Articles on the Kosovo Conflict



Raçak - Mutation of a Massacre
Leftist conspiracy theories and Serbian propaganda
A review of Diana Johnstone's essay "The Raçak Massacre as the Trigger of the War"

By Peter Wuttke
November 18, 1999

This article was originally published in German in the magazine analyse und kritik.
English translation (March 2002) by Mitchell Cohen in Berlin, published here with the author's cooperation.

On Jan 15, 1999, 45 people died a violent death in a village in Kosovo. This act of violence is known internationally as the massacre of Raçak. The dead are long since buried, but the debate continues about the way these people lost their lives. Considering the political importance of this bloody deed for the run-up to the Kosovo War, that is hardly surprising: Just one day after this event, the strife began over its background. Visibly moved, William Walker, the head of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), spoke on January 16, 1999 about a massacre committed by Serbian police and security forces against Kosovo Albanian civilians. The Yugoslavian government, in contrast, spoke of a maneuver by the Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK) to deceive, and it wanted to expel Walker from the country for his accusations.

German Foreign Minister Fischer said in retrospect that this event was the turning point for him. (1) He is not alone in this, for after Raçak at the latest, Miloseviç and the entire Yugoslavian government became pariahs in the eyes of Western politicians. The Belgrade leadership's strategy of violence in Kosovo, which Javier Solana said an unnamed Serbian diplomat described as "a village a day keeps NATO away," (2) had apparently reached its end.

To this day, not all the details of the crimes at Raçak have been cleared up, though the extensive forensic examinations of the victims have been finished since mid-March and the corresponding report has been presented to the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. (3) There the documents are part of the evidence that is being collected in connection with the charges against Miloseviç and other leading representatives of the Belgrade government. (4)

Despite these examinations, Belgrade sticks to its story, still asserting that the events in Raçak were faked by the UÇK. This view could be ignored as a self-protecting claim or as propaganda, if it weren't for the fact that some opponents of the war have repeatedly cited this Belgrade view to justify their own stance toward the Kosovo War.

Most recently in Germany, the American journalist Diana Johnstone positioned herself in this way. Her essay "The Raçak Massacre as the Trigger of the War" (5) has, as far as I know, escaped contradiction, even though - as I intend to show - it contains a number of false statements, oversimplifications, and mystifications. Together, these instances justify its classification as a classic example of conspiracy theories and propaganda.

As background, I will first throw some spotlights on the course of Johnstone's argumentation. Then I will take a closer look at selected strands of argument. In the final section, I will have something to say about scientific and journalistic honesty.

An Overview of Johnstone's Text

In the introduction to her essay, Diana Johnstone presents a rough sketch of the political controversy over Raçak. The transition to the first section of her paper then reads: "The background of these events throws a dark light on the underhanded practices of the war-waging Western alliance." (p.52)

The first section (p.52-56) is devoted to "OSCE Espionage for NATO." The central hypothesis here is: The purpose of the KVM of the OSCE was to conduct espionage to prepare NATO's attack. After the second section (p.56-57) addresses "The Events in Raçak," the third section (p.57-59), titled "The Contra Specialist," draws attention to the political career of the head of the KVM, William Walker. The focus here is on the deeds and statements of Walker, who is alleged to have taken a role - sometimes a leading one - in the US government's subversive activities in Central America from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Then the author describes the use of "Raçak as a Symbol" (p.59-61), briefly discussing the judgments of various heads and members of government, including the positions of Milutinovic, Albright and Clinton, Cook, Jospin, Schröder, and Fischer. Corresponding statements from the NATO Council and the Chairman of the Executive Council for Kosovo, Z. Andjelkovic, are presented. "The Controversy" over the events is the focus of the fifth section (p.61-63). Here, two important articles on the topic of Raçak, published January 20 and January 21, 1999, in the French daily newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro respectively, are discussed.

The concluding section, titled "The Forensic Examination" (p.63-67), outlines the forensic work from the corpses' transport to Pristina to the press conference held there by the Finnish forensic physician Dr. Helena Ranta (mid-March 1999). The last two paragraphs of the essay are devoted to the events from the time of this press conference until the withdrawal of the OSCE observers (March 20, 1999). After this withdrawal, says Johnstone, the "path was to be cleared for new acts of violence, lies, mystifications, and massacres that would greatly surpass Raçak" (p.67).

OSCE Observers - Spies for NATO?

