Obri e Epërme

25. September 1998.

Between September 25th and 27th 1998, Serbian forces killed 28 Kosovo Albanian civilians.

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Strictly confidential Yugoslav Army (YA) documents on operations that took place between September 25th and 27th, 1998, in the area of Kosmač/Kosmaq indicate the presence of the 125th motorized brigade (MtBr) in Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme on September 26th and 27th, 1998. 

According to a Priština Corps Command Order to support MUP Forces in Destroying STF in the Region of Komač, the first Combat Group of 125th MtBr was engaged in Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme on September 25th 1998, alongside MUP forces. “The Order to Support MUP Forces in Destoying STF [sabotage-terrorist forces] in the Region of Kosmac” was issued by the Priština Corps on September 24th 1998 and it states the following: 

The presence of the 1st Combat Group of the 125th MtBr in Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme at the time in question was also confirmed by the later combat reports of the Priština Corps. A Combat Report of the Priština Corps Command was sent to the 3rd Army Command on September 26th 1998. For the day of September 25th, 1998, it contains the following: 

On October 2nd 1998, the YA General Staff requested a written statement “regarding the massacre in the sector of Gornje Obrinje village” from the Commander of the 3rd Army:

In his response dated October 5th 1998, the Chief of Staff of the Priština Corps, Vladimir Lazarević stated:

In the report submitted in early October 1998 to Dušan Samardžić, the Commander of the 3rd Army, the Priština Corps Commander Nebojša Pavković claims not to possess information about the “alleged massacre” in Gornje Obrinje. However, in the same document, he informs the Commander of the 3rd Army that he had been informed about the “content of unverified information that members of security service delivered to the YA General Staff Security Administration stating that unidentified members of the MUP units that were carrying out combat operations in the village of Gornje Obrinje executed persons taken into custody.”

In his testimony before the ICTY in the case of Šainović et al. Dragan Živanović, the Commander of the 125th MtBr, avoided speaking specifically about responsibility for the mass execution in Gornje Obrinje/Obri e Epërme. Asked by the Defence Counsel if he could remember the joint combat operations between the YA and the Republic of Serbia MUP forces in the general sector of the Gornje and Donje Obrinje villages from September 26th, 1998, Živanović replied:

“I recall that we were lending support to MUP forces in that action and we suffered our first losses right there, in terms of combat equipment and manpower. The Commander of my combat group, Major Dragan Trifunović, was wounded in that action.”