April 14, 2000


KFOR troops have been drafted in to protect the Serbian Orthodox Bishop
Artemije from a furious Serbian mob demanding he leave the Gracanica

By Zvonko Tarle

Bishop Artemije is living in a state of siege after enraged Serbian radicals
gathered at his monastery in Gracanica to demand his expulsion from the

The angry crowds surrounded the monastery on April 4 following a decision by the Serb National Council (SNV) which Bishop Artemije leads, to take part as observers alongside Albanians in the Provisional Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK) sponsored by Bernard Kouchner, head of the UN Mission in Kosovo.

The crowd chanted, "Kosovo is Serbian, Gracanica is ours." Some
demonstrators even threatened to tear down the medieval monastery if Bishop Artemije refused to leave.

Never before has the Serbian community in Kosovo been under such pressure and in more need of unity. Kosovo Serbs now live in enclaves under constant attack from Albanian extremists. But a major division is developing between those, like Bishop Artemije, who favour reconciliation, and radicals opposed to giving any ground.

Initially the SNV refused to join PAVK, complaining that Kouchner and the
international community were failing in their duty to protect Serbs from
Albanian violence.

Now Bishop Artemije and his colleagues have agreed to participate for three
months. Involvement beyond this period is dependent on the international
community meeting their demands.

The list of demands include the guaranteed safety for all Kosovars,
particularly Serbs, an end to violence, a more effective and efficient
police and KFOR presence, a resolution of kidnap cases and the completion of a detailed plan for the return of Serb and other refugees to Kosovo.

The SNV's decision provoked vitriolic attacks from Belgrade and splits
within the organisation itself.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian Socialist Party and the
Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj have long campaigned against Bishop Artemije. The ruling coalition in Belgrade perceives Artemije as an
opposition political leader rather than a priest. Seselj has branded
Artemije "the NATO bishop".

Outraged by the SNV's participation in the PAVK, members of the largest
Serbian enclave in northern Mitrovica have split from the organisation.
Arguing that they represent the majority of Serbs in Kosovo, this group has
promised to form an "authentic" Serbian National Council.

The atmosphere is now highly inflammable. In Orahovac, on April 10, Randjel Nojkic, a member the Provisional Administrative Council, was beaten up as he tried to explain the reasons for the SNV decision. And now Bishop Artemije lives under siege, relying on the protection of KFOR troops and surrounded by Serbs hostile to his policies.

Father Sava Janjic, member of the PAVK and a close associate of Bishop
Artemije, has frequently pointed out the need for Serbs to be present in
those bodies deciding their destiny. He believes only by participating will
the voice of the Serbian community be heard.

At the first session attended by Serbs, on April 11, Serbian requests were
discussed, including measures to trace missing persons and to speed up the
trials of imprisoned Serbs. A plan for the return of Serb refugees from
Serbia and Montenegro was also on the agenda.

After the session, Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Albanian Kosovo Democratic League, welcomed the participation of the Serbs and said that posts were open to Serbs on all governing bodies.

Rada Trajkovic, a Serb representative on the PAVK, said she would not leave Pristina and Kosovo but would search for ways to live alongside Albanians. Trajkovic is convinced that a secure environment for all citizens is not far off and that soon she will be able to attend Council sessions without a KFOR escort.

Kouchner, meanwhile, never misses an opportunity to welcome the Serbian
representatives on board.

The problem remains, however, that those advocating co-operation with the
international administration and Albanians are in a minority and do not
represent a significant political force. Bishop Artemije appears to carry
more influence with the opposition in Belgrade than he does in Kosovo.

Those aligned against the bishop, however, form a rather motley crew. Oliver
Ivanovic leads the Serbs in northern Mitrovice. But just where his
allegiances lie remains unclear. Belgrade and Serbian nationalism still
exert considerable influence in the enclave. But Ivanovic is closely
associated with Marko Jaksic of the Democratic Party of Serbia, the Serbian
opposition party led by Vojislav Kostunica.

Milosevic, however, does clearly control other anti-Artemije Serbs in the
enclaves of Strpce, Gnjilane, Leposavic, Zvecani, Kosovo Polje, and Zubin

In these centres pro-Milosevic media outlets have been established and
information on Bishop Artemije and his activities suppressed. Pro-Milosevic
socialists in Zvecani broadcast weekly on "Novo Jedinstvo" and "Radio S".
Pro-Milosevic people control pension and salary payments, verify personal
documents and issue passports. Belgrade also funds local health care and
education in these communities.

On a superficial level, the divide between Serbs appears to be over
co-operation with the UN mission. But that split rests on a much deeper
division between those still looking to Belgrade for answers and those, like
Bishop Artemije, who recognise times have changed and that answers can only be found in Pristina, through dialogue with the majority Albanian community.

Zvonko Tarle is editor-in-chief of the independent radio station "Contact" in Pristina.


U.S. Plans To Return 700 Serbs To Kosovo
U.N. Expresses Security Concerns

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, April 16, 2000; Page A01

ISTOK, Yugoslavia, April 15-The United States is planning the first
coordinated effort to resettle Serbs in Kosovo, despite the serious
reservations of the U.N. refugee agency, which believes they cannot be
protected from revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians, according to U.S.,
U.N., Serbian and Albanian officials in Kosovo.

The pilot project, which could begin as early as this summer, will involve
about 700 Serbs forced to flee the province last year. U.S. officials said
they hope it will bolster the standing of the moderate Serbian leadership
within Kosovo, foster Serbian cooperation with the international
community, and test the stated commitment of ethnic Albanian politicians to
a multi-ethnic society.

The idea has gotten a cool response from U.N. officials. In an interview,
Dennis McNamara, the Balkans envoy for the U.N. High Commissioner
for Refugees, said, "We would be very happy to see the return of the Serb
displaced population, but it's very difficult to be supportive or proactive on
returns at this time.

"If we were going to promote or participate in this, the security
conditions--housing, access to services, freedom of movement--would
have to be in place," he said. "And the security conditions are just not

Nevertheless, the Americans are moving ahead with the effort. "Conditions
are never going to be perfect, and there is never going to be a perfect
moment," said one U.S. official. "This is something that has to start, even
on a small scale."

No decision on a site has been made, but U.S. officials are leaning toward
the village of Osojane, near Istok in northwestern Kosovo, which was
visited by State Department officials last week. The village was inhabited
by Serbs until last summer, when ethnic Albanian arsonists bent on revenge
destroyed it shortly after NATO peacekeepers entered Kosovo.

Osojane, which would be rebuilt with U.S. funds, is being considered in
part because the ethnic Albanian mayor of the region, Januz Januzi,
supports the return of all displaced people to Kosovo. He has had an
ongoing dialogue for the past six months with the one remaining Serbian
enclave of 70 people in his area.

In addition, U.S. officials believe Januzi--a longtime activist who served
nine years in a Serbian prison, helped found the Kosovo Liberation Army,
and fought and was wounded in its guerrilla campaign against Serbian
forces last year--has the standing to help sell the idea to the local ethnic
Albanian community.

"People were very impressed with him," said one U.S. official.

Januzi said his history of commitment to the cause of Kosovo has so far
inoculated him from local grumbling about his contacts with Serbs, but he
cautioned that repatriation will fail unless Serbs who live or want to live in
the area make some apology for the atrocities Serbian government forces
committed against ethnic Albanians last year.

"I am for the return of Serbs," said Januzi, 42. "It is their right, but I don't
want it to fail. For me, it will be easier to talk to Albanians and say, 'You
should accept the apology and move on.' It would be a historic step, and
I'm convinced Albanians can forgive."

Januzi noted that 29 Serbs returned to a village near Istok last November
but fled again after 48 hours when 10,000 ethnic Albanians marched on

U.S. officials, although they would welcome an apology by the returning
Serbs, don't view it as a prerequisite for starting the project. And because
Osojane is a secluded village in a valley, they believe it can be adequately
protected by NATO-led peacekeepers until conditions improve and allow
Serbs to move freely in the province again.

There are very few ethnic Albanians living in the valley, which holds a
series of sacked villages, but interviews with about a dozen people around
Osojane indicate that residents are willing to accept the return of their
Serbian former neighbors.

"People who didn't do anything can come back," said Takek Deskaj, 21,
whose family home was burned.

"They wouldn't have any problem with us," said Lumnije Kerellaj, 32. "We
might be a little afraid of them, but I think it will be okay."

