Mejë

27. April 1999.

The village of Mejë/Meja is located five kilometres west of Gjakovë/Đakovica town. On 27 April, in this village, members of Serbian forces took 274 men out of convoys of people who had been expelled from the nearby villages, and killed them in various locations.

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From the testimonies of VJ members it can be inferred that, during Operation Reka, on the 27th of April, the MUP established and controlled checkpoints through which convoys of people were passing towards Albania, while the VJ held under siege the area around Mejë/Meja.

One checkpoint was on the Dobrosh/Dobroš- Gjakovë/Đakovica road, at Meja Orize, and the other was at a crossroads on the road from Mejë/Meja to Korenicë/Korenica. The convoy of people expelled from the villages located to the north-west of the town of Gjakovë/Đakovica [Ripaj Madanaj, Rracaj/ Racaj, Sheremet/Šeremet, Dobrosh/Dobrošetc. – HLC’s remark] had to pass through the first one, at Meja Orize. The people expelled from Korenicë/Korenica had to pass through the second one (at the crossroads on the road leading to Korenicë/Korenica).

In their testimonies, VJ officers stated that the checkpoints were controlled by the MUP. Nikë Peraj, a VJ officer, said that at the checkpoint at Meja Orize he saw PJP members in blue camouflage uniforms and members of the Police Reserve in plain blue uniforms. The SUP Gjakovë/Đakovica Inspector Dimitrije Rašović was in charge of this checkpoint. The person in charge of the checkpoint located at the crossroads on the road leading to Korenicë/Korenica most likely was Milan Šćepanović, also an Inspector of the SUP Gjakovë/Đakovica.

 A member of the Military Police responsible for securing the 2nd Motorized Battalion’s command post which was located around 100-150 meters from the checkpoint on the crossroad towards Korenicë/ Korenica (witness K90), saw from that post that there the inflow of people through the checkpoint was not steady, but that people were arriving in groups. The police would stop them at the checkpoint, seizetheir valuables and separate the men from the rest of the groups and order the women and children to continue their way.

On the other hand, Radovan Zlatković, who was Detective Inspector at the Gjakovë/Đakovica Police Department at the time when the crimes took place, said that the checkpoint at the crossroads in Mejë/ Meja was jointly operated by the VJ and the MUP. Zlatković’s accounts were indirectly supported by the combat report of the 3rd Army for 4 April 1999, which states that mixed VJ and MUP checkpoints were set up on all major roads leading out of Kosovo.

In the context of Operation Reka, the VJ was ordered to surround the area around Korenicë/Korenica and Mejë/Meja. According to available documents, 52nd Artillery Brigade and 549th MtBr units were deployed in the immediate vicinity of Mejë/Meja on 27 April 1999. During the Operation Reka, the command post of the 2nd Motorized Battalion of the VJ 549th MtBr VJ was located beside the road connecting Korenicë/Korenica with Mejë/Meja, about 100 metres away from the checkpoint. The VJ 52nd ArBr held under siege the area between the villages of Skivjan/Skivjane and Rracaj/Racaj, about a kilometre and a half away from Mejë/Meja.

 From the testimonies of VJ officers it can be inferred that the local MUP force, the PJP, and Arkan’s and Šešelj’s paramilitary units operated in Mejë/Meja on the day when the crimes were committed in this village. The ICTY established that VJ, MUP and paramilitary forces operated in Mejë/Meja on 27 April and that the VJ provided support to the MUP in Mejë/Meja.