Women in Black, Humanitarian Law Center and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights will attend a commemoration on this July 18 – as every year, together with the victims’ families at the Orlovača cemetery, where we will place a wreath with the writing “We remember the crimes in Orahovac”.

With this act, the Women in Black network, Humanitarian Law Center and Youth Initiative for Human Rights wish to express their sympathies and solidarity with the victims’ families, as well as to support their appeals for the facts about this crime to be established and for all the perpetrators to be brought to justice. 

During and after the armed conflict between Serbian and Yugoslav police forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army, which took place in the Orahovac municipality in Kosovo from July 17-25 in 1998, crimes were also committed against Serbian civilians. The KLA striked Orahovac in July 17, and the villages Retimlje and Opteruša on July 18, which is why this date is commemorated as the memorial day for the Serbian civilians who were murdered in the Orahovac municipality. 

In the KLA armed strikes on Orahovac and the surrounding Retimlje and Opteruša villages, five civilians were murdered: Aleksandar Majmarević, Borivoje Simić, Jagoš Filđokić, Vekoslav Kazić and Anđelko Kostić. Dozens of civilians, largely Serbs but also Roma, were taken and held captive in the former Mališevo police station building, as well as an Albanian home in the Semetište village in the Suva Reka county. The International Red Cross Committee salvaged 60 persons, mostly women and elderly men, and 36 Serbs, three Roma persons and one Montenegrin person went missing.

The victims’ remains were largely found in mass graves at Volujak near Klina and Mališevo , near Orahovac. In April 2005, an exhumation of the mass grave in the Volujak village revealed the remains of Banzić Spasoje, Božanić Božidar, Božanić Mladen, Božanić Nemanja, Božanić Novica, Burdžić Miodrag, Burdžić Spasoje, Ðorić Ðorđe, Kostić Dimitrije, Kostić Lazar, Kostić Miodrag, Kostić Miroljub, Kostić Mladen, Kostić Nebojša, Kostić Srećko, Kostić Svetislav, Kostić Todor, Kostić Vekoslav, Kostić Vitomir, Kostić Živko, Kostić Saško, Nikolić Cvetko, Nikolić Rajko, Patrnogić Duško, Simić Sreten, and Stanojević Krsta. In May 2005, in an exhumation of the mass grave by the hospital in Mališevo, the remains of Baljošević Ðorđe, Baljošević Saša, Baljošević Tomislav, Ðinović Dušan, Dolašević Duško, Čabarkapa Čeda, Stanojević Aleksandar, Vitošević Srđan and Vitošević Srećko were found. On the Dragodan cemetery near Priština, the remains of Isaku Azem, Isaku Visar and Tomić Svetozar were exhumed. Hamza Agron was exhumed near Glogovac. 

Most of the victims’ remains were laid to rest at the Orlovača cemetery, among which the Kostić and Nikolić family members.