Thursday's statements by Serbian President Aleksander Vucic, who called the Reçak massacre an "invented crime", provoked harsh reactions among representatives of Albanian politics.
The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, reacted with a tweet inviting Serbia to detach itself from the past and finally recognize the independence of Kosovo:
"As one can still deny today a horrible well documented war crime. Because it is so difficult to understand that as long as Serbia lives in denial of the reality of Kosovo, the ghosts of the past will continue to undermine Serbia's path to the future.
[...] Let's do together what we all should: build peace and prosperity for all our children and start making our region a model of reference.”- reads the tweet published by Rama and addressed to Vucic.
The reactions from Kosovo
Kosovo politicians have also used social networks to condemn the statements by the Serbian head of state:
"I see Serbian officials denying one of the worst civilian crimes that have occurred in Europe and confirmed by ICTY, the Reçak massacre. Serbian genocide policies cannot be defended.
They must be reported. Peace, reconciliation and justice cannot be built on the basis of denial of crimes."- tweeted the President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi.
Ramush Haridanaj, outgoing prime minister of the country, stated in a post on Facebook that the incriminated words highlight "the pathological hatred of Vucic for the Albanians" and that Serbia "shamelessly preserves the criminal mentality inherited from the Milosevic era" . On the same line also the outgoing foreign minister, Behgjet Pacolli, who described Vucic's statements as "shameful and disgusting".
The Reçak massacre
The Reçak massacre of 15 January 1999 was perpetrated by Serbian special forces in the context of the Kosovo war. Between 40 and 45 ethnic Albanian civilians were killed by Yugoslav forces.
Just revealed, the Serbian government declared that the victims were all participants in the Kosovo Liberation Army, and that these killings were for the purpose of national security. The international community did not accept these justifications, denouncing instead a crime directed against the civilian population.
This episode is famous because it is one of the main accusations (and evidence) of the crimes that Slobodan Milosević will take with him to the court in The Hague.