The U.S. initiative gained momentum after Serbian Orthodox Bishop
Artemije visited Washington in February. His church has been a
long-standing critic of the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic, but it and other moderate Serbian elements have been reluctant
to cooperate with the interim U.N. administration in Kosovo because the
ghettoized Serbian community remains angry that Serbs still have little
guarantee of security in the province. In addition, Milosevic has tried to
brand moderate Serbs who made contacts with U.S. and U.N. officials as

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright urged Artemije to work
with U.N. administrative bodies, which Serbs had been boycotting. In
return for agreeing to participate in the U.N. institutions, Artemije asked
for "visible signs" of progress for Serbs, including improved security, a
radio station to get a moderate message out, and some effort to begin
returning Serbs to their homes. Of the estimated 200,000 Serbs in Kosovo
before the war, approximately three-fourths have fled since NATO
peacekeepers arrived.

"Without people coming back, it's pointless to work on other issues with
the international community," said the Rev. Sava Janjic, secretary to
Artemije. "The future of Kosovo Serb moderates depends on returns. If
this fails, we are dead."

Janjic also noted that he and the bishop have repeatedly condemned the
violence that befell ethnic Albanians, expressed their shame and asked for
forgiveness. But, he said, their efforts rarely are reported by the ethnic
Albanian media. He said he was willing to restate the sorrow of Serbian
moderates for the ethnic Albanian press if it would help people accept a
multiethnic community.

"We don't hear each other," he said.

After Albright agreed to work on all three of the bishop's requests, a Serb
finally attended the U.N.-sponsored Kosovo Transitional Council as an
observer last month. Sava said he expects the Serb representative to take
a permanent seat in three months if the U.S. repatriation project is clearly

Last week, the State Department team toured the province to push the
project forward and meet with ethnic Albanian leaders, including former
KLA commander Hashim Thaqi, to inform them of their plans and get
them on board publicly.

"I believe this needs support," Thaqi said in an interview. "Kosovo has its
own institutions now, and we have an obligation to see the return of all
Kosovo citizens, Serb and Albanian."

According to a U.S. official, however, Thaqi cautioned that it would be
particularly important to carefully explain the process to ethnic Albanians.
He also said the reconstruction of Serbian villages should be balanced with
similar efforts for Albanians in the Istok area.

"This can be done," Thaqi said. "It will be difficult, but it's not mission

Most of those Serbs who will be resettled were original residents of the
valley, although they may also bring friends or relatives with them,
according to those familiar with the plan. U.S. officials rejected suggestions
that ethnic Albanians should vet lists of those Serbs returning, but the
United Nations is likely to check for suspected war criminals, officials said.

Even as the United States plans the resettlement effort, Serbs who have
remained in Kosovo continue to fear for their safety and ask the U.N.
refugee agency to evacuate, McNamara said. Hundreds of Serbs have
been killed or have disappeared since the war ended; most, officials
suspect, were targeted by vengeful ethnic Albanians.

Although the rate of killing has fallen in recent months--primarily because
Serbs are now largely sealed off in guarded ghettos from Albanians--ethnic
violence continues. Four Serbs were slain in the last two weeks, U.N.
officials noted. McNamara said the current priority of the international
community should be safeguarding those Serbs in Kosovo, not creating
more Serb enclaves that would be at risk for attack.

The NATO-led peacekeeping mission, which comes under Spanish
command on Monday, also is leery of the U.S. project, and it is unclear
what troops would guard the Serbs brought back under the pilot program.
The Istok area, including Osojane, is now patrolled by Spanish soldiers; it
is unclear whether U.S. troops would also be brought in.

In any case, peacekeepers are likely to resist any large-scale resettlement
of Serbs. Last week, officials here expressed astonishment when a NATO
official in Brussels said that 25,000 Serbs could return to their homes in
Kosovo this summer.

"No way," said one military official. "I don't know what hat that figure was
pulled out of. Even something small, like the U.S. proposal, troubles a lot
of people."

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

Associated Press

Serb Moderates Want Serbs To Return

By Alison Mutler
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, April 16, 2000; 3:36 p.m. EDT

GRACANICA, Yugoslavia -- Moderate Serbs on Sunday threatened to
stop cooperating with reconciliation efforts if Serb refugees who fled
Kosovo do not begin returning in substantial numbers within three months.

"If in three months, there is no beginning of this process, Bishop Artemije
and other members of the (Serb Orthodox) church will leave the political
arena," the Rev. Sava Janjic said.

The presence of Serb moderates in a U.N.-led de facto government that
includes ethnic Albanians is seen as crucial for lessening the mistrust and
hatred dividing Kosovo's Albanians and Serbs.

Janjic spoke at a 14th-century monastery south of Pristina that has
become the unofficial base for moderate Serbs. The church group is
considered the backbone of the moderate Serb faction.

Serbs ended a four-month boycott of the U.N.-led council last week
when moderate Rada Trajkovic attended a council meeting. The boycott
was called to underscore Serb complaints that the council was

Ethnically motivated attacks by Albanians on Serbs are a near-daily
occurrence. The attacks are by ethnic Albanians seeking revenge for
President Slobodan Milosevic's 18-month crackdown against Kosovo,
which sparked NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia last year.

Serb moderates said they returned to the council to press for the return of
some of the 200,000 Serbs who had lived in Kosovo but have taken
refuge in Serbia proper. While acknowledging that is not a realistic hope
for the near future, Janjic said Serbs must begin to return.

He said he was aware of tentative U.S.-sponsored plans to return 700
Serbs to the village of Osojane in northwestern Kosovo this summer.
U.N. officials have expressed concerns over the plan and whether the
safety of the Serbs could be guaranteed.

Janjic said the success of the Serb return was essential for the political
survival of moderate Serbs.

"It will stress the willingness of the international community to bring back
Serbs ... and it will be a test for ethnic Albanian leaders," he said.

The return of Serbs to Kosovo remains one of the most contentious issues
facing the province and its leaders. Last week, the council discussed a
Serb plan for the return of some 20,000 Serbs into areas that were
predominantly Serb before their inhabitants fled.

In the latest development reflecting ethnic tensions, about 40 Serbs jailed
in Kosovska Mitrovica, north of Pristina, announced Sunday they would
isolate themselves in their cells and would continue to refuse food unless
their claims of anti-Serb bias are properly investigated.

The Serbs went on a hunger strike Wednesday, protesting what they said
was unfair treatment at the U.N.-run jail and demanding quick trials, said
Serb spokesman Nikola Kabasic.

Also Sunday, thousands of ethnic Albanians Sunday crossed the border
into Albania in a symbolic gesture to commemorate the flight of half a
million refugees to that nation last year. The refugees were fleeing violence
that rocked the province and led to the NATO bombing campaign.

Blic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
April 17, 2000

Terrorists leveled the Serb village of Bijeljo Polje near Pec with bulldozers

250 Serbian houses burnt down

Belgrade - Two days ago Albanian terrorists burned down and leveled with bulldozers 250 houses in the Serb village of Bijeljo Polje near Pec, report radio amateurs. Before the Serb houses were set on fire
and leveled, they were looted by the terrorists, who drove away furniture and other belongings using 15 trucks.

In the previous two days in the villages of Talinovac near Urosevac and Gornja Brnjica near Pristina seven Serb houses were looted and set on fire, and one Serb was lightly injured with a tossed stone, reported radio amateurs. On Friday night in the village of Gornja Brnjica the houses of Radomir Djordjevic, Koviljka Djordjevic, Trajko Djordjevic, Branko Stolic and Vlastimir Stolic [all Serbs] were looted. Serb sources in Orahovac indicate that two days ago a group of young Albanians lightly injured Djordje Simic with a tossed stone; he was treated at the nearby KFOR medical facility. In the village of Talinovac near Urosevac the last two remaining Serb houses belonging to Dragan and Vitko Tomic were set on fire. In the settlement of Bosnjacka Mahala in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica two days ago a bomb was tossed at the house of the Ilic family. The bomb failed to explode. KFOR advised yesterday that on Saturday a Romany was killed at the Pec marketplace by multiple ! gunshots. An investigation of that murder is being carried out by UNMIK police. KFOR indicates that two nights ago in the village of Stupelj in the municipality of Klina one Romany was arrested after a semi-automatic rifle, a large supply of ammunition, one bomb and two knives were found in his house. In Prizren during the previous night five houses burned down.

April 17, 2000

Murders in Kosovo help to fuel a family's
blood feud

Christian Jennings, reports from Sverke, in Kosovo, on the animosity between
Albanians and the Egyptian Muslim minority

KOSOVO: You can tell what kind of ammunition was used to execute Xhafer
Brahimi's mother, son and nephew because the stray bullets from the burst of
gunfire that killed them lodged in the frozen chicken legs they were
bringing home from market.

