Statement regarding the Racak Massacre of January 15, 1999
United Nations Security Council
January 19, 1999
At its 3967th meeting, held on 19 January 1999, the UN
Security Council President made the following statement on behalf of the
The Security Council strongly condemns the massacre of
Kosovo Albanians in the village of Racak in southern Kosovo, Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, on 15 January 1999, as reported by the Kosovo Verification Mission
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It notes with deep
concern that the report of the Mission states that the victims were civilians,
including women and at least one child.
The Council also takes note of the statement by the head
of the Mission that the responsibility for the massacre lay with security forces
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that uniformed members of both the
armed forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbian special police
had been involved. The Council emphasizes the need for an urgent and full
investigation of the facts and urgently calls upon the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia to work with the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of
Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law
Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 and the Mission
to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
The Council deplores the decision by Belgrade to declare
the head of the Mission, William Walker, persona non grata, and reaffirms its
full support for Mr. Walker and the efforts of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe to facilitate a peaceful settlement. It calls upon
Belgrade to rescind this decision and to cooperate fully with Mr. Walker and the
The Council deplores the decision by the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia to refuse access to the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia, and calls upon the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to
cooperate fully with the International Tribunal in carrying out an investigation
in Kosovo, in line with the call for cooperation with the Tribunal in Council
resolutions 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998, 1199 (1998) of 23 September 1998 and
1203 (1998) of 24 October 1998.
The Council notes that, against the clear advice of the
Mission, Serb forces returned to Racak on 17 January 1999 and that fighting
The Council considers that the events in Racak constitute
the latest in a series of threats to the efforts to settle this conflict through
negotiation and peaceful means.
The Council condemns the shooting of Mission personnel on
15 January 1999 and all actions endangering Mission and international personnel.
It reaffirms its full commitment to the safety and security of the Mission
personnel. It reiterates its demands that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and
the Kosovo Albanians cooperate fully with the Mission.
The Council calls upon the parties to cease immediately
all acts of violence and to engage in talks on a lasting settlement.
The Council also strongly warns the Kosovo Liberation Army
against actions which are contributing to tensions.
The Council considers all of these events to be violations
of its resolutions and of relevant agreements and commitments calling for
restraint. It calls upon all parties to respect fully their commitments under
the relevant resolutions and affirms once again its full support for
international efforts to facilitate a peaceful settlement on the basis of
equality for all citizens and ethnic communities in Kosovo. The Council
reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The Council takes note with concern of the report of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that five-and a-half-thousand
civilians fled the Racak area following the massacre, showing how rapidly a
humanitarian crisis could again develop if steps are not taken by the parties to
The Council will remain actively seized of the matter.
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