Victims of crimes committed by Yugoslav or Serbian military and police forces in the spring of 1999 in Kosovo were not only deprived of their lives but also of their right to a decent human burial. The bodies of killed Kosovo Albanians, mostly civilians, was the evidence that had to be concealed, which is why they were dumped into a number of clandestine burial pits scattered throughout Serbia.

The police training grounds

at Batajnica was chosen as a good place to hide evidence of mass killings.   The remains of the victims were transported to this Belgrade suburb either directly from the crime scenes or from primary graves in Kosovo. One of the men who transported the corpses was told that he would be rewarded with a one-bedroom flat for doing the “job”. As this promise was not kept after the war, he revealed these dark secrets.  

Exhumations at Batajnica began in 2001. Two judgments of the Hague Tribunal found several most senior police officials guilty of covering up the crimes – transportation of the bodies from Kosovo and their subsequent burial at Batajnica and other locations in Serbia. Confronted with the compelling evidence contained in the ICTY trial judgment, Police General Vlastimir Đorđević, head of the Public Security Department of the Serbian MUP at the time of the crimes, who was finally and conclusively sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment, in the course of the appeals proceedings partially confessed to having taken part in the cover-up of the crimes.

The mortal remains of 700 people were found in the mass graves at Batajnica. Those people were victims of crimes that took place at various locations throughout Kosovo, all of which were committed in a similar manner (pattern), and accompanied by looting and deportation of the civilian population.