"I saw their horse and cart going down the track in front of our house,"
says Brahimi, a 37-yearold Kosovan man from the province's beleaguered
Egyptian Muslim community, an Albanian-speaking ethnic minority.

"As soon as I heard automatic gunfire, I looked down through binoculars.
When I saw the horse stop I knew they were dead," he sobs, wiping his eyes
as he looks at their three coffins laid out on the new spring grass inside
his farm compound in the western Kosovan village of Sverke.

The Brahimi killings were just three out of an estimated 12 murders of
ethnic minorities to have taken place in Kosovo in the last 10 days, says

Murders of Serbs, Roma Gypsies and Egyptians have more than trebled since the beginning of April.

Who fired 10 Kalashnikov bullets into the sternum of Xhafer Brahimi's
78-year-old mother? Who executed his 17-year-old son, Fidan? Whose hunting rifle was fired pointblank into his 18year-old nephew, Muharem, as he sat on the horse-drawn cart?

The answer depends on whom you talk to. The 150 mourners who have gathered around the three newly dug graves under the oak trees at the bottom of the farm will give you different answers.

"In August last year 10 Albanian men came to the gates of the compound at
night," says Xhafer. "They had guns. They tried to break down the doors.
They were asking for grapes."

For grapes read the Brahimi family vineyard. For the vineyard read land. For
land read money. Throw in Kosovo, and it all ends up as a revenge blood

"It's all about this damn land," says his aunt, shaking her head as she
looks around at the gathered womenfolk of the family. Thirty-five of them,
wearing traditional Muslim head-scarves, are weeping loudly over the three
coffins draped in gaudily coloured fluffy blankets.

"When the men couldn't break down the gate," continues Xhafer, "they shot
through it. I returned fire from the house and hit one man in the leg. He
went down, and by mistake shot another, killing him."

In fine Albanian tradition, there began a family blood feud. Death avenged
by death. The killing of women and children against the rules. Repeat till
not a single man is left alive.

"The family hasn't really left the compound since the summer," says Xhafer's brother, offering around Coca-Cola and cigarettes as the women wail and the sun shines strongly. "When my aunt, son and nephew did, they were followed from here to market and back, and then killed."

Among the dandelions in a quiet corner of the farm, they've dumped the cart
on which the three family members died. Most of the blood's been scrubbed
off, but you can see the bullet-scarred wood, the rust-coloured stains.
>From here you can almost understand what the feud is all about. This is
God's country. Fertile fields, gently sloping ploughed furrows, plentiful
space. All 60 acres of it. Through the sky above the valley clatters an
Italian NATO helicopter.

"NATO troops will not come and protect us," says Xhafer Brahimi. "We've
asked several times, we know the people that did this."

UN policemen based in the town of Peja, 15 km distant, did come to
investigate the killings. No arrests have yet been made.

Fifty of the Brahimi clan live here on the edge of the ruined village of
Sverke, a predominantly Serb community whose houses were totally destroyed by Albanians just after NATO entered Kosovo last June.

"The rest live in Germany, which is where we're going if these killings
continue," says Xhafer. "The people that did this, before the war they used
to co-operate with the Serbs. Now they're common criminals."

There's no doubt that ethnic animosity between Albanians and the Egyptian
minority have worsened relations in the village, as have accusations of
complicity and collaboration with Serb military units, whose programme of
ethnic cleansing of the Kosovan Albanian population in spring 1999 reached
its apogee in the Peja region.

The graves lie in a fenced-off area 20 metres by 20, and it's hard not to
think that if you came back in a year's time, the feud would still be
continuing and UN police would still not have got to the bottom of it.

Blic, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
April 18, 2000

Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija advises

Pressure by the regime is increasing

Gracanica (Beta) - The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija (SNV KiM) advised yesterday that representatives of the regime in Belgrade “have been waging a campaign for days” against the
Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and officials of the SNV KiM.

In its statement the SNV says that “after physical attacks by a group of those most aggressive on the monastery of Gracanica”, representatives of the regime “are now beginning to organize so-called
‘petitions’, by means of which the attempt is being made to create the appearance that the Serb people of Kosovo and Metohija support the regime against their bishop”.

In the statement it is further said that “people who are still in shock from everyday suffering are being told that the petitions are directed against Kouchner, KFOR and the bishop, who is with them”.

“The regime which is accusing the Church and the SNV of treason of course cannot offer any kind of solution to alleviate the suffering of the people. Again making their rounds in Kosovo are various ministers and deputy ministers of the same government which by its catastrophic policies led the people into the existing situation,” it is said in the statement and emphasized that “wherever the members of this body have had the opportunity to acquaint the people with the full text of the requests which accompany the decision to join the temporary administration in the capacity of observer, we have received full support”.

This political body of the Kosovo Serbs advises that “rational and strictly conditional cooperation with the international community is the only way that the expelled Serbs can return to their homes and Resolution 1244, which is untenable with the regime of president Milosevic, can be fulfilled”.

“The fact that Albanian politicians are most afraid of democratic changes in Serbia best illustrates who is the best friend, and who is the enemy, of the Serbian people,” it is underlined in the statement.

Translated by Snezana Lazovic (April 18, 2000)

NATIONAL POST, Monday, April 24, 2000

Albanian mob invades Italy

The collapse of law and order across the Adriatic has created a criminal
element that even the Mafia fears

Patrick Graham
National Post

BRINDISI, Italy - Johnny knows just how brutal the Albanian mafia can
be. The former auto mechanic for Saddam Hussein turns his head away and
starts to cry as he describes how his friend was shot in front of him
and his body dumped into the Adriatic Sea.

Like thousands of others, Johnny's family scraped together $6,000 (US)
to have him smuggled into Italy with a group of other Iraqis. But when
they reached the Albanian port of Vllore, the smugglers demanded more.
One family handed over a gold necklace and Johnny had enough money to
satisfy them. His friend had only his watch.

"Take it," he said to Johnny. "They are going to kill me."

Now hiding in a refugee hostel in southern Italy protected by police,
the young Iraqi weeps as he recalls his friend's words.

Ten years ago, few people knew anything about Albania. Today, its
gangsters have become so notorious for violence they give even Italian
mobsters pause.

In the north, the Albanians have taken the prostitution racket away from
the country's toughest Mafia branch, the 'Ndrangheta. In the south, they
control the drugs, guns, prostitution and human smuggling across the
Adriatic and have forced an alliance with the local Mafia group. Even
priests who work with women sold into sexual slavery must travel with
bodyguards for fear the Albanian kidnappers will take revenge.

Now Italian investigators suspect a flood of cocaine into the country
may be the result of Albanian criminals working in the United States, a
connection being probed by Italian police and the Federal Bureau of

"The Albanian mafia is especially violent," said Cataldo Motta, a Mafia
prosecutor in the province of Puglia in southern Italy. "We know how to
fight against the Mafia, but now we have a new one -- and it is a
foreign culture we don't understand."

Ironically, this is also the view of Italians on the other side of the

"I hate Albanians. Their criminals have become rich and we've become
poor. They have a lot of money because they work with girls and drugs,"
a cigarette smuggler told the National Post.

"Both the Mafia and Albanians are violent but at least the Mafia has
some rules," went on the man, who was shot by local mafiosi in a dispute
two years ago. "The Albanians don't care about life at all, they'll kill
you without reason."

But those who suffer most are ordinary Albanians.

"Normal Albanians are terrified of these gangs," said Natasha Shehu, an
Albanian lawyer living in Italy, whose clients include many people
smuggled in by the mafia. "The criminals have nothing to lose -- no
other jobs, and no stable political situation to control them."

The east coast of Puglia is only 80 kilometres from Albania. But from
1945 to 1990, when the Albanian communist dictatorship collapsed,
Italians knew little about their neighbours.

But after 1990, the refugees started to arrive -- more than 80,000 in
the past decade. Italy was forced to take an interest, sending aid as
well as soldiers and police to try and reduce the chaos exported by its

Albanian gangs quickly branched out from ferrying their countrymen
across the Adriatic. They became one of the main conduits for illegal
immigrants trying to slip into Europe. Today, even Chinese immigrants
travel through Albania after being flown to Moscow and bused to Vllore.

With the refugees came prostitutes, drugs and weapons for the Italian
Mafia, often stolen from the communist arsenals.

Customs officers in Puglia say every drug smuggler they catch is
Albanian, often clandestini, refugees who are working off the cost of
their $500 (US) passage.

