Podujevo massacre survivor testifies

At the trial for the murder of Albanian civilians in Podujevo in 1999, a witness has described how the crime was committed and how she managed to survive.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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Four members of the Scorpions paramilitary formation—Željko Đukić, Dragan Medić, Dragan Borojević and Miodrag Šolaja—have been charged with the crime in the village of Podujevo on March 28, 1999.

They are accused of gunning down 19 civilians, including women and children, in the Gashi family’s garden. Five of the children survived.

After the incident, the MUP senior command that the Scorpions were attached to, immediately returned from Kosovo.

At yesterday’s main hearing, Saranda Bogujevci, who was 13 at the time of the crime, recalled how she had spent the morning with her family indoors, when a police vehicle pulled up outside, whereupon the family had fled into the neighboring garden.

She said that they could see the police searching their house, and when they were discovered, the police ordered them to come out with their hands in the air.

The witness said that they had been taken through the garden into another neighbor’s garden, where they were searched, while two of the officers, wearing balaclavas, had even joked with them.

Bogujevci said that they had found some marbles while searching her brother, which they had thrown on the ground, before ordering their mother to pick them up.

Having searched them, she recalled, they took them out on to the street, where there other soldiers in various uniforms, there was a big crowd, and firing suddenly broke out.

The witness said that they had then taken them behind the house, that one soldier had shot her relative, and then began firing randomly.

“I was hit in the leg. Someone screamed. They fired again. I was then hit in the arm and back. I raised my head and saw my brother Genc who said to me, ‘Look at what they’ve done to our brother,’ whose head had been half blown away,” said Bogujevci.

She added that she had seen her brother Fatos who had been seriously wounded, but he had raised his head slightly, and she knew he was alive, while she lay among a pile of bodies.

The witness said that she had then heard voices and she told Genc to stay down.

Bogujevci said that she had moved, that they had noticed her and pulled her out of the pile of bodies, explaining that those had been “some other soldiers”, as they were in different uniforms.

She said she had then been taken to hospital in Priština, where she had convalesced between March and June 1999. She found out there that her brothers, Genc and Fatos, were in another hospital, while she also came across another relative, Jehon, in the same hospital.

A number of members of a MUP Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAJ) that had also been active in Podujevo had found and evacuated the survivors that same day.

Asked by Judge Snežane Garotić (presiding) about her injuries, Bogujevci said that she had sustained wounds to the body, legs and arms, adding that she had had been hit in the arm 13 times, and that she now had only limited movement in that limb.

She said that her mother, two brothers and several relatives had been killed that day. The trial continues today when the other survivors are due to testify.

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