In the section on the activities of the KVM in Kosovo, Johnstone asserts that the majority of OSCE observers were recruited from the military and secret services. She gives no evidence for this hypothesis. But, citing a report in Spiegel magazine from November 9, 1998, the author writes that only 200 observers arrived, instead of the agreed 2,000. Johnstone says the news magazine formulated this as follows: "The USA commissioned the private company DynCorp of Virginia to send 150 experts. The company, which had already gained experience in Bosnia, employs mainly veterans from the US armed forces - modern mercenaries who are loyal to their employer, but not necessarily to the OSCE or NATO." (p.54) (6)

Spiegel did not clearly state to whom their loyalty could be expected: DynCorp or the US armed forces. But the magazine knew very well what reason to give why only a tenth of the envisioned contingent of observers was on site in the few weeks since the Holbrooke-Miloseviç agreement of October 12, 1998. Immediately before the quoted passage, we read: "So far, only 200 observers have arrived on site. Because of the unpredictable risks, the OSCE has difficulties finding enough volunteers." Due to these problems and to the till-then short implementation period, it is hardly surprising that Johnstone can find differences between the agreement and its implementation.

The serious accusation directed against the KVM workers, however, is that they conducted espionage. But the alleged spies must have gone about it like real dilettantes, because according to Johnstone their work was much too obvious: "More than 70% of the personnel of the supposedly civilian mission consisted of members of the military who used their presence in Kosovo to spy." (p.54)

According to the American journalist, the security department of the OSCE headquarters in Prishtina played the central role in this agent activity (p.54f). But the author supports this claim with exactly one source: a report in the Italian magazine Limes. To support her hypothesis of OSCE espionage, Johnstone also points out that the observers had good relations to segments of the UÇK (p.55). This accusation is surprising, since the OSCE observers' assigned task was to mediate between the parties to the conflict on as many levels as possible. Johnstone underscores that it became known that OSCE personnel conducted organized "shadow operations" and "cover operations" for guerrilla activities by Kosovars (p.55). Here, too, only one source is given: again, the aforementioned Limes article.

In this connection, on the other hand, she claims that the OSCE observers rejected any contact with Serbian police forces (p.55). But former KVM workers report the opposite. Rollie Keith, a vehement critic of the NATO bombing war, was, as a veteran of the Canadian army, the leader of the KVM field office in Kosovo Polje. In his depiction of the work on site, he writes that there was indeed contact with the Serbian security forces: "As monitors we attempted to follow and report on these cease-fire violations, but I and my fellow monitors also continued to work with both Kosovo factions and the internally-displaced population to promote the other aspects of our mission. (...) As an example of this humanitarian work, we had conducted some dozen negotiating sessions with both belligerents as well as displaced villagers."  (7) More easily accessed sources, like the Neue Züricher Zeitung, also speak of the KVM's habitual dealings with representatives of the Serbian security forces. (8)

With a critical undertone, Diana Johnstone notes that the Americans provided the OSCE observers with modern communications technology. She explicitly names the satellite-guided Geographic Positioning System (p.55). But sober consideration suggests, not the suspicion that espionage equipment was made available, but aid in orientation, which would have made it possible to locate OSCE workers precisely and immediately if they were endangered. For the international observers were not welcomed by all: they were exposed to danger to life and limb. This is underscored by the fact that some orange OSCE vehicles had to be re-sprayed with white paint, after vehicles of the Serbian security police suddenly appeared in orange. (9)

Johnstone sees the key witness for the alleged espionage in the 32-year-old Swiss geologist and OSCE observer, Pascal Neuffer. He said: "We had a very strong feeling that we were working as spies for the Atlantic Alliance." (p.55). Neuffer says that the aforementioned security department of OSCE headquarters "amended, or even shredded" reports by OSCE observers if they lacked criticism of the Serbs (p.55). To judge by this, the OSCE security department, the power center of the "espionage", was not in a position to keep its work secret from the critical spirits among the OSCE observers. This hardly persuasive argument of Johnstone's essay is supported, once again, by a single source: the impressions and statements of a single observer.

A Conspirator and War-Monger

In some political circles, conspiracy theories are still popular. What used to be said about secret societies, conspiracy theorists and their adherents now say about elusive institutions like "Capital" or "the military-industrial complex" or individuals with apparently outstanding abilities. Johnstone sees William Walker as such a person.

