Kosovo War massacre: sole survivor found by Telegraph ten years on

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Massacre survivor Dren Caka, photographed by the Telegraph in 1999, remembers the night his mother and sisters were murdered by Serbian police in one of the most notorious episodes of the war.

A decade on from the Kosovo War, that last great exercise in 20th-century European blood-letting, Dren Caka, 20, is a casualty still.

“I have nightmares a lot,” he says, looking out over Vancouver’s glistening waterfront. “I can’t sleep at night and feel constantly tired; I usually have bags under my eyes.”

Dren Caka is the sole survivor - the miraculous survivor - of one of the most notorious episodes of the war: the massacre of 19 women and children, including his mother and three sisters, by Serb police. Kosovo has already faded from the popular memory, overtaken by the seismic events of September 11 2001 and their aftermath. Slobodan Milosevic is dead and many of the henchmen responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the former Serbian province have stood trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, but the war continues to cast a shadow over people like Dren.

He was 10 years old in March 1999 when the Serbs began their campaign of deportation and murder against the predominantly ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo. On the night of April 1, a week after Nato began bombing Serb forces, the paramilitary police arrived in Milosa Galica Street.

The conflict refuses to leave him alone. He has testified twice before the tribunal in The Hague, the first time as a protected (anonymous) witness in the trial of Milosevic. During his second appearance as a witness, in the trial of senior Serb politicians and officers indicted for war crimes, he shed his title of Witness K13 and used his own name. He may be soon be going to The Hague again.

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