15 June 1999


Further details on murder of German journalists in Kosovo

Incident details

Volker Kraemer and Gabriel Gruener



(CPJ/IFEX) - Two German journalists on assignment in Kosovo were fatally
shot by unidentified gunmen on 13 June 1999 just outside Dulje, some 25
miles south of the provincial capital Pristina.

**Updates IFEX alert of 14 June 1999**

Veteran photographer Volker Kraemer, 56, died on the scene, while
35-year-old Gabriel Gruener, an experienced Balkans correspondent, expired
en route to a hospital in Tetova, Macedonia. The two journalists worked for
the Hamburg-based "Stern" newsweekly.

Kraemer, Gruener and their interpreter Senol Alit, an Albanian from
Macedonia, were returning by car to Macedonia to file the news they had
collected that day when they encountered sniper fire coming from a distance,
according to Oliver Herrgesell, "Stern"'s deputy editor. Herrgesell said
many details remain unclear, but from some accounts it appeared they may
have lost their way outside of Dulje. Medics from Médecins sans Frontières
who arrived at the scene sometime after the shootings, said the journalists
had apparently tried to flee on foot from their car and were hit from
long-range on the road. Herrgesell said Kraemer was killed instantly with a
shot in the head, while Gruener was hit in the abdomen, and remained
conscious when the medics arrived, said Herrgesell. He died in a helicopter
en route to a hospital in Tetova, Macedonia. Alit, who was driving their
car, is still missing.

Herrgesell said no details were yet available on the vehicle the journalists
had been using, including whether it was clearly marked as a press vehicle.

The German government retracted a report Monday that the body of a third
German journalist had been found in the vicinity.

David Chater, a British Sky Television correspondent, told reporters he was
fired upon by snipers on 14 June in Prizren, where a violent standoff
between mainly German and Dutch NATO peacekeepers and Serb paramilitaries
and police had taken place over the last two days. On 27 May, Chilean
journalist Abner Machuca was hit in the head by sniper fire as he was
filming on the Kosovo/Albania border (see IFEX alert of 27 May 1999).
Machuca is recovering in an Italian hospital and is expected to return to
Chile in the next several weeks.

CPJ is still investigating these shootings, which reveal the dangers for all
journalists venturing into Kosovo to cover implementation of the recent
peace settlement. "These tragic killings underscore the need for journalists
covering Kosovo to take necessary safety precautions," said Ann K. Cooper,
CPJ's executive director. "We urge all journalists to wear bullet-proof
vests and try to use armored vehicles, or travel with secure convoys when
possible," said Cooper.


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