The Albanian mafia grew out of the country's decade-long collapse.
Though they started as groups of low-level hoods and smugglers, they
have developed into sophisticated -- and little understood --
organizations that have profited from globalization, like their
counterparts in Eastern Europe and South America, with whom they are
closely connected.

In the mid 1990s, the Albanian mafia even brought over cocaine- growing
experts from Columbia to help introduce the crop to Albania, which
already produces heroin and marijuana.

The success of the Albanian gangs is due, in part, to their
apprenticeship under the Italian Mafia with whom they have now formed
equitable partnerships.

"The contacts between the Italian and Albanian criminals started in the
early 1990s," said Angelo Loconte, chief investigator with the serious
crime unit in Brindisi.

"The Albanians were used by the Italians to do their dirty work, the
jobs that had previously been done by people under 18 who would not be
sent to jail. The Albanians were willing to kill and they just didn't
take life as seriously. They became the street dealers and the enforcers
... The Italians were the brains and the Albanians became their hands."

By 1993, the Albanians were working independently and Puglia's local arm
of the Mafia, the Sacra Corona Unita (United Sacred Crown) realized it
was better to make a deal with the newcomers than fight them.

"The Italians were good teachers but now the pupils are better,"
commented Ms. Shehu.

Their success in Italy was partly due to the organizational structure of
the Sacra Corona Unita, the country's youngest Mafia organization. This
group, which sprang up during the 1980s, is essentially a collection of
regional gangs, linked like beads on a rosary. Its existence was not
uncovered until the early 1990s when a series of high-profile court
cases resulted in the arrest of many of its leaders.

This created an opportunity for the Albanian gangs, who penetrated
Puglia like an alien virus encountering a weak immune system. But the
virus has so far defied analysis. It is striking how little is known,
even in Italy, about the Albanian crime syndicates.

"We have only one document from the DIA [Italy's anti-Mafia agency]
about the Albanian mafia," said Michele Emiliano, the Mafia prosecutor
who first uncovered and prosecuted the Sacra Corona Unita.

"In it they wrote that the Albanian mafia is based on family groups, but
we have to be careful before saying that they are similar to the Italian
Mafia because we don't really have very much evidence. The division
among clans or family groups in Albania was originally a social
division, not a criminal one. Today, every activity in Albania still
works in that way."

But the Italians cannot investigate the criminals' organizations based
in Albania because the justice system there is barely functioning. Italy
also refuses to have any agreements with Albania because reciprocity
would require that Italian citizens be exposed to the Albanian court

"I am pessimistic about the future -- it's hard to control the Cosa
Nostra, but it is impossible to control what is going on in Albania. The
channel of illegal traffic there is completely open," said Mr. Motta,
who travels with bodyguards wherever he goes.

"Now there are a lot of Albanians in Italy, they understand our system,
and it is becoming impossible to fight them. For instance, we often
imprison the same people twice, but we don't even know it because they
have so many forms of false I.D."

The Albanian mafias have now forged business relationships with their
Italian counterparts, becoming part of the local system.

"Pushing the 'Ndrangheta out of the prostitution in the north of Italy
was probably a mistake, but the Albanians are very violent and they were
just starting out -- they had not learned any 'diplomacy,' " he
explained. "Now the two groups don't want to fight with each other, they
just want to make money."

"Pronti -- everyone ready?" asks Inspector Roberto Barnaba. "Andiamo,
let's go."

Wearing jeans with his ponytail hanging over a leather jacket, he looks
like a young Harvey Keitel as he leads dozens of uniformed special
police in flak jackets over a low stone wall and across the fields
toward a gubbia, Pugliese dialect for a smuggler's hideout. The old
farm, surrounded by almond trees, is the perfect place to keep drugs and
refugees until they can be smuggled to northern Italy.

But the hour-long search of its vaulted rooms and outbuildings turns up
nothing more than tire tracks and the remains of some satanic rituals.
Insp. Barnaba and his patrol get back into their blue police vans and
continue their patrol, looking for clandestini who arrive almost every
night on the nearby beaches.

Driving down to the sea, the patrol stops among the brush oak stands of
a World Wildlife-protected area lying between the Adriatic and the main
highway, a favourite depot of the human smugglers. Empty packs of L&M
cigarettes, unknown in Italy but popular in Albania, lie scattered
around piles of discarded clothes and shoes.

"Some must have arrived last night," says Insp. Barnaba. Poking a pair
of women's blue underwear with his foot he says, ironically, "There was
a woman among them."

The police begin searching the underbrush for guns and drugs left by the
smugglers to be retrieved later. The refugees, who arrive at night or
early in the morning, are usually picked up by cars waiting on the
nearby highway.

This morning the police are too late. In the past, they have found
bodies buried in the sand of popular beaches, casualties of the
smugglers' indifference to the lives of their clients as they force them
to swim ashore.

"When we got near the beach, they pushed everybody out of the boats with
guns -- women, children, everybody -- because they didn't want to be
caught," said Johnny, the young Iraqi.

The boat that carried him and 31 others, shivering and seasick, took 4
1/2 hours to make the crossing from Vllore. Made in Italy to the
smugglers' specifications, the fibreglass-hulled, open craft are usually
powered by two 250-horsepower engines and can reach speeds of 50 knots.
A dozen leave Vllore at the same time and land at different points in

Johnny said he left Iraq by driving to the Turkish border. He and other
family members then walked for eight days to Istanbul. He went on alone,
joining a group of Iraqi refugees traveling with the Turkish mafia to
Bulgaria, where they were picked up by Albanians. After 20 days locked
in a house in Vllore, he was put on a boat just after his friend was

"After I arrived in Italy, I wanted to kill all Albanians. I didn't eat
for a week I was so afraid," he said. "If I had known what the trip
would have been like, I would have preferred to die in Iraq."

He is one of the hundreds of Iraqis, Chinese, North Africans and others
in the Casa Regina Pacis, southern Italy's largest refugee centre, in a
converted children's seaside camp. The police guarding it are not just
keeping the refugees in, they are protecting them from the Albanian
gangs that brought them over.

"We don't have any problem with the refugees in the centre," said Don
Cesare, the Roman Catholic priest in charge, who was assigned three
bodyguards by the police after a kidnapping. "But there are people who
don't like the centre because they want to keep control over the

Many of the women here were kidnapped in Kosovo and Albania, or given
false job offers in Eastern Europe. The gangs are notoriously violent
toward women, a legacy of Albanian culture.

"Traditionally, women are objects in Albania -- they can be sold for the
price of a cow. In the past, an Albanian girl had a bullet as part of
her dowry so that her husband could shoot her if she was not a virgin,"
explained Ms. Shehu.

This week, a 23 year-old Albanian man was arrested on a beach in Puglia
and charged with sexual slavery for forcing two Moldavian women into
prostitution. The women told police they had been sold by two Romanian
men in February to an Albanian gang. They were raped repeatedly, then
forced on to a smuggler's speedboat to Italy.

In Belgrade, a Moldavian prostitute hoping to go to Canada as a stripper
told how she had also been tricked into prostitution. But at least, she
said, she was not controlled by the Albanian gangs, who are the most
dangerous pimps.

"They purposely turn the women into objects before they put them to
work," said Mr. Motta. "They are kidnapped, raped and enslaved, then
often sold again to others who repeat the same process, so the women
have no will of their own."

Like other mafias that sprang up after the Cold War, the Albanian
mafia's success depends on their brutality and their ability to adapt to
the global economy. They have made alliances with other crime groups and
can change their activity to suit market demand.

"In the past, to create a high-level mafia, you needed about 50 years,"
said Mr. Emiliano. "Today, you need only a few years. It is a question
of technology. Crime exists primarily in an organized form. It doesn't
exist any more as individual crime groups."

The cocaine trade is an example of the the drug industry's
globalization, with the Turkish mafia trading heroin for cocaine from
Columbia and Albanians using international connections to ship it to
Europe though their homeland.

"Cocaine is a new activity -- it's much more recent here than heroin,"
the Mafia prosecutor said.

"In the past, the two were different businesses with different markets.
Now, consumers are changing. Today, we have fewer junkies using drugs
every day. Instead, the users are occasional, say on weekends, and there
are not as many addicts."

Heroin, too, is used in a different way: Fewer people inject it, but
instead smoke it or mix it with cocaine. Dealers have to sell many
different drugs because customers want small amounts of hashish,
ecstasy, cocaine, and so on.

The Albanian mob also has the advantage of being able to blackmail
fellow Albanian migrants around the world.

