ASSOCIATED PRESS

3 Serb Men Shot in Kosovo Attack

By Robert H. Reid
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, July 22, 2000; 5:26 p.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Gunmen shot and wounded three Serb men during a
late-night attack in the sector of Kosovo under control of American
peacekeepers, the U.S. military reported Saturday.

The three Serbs were shot about 10:30 p.m. Friday near a cemetery in Kosovska
Kamenica, an ethnically mixed town jointly patrolled by Russian and American
troops, a U.S. statement said.

The three were evacuated to the U.S. military hospital at Camp Bondsteel where
they were reported in serious but stable condition with multiple gunshot
wounds.

Several ethnic Albanians were questioned as witnesses but were released,
according to NATO spokesman Maj. Scott Slaten. No further details were
released.

Attacks by ethnic Albanians against Serbs have continued despite the presence of
NATO-led troops and U.N. police, who took control of the Serb province in June
1999 from Yugoslav forces withdrawing after the 78-day NATO bombing of
Yugoslavia.

On Saturday, about 150 Serbs held a memorial service to mark the deaths of 14
villagers slain in a wheat field a year ago, among the bloodiest ethnic
attacks since NATO moved into Kosovo.

The victims of the massacre were found by a British patrol July 23, 1999 after
automatic weapons fire was heard near the town of Gracko, some 10 miles south of
the capital, Pristina. Thirteen people were found lying in a circle next to
their harvester while another man was slumped over his tractor 150 yards away.

Serbs blamed ethnic Albanian militants for the attack and accused
peacekeepers of failing to heed their pleas for protection during the harvest season. The
massacre also dashed early hopes that the peacekeeping mission would be able to impose
ethnic tolerance in the strife-torn province.

Saturday's service was closely watched by Finnish and Norwegian peacekeepers,
the private Beta news agency said. Serbs attending expressed bitterness that
NATO and U.N. authorities in the province had failed to find those
responsible for the attack, the report said.

Meanwhile, the publisher of an Albanian-language newspaper said he would refuse
to pay a fine for violating regulations on publishing personal information
on alleged war criminals.

Belul Beqaj declared that his newspaper, Dita, would ignore an order to pay
a fine of $11,900 by Tuesday and suggested the paper would not change its policy of
publishing names of those they believe were involved in war crimes.

As long as those people are free, Beqaj said, "the freedom and stability of
Kosovo will be endangered."

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe fined Dita for
repeatedly violating a U.N. regulation against accusing individuals who have not been
charged with a crime of being war criminals or publishing other information that
could make them targets of retribution.


THE TIMES

THE TIMES (London)
July 24 2000

Violence feared as KLA fund dries up

BY MICHAEL EVANS, DEFENCE EDITOR

A PROJECT aimed at preventing former Kosovo Liberation Army
members from returning to violence faces collapse.

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo has found that after this
month it has no money for the Kosovo Protection Corps, the
body set up last year to give the disarmed KLA a role. There are
fears in Nato that disillusioned ethnic Albanians will return to
guerrilla activities against the Serbs. Many weapons that should
have been handed over are believed to have been buried.

While KLA leaders hoped the corps would develop into a
recognised defence force, its purpose was to involve the former
fighters in public works such as firefighting and engineering
projects. Although the US and Germany provided most of the
funds for wages, it lacked equipment: many former guerrillas
ended up clearing rubbish. They were becoming angry about this
role, but the pay helped to deter them from taking up arms again.
Now, according to sources in Prist-ina, the money has run out.

>From January the UN is to pay the wages. Until then the survival
of the corps - and potentially the peace agreement- lies with
foreign governments.


Glas Javnosti, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
July 24, 2000

Difficult position of Serbs in Kosovsko Pomoravlje

(Kosovsko Pomoravlje is the Eastern part of Kosovo, around the cities of Gnjilane, Kamenica and Vitina. In that area of Kosovo US troops are deployed)

Serb lives are cheapest

Children lack education, adults lack jobs, everyone lacks freedom

By LJ. S.

BELGRADE - The situation in Kosovsko Pomoravlje remains very complex. The attacks of Shiptars on the remaining Serbs are an everyday occurrence; consequently, like drowning men clutching at straws, approximately 2,500 Serbs from the Kosovko Pomoravlje district sent a petition at the beginning of this month to UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner, requesting among other things that he “issue UNMIK certificates on Corsica and allow us to continue living in our own country”. At the same time they advise that as long as they are alive they will not accept his school certificates and seals.

INSET:

Schools under tents

Serb children, whom the Serbian state enabled to persue their education in the place of their residence, attended classes last year in private houses and under tents. In Gnjilane, for example, Albanian students had 25,000 square meters of school facilities available, and the Serbs had two tents. In Kosovska Kamenica, for example, out of five school buildings recently built by the Serbian state, the Shiptars were given two and the Serbs none.

* * * * *

“The future of our children and the survival of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija cannot be the subject of your political games,” is the message of the members of the school board of education, teachers, students and their parents, as well as the Serb National Assemblies of the Kosovsko Pomoravlje district to Kouchner.

