Qyshk

14. May 1999.

Ćuška/Qyshk is located in the Municipality of Peć/Pejë, 4 km east of the city of the same name, on the Peć/Pejë – Priština/Prishtinë main road. The village had approximately 200 houses and a population of 2,000. Three Serb families lived in the village. On May 14th 1999, Serbian forces killed 39 Kosovo Albanian civilians.

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The “Šakali” (Jackals) unit was part of the 177th MTD (Military-territorial Detachment) Peć which was under the command of the 125th MtBr (motorized brigade). According to the rules of international law, Dragan Živanović, as the Commander of the 125th MtBr was obliged to undertake all necessary measures to prevent the crime in Qyshk/Ćuška, or if made aware of the events after the fact, to report the events to the prosecuting authorities.

According to the “Plan for Engagement of Joint Squads” produced by the Priština Corps Command and issued on April 25th, 1999, the 177th MTD was subordinate to the 125th MtBr in the following activities and tasks:

“1. United and sustained command, co-ordination, uninterrupted functioning of the communication system.

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Detection and destruction of the remaining SHTF and full control of the territory within the zone of responsibility.

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8. Clearing up of the front through the organs of the MUP and local authorities.

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10. Taking of measures to prevent disorder, lack of discipline, looting, arson, abuse and other forms of criminal behaviour within the unit and the zone of responsibility...”

The Command of the 125th MtBr issued an order sent (among others to the 177th MTD) on April 24th, 1999, asking for “the full combat control of the sectors”. The order was signed by Dragan Živanović. Part of the order offers an “Assessment of the number of ShTF[Shiptar – Terrorist Forces] in the area of responsibility of the Brigade“:

“Another 100 individuals who took part in combat operations against our forces are in the area of the villages of Blagoje, Naklno, Zabrđe, Osoje, Ćuška, and Zahač wearing civilian clothes and living in their native villages.”

This order represents an obvious violation of international humanitarian law because civilians in the aforementioned villages are represented as legitimate targets, that is, no distinction was made between combatants and civilians.