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 Pavljane/Pavlan, 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.
Detection and destruction of the remaining SHTF and full control of the territory within the zone of responsibility.
8. Clearing up of the front through the organs of the MUP and local authorities.
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 [in close vicinity to Pavljane/Pavlan] 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.
Soldiers of the 177th MTD (Military-territorial
Detachment) Peć and the MUP entered
Pavljane/Pavlan in the morning of May 14th 1999. The local population, whose
houses were located by the main paved road left for the house of Agim Selmani,
located in the centre of the village. Several hundred people gathered in the
At around 09:30h, eight YA (Yugoslav Army) soldiers,
in green uniforms, with masks on their faces and hats on, entered the yard of
the Selmani family. Before that, the younger men had fled to the banks of the
Drim River, and the women, children and the elderly stayed in the yard.
Soldiers approached a group of five men and ordered them to hand over all of
their money. After that, they took all of the money, jewellery and other
valuables from the women. Then, they ordered the five men to go to the house of
Zymer Gashi, located across the road, with their hands above their head. After
several minutes a burst of gunfire was heard and then Serbian soldiers burned
the house with the bodies of the dead men inside.
The Serbian forces then ran into the minors, Ganimete
and Ajete Nikqi not far from the house of the Nikqi family. The soldiers took
them back to their own yard. A burst of gunfire was then heard from the house.
At the time, the parents of Ganimete V.N.
(born 1946) and G.N. (born 1942) and
mother of Ajeta Nikqi, H.N. (born 1944) were
in the house.
The soldiers took 200 German Marks from Ganimete and
Ajete. One soldier found a gun permit on Ganimete that belonged to her father
Vesel Nikqi. After slapping them on their face several times, he ordered
Ganimete and Ajete to take them to the house from which they had collected the
permit. As they were leaving the yard,
Ganimete and Ajete could see that the house where their parents were was burning.
Soldiers took Ganimete and Ajete to the house of Xufo
Gashi. They searched the house threatened to rape Ganimete and hit Ajete about the
head and neck. At one point they tried to set the curtains on fire and then
left the two in the house and locked the door with the threat that they would
come to get them.
Zoran Rašković, a member of the Šakali (Jackals) unit of the 177th MTD Peć and an eye-witness
to the mass killings in Pavljane/Pavlan, while testifying in the Ćuška case described the crime in the
Minić Nebojša] ordered
us to move on, to chase the pest towards Zahač and when we were passing through
some village, later on I found out that it was called Pavljan, whether it was a
hamlet, since all the houses were connected, scattered around, there was not
group of houses, there is nothing between Ćuška to Zahač and we continued in
two groups from there, which is different to the way we came to that point ….
And then we were on the way to Zahač, through
the Pavljan hamlet, split into two groups of approximately 15 to 20 men. One
group was led by “Ćale” [Srećko Popović] and “Šumadija” [Nikolić Milojko], and
the other one was led by Ranko “Bosanac” [Ranko Momić] and “Mrtvi”; we were on
our way. I was in an SUV and we were not driving faster than the soldiers who
One important moment, well now I do not know if
we had entered Pavljane or we were still in Ćuska, the border was right around
there somewhere, there was a small wood and a Shiptar with a traditional
Albanian hat on his head and “Ćale” approached him and told him: “you have not yet left, go to Albania”
and the man replied “this is my house, I
am not going anywhere” and then he told him again “you will for Serbia”,
and bam, there he killed him in that little forest on a log.
And so in Pavljane, Your Honor, and in Pavljane
I personally witnessed one of the most sickening scenes of the entire war. From
the SUV, I saw Rus winding something on the window, I approach Rus and through
the window I see Ranko “Bosanac” having an intercourse with some Albanian
woman. I said that she was pregnant, but maybe she wasn’t pregnant, but she had
a belly disproportionate to other parts of her body. She is bent over the couch
and he is relaxed and calm while he is doing his thing. He looks at the two of
us and he says: “would you like some”, he had these erotic jokes that he made
about us, the handsome ones in the unit, as he called us. And she is squealing
over the couch, not complaining much and he finished, wiped it off her, put
down the AK-47, he had a rifle grenade extension and then slowly opened fire, I
remember that, those bullets through the back….and so 40 minutes through
Pavljane and we arrived in Zahać“
* The description of the crime is based on testimonies of
survivors, eyewitnesses and victims' family members given to the Humanitarian
Law Center, national courts or the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia (ICTY); forensic reports; judgments and transcripts of trials;
media reports and other documents.