The reason for this letter is the now thirteen month long suffering of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Since the arrival of KFOR to Kosovo, Serb lives are cheapest and from only Kosovsko Pomoravlje approximately 70 percent of Serbs were expelled. In Gnjilane, the center of the district, 25,000 formerly lived and now a few hundred remain. Recorded in one year are 250 armed attacks on Serbs in which 155 people were killed or kidnapped, 101 people were wounded and 185 people were beaten up or stoned. At the same time, 350 houses were burned down, more than a thousand Serb homes were looted and taken over and 215 apartments appropriated by force. Many Orthodox cemeteries were demolished and churches looted.

The Serbs here have been left without jobs and the children of Gnjilane, Kosovska Kamenica, Vitina and Novo Brdo are denied an education in the school buildings appropriated by the Albanians with the tacit approval of KFOR.

Translated by S. Lazovic (July 24, 2000)


AFP

MITROVICA - THE FLASHPOINT OF KOSOVO'S TRAGEDY

Last days of Kosovo Serb enclave in divided city

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia, July 26 (AFP) - Music plays on
the radio as Refik Sufi paints his new house, the first bought by an
Albanian family in the tiny Serbian quarter in the south of this
divided Kosovo city.
A handful of Serbs huddled around the town's Serbian Orthodox
church see his arrival as "the beginning of the end" for their
increasingly isolated community.
"Soon the Albanians will arrive at our door and we'll have to
go," laments 32-year-old Slavica Nojic, angry tears running down her
face.
Since the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, the city has become divided into
a northern Serbian sector and an ethnic-Albanian south. Peacekeepers
from the French-led KFOR brigade based in the city have made it part
of their mission to protect the minority communities living on the
"wrong side," but little by little both are shrinking.
In October there were around 100 Serbs living in a street near
the church. Now there are 14, including three priests.
If they want to move around, they must do so under military
escort. But if they stay put, their life, they say, is like "being
in a prison".
And those who have so far clung on say the pressure on them is
mounting. Most have now put there houses on the market. Those houses
are likely to be bought by ethnic Albanian families.
"The others have gone to the north of Mitrovica, they don't
think they'll ever come back, so they sell up," Slavica, who works
in a centre for the handicapped, said.
Wearing an Orthodox crucifix, Slavica passes nervously in front
of Number 17, where the Sufi family have for four days been
renovating their new home, bought for 15,000 marks (7,200 dollars)
from a Serb family that fled to Germany.
Access to the narrow street is still sealed off with rolls of
razor wire and overseen by a platoon of Polish peacekeepers, but for
Slavica the arrival of the Sufi family is a turning point.
"Soon the Albanians won't even let us live here in our cage,"
she said.
"As soon as one or two Albanians arrive, that's it for our
security," said her father Svetislav Nojic, "They could easily throw
a grenade."
The 62-year-old white bearded Orthodox priest is bitter.
"I'm going to go and see General Jean-Louis Sublet (chief of the
French-led KFOR brigade) to ask him to seal off access to our church
with barbed wire, so we are in a concentration camp," he said.
If the Serbs want to visit other members of their tiny community
they can't do so in the street in case they become the victim of
attacks from the Albanians.
Dosta Dikic, the priest's assistant, has sealed up the front
door of her house with barbed wire and a sheet of iron. To get to
church, the 52-year-old scales the back wall of her yard with a
ladder and picks her way through a patch of nettles.
Once inside she joins Slavica, who is sitting on a bench with
her sister and mother, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
In the street outside an Albanian wedding procession rolls past,
honking their car horns and brandishing the red banner of Kosovo,
their shouts of celebration mingling with the sound of the
industrious Sufi's radio.
"I can't see any future for Serbs in Kosovo," Slavica sighs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Report: Albanians Flee Divided City

The Associated Press
Friday, July 28, 2000; 7:29 p.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Ethnic Albanians are fleeing Serb-dominated
neighborhoods of a troubled northern Kosovo city following threats from local
Serbs, a spokeswoman from a U.N. relief agency said Friday.

"As more (ethnic Albanian families) leave that area, the few that continue
to remain are feeling increasingly under threat and feeling the pressure to leave,"
said Paula Ghedini, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

"Some of them have been physically or verbally threatened, while others have
been summarily evicted from their homes," Ghedini said.

She said Serbs were threatening their ethnic Albanian neighbors on the northern
side of the city, Kosovska Mitrovica. The problem is exacerbated by displaced
Serbs from other regions of Kosovo moving into the Serb-dominated part of the
city.

In the past 2½ weeks, 21 ethnic Albanian families have moved to neighborhoods on
the south side of the city, where ethnic Albanians dominate, Ghedini said.

Others have moved to the "Little Bosnia" district in northern Kosovska
Mitrovica, where there are few Serbs.

Ghedini appealed to the population living in the area to create conditions that
would allow minorities to remain in their homes.

The northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica is one of the few areas in Kosovo
where a large Serbian population remains.

