Active falsification of history in Kosovo

Please note my updated article Kosovo war fantasies of Josef Martinsen… debunked! published on Feb. 17, 2015.

This is a document about the active falsification of history in the Kosovo war from 1998 when it comes to how many was killed and who they were.

An accusation of active falsification of history, consciously not telling the truth, is of course a very serious allegation that should not be used lightly, but when it comes to the book What happened in Kosovo, documentation, there is no other way to describe it.

Josef Martinsen has been very dedicated to creating lists of civilian victims in Kosovo, but unfortunately, he does not tell the complete story.

Josef Martinsen has been very dedicated to creating lists of civilian victims in Kosovo, but unfortunately, he does not tell the complete story.

I have encouraged the author, the Norwegian former army officer Josef Martinsen to correct his information several times since October 2013, but instead considering this documentation, he has intensified his effort to distribute free copies of his book in English, Serbian and Albanian on his website

Fortunatlely, the international community is about to wake up when it comes to war crimes committed by Kosovo Albanians against Serbs, non Albanians and fellow Albanians, as we can read about in the article Senior Kosovo Guerrillas Face Crimes Against Humanity Cases:

The EU’s Special Investigative Task Force said that unnamed “senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army” will face indictments for crimes against humanity and other abuses committed after the 1999 conflict.

“These individuals bear responsibility for a campaign of persecution that was directed against the ethnic Serb, Roma, and other minority populations of Kosovo and toward fellow Kosovo Albanians who they labeled either to be collaborators with Serbs or, more commonly, simply to have been political opponents of the KLA leadership,” Clint Williamson, the lead prosecutor with the task force, told a press conference in Brussels.

This court process is supported by the European Union and the United Nations Security Council.


However, before I write anything else, I’d like to express my appreciation to my friend Josef Martinsen who made me realize that we need to see each individual that was killed in Kosovo and the need to tell their stories in a proper and respectful way that is should be accepted by all sides of the war.

For his effort and dedication for his research I would give Martinsen an A. Too few people care about the dead and the suffering in Kosovo, and it is good that Albanian victims have a spokesman like him.

Even if Martinsen knew that I was going to be critical to his book and his research, he showed great courage when he came to present his research in Belgrade.

But when it comes to the result of Martinsen’s research, I must give him an F. Although I do believe he had the very best intentions, there are serious errors and presumptions that need to be addressed. In his book, he makes the following statement on page seven:

“this document represents close to a complete record of civilian victims and places where crimes were committed during the war in 1998-99.”

I do not believe that Martinsen would write a sentence like this if he really did not believe it, but as you will see from the documentation below, this statement is simply not true. Martinsen is far away from presenting a “close to complete record of civilian victims.”

The numbers

Below, you will see and incomplete list 434 mostly civilian names, an incomplete list of 126 police officers and three soldiers on leave that are not present in Martinsen’s list. The combined number of murdered and kidnapped police officers in 1998 and 1999 was 344.

The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) is the highest authority when it comes to identifying victims of the Kosovo war, and they have also had major challenges with Martinsen’s work. They still have to check 1500 names, but they have not been able to document 700 of the names Martinsen has come with.

HLC receives funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and HLC is much delayed because they have to check Martinsen’s lists. They accepted his research initially because they thought he would be a neutral international, but I have contacted the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to explain what kind of problems Martinsen has caused.

Below, you can also read my analysis for the year 2000 when Martinsen has 603 names, and only 21 of those have been confirmed by the HLC.

Had it been 15 or 20 names that were missing or added wrongly, Martinsen would have justified such a statement, but not when we are speaking of hundreds of erroneous names.

What also weakens the argument of Martinsen’s book is that he does not write anything about Albanian crimes against non-Albanians and fellow Albanians, not even with one comma. Of course, it is legitimate to write the account of one side only, but then you cannot claim to promote reconciliation at the same time.

Civilians and non-civilians

These crimes have been massively underreported in Western media, and unfortunately, Western media was co-opted into believing that Serbian savages were the only ones responsible for war crimes. Western audiences still need to hear the stories of the massacres and prison camps organized by the Kosovo Liberation Army, hereafter referred to as the UÇK. People in the West need to hear the stories from the Lapušnik prison camp, those kidnapped and held captive at the UÇK HQ in Mališevo and the massacres in Orahovac, Lake Radonjić and Klećka.

The first person quoted in the article about Klećka is quite interesting. His name is Christopher R. Hill, and he was the Special US Envoy to Yugoslavia and the leader of the failed Rambouillet Accords. Last year he gave me an interview, and he said something quite interesting about the importance of non-governmental organizations NGOs.

“I think one of the problems was many people in the non-governmental movements, and I would say this is one of the first wars in a long time where the press and non-governmental movements were so unified in their view to wage a war,” he told me.

