About Balkan Witness                        Contact Balkan Witness



Articles on the Kosovo Conflict


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 Council:

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 Mission.

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 broke out.

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 reduce tensions.

The Council will remain actively seized of the matter.

Extracted from

(Page 20 of the PDF, which is page 855 of the document)


Balkan Witness Home Page

Articles index


Articles by Roger Lippman




Report broken links

About Balkan Witness          Contact Balkan Witness