Three Serbian non-governmental organizations, Women in Black, Humanitarian Law Center and Youth Initiative for Human Rights together with the families of the victims would participate in commemoration of the crimes committed against Serbs in Orahovac municipality, at the Belgrade cemetery “Orlovaca” today, Serbian media report.
During and after armed conflict that took place from 17 to 25 July 1998, in the territory of the Orahovac municipality between the Serbian police and army on one side and KLA on the other, crimes against the Serbian civilian population were committed.
The KLA attack against Orahovac took place on 17 July, while a day after villages of Retimlje and Opterusa were attacked, and this date is marked as a Memorial Day for murdered Serb civilians in the Orahovac municipality.
During KLA attacks against Orahovac, Retimlje and Opterusa five Serbian civilians were killed, and several dozens mostly Serbs but also Roma were kidnapped. Thanks to the efforts of the International Red Cross around 60 persons were freed, mainly women and elderly, while 36 Serbs, 3 Roma and 1 Montenegrin went missing.
Mortal remains of most of the missing persons were exhumated in a mass grave in Volujak in April 2005, 27 of them, 9 in the mass grave in Malisevo near by the hospital in May 2005, 3 at the Dragodan cemetery near Pristina, and 1 near Glogovac. Body of Mladen Kostic has not been found yet.
The mortal remains of most of the victims were buried at the Belgrade “Orlovaca” cemetery, including members of the Kostic and Nikolic families.
Coordination of Serb Associations of Missing, Killed and Murdered Persons’ Families from the territory of former Yugoslavia said that all Serb population from the villages of Retimlje, Opterusa and Zociste were expelled. They expressed bitterness over the fact that no one was held responsible for the crimes in the Orahovac municipality, despite the fact there are witnesses who have survived kidnapping. They urged the judicial bodies of the Republic of Serbia, but also other judicial institutions to prosecute without delay former KLA members responsible for the war crimes.
They also noted the responsibility of the international organizations in Kosovo over impunity practice and building a society that is not able to face its past.