-keeping operation in Kosovo, it should ensure that the operation fully implements Amnesty International's15-Point Program for Implementing Human Rights in International Peace-Keeping Operations(AI Index: IOR 40/01/94). In particular, it should be instructed to monitor compliance with obligations undertaken to uphold and protect international human rights and humanitarian law. There should be no "silent witnesses". Peace-keeping personnel themselves should be required to carry out their duties in strict conformity with these same standards.

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