Izbica massacre

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Izbica massacre
Izbica massacre.jpg
Bodies in Izbica, March 1999.
Location Izbica, Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia
Date 28 March 1999
around 12:00[1] (Central European Time)
Target Kosovo Albanians
Attack type
Mass killing
Deaths 89[2]- 146[3]
Perpetrators Serbian police and paramilitaries

The Izbica massacre (Albanian: Masakra e Izbicës) was one of the largest massacres of the Kosovo conflict of 1999.[1][4] Serbian police and special forces killed between 89[2][5] and 146 Kosovo Albanians of all ages in the village of Izbica, in the Drenica region of central Kosovo on 28 March 1999.[3]


During the Kosovo War, Izbica was considered safe for Kosovo Albanians from neighboring areas to take refuge, partly because of the Kosovo Liberation Army's presence.[1] By 27 March, thousands of Kosovo Albanians from the Drenica region had gathered in Izbica. Most civilians had come after NATO started bombing, when Yugoslav government forces began to shell the surrounding area.[1]


The shelling of the village of Izbica began during the night of 27 March when a group of at least fifty Yugoslav soldiers, policemen and paramilitaries entered the village. They wore both camouflage and dark blue or black uniforms, and carried long knives.[1] Some wore ski masks and others had their faces blackened with greasepaint.[1]

Satellite imagery of new mass burial site near Izbica.

On 28 March, nearly all of the adult men fled to the mountains, leaving mostly women, children, and old men in the village. In the field of Izbica, thousands of people were crowded that day, almost all women, children, and old people. Only about 150 men were among them.[1] National security forces threatened to kill the villagers and demanded money.[1] After they got the money, they separated the men from the women and children. Women and children were sent to Albania. The men were then executed with automatic weapons.[1] Some women and old men were also executed.[1]

Villagers who later buried the dead reported counting between 146 and 166 bodies.[1]

War crime trials[edit]

The Izbica killings were cited in the War Crimes Tribunal's Indictment of Slobodan Milošević, and others.

On, or about, 27 March 1999, FRY and Republic of Serbia forces attacked the village of Izbica. Several thousand village residents took refuge in a meadow outside the village. On, or about, 28 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the villagers and then approached them, demanding money. After valuables were stolen by the soldiers and policemen, the men were separated from the women and small children. The men were then further divided into two groups, one of which was sent to a nearby hill, and the other of which was sent to a nearby streambed. Both groups of men were then fired upon by the forces of the FRY and Serbia, and approximately 130 Kosovo Albanian men were killed.[6]

— Indictment against Milošević and others

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Human Rights Watch: Drenica Region
  2. ^ a b Presuda Haaškog suda, 28-02-2009
  3. ^ a b "OSCE Daily Broadcast Media Overview" unmikonline.org 28 March 2000 Link retrieved 05-01-2010
  4. ^ CNN: Massacre video matches mass grave evidence
  5. ^ Abrahams, Fred; Stover, Eric; Peress, Gilles (2001). A Village Destroyed, May 14, 1999: War Crimes in Kosovo. University of California Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780520233034. Retrieved 12 February 2013. "Some graves were systematically emptied by Serb troops and special police units.At Izbica (Izbice), villagers told investigators that they had buried 143 bodies after a massacre carried out by Serb police and paramilitaries in early April 1999" 
  6. ^ "The Prosecutor of the Tribunal against Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Vlajko Stojiljkovic" para 98a. International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, 22 May 1999