Walker may have taken part in subversive activities staged by the US government in Central America. (10) But these imputations from Johnstone - however justified they might be - play no role in his involvement in Kosovo. (11) More important in regard to Raçak, in contrast, is what the author writes about Walker's abilities in creating media attention and war: She claims that, since the end of 1998, Walker was very controversial within the OSCE because he had distinguished himself by his one-sided condemnations of the Serbian side, rather than by efforts to mediate between the two civil war parties. In this situation, she says, Raçak was opportune: "The events in Raçak happened at precisely the moment when the Europeans in the OSCE mission sharply criticized Walker for using his mission to the advantage of the UÇK. By taking up the events in Raçak, Walker put them in the focus of international media interest, and he managed to marginalize his critics." (p.56)

Walker's accusations of Jan 16, 1999 against the Yugoslavian police and security forces were crucial for how Western media and governments judged the political situation in Kosovo. But they also triggered an unambiguous echo in the UN Security Council (12). So it is misleading to pretend that the media were also used for a personal advantage.

A UÇK Maneuver of Deceit?

In her depiction of the events in Raçak, it is conspicuous that Diana Johnstone repeatedly presents important aspects of the official Yugoslavian position without making any critical remark about this position. She writes: "According to a communiqué from the Serbian Interior Ministry, 'Terrorists attacked the police from trenches, bunkers, and fortifications with machine guns and portable mortars.' In the ensuing battle, according to this communiqué, 'several dozen terrorists were killed'. Most are said to have worn UÇK insignia." (p.56f) Elsewhere (p.64), the author repeats the rumor repeatedly spread by Yugoslavian sources that the victims in Raçak were put into civilian clothing after their death and before Walker's appearance. (13)

By the time Diana Johnstone's paper was published, the official communiqués of the Yugoslavian side had already proven to be completely refutable propaganda lies. The press release presented by Dr. Helena Ranta of the Finnish forensic team on March 17, 1999 was quite clear about this: "The clothing bore no badges or insignia of any military unit. No indication of removal of badges of rank or insignia was evident. Based on autopsy findings (e.g. bullet holes, coagulated blood) and photographs of the scenes, it is highly unlikely that clothes could have been changed or removed." (14)

Johnstone continues: "The Serbian government claimed the UÇK had had enough time to bring together the bodies of fallen fighters overnight, in order to create the impression of a mass shooting." (p.57) This claim by the Serbian government is not further examined or compared with other statements, either. Helena Ranta's press release, which Diana Johnstone quotes extensively, admits of no misunderstanding here, either: "Based on the information obtained from the KVM and KDOM observers the total of 22 men were found in a gully close to the village of Racak. They were most likely shot where found." (15)

In the context of her depiction of the events of Raçak, the American journalist says the Western media ignored the corresponding reports from the Yugoslavian side (p.57). This hypothesis is bewildering enough simply because, for her depiction, Johnstone cites two such reports, from Le Figaro and Le Monde of Jan 20 and 21. These articles in French dailies in no way failed to draw international attention. In Germany, for example, Die Welt published a corresponding report on Jan 22, 1999. (16)

Fight Against Terrorism?

A lack of critical distance to the official Yugoslavian viewpoint is also recognizable in the fourth section of Diana Johnstone's essay, the section on "Raçak as a Symbol." She gives the most space to Serbian President Milan Milutinovic. His words are characterized only with the adjective "pithy." In terms of content, Johnstone appears to have no reason for critical distance. She writes: "With pithy words, Walker was accused in this declaration [Milutinovic's on Raçak - P.W.] of 'a series of lies and inventions' whose intention was 'to deflect attention from and to protect terrorists, murderers, and kidnappers.' The Serbian President complained that Walker did not mention the illegality of the UÇK terrorists' attacks: 'Although it is indisputably true that the police were provoked and forced to defend themselves against the terrorists' attacks, today Mr. Walker ignores this fact and claimed this was a conflict with the civilian population.'" (p.59)

Diana Johnstone writes not one critical word about the claim that Raçak was a matter of a legitimate fight against terrorists. (17) Johnstone also quotes the Chairman of the Executive Committee for Kosovo, Zoran Andjelkovic, without questioning any of his statements. Andjelkovic, too, presents the events of Raçak as if the government had merely acted firmly against terrorists.

Fields of Vision and Times of Day

Johnstone delved more deeply into the echo of the events of Raçak in the French media. She took the trouble to make the Le Monde and Le Figaro reports available in the English language. (18) It is conspicuous that a third important article, one that also appeared on January 21, 1999, goes entirely unmentioned in her essay. Her entire fifth section is supported solely by the reports in Le Monde and Le Figaro. The article in question in Libération is not addressed, although the article is very clearly structured as a sequence of "Nine questions concerning the Raçak dead" and is more extensive than the articles in the other two newspapers together (19).