"The Albanian mafia has a huge capacity to expand itself. Many times
decent Albanians are obliged to help the Albanian mafia," Mr. Emiliano

"If there are no other Albanian criminals in the country, they ask for
help from law-abiding Albanians and put pressure on their relatives at
home, who have little or no police protection. "

With police unable to keep up with these rapid changes, Mr. Emiliano
believes Europe needs an organization similar to the FBI.

"If we continue to work only in our own countries, with all the limits
of our work, we won't be able to to transform ourselves as fast as the
Albanian mafia."

But there are other, more profound reasons, for the growth of the
mafias, said Don Cesare. He does not believe the underlying causes of
the problem will ever disappear.

"If there are people wanting prostitutes, they will be bringing them
into the country. It's business, and there is nothing governments can
do. And there are people who need to escape where they live -- there
always will be. They are poor."

Associated Press

Radio Hams Are Only Link for Serbs

By Elena Becatoros
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, April 18, 2000; 3:09 a.m. EDT

ZVECAN, Yugoslavia -- A man's voice crackles through the static, faint
at first but growing stronger as the tuning knob is turned, anxiously seeking
information about a Serb who has not been in touch with his family for
some time.

The response is swift - inquiries will be made, and someone will visit the
person's home to ensure all is well. The province's amateur radio
operators are at work again.

"Before the war, this was a hobby. Now, it's a necessity," said Pero Kulic,
a Serb refugee from the southern town of Prizren, as he sits in the tiny
room which serves as club headquarters for the ham radio operators in the
northern village of Zvecan.

Tens of thousands of Serbs fled Kosovo after the end of a 78-day NATO
air campaign against Yugoslavia, fearing revenge attacks by ethnic
Albanians persecuted for years by the Serb authorities. Those who remain
now live in enclaves dotted around the province and heavily guarded by
NATO-led peacekeepers.

With telephone lines rarely working, amateur radio operators have
become a lifeline for those living in enclaves, helping keep relatives in
touch with each other and passing on news of demonstrations or attacks
around the province to Serbia, as well as to Serb media.

The use of ham radio operators is a tried and tested method - it was used
extensively during the war in Bosnia, when they were sometimes the only
source of information for what was occurring in besieged towns such as
Srebrenica and Gorazde.

"For the time being, the amateurs are the only connection from enclave to
enclave," explains Father Justin, the radio operator at the Christian
Orthodox monastery in Gracanica, five miles south of the provincial capital
of Pristina. The now entirely Serb village is located in the midst of an
Albanian majority area, and is heavily guarded by Swedish peacekeeping

Kosovo's monasteries were among the first to organize a ham radio
operators network about three years ago, when telephone lines became
unreliable as armed conflict erupted between ethnic Albanian separatists
and the Serb authorities, Father Justin explains.

Their help became essential after the end of NATO air strikes, he added.
"When the exodus of the Serbs began, we started exchanging
humanitarian messages, to connect families."

Most of the calls the radio hams now handle are what they refer to as
"OK inquiries" - queries from those unable to contact friends and relatives
any other way, and those concerned about loved ones after hearing about
violence or attacks in the area, said Ljubisa Brkljac, a member of the
Zvecan radio club.

The communities are tightly knit, and it is usually a simple matter to locate
the person. In one month, there were about 3,000 such calls, he said.

But "OK inquiries" are not the only calls the radio amateurs make. Violent
attacks against Serbs and other minorities continue throughout the
province, and the operators make sure the world knows about it.

"No matter what the information is and which side it comes from, we're
very interested in people having the correct information," Father Justin
said. "It's in our interest for people to know the truth, no matter whether
we like it or not."

Before NATO air strikes, the Zvecan ham radio club included two ethnic
Albanians among its 35 members. Now, the two remain silent.

"Obviously, we have to wait for a while for tension to decrease," Father
Justin said. "I am dreaming about the day when we can do true radio
amateur work - teach people, organize clubs where Albanians and Serbs
can work together, supply each other with equipment."

Associated Press

Families of Missing Serbs Join Hands

By Jovana Gec
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 19, 2000; 5:15 a.m. EDT

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- For two years, Petra Kostic has tried to find
out what happened to 15 male members of her family taken away one summer
night by ethnic Albanian rebels in Kosovo.
The family's house in the southwestern village of Ratimlje was
attacked by fighters from the Kosovo Liberation Army in July 1998. The
Kostics, one of 12 Serb families that used to live in the town, were
captured and taken to another village.
The women were released. The men were never heard from again.
"I just want to know," Petra Kostic says. "It is impossible that no
one knows what happened to them."
The Kostics, who fled to Belgrade after the Serb pullout from
Kosovo last year, say they've tried everything - contacting
international officials in Kosovo, non-governmental organizations, aid
groups, ethnic Albanian neighbors - all in vain.
Their case is just one of many.
Dr. Andrija Tomanovic, a well-known surgeon in the Pristina
hospital and a local Red Cross official, disappeared last June,
reportedly taken away from work by two men. His wife, Verica, does not
know whether he is alive or dead.
Dragoljub Djukanovic and his son, Jovica, were led away from their
apartment in the southwestern town of Prizren last July. Rada Djukanovic
said the ethnic Albanians who claimed they were police said her husband
and son would be back in half an hour. They never returned.
The same applies for about 20 Serbs from Istok in western Kosovo,
and many more.
"For us, all these people are alive until they are proven dead,"
said Ranko Djinovic, head of the recently formed Belgrade-based
Association of the Families of the Persons Kidnapped in Kosovo.
Djinovic said the group, which began work on March 21, includes
only relatives of people who disappeared. It has made contact with
non-governmental and international organizations hoping for some
progress in their quest for truth.
"We knock on doors of everybody who can help," Djinovic said. "We
have collected credible testimonies from witnesses," he added displaying
a pile of forms, with photos attached, filled out by those whose loved
ones are missing.
Thousands of people of all ethnicities have disappeared in Kosovo
since the fighting between the KLA and Serb security troops began in
1998. The International Committee of the Red Cross says about 3,000 are
still unaccounted for.
Djinovic says his group has information about 1,200 cases of
kidnappings of Serbs and other non-ethnic Albanians since February 1998.
He said about 75 percent occurred since last June, when NATO
bombing forced Serb troops to pull out of Kosovo and paved the way for
the return of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanian refugees and the
deployment of NATO peacekeepers.
With the international attention focused on the return of ethnic
Albanian refugees, the Serb minority found itself faced with harassment
from ethnic Albanians seeking revenge for the 1998-99 crackdown in which
thousands of ethnic Albanians were killed.
Djinovic and others say some of those missing appear to be held in
secret prison camps for non-ethnic Albanians. Although U.N. and NATO
officials deny that such camps exist, Sefko Alomerovic, the head of the
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia's predominantly Muslim
region of Sandzak, says his workers have been inside the camps.
Alomerovic says the missing are being held in at least five major
locations, which he refuses to name.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the missing wait - and grow more
"My husband did not want to leave Pristina because his conscience
was clean. He has always helped all people, both the Serbs and
Albanians," Verica Tomanovic says of her missing physician husband. "He
even saved the life of one KLA soldier, and now nobody will tell me what
happened to him."
Milanka Petrovic, whose father and brother were abducted in Prizren
last year, also says the two stayed in Kosovo because they had done no
harm to anyone.
"The good people always end up suffering," said Petrovic. "Those
who committed crimes (against Albanians) are now walking freely


Nine Explosions Hit Kosovo Serb Enclave

Sunday, April 23, 2000

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (Reuters) - Nine explosions rocked a Kosovo
Serb enclave guarded by Italian troops but no casualties were
reported, the province's NATO-led peacekeeping force said on

A KFOR statement said three craters were found near a
peacekeepers' checkpoint on the edge of Gorazdevac, a crumbling
Serb village with some 1,000 people in western Kosovo, and six
more near a cluster of adjacent Gypsy homes.

It said the incident occurred on Saturday evening but gave no
further details pending an inquiry.

Earlier, the independent Serbian news agency Beta said that nine
rockets fired from a portable launcher had crashed into
Gorazdevac at around 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Saturday.

However, a KFOR officer told Reuters the projectiles were probably
mortar bombs because they usually caused craters, unlike
shoulder-launched rockets or rocket-propelled grenades.

Beta said some houses were damaged in the incident.

Gorazdevac is believed to be the only Serb community left in
western Kosovo.

Most of Kosovo's estimated 200,000 Serb minority fled the
Yugoslav province last year for fear of ethnic Albanian reprisals
after NATO air strikes ousted Serbian security forces who had
been waging a brutal anti-guerrilla campaign.

The ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army was formally
disbanded and disarmed by KFOR last year but ex-guerrillas and
paramilitary gangsters alike have retained portable war weaponry
of varying kinds. Armed violence still afflicts Kosovo.

Washington Post

Sex Slavery Flourishes In Kosovo
E. European Women Forced Into Brothels

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, April 24, 2000; Page A01

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia-The sex-slave traffic in East European women,
one of the major criminal scourges of post-communist Europe, is becoming
a serious problem in Kosovo, where porous borders, the presence of
international troops and aid workers and the lack of a working criminal
justice system have created almost perfect conditions for the trade, U.N.
police officials, NATO-led peacekeepers and humanitarian workers say.

In the past six months, U.N. police and troops have rescued 50
women--Moldovan, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Romanian--from brothels
that have begun to appear in cities and towns in Kosovo, a province of
Serbia, the dominant republic of Yugoslavia. Police and aid workers say
they fear that hundreds more, lured from their impoverished homelands
with the promise of riches, may also be living in sexual servitude.

"These women have been reduced to slavery," said Col. Vincenzo
Coppola, commander of a special unit of the Italian carabinieri, or national
police, in Kosovo that has rescued 23 women on raids of brothels in
Pristina, the provincial capital, and Prizren.

According to police sources and aid workers, the women--and some girls
as young as 15--were transported along a well-established organized
crime network from their East European homelands to Macedonia, which
borders Kosovo to the south. There, they were held in motels and sold at
auction to ethnic Albanian pimps for $1,000 to $2,500. The pimps work
under the protection of major crime figures in Kosovo, officials said,
including some with links to the former anti-Serbian rebel force, the
Kosovo Liberation Army.

The women, who had been stripped of their passports, were frequently
held in unheated rooms with primitive sanitary conditions in Kosovo and
forced to engage in unprotected sex, sometimes up to 16 times a night, for
no payment, according U.N. police officers who requested anonymity
because of U.N. regulations limiting their authority to speak with reporters.

The undermanned U.N. police force is hard-pressed to cope with a variety
of criminal activities in this war-scarred province, and authorities and aid
workers here have been slow to respond to the burgeoning sex-slave
trade. Moreover, there are limited humanitarian resources available to
protect those women who are able to seek sanctuary.

In addition, officials said, the trade has flourished because of a lack of
applicable law on both trafficking and prostitution and because some
countries with military forces here have tended to dismiss the activity as
simple prostitution. German peacekeepers in southern Kosovo, for
instance, have taken a benign view of the phenomenon in part because
prostitution is tolerated in Germany.

International aid workers are trying to convince them that these women are
victims. "It's not classic prostitution," said one aid worker who has
interviewed rescued women and is working on a draft U.N. regulation to
punish people involved in the sex-slave trade. "They are not paid. They are
never paid. Of the 50 women we have seen, not one has received a single
deutsche mark, and they are often held in horrendous conditions."

According to authorities, the women were told that before they could keep
any of their earnings, they first had to pay the pimps for their purchase
price. Often, however, they found themselves fined for such infractions as
not smiling at customers, so there was no way they would ever have
enough money to make the payoff. If they protested, the women said, they
were beaten.

A number of the women appear to have contracted sexually transmitted
diseases, officials said, and international groups are attempting to obtain
treatment for them either in Kosovo or as soon as they can return to their
homelands. "This is a major problem, and it is going further underground
because of police raids," said one aid worker. "At first, it was very out in
the open, and so-called nightclubs were popping up. But now it's moving
into private dwellings, and I expect if we get a reliable phone network we'll
soon see call-girl services."

International organizations recently established a safe house to protect
women who escape from the brothels until they can be returned home. But
it is now full, with 21 women, and police have had to suspend raids on
other brothels until they can repatriate some of the former captives.

International officials declined to allow a reporter to speak to any of the
rescued women. But in bars in Pristina, Gnjilane and Urosevac, there are
young Moldovan and Ukrainian women who describe themselves as
"waitresses" seeking economic opportunity in Kosovo. "I can earn 400
deutsche marks [$200] a month," said a Moldovan woman at a cafe in
Gnjilane, where beds are set up behind a dank front bar. Asked how much
cash she had on her possession, the woman said only, "I'm okay," as an
ethnic Albanian bar manager looked on.

According to the rescued women, the clientele varies from brothel to
brothel, officials said. Some serve mostly ethnic Albanians; others cater to
a mixture of ethnic Albanians and international workers. Peacekeeping
troops--including Americans--also were customers, the women said. U.S.
officials deny that American troops visit the brothels, pointing out that
soldiers are confined to base when they are off duty.

The first case of sex-slave trafficking came to light in October--four
months after NATO-led peacekeepers entered the province--when
French police officers raided a brothel in Kosovska Mitrovica and found
two Ukrainian women, ages 21 and 22, and two Serbs, one of whom was
a minor. The establishment was closed and the Serbs were released, but
the French did not know what to do with the two Ukrainians, who had no
travel documents, officials said.

According to sources familiar with the case, the French policemen detained
the women at a military camp while they appealed, without success, to
humanitarian organizations for assistance. After two weeks, fearful of a
public relations disaster because of the presence of "prostitutes" at a
military facility, the French policemen took the two women to the
administrative boundary between Kosovo and Serbia proper and
essentially expelled them. It is unclear what happened to them.

In November and December, further cases of forced prostitution came to
light when U.N. policemen visited a number of bars in Pristina--bars with
such names as Totos and the Miami Beach Club--and removed women
who appealed to them for help.

On Jan. 22, officers with the Italian police unit entered an establishment on
the outskirts of Pristina called the International Club, where they were
approached by women asking for help. The club, now closed, was a crude
structure with a small bar and barren rooms in the back that were
equipped with just a bed and a red light bulb. Some women were kept in
an attic. The following night, the Italians raided the club and rescued 12
women, mostly Moldovans and Ukrainians, who appealed for sanctuary.

The Italians were criticized for conducting the raid without coordinating
with the U.N. police and humanitarian organizations who then had to
assume care of the women. But their efforts did lead to official recognition
of the problem and the creation of the safe house in early February.

That has allowed international workers to interview the women and
understand the process by which they were brought into the sex industry.
In the last 10 years, according to women's advocacy groups, hundreds of
thousands of women from the former Soviet republics and satellites have
been trafficked to Western Europe, Asia and the United States. Kosovo,
which had some local prostitution but no trafficking problem before the
peacekeepers arrived after the Kosovo war ended last June, is just another
new market, officials said.

Most of the women interviewed responded to newspaper ads seeking
"attractive women" to work in the West and, in fact, knew they would
work in the sex industry. A small minority told police they had been
kidnapped or were completely deceived when they applied for jobs in the
West, including one Moldovan teenager who got pregnant in Kosovo,
police officials said.

"The women we've spoken to left their countries of their own volition and
basically knew they would work as prostitutes," said a U.N. police officer
in Gnjilane. "But they thought they could earn thousands of dollars in some
exotic location like Italy or Spain and then go home rich. Instead, they end
up imprisoned here without a dime."

Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Sunday 23 April 2000

KLA raises money in Britain for arms

By David Bamber and Chris Hastings

THE Kosovan Liberation Army is raising money in Britain to pay for arms
shipments, although it has been ordered by Nato to stop acting as a
military organisation.

British Muslims have confirmed that they are funding the KLA's
"divinely inspired" struggle against Serbs in Kosovo. The Telegraph has learned that fundraising events are being held by mosques and internet groups.

There are also regular appeals on a fundamentalist web site.
The disclosure that funds are still being raised for the banned
fighting force coincides with fears that Muslims may be responsible for a series of prescription frauds in the London area. Security sources fear
activists and their families are illegally obtaining drugs then selling
them on the black market to raise funds for Jihad struggles including
the one in Kosovo.

They also claim many of the drugs are shipped direct to frontline
fighting units. Although the KLA has officially stopped acting as a
military organisation in Kosovo, its members are still carrying out
armed attacks on the few remaining Serbs in the province. Cash to pay
for their arms is being raised by groups throughout Western Europe
including Britain.

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the head of the political wing of the
International Islamic Front, said: "We are continuing to suport the
fighters in Kosovo. We are raising funds for them and our comrades who
are struggling against oppression in Albania. We are doing it because
we believe the KLA should rearm."

Although supporting the KLA is not illegal, fundraising in Britain for
violent activities abroad will be outlawed under new anti-terrorism
laws. Fundraising for the KLA is believed to centre on the
International Islamic Front, founded by Osama bin Laden, the Afghani terrorist leader, which has a wing in Britain.

