A comprehensive record of individual human losses from the conflict in Kosovo is essential to reverse the public denial and political manipulation of victims which occurs across the region and which perpetuates a cycle of aggression. During the previous program periods, the HLC Kosovo worked closely with HLC to integrate the documentation and research efforts on war crimes, to establish precise methodologies for taking statements from victims, witnesses, and family members and to create a common database to hold all of the information.
A total of 31,600 documents were used to document the deaths or disappearances of 13,535 people – 10,812 Albanians, 2,197 Serbs and 526 Roma, Bosnians, Montenegrians and other non-Albanians – in connection with the war between January 1st 1998 and December 31st 2000. In terms of the status of the victims, 10,317 civilians lost their lives or went missing in connection with the war, of whom 8,676 were Albanians, 1,196 Serbs and 445 Roma and others, along with 3,218 members of armed formations, including 2,131 members of the KLA and FARK, 1,084 members of Serbian forces, and 3 members of KFOR.
Only during 2014, using information gathered through 665 witness statements, files of 940 victims (683 Albanian, 220 Serb and 37 others) were amended with the information related to circumstances of deaths. Also, through 984 verifications it was found that 434 “potential victims” are not real war victims (386 Albanian, 37 Serb and 11 other) and that names of 391 were wrongly written so they are real victims (367 Albanian, 10 Serb and 14 others).
Apart of the verification of the status of 1071 potential victims from observed sources [Jusuf Osmani, Joseph Martinsen, LDK and KMLDNJ] in the verification process are included 239 more reported Serb victims. The sources of information are refereeing to third hand information, as well as 376 victims, mostly Albanians, who are mentioned in media reports and books published by association of families of victims, but without sources of information. Keeping in mind the results of already finished verifications it is realistic to expect that the research of the remaining 1.686 potential victims, will include only a small number of them in the register of war victims.
The overall goal of the KMB project is to build historical memory about the armed conflict in Kosovo (1998-2000) – thereby preventing future historical revisionism and political manipulation with the numbers of killed and forcibly disappeared, and at the same time restoring dignity to the victims and their families. The specific project objective is to compile a list of all victims of the armed conflict in Kosovo from 1998 to 2000, on a name-by-name basis – thereby restoring dignity to victims and their families and publicly presenting (and prompting public recognition of) the truth about crimes committed in the past. The project also aims to improve compliance with human rights obligations and accountability of duty holders by creating the conditions (a register of all
victims) for state-sponsored truth-telling processes and reparations programms. The material collected and the facts established in the course of the KMB project will be of great importance for the RECOM process, as well as for other transitional justice activities, such are criminal prosecutions, reparation processes and education component within our projects, especially Non-formal education for secondary schools.