Investigations on Massacre of Krusha e Vogel

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Krusha e Vogel is the place where one of the most horrible massacres took place during the war in the 1990s. One-hundred-thirteen civilians were killed; 86 of the bodies have not been found yet and the assumptions are that they were cremated or thrown in the river Drini i Bardhe. One of the survivors’ said that the entire village ran to the mountains since Serbian forces surrounded them. They were separated in two groups: men, women and children; all men and boys as young as 13 were killed.

EULEX Prosecutor Cezary Michalczuk, when asked about the start and proceedings of investigations of Krusha e Vogel, said: “We have officially launched investigations in late May of last year; exactly on May31, 2012. At least, the number of suspects reaches the number of 56, for now.” He also said EULEX is cooperating with Serbia and ICTY in The Hague.

Michalczuk is optimistic about finding evidence, even though 14 years have passed since the massacre. “Once completed the process of gathering evidence, we will, first, talk to the perpetrators individually … and then make the arrest at a proper time, if we collect enough evidence,” said Michalczuk.

According to Michalczuk, UNMIK has not investigated this massacre. However, Oliver Salgado, a spokesperson for the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, said in a letter to “Justice in Kosovo,” UNMIK did produce some investigative findings and send them to ICTY in The Hague.

Eduard Gold, head of unit for war crimes in EULEX, said that investigations started in 2008 – by EULEX.

“The case of Krusha e Vogel actually began when EULEX received a mandate in 2008. The difficulties we had in this case were, of course, the period of transition from UNMIK to EULEX, for a while,” said Gold.

When asked about how long that these investigations could take, Gold said: “There is a lot of information about the suspects, even from witnesses. The time needed to check all this information is too long. Once we see that there is sufficient evidence to proceed further, of course, we will continue the investigation. I will not give timeline, but of course we do not want to take too much time.”

There is a huge disappointment amongst people in Krusha e Vogel. One of the survivors said that the investigations are done unprofessionally and feelssceptical about whether the perpetrators will pay for their crimes. “In two days Krusha e Vogel lost 102 people. The first Day on March 25, they were nine people lost, while the second day another 102 people were missing,” says Agron Limani, director of the association “March 26, 1999.”