Last year The Telegraph revealed that London-based Sheikh Abu Hamza
runs basic military training courses for volunteers.

Associated Press

Return of Kosovo Serbs Worries U.N.

By Alison Mutler
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, April 22, 2000; 11:13 a.m. EDT

ISTOK, Yugoslavia -- A U.S.-backed plan to start resettling Serbs in
Kosovo soon has U.N. officials fearful that events are moving too fast and
could unhinge efforts to calm the province.

They note that exhumations of mass graves are expected to resume this
week, ethnic Albanians are facing political trials in Serbia and relations
between ethnic Albanians and Serbs remain strained at best.

Some U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, also have
expressed alarm over the potential for a surge of revenge attacks.

Diplomats working in the U.N.-led Kosovo administration said Bishop
Artemije, a moderate Serb leader, got approval for the resettlement plan
when he met with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington in

Moderate Serb leaders argue that resettlement must begin to silence
criticism by Serb hard-liners who say the moderates have betrayed
Kosovo's dwindling Serb community. Only about 100,000 Serbs are
believed to be in the province now, about half the number before the
Kosovo conflict.

The climate does seem to be turning slightly more peaceful. Although
Serb-Albanian hatreds still lead to frequent killings, moderate Serbs joined
ethnic Albanian leaders Wednesday in urging tolerance, an unusual mutual
gesture of conciliation.

The U.S.-supported proposal calls for 700 Serbs to be settled in the
village of Osojane as early as next month, and there is also a vaguer
U.N.-sponsored plan to bring back 20,000 people.

Opponents of the idea contend the effort is motivated by political reasons
- to demonstrate to skeptical voters in the NATO nations that the
alliance's bombing of Yugoslavia was a good idea and that things are
turning out all right in Kosovo.

"We have a pressure to prove that everything was done for the right
reasons and that there has been a success. A success would be the
large-scale return of people," said Paula Ghedini, a spokeswoman for the
United Nations refugee agency.

In Istok, close to the desolate and shattered Serb village of Osojane, there
are doubts a return will work just now.

"It could be dangerous," said Martin Dvorak, the U.N. administrator of
Istok, a mountain town of about 7,000 people in western Kosovo. At the
same time, he said, he understands "the need to see visible progress."

U.S. officials appear to be hoping to get support for the resettlement plan
from Januz Januzi, an Albanian activist and fighter for the disbanded
Kosovo Liberation Army who spent 10 years in Serbian jails.

That may not be likely. Januzi's overtures of reconciliation sound a rare
positive note in the province and he has said Serbs who did not commit
abuses against Albanians have a right to return. But he also says that "first
a period of reconciliation is necessary."

Januzi says it will take "two, three or four years" for hatreds to die down
sufficiently to permit the safe return of Serbs.

That is too long for the moderate Serbs who recently rejoined Kosovo's
U.N.-led administration to press for repatriation of Serbs.

"If they don't return, we won't have anything in our hands to say
(cooperation) is profitable," said Father Sava Janjic, a spokesman at the
14th century Gracanica monastery, the unofficial base for the moderates.

He said large-scale returns would "shut the mouths" of both the
government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Serb
hard-liners in Kosovo, both of which oppose cooperation with Kosovo

In Serbia proper, where more than 100,000 displaced Serbs crowd
refugee camps and other temporary quarters, impatience is building. On
Wednesday, some 500 Serbs rallied in Kraljevo vowing to go back.

In the Kosovo village of Crkolez, home to a few hundred Serbs and
ethnic Albanians, a half dozen Serb pig farmers sharing pear brandy
around a large table said returns must go ahead.

"It is going to be a big step for the United Nations, a big step for the Serbs
and a big step for ethnic Albanians. But it is a big mistake if it doesn't
succeed," said Zikica Belosevik.

Fearing reprisals from ethnic Albanians, two-thirds of Crkolez's Serb
residents fled after Yugoslav forces pulled out of Kosovo last June.

Hashim Thaci, the former guerrilla leader who is now perhaps the most
influential Albanian politician in Kosovo, said he agrees "in principle" to a
multiethnic society. But he cautions against haste.

"We have to work at building institutions. We have to bear in mind mass
graves, about 5,000 ethnic Albanians kept as hostages in Serb jails," he
said in an interview. "The return of Serbs won't be beneficial if it is

The Boston Globe
April 22, 2000

Hatred blunts Kosovo police effort

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff, 4/22/2000

PPRISTINA, Kosovo - She was petite, said she was 15 years old, had
just beaten a man to death with a pipe, and wasn't the least bit
interested in protesting her innocence.

''Hey,'' the girl told her police interrogators, dismissing their questions
with a
wave of her hand, ''we can talk about anything you want, but this was only a

Charly Gortano, an Austrian detective who heads the homicide squad here,
looked to Tom Pellegrini, a homicide detective from Baltimore, and rolled
his eyes. Two months later, the girl walked free after her family showed up
with a birth certificate that claimed she was only 13, below the age that
people here can be held criminally responsible. ''Welcome to the Balkans,''
Gortano told a disbelieving Pellegrini.

Here in Kosovo, a year after NATO launched its war against Yugoslavia,
the hatred is as thick as the smog that shrouds Pristina, the capital. A year
ago, Serbs ran roughshod over the ethnic Albanians who make up 90
percent of the 2 million population, killing thousands and driving nearly 1
million from their homes.

But what goes around always comes around in the Balkans, and today
Albanians are exacting their revenge, killing Serbs and forcing them to flee.

Trying to stop or at least stem the violence is a group of about 2,400 police
officers drafted from 45 countries by the United Nations. They are fighting
an uphill battle, slogging against a maddening UN bureaucracy, a nearly
nonexistent criminal justice system, and the utter refusal by many people to
adhere to the rules of civil society. They are undermanned, underequipped,
and increasingly disillusioned.

Police drive red and white Toyota sports utility vehicles, leading the locals to
nickname them ''the Coca-Colas.'' Despite their presence, some 500
people, most of them Serbs, have been murdered since the war ended last
June. Few of the killers have been apprehended, and still fewer have stood

Pristina has a well-established code of silence, which means murderers
usually go unpunished. Some potential witnesses fear retribution, while
others approve of the revenge killings. Even when innocents are killed,
witnesses keep quiet.

Last fall, a UN worker from Bulgaria was walking with two British
colleagues in Pristina's main pedestrian area when a group of Albanian
youths, suspecting him to be a Serb, asked him the time in Serbian. When he
replied in Serbian, the young men beat him savagely before one of them
pulled a gun and shot him in the head.

''There were at least 50 or 60 people who witnessed the whole thing. We
told some of the witnesses that this guy had come here to help them, but no
one would cooperate,'' said Gortano.

In November, a 62-year-old Serbian university professor, his 51-year-old
wife, and their 76-year-old female friend were set upon by a crowd
returning from an Albanian Flag Day celebration. The professor and one of
the women were beaten to death. Again, despite hundreds of witnesses, no
one came forward.

Police said the minority of Serbs still in Kosovo are similarly uncooperative.
In north Mitrovica, the last large Serb enclave, Serbian men who were angry
that a Serbian woman had rented an apartment to a Jordanian police officer
forced the officer at gunpoint to watch as they shot and killed her.

Detention centers are so crowded that only suspects who were carrying
rifles or machine guns are held without bail. There are so few courts in
operation that many are freed because there is no judge to conduct a trial.

Bizarre ironies abound. Under a UN decree, clerical staff get $30 a day for
hazardous duty, but police officers do not. The UN pays judges and other
important cogs in the justice system about $200 a month, about a quarter of
what it pays its drivers and interpreters, perpetuating the shortage of judges
in the face of a paralyzing backlog of cases.

Tom Koenigs, the UN's chief of administration, agreed in an interview that
the discrepancy between the pay of judges and interpreters is fodder for
critics who say the United Nations is a bureaucracy blind to common sense.

''There is a certain imbalance. I regret that,'' he said.

But Koenigs said the pay scale for interpreters and drivers is set in New
York, while judges and other civil servants are paid a wage that has to be
sustained locally for the long term.

''This is temporary work for the drivers and interpreters,'' he said.

The police scoff at that explanation, saying that paying judges such low
wages is an invitation to corruption and sends the message that criminal
justice is not a priority. They said the United Nations has not provided the
tools to do proper criminal investigations, such as laboratories to do DNA,
fingerprint, and ballistics tests.

Gortano, the detective, has resorted to sending evidence to colleagues in
Austria for analysis.