Another circumstance takes one aback. In the English translation Diana Johnstone made of the Le Figaro article, one reads of the field of vision of the KVM workers who were posted near Raçak on Jan 15,1999: "The observers spent the whole day posted on a hill where they could watch the village." (20) But in the translation, again by Johnstone, of the Le Monde article, we read: "At least two teams of international observers watched the fighting from a hill where they could see part of the village." (21) Her essay presents solely the Le Figaro version: "The observers spent the whole day posted on a hill where they could watch the village." (p.62) But it is substantially important whether they could look into the whole village or only parts of it.

Johnstone deals similarly with the point in time when the Serbian units left Raçak: Le Monde and Le Figaro do not agree on the time. Le Monde wrote: "Some witnesses even said that the Serbs sang as they did their dirty work, before leaving the village around 3:30 pm." Elsewhere in the same Le Monde article, however, we read: "At 5:30 pm, the police evacuated the site." Le Figaro wrote that the police forces left the village at 3:30 pm. (22) If we also draw upon the article Johnstone ignored in Libération, we even get a third time. This newspaper wrote that the Serbian forces left at 5:00 pm. (23) It remains unclear why, in the face of these disparate times, Johnstone in her essay decides for none other than the earliest of the alleged times. (p.62) It would be important to investigate these alleged times of departure, because the French papers also asked why the OSCE observers found hardly any killed victims between the withdrawal of the Serbian units and dusk. (24)

The Work of the Forensic Experts

Who should carry out forensic investigations of the dead of Raçak was initially a bone of contention. Belgrade refused for days to permit a Finnish team of experts access to the dead. Yugoslavia was only willing to consult forensic physicians from Belarus. The international community criticized this refusal. The three French papers, as well, did not think this kind of examination offered assurance that analyses would be conducted that were beyond suspicion. On January 20 and 21, they thus called with one voice for an independent investigation.

We read nothing about these conflicts and demands in Johnstone. In her depiction, she simply takes the Serbian side and writes: "Since, in the eyes of the Serbian government, the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague was biased and Kosovo was not legally in its jurisdiction, Belgrade refused to turn the investigations over to the Tribunal. But a team of forensic experts from Belarus was invited to examine the corpses of Raçak. And a Finnish team contracted by the EU to investigate atrocities in Kosovo was permitted to carry out the examination." (p.63) Noteworthy also is what Johnstone does not tell her readers: that the forensic experts from Belarus and Yugoslavia had already begun their examination of the victims of Raçak (25) when the Finnish experts finally received access to the bodies in Pristina on Jan 22, 1999.

Conspicuous in this context is how the author describes Dr. Ranta's position in the Finnish team and casts doubt on her expertise. Regarding Helena Ranta's press release of March 17, 1999, presented in Prishtina after the conclusion of the forensic examinations, Johnstone writes that this declaration came from only "one member of the team. As a dentist, her expertise is limited to the examination of teeth, which probably played no role in the treatment of the question of how the Kosovo Albanians were killed." (p.64)

Helena Ranta was in no way a "member" of the Finnish team, but its head. Her competence has never been questioned before. Or more accurately, almost never, for immediately after she gave her press release, it was claimed that she was a dentist and not competent in this field. This questioning of her competence goes back to the head of the Yugoslavian forensic team, Prof. Dr. Slavisa Dobricanin, and the Serbian Justice Minister, Dragoljub Jankovic. According to a March 17, 1999 report in Yugoslavia's state news agency Tanjug, this forensic physician said: "The statement by the Finnish chief pathologist Helena Ranta that they [the victims - P.W.] might have been civilians is her own personal opinion on a matter that is not part of her field of expertise, as she is a dental-pathologist, and given independently of the Finnish experts' report (...)." And the Justice Minister added: "It is a personal opinion. Dr. Ranta is a dentist-pathologist, which makes her an expert in determining the identity of the victims and does not qualify her to answer questions relating to tasks given to the Finnish pathologists." (26) Johnstone took up this chain of argument as her own.

