Two residents of Kosovo village Cuska testified on Tuesday in front of Belgrade Special Court in case against members of Serbian paramilitary group Jackals for war crimes committed in 1999.
Ajsa Kelmendi, a housewife from Kosovo village Cuska who lost her husband and son during the attack of Serbian forces in 1999, said that Jackals surrounded the village and gathered all the inhabitants in the central square and separated men and women.
‘’They forced us to throw all our things - documents, money and jewelry - on the ground and put our hands on the back of our heads. They split us in two rows, one for women and children and another for men”, said Kelmendi.
“Women were taken to the yard of one of the houses, while men were shoved into the rooms. They shoot them in the back and then set fire to the bodies and houses,” testified Kelmendi.
According to the indictment, Serbian paramilitary formation Jackals killed 43 Albanian civilians, among them Kelmendi’s husband and son, during the attack on the village of Cuska, near Kosovo's town of Pec.
The attack on Cuska came in the midst of the conflict in Kosovo between Serbian security forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army.
The indictment states that the reason for the Jackals’ attack is the fact that Cuska village is hometown of Agim Ceku, former Kosovo Prime Minister and one of the leaders of Kosovo Liberation Army. His father, Hasan Ceku was killed during this attack and the Ceku family house was burned to ground.
Tahiru Kajnezir, former teacher and resident of Cuska, testified during the trial that the soldiers asked the group of men for the location of Ceku’s house.
“While we were detained in one of the houses, one soldier came and asked us where is Ceku’s house. When he got the answer some soldiers left and some of them stayed with us,” Kajnezir said.
“After a while, someone called the soldiers through voice receiver Motorola and I heard that the voice said ‘’Did you finish the job”, one soldier said “Yes”, and then got an order ”Leave the house and move on, “ Kajnezir testified.
“The soldiers then told us to leave the village, to go wherever we wanted, to go to Albania. Then they all left,” explained Kajnezir.
According to the indictment, following the attack, over 400 villagers, including women, children and elderly, left their homes. Before the conflict, Cuska had some 2000 inhabitants, mostly ethnic Albanian.
The case “Cuska” is conducted in cooperation of the European Union legal mission in Kosovo, EULEX. The trial will continue on Thursday.
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