Martinsen’s second major mistake is that he is separating sharply between civilian and non-civilian victims. In a chaotic war, the borders between a legal combatant and an illegal are often very blurry. On Feb. 23, 1998, Robert S. Gelbard of the US State Department said: “We condemn very strongly the terrorist actions in Kosovo. The UÇK (KLA) is, without any question a terrorist group.”

On the other hand, police officers from the Serbian interior ministry, MUP, were the only legal police authority in Kosovo. Of course, when police officers commit war crimes, they must be punished according to the law, but the war in Kosovo started as a legitimate police operation to crack down on the UÇK.

Likewise, it is hard to know when an armed civilian becomes a soldier in a war. This applies to both Albanians sympathizing or joining the ranks of the UÇK or Serbians joining paramilitary structures.

In any country, a murder on a police officer is among the most serious offenses, and when Martinsen does not include police officers killed while doing their legal job in Kosovo, he cannot claim to represent the truth about what happened in Kosovo.

I met Martinsen in September 2013, and I have to give him credit because he is very open about his work. He gave me complete access to his Microsoft Excel file with the names he found. After I met Martinsen, I started analyzing his work, and in November 2013, I published the article Victims of the Kosovo war. This is a follow-up with much better quality in the research that I am presenting.

Until June 20, 1999, Martinsen’s lists contain 8627 names; of these there I counted 501 non-Albanian names. I have also made notes on Martinsen’s list, and the document with my edits where I have tried to mark the non-Albanian names is available on

In this article, I crosschecked the number of dead people from the lists  Kosovo Chronology and Kosovo – list of Civilians murdered presumably by KLA in 1998 published on the website (FR).

These are incomplete lists of about 540 killed and missing individuals, mostly before NATO went to war against Yugoslavia, where the perpetrators are alleged to be Albanian extremists. However, it is important to state that these are incomplete lists, and the reader should be aware of the stigma in Kosovo Albanian society to witness against their own. Below, I have included 148 of these found by Martinsen.

The publisher of Martinsen's book Sypress forlag, claims that this book is the first documentation of over 10.000 civilian victims of war. The publishing house has no comments about Martinsen's methods.

The publisher of Martinsen’s book Sypress forlag, claims that this book is the first documentation of over 10.000 civilian victims of war. The publishing house has no comments about Martinsen’s methods.

I know these are hard words, but Martinsen and his publisher, the famous Norwegian Balkan professor Svein Mønnesland and his publishing house Sypress forlag operated by Mønnesland’s wife Kirsten Mønnesland are obstacles to reconciliation and a common understanding of history that can be agreed on by all parties in the war.

Unfortunately, even if this was not the intention, the result of Martinsen’s work is a falsification of history. In refusing to consider his documentation, Martinsen and Mønnesland are not telling the truth, and unfortunately, we are then speaking about an active falsification of history.

How to read these lists

Please note that Kosovo Chronology, FR and Martinsen don’t use specific characters such as š, ć, č, đ or ž in Serbian and ë and ç in Albanian, and thus, you have to take account for that when you search the lists. The most appropriate spelling would be the Albanian one for Albanian names and Serbian spelling for Serbian names. In my comments, I have used Serbian names for places in Kosovo, while I have included the Albanian spelling in the HLC entries.

When speaking about the victims, I use their first name to emphasize that every victim should have his or her individual story told in a respectful way. When there is FR in front of the paragraph, information is added from the list from

The very best database of missing and killed people in Kosovo is that made by the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) and Nataša Kandić, although this is not a perfect list either. I have crosschecked all the names on the above mentioned lists against the Kosovo Memory Book. The vast majority of the incidents from the lists above are also found in the HLC database, and I have added that reference on every name.

These are names from these two lists, and when I have found names from the HLC list not included in Martinsen’s list, I have also included them here. If I have not written anything else, the first entry is from Kosovo Chronology. Those names marked with yellow are names not found by the HLC or where more investigation is needed.

I have added my comments in italics, but when I have longer comments, I have skipped the italics.

Please note that it is difficult to know the exact number of people not included in this list of names not included in Martinsen’s lists. Some of them might not be correct because the names have not been confirmed, or they might have been in UÇK captivity but then released. I did not have capacity to check all the names in the HLC database against the names of Martinsen’s lists, but as you can see, there are serious errors. In a couple of cases, I have made an assessment call to include names on this list even if Martinsen found them. The reason might have been that he does not have a complete record or he found only one in a series of murders happening in the same place.

Contact with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The HLC initially accepted Martinsen’s data because they considered him a neutral international, but they have to spend a lot of resources and time to check his information. HLC also has support from the Norwegian government, but they have not been able to finish withing the deadline because they have to correct Martinsen’s data.

For the HLC, the situation was so bad that Nataša Kandić asked me to contact the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain what kind of problems Martinsen had created for them. Below, you will see Martinsen’s very serious errors.

The document is very large, 91 pages, and therefore it is not suitable to have all of it as an article. However, please download the complete documentation of the active falsification of history in Kosovo.