Cooperation among the experts from Yugoslavia, Belarus, and Finland seems to have been mostly good, but it was not free of disturbances. Helena Ranta writes in her March 17, 1999 press release:

"Prior to initiating the autopsies it was agreed that media coverage should be minimized. Nevertheless, the Head of the Pristina Institute of Forensic Medicine, Professor Dobricanin, allowed television teams and photographers to enter the premises. When asked, he confirmed that this was in accordance with his instructions. Confusion has been caused by statements and premature conclusions drawn by local experts while the investigations were not completed. (...) After the completion of the autopsies in January, the Serbian and Belorussian pathologists decided to draw up common reports summarizing their findings. The Finnish Team declined to sign these, which was erroneously interpreted as disagreement on the findings between the local experts and the Finnish Team. The view of the Finnish Team is that no professional conclusions on the basis of the autopsies should be made without a comprehensive analysis of the data gathered from the corpses. The analysis and tests were conducted at the Helsinki University Department of Forensic Medicine only after the Team returned from Kosovo. Therefore, arriving at conclusions or signing of reports in January would have been premature and thus out of place." (27)

So it is false when Johnstone writes that it was merely a "problem of time, but not (...) of content" (p.66) that the Finnish experts refused to sign the concluding report of their Serbian and Belarussian colleagues.

Shooting Hands and Powder Burns

The Serbian side repeatedly claims that traces of gunpowder were found on the hands of 37 of the 40 Raçak victims examined. Johnstone takes up this statement (p.67) without addressing the specialists' dispute that is connected to this claim. The dispute focuses on how one can determine with certainty whether someone has shot a gun. The Finnish team decided on the method that specialists consider most reliable. Ms. Ranta commented on March 17, 1999:

The most successful technique to date for the analysis of GSR [gunshot residue - P.W.] is without doubt the Scanning Electron Microscope with an Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analyzer (SEM-EDX). Only this method has the ability of determining the metallic content without concern about environmental contamination. With the SEM-EDX, the sample is virtually unaffected by the analysis and can be re-examined, if necessary, many times. The sample for the GSR analysis is collected by means of a tape-lift taking into consideration routine precautions (contamination). Paraffin test was for the above reasons not used by the Finnish Team. Test samples for SEM-EDX were taken and they proved to be negative. (28)

The Yugoslavian side, by contrast, insists that, despite methodological limitations, a paraffin test, a "paraffin glove test" or working by the diphenylamine method (29) is more pertinent and accurate. But in a January 27, 1999 talk with Belgrade's Radio B92, Helena Ranta already took a position on the tests of the Yugoslavian forensic team. The broadcasting station asked her to comment on the rumors that a paraffin test had been carried out that Serbian sources claim had proved that almost all those tested had fired guns themselves. Ranta said: "I am aware of these rumors and we have been discussing that among ourselves." She noted the possibility of manipulation: "The problem as we see in this particular case it is very difficult to reconstruct the chain of custody of the bodies from the site to the mosque [in Raçak - P.W.], from the mosque to the department of forensic medicine [in Pristina - P.W.]. So there is a possibility of contamination and, of course, we have to bear in mind there is also a possibility of fabrication of evidence. This will be discussed with Yugoslav authorities."  (30) The Yugoslavian forensic team's clinging to the value of the paraffin test becomes more suspicious when one recalls that specialists have regarded this method as unreliable and unspecific since the mid-1950s. (31)

Counter-Publicity and Propaganda

The foreword by the editors of the anthology in which Johnstone's article appeared pays explicit homage to her work: "NATO used the massacre in Raçak as an excuse for war, even though, as Diana Johnstone has proven in minute detail, everything indicates that it was a battle between the Yugoslavian army and the UÇK." (p.7)

Maybe it is naive to expect that the informational foundation be broad and the judgment balanced. But the author's education and professional career support such expectations, because, after studying Eastern European History and French Literature, Diana Johnstone earned a doctorate, had a position as a lecturer at a university, and worked as a journalist and press spokesperson. (32)

But hopes for an investigatory presentation, for new, illuminating facts, are disappointed. Instead, a treatment is submitted that is characterized by missing evidence, a paucity of sources, the spreading of untruths, and conspiracy theories.

The search for the historical truth or for the background to current events is never simple, because sources and interlocutors are often "cumbersome" or simply difficult to find. This is also true for the Kosovo War and the history leading up to it. But the alternative to the toil of research cannot be to simply present Belgrade's view of things. Unless all one means by "counter-publicity" is propaganda. (33)


1) On Jan 1, 1999, there still seemed to be hope for an improvement in the situation, because the OSCE was able to mediate the release of Serbian police officers who were in the hands of the UÇK. See Berliner Zeitung, Jan 14, 1999.

