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No interest in Serb victims
Finnish pathologist Helena Ranta said the work of the Hague tribunal regarding the so-called Racak massacre was incomprehensible. The former head of the forensic team the European Union sent to the Kosovo-Albanian village of Racak in January 1999 to investigate the events there, in a conversation with Berliner Zeitung, criticized the UN tribunal for not following up the evidence that there was heavy fighting between Serb soldiers and the Kosovo-Albanian fighters during the night of January 15-16, 1999 in the Racak-region.
Western politicians used the tragedy in the village of Racak, where 40 Albanians died exactly 5 years ago, to prove to the public that the upcoming NATO attack on Yugoslavia was necessary.
US diplomat William Walker played the leading role. The chief of the OSCE mission in Kosovo immediately accused the Serbs of having killed 45 unarmed Albanian civilians at close range in Racak. The Serbian side rejected this interpretation und spoke instead about KLA soldiers killed in battle.
Pictures not published
She knew, that at that time "KLA-fighters were buried around Racak," said Ranta. "At that time I received information that proved that several Serb soldiers had been killed as well. Unfortunately, we will never know the exact number of Serb soldiers that died that night." It would be appropriate "to ask the tribunal why they are not interested in that number."
Ranta criticized the indictment against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in the case of Racak for mostly following the Walker version. "When Ambassador Walker said that there was a massacre at Racak, this statement had no legal value. I declared at that time that the OSCE-observers forgot to take all steps necessary to secure a crime scene: isolating the area, refusing admission to all unauthorized persons and colletinig all material evidence.
Ranta demanded that in addition to the OSCE pictures the tribunal also use the pictures taken by two additional photographers, shot several hours prior to the arrival of OCSE-observers.
The pictures show "that at least one of the bodies was moved afterwards â?" that body is not seen on OSCE-pictures."
Left in the lurch
In the days prior to the NATO-attack on Yugoslavia it was clear "that a bunch of governments were interested in a version of Racak that blamed only the Serb side," said Ranta. "But I could not provide this version." Her instructions came from the German diplomat Pauls. The representative of the then-German EU-presidency asked for a written statement. "Afterwards, I had to show these personal statements to William Walker, who was obviously not amused when he read it." Still, she agreed to take part in the important press conference on March 17, 1999. "At that (conference), I was sitting with the German ambassador to Belgrade, Gruber, and a Finnish diplomat on the podium. I hoped that those gentlemen would support me." But that was not the case. "I rather had the feeling that I was left in the lurch," said Ranta.
As a result of the Walker dominated press-conference most of the media accepted the version of a Serb massacre of Albanian civilians as proven. A few days later the NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia began.
(Translated from German by C. Schuetz & J.Catalinotto)
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