While agreeing that there is too much crime, Koenigs insisted it is not as bad
as most other postwar societies. He said the United Nations has done a
good job at stabilizing Kosovo.

''Every murder is one too much, but you can't say this mission has failed
because there is a murder every night,'' he said.

Many police officers, about 500 of whom are Americans, have been enticed
here by the chance to make $100,000 a year tax-free. But more than 100
officers, half of them American, have given up and gone home, frustrated by
the lack of legal, institutional, and forensic support.

Bernard Kouchner, the Frenchman who heads the UN operation in Kosovo,
said only about half of the promised police have arrived. Some countries,
including France and Belgium, have failed to keep their promises, while the
Americans, British, and Germans have sent more than they orginally

General Klaus Reinhardt, the German who commands nearly 40,000
peacekeeping troops, said the shortage of police has forced him to deploy
soldiers to do jobs that should be done by police officers.

But those who are here already say it doesn't matter how many police are
here if the criminal justice system remains toothless. Dmitry Kaportsev, a
Russian officer, said the real shortage is in specially trained units who can
tackle problems such as riot control.

When 60 officers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland's
police force, were recently dispatched here, they volunteered to go to
Mitrovica, the divided northern city that is a constant flash point. Among the
international contingent, the Northern Ireland officers have the most training
and practical experience in dealing with divided, violent communities.

''The UN agreed to let four of us work in Mitrovica, but they said it would
look racist if they sent all of us up there,'' said one RUC officer, speaking on
the condition of anonymity.

It is little wonder that gangsters and assorted ne'er-do-wells have flocked to

Police have been instructed by the United Nations to focus on keeping
people from killing each other. In the meantime, racketeering is flourishing.
Some police said that because the United Nations needs the supposedly
disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army to make any long-term settlement
work, it is willing to overlook the many former rebels who are now extorting
payoffs from cafes and restaurants.

Larry Guyton, who took a year's leave of absence from his job as a deputy
sheriff in North Carolina, said targeting organized crime has taken a back
seat to preventing mass killings.

''It's a question of manpower,'' he said. ''We're trying to start a police
department from scratch.''

Eventually, the UN police are supposed to hand off their responsibilities to a
locally recruited department. So far, about 340 locals have been trained, and
the goal is to have 4,500 trained by December 2001. But many international
police believe that goal is ambitious.

''Some of these guys may be criminals, but there's no way to do background
checks,'' said Guyton.

Pellegrini worked homicides in Baltimore for eight years, and was the
inspiration for the character of Detective Bayliss on the TV drama
''Homicide,'' before retiring to come here. He said the saddest case he has
come across here reminded him of how many damaged lives there are in

''There was a guy who left his wife and seven kids here to go work in
Germany,'' he said. ''While he was away, his 15-year-old son stepped on a
land mine and blew off his arm and leg. The husband came home and
blamed his wife for not keeping an eye on the kid, an argument ensued, and
he ended up strangling and killing her.''

The veteran homicide cop looked out the window.

''This war has done a number on people,'' he said, ''and we haven't seen the
half of it yet.''


Serb lawyers seek Kosovo Albanian doctor's release

By Philippa Fletcher

BELGRADE, April 21 (Reuters) - Serb lawyers have appealed for the release of a Kosovo Albanian humanitarian doctor, poet and activist jailed for terrorism, saying there was no evidence to justify her 12 year sentence.

At a protest meeting held in a studio theatre in Belgrade on the anniversary
of her arrest during last year's NATO air strikes, four lawyers called on
their colleagues in the Supreme Court to free Flora Brovina when they hear
her appeal on May 16.

She was accused of associating with and helping the separatist Kosovo
Albanian guerrillas who stepped up their fight against Serb security forces
during the bombing. Brovina denied the charges, saying her work was purely

"She's a victim of a stereotype, which is unfortunately widespread in
Serbia, that the Albanians are a lesser race and all guilty for anything
that happens," said Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco, head of the Yugoslav Lawyers

Vojin Dimitrijevic, director of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, said
the detention of a peace activist like Brovina was bad for Kosovo's Serbs,
who have suffered revenge attacks since NATO replaced Serb forces last June.

"She said that if she was free she would go to Kosovo and appeal to all
Albanian intellectuals to raise their voices against violence. I believe she
would do that," he said.

Former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic, who was a mentor to Slobodan
Milosevic before being ousted by him, was at the Thursday evening meeting,
but in all there were only a few dozen people in the audience.

The organisers were disappointed by the low turnout, but said it was not
surprising because the fact she was Albanian made it difficult to inspire
sympathy for her in Serbia.

"We have to show that she's a victim of an unjust system, as any one of us
could be a victim today or tomorrow," Kovacevic-Vuco said.

Brovina's husband, who is Macedonian, has been unable to visit her since he
was banned from Yugoslavia for not having an exit stamp after he left the
country via Kosovo, where NATO has taken over the border post previously
controlled by Belgrade.

Her lawyer was badly beaten in his Belgrade apartment a month ago by unknown attackers and is still seriously ill.

His colleagues believe the attack was organised by middlemen angered by his attempts to stop Kosovo Albanians paying them huge bribes in the fear that, without them, their relatives would never get out of jail.

Some 2,000 Kosovo Albanians remained in jail in Serbia after last year's
NATO air strikes, many of them picked up at random during the bombing. Some 750 have since been released and human rights lawyers hope more may be freed in an amnesty next week.

Associated Press

Serbs, Albanians Urge Violence Halt

By Memli Krasniqi
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, April 19, 2000; 1:18 p.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- In an unusual act of solidarity, Kosovo's Serb
and ethnic Albanian leaders on Wednesday called for an end to the almost
daily killings that have plagued the province, urging followers to renounce
violence and work for a better future.

Among signatories of a joint statement were Hashim Thaci, the former
head of the now disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army and Ibrahim
Rugova, the best known ethnic Albanian moderate.

For Serb moderates, Bishop Artemije and Father Sava Jancic signed,
along with Rada Trajkovic, who last week ended a months-long boycott
by Serbs of the U.N.-supervised interim Kosovo government.

The statement expressed deep concern with "acts of violence that have
occurred in recent days."

"We join together to condemn this violence in the strongest terms," it said.
"We call upon all people and communities of Kosovo to renounce
violence once and for all and to work together for a better future for all the
communities in Kosovo."

International officials signing the statement included Bernard Kouchner,
Kosovo's chief U.N. representative and Javier Solana, the European
Union's top foreign affairs official, who is visiting Kosovo.

The joint declaration was unusual, in a province rent by ethnic violence
and immense mistrust between the rival communities 10 months after the
end of a prolonged crackdown by Serb forces.

Widespread violence was halted in the wake of a 78-day NATO
bombing campaign that forced Serb forces to withdraw and allowed
NATO-led peacekeepers and U.N. administrators to enter.

But violence persists, including ethnically motivated killings. Attacks on
Serbs by ethnic Albanians seeking revenge for last year's crackdown have
prompted about half of the Serb population to flee the province, leaving
behind only about 100,000 Serbs.

Hard-line Serbs opposing any form of cooperation with Kosovo's
Albanians continue to boycott the provisional government and did not sign
Wednesday's declaration.

The joint statement called for the creation of a "climate of tolerance" ahead
of municipal elections later this year - the first test of whether conditions
are ripe to go to the polls without disruption.

In a first step toward those elections on Wednesday, Kosovo's people
filtered to centers where international officials registered them to vote.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will record
voter data throughout the province.

Voters taking part in the elections, scheduled for the fall, will choose local
candidates, leaving the more difficult questions of who will ultimately
govern the province for later ballots.


BRUSSELS, April 19 (AFP) - More than 30 prominent figures from
the European Union and the United Nations as well as from both sides
of the ethnic divide in Kosovo on Wednesday signed a common
declaration against violence in the troubled Serbian province.
Despite positive developments in the province, including the
participation of Serbs in the joint admininstration of Kosovo, the
document denounced recent acts of violence.
"We join together to condemn this violence in the strongest
terms. We reiterate together -- leaders of the kosovo.netmunities
and representatives of the United Nations and the European Union --
that violence has no place in Kosovo, no place in democratic
politics," the statement said.
The joint statement called for "a climate of tolerance" in the
province and the maintenance of a free press, so that free and fair
elections could eventually take place.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, EU Commissioner for
External Relations Chris Patten, ethnic Albanian leaders Ibrahim
Rugova and Hashim Thaci, Serb leader Rada Trajkovic and Bernard
Kouchner, head of the UN mission in Kosovo, were among the 31
individuals who signed the statement.