2) See Washington Post, April 18, 1999: Slaughter in Raçak Changed Kosovo Policy

3) On the delays in the presentation of report results and on the explosiveness of the date of presentation, see Berliner Zeitung, March 9 & 10, 1999; and G. Hofmann: "Wie Deutschland in den Krieg geriet" in Die Zeit, Nr. 20/1999

4) The Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Slobodan Miloseviç, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Vlajko Stojiljkovic

5) Diana Johnstone: "Das Raçak-Massaker als Auslöser des Krieges" in: Klaus Bittermann & Thomas Deichmann (eds.): Wie Dr. Joseph Fischer lernte, die Bombe zu lieben - Die Grünen, die SPD, die Nato und der Krieg auf dem Balkan, Berlin: Tiamat, 1999, p.52-68. Johnstone’s essay corresponds with the tenor of the anthology, which criticizes the Kosovo War very sharply. [Click here for more information about this book.]

6) Despite the quotation marks, Spiegel is not quoted verbatim. But the content of the quoted sentences is conveyed correctly.


8) The presence of the KVM “had a calming effect. Its liaison officers had regular contact with Serbian and Albanian commanders and at least here and there on the local level induce the fighters to a restrained, unprovocative behavior.” NZZ, March 22, 1999

9) Spiegel Feb 8, 1999

10) See also Jürgen Scheffran: "Zweierlei Massaker? Wie ein US-Diplomat im Kosovo-Dorf Raçak den Dritten Weltkrieg auslöste" in Wissenschaft und Frieden, Nr. 2/1999, p.20-23. Scheffran’s essay suffers not only from its title, but also, for example, because it mixes up statements on the Raçak massacre made by EU Kosovo Special Envoy W. Petritsch with those made by G. Hofmann, editor of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. Out of place beyond that is that the author writes: “After seven weeks of bombing war, Yugoslavia is richer by dozens of Raçaks.” But Scheffran does not doubt that there was a massacre in Raçak.

11) Johnstone tells us nothing about Walker’s experience as head of the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES), which supervised the ceding of Eastern Slavonia to Croatia after the Bosnia War.

12) “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 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). It notes with deep concern that the report of the KVM 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 KVM that the responsibility for the massacre lay with Federal Republic of Yugoslavia security forces, and that uniformed members of both the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia armed forces and Serbian special police had been involved.” See source here. (Page 855 of the document, which is page 20 of the PDF.

13) She supports her argument with a report in the Berliner Zeitung of March 13,1999. It quotes unnamed OSCE representatives who claim that within the OSCE it was assumed that the massacre was faked by the UÇK. These claims, however, were never repeated after March 17, 1999, the day of Helena Ranta’s press conference in Pristina. Instead, the OSCE praised the work of the Finnish team. See for example .


15) Ibid.

16) Der Krieg um die 40 Toten von Raçak im Kosovo - Massaker oder 'nur' die Opfer eines Tages?

17) It cannot be ruled out that a minority of the victims were in fact UÇK members. The Neue Züricher Zeitung, for example, spoke on Jan 18, 1999 of eight UÇK fighters and referred to Albanian sources.

18) The "Racak Massacre" Questioned by French Media

19) Originally at (now here)

20) The "Racak Massacre" Questioned by French Media

21) Ibid.

22) Ibid.

23) Originally at (now here)

24) The "Racak Massacre" Questioned by French Media

25) They thereby failed to take X-rays first, ignoring international standards. See die tageszeitung, Jan 22, 1999.

26) Statement of Dobricanin and statement of Jankovic


28) Ibid.

29) All three terms refer to the same method.

30) Reuters report on Jan 27, 1999, reproduced at

31) See A. Brüning, "Der irreführende Paraffin-Test" in Archiv für Kriminologie. Monatsschrift für naturwissenschaftliche Kriminalistik und Polizeiarchiv, 118th Vol (July-Dec 1956), p.107f. In the same issue of this specialized journal (p.109), Chemistry Nobel Prizewinner Heinrich Wieland is quoted in the following words: “Since the diphenylamine test for oxidation agents is given, it is no wonder that all substances of this kind that, for whatever reason, happen to be on a hand can produce a finding of a ‘shooting hand’. The paraffin test thus loses its analytical specificity.” For examples in the English-language specialized literature, see

32) See the notes on the authors on p.206 of the anthology listed in footnote 5.

33) I would like to thank Matthias Z. Karadi (Hamburg) and Harald Leinweber (Cologne) for their critical suggestions.

© Editorial staff, analyse & kritik, Rombergstr. 10, 20255 Hamburg

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