Most Serbs fled this overwhelmingly Albanian province after NATO's 78-day air
war to end the repression of ethnic Albanians by forces loyal to Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic. Since the bombing campaign last year, the remaining Serbs
have frequently complained of attacks by ethnic Albanians.

Kosovska Mitrovica is the only city in Kosovo where large numbers of ethnic
Albanians and Serbs still live near each other, making it a flash point of
ethnic tensions. Serbs see the city as their last chance to maintain a viable Serb
community in a province they consider the birthplace of the Serbian nation.


Glas Javnosti, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
July 26, 2000

Approximately 4,000 Serbs remain in Vucitrn municipality

City without Serbs

In the 64 surrounding villages, Serbs remain only in Gojublja, Priluzje, Banjska, Slatina and Grace

By Lj. Staletovic

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - The expulsion of Serbs from Vucitrn occurred in the afternoon of June 17 last year and it took just half an hour. The ten odd who remained barely survived until they were evacuated by French soldiers to Kosovska Mitrovica. Approximately 500 houses and several dozen apartments were appropriated the same afternoon by Albanians.

Before this, the Albanians, during the night between June 16 and 17, attacked the villages of Svracak and Nedakovac and the entire population from them fled because they had nothing with which to defend themselves. The villages were burned to the ground.

“There is not a single Serb in the city now. In the 64 villages of the municipality of Vucitrn, Serbs remain only in Gojublja, where there are about 80 families; in Priluzje, where there are about 500, including a large number of refugees from other parts of the Province; in Banjska, where 30 families remain; and in Slatina, where there are 15 families. In Grace, where all the houses were burned down, destroyed or looted last June, about 50 families have returned and more are arriving.”

INSET:

Ghostly sight

When they expelled the Serbs from Vucitrn, the Shiptars burned down, levelled with the ground or looted a large number of houses. KFOR soldiers with whom we contacted who have been to Vucitrn, one of the oldest in Serbia, say that the city looks like a ghost town and that it is rife with various Albanian bands which terrorize their own compatriots.

* * * * *

“People want to resume living in their centuries-old homes, even if they are surrounded by Shiptars and under the protection of KFOR,” Zoran Cavic, the commissioner for refugees in the municipal assembly of Vucitrn, tells “Glas”.

Near the Ibar Bridge which divides Kosovska Mitrovica into its southern, now Shiptar, and its northern, now Serb, regions, we met a larger group of local residents of Vucitrn. For security reasons they did not wish us to mention their names but every single one of them expressed the hope that they would soon return. They do not want to even consider the possibility that returning to the city, which is 12 kilometers away from the bridge, may be impossible.

“Sooner or later, we will return. This is not the first time in history that Vucitrn has been left without Serbs. It has happened before in history but Serb children were later again born in this city,” says a man from Vucitrn. The others confirm this and add that in Kosovska Mitrovica and the surrounding region live approximately 2,500 local residents of Vucitrn.

Our collocutors point to the slopes of Mt. Cicavica, which separates Kosovo from Drenica, and list the villages in which not one Serb remains. Drvare, Mijalic, Vrnica, Nevoljane, Brusnik, Bukos, Taradza, Jezero, Doljak, Stitarica, Hercegovo and Pantina have been completely emptied.

There are also no more Serbs in the settlement near the Vucitrn railway station, three kilometers from the city. Ethnically cleaned are Miroce, Samodreza, Novo Selo Begovo, Novo Selo Madjunsko, Gornji i Donji Svracak, Nedakovac, Mavric, Pestovo, Slakovce, Zagorje, Velika Reka, Ropice, Viljance...

All that is left are desecrated graves, the foundations of medieval churches and Serbian place-names as mute witnesses to the existence, centuries-old continuation and survival of the Serb people in this region.

Translated by S. Lazovic (July 27, 2000)


BBC

BBC World Service
Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK

Gypsies: The pariahs of Kosovo

K-For unable to prevent a Roma home being set alight

>From Kosovo, the BBC's Nick Wood examines
allegations that the Roma have been harassed by their
Albanian neighbours who believe they helped Serbs
commit war crimes.

The Roma are undoubtedly Kosovo's worst-off
community.

Even the United Nations and the Nato-led protection
force, K-For, who are responsible for running Kosovo,
have shown more interest in protecting the Serbs, than
devoting extra resources to this smaller and less vocal
group.

While precise figures are hard to come by on the exact
size of the Roma, the UNHCR estimates that there are
around 40,000 living in the province, out of a pre-war
population of 70,000.

Appalling living conditions

Of those still living in Kosovo, many are in refugee
camps or in small communities constantly harassed and
attacked by their Albanian neighbours.

In the city of Gjilan, the Roma live in a ramshackle
warren of houses in the two areas of the town.

Many of their homes have been looted or simply
burned.

Last April, a 70-year-old Roma woman was killed when a grenade was thrown
into her backyard.

Similar attacks have seen numbers dwindle from
several thousand post war, to just under 350.

The local Roma leader has complained that K-For
troops and police are unable to provide the security
they need, an accusation the Regional Police
Commander, Gary Carrel admits to.

"What we would like to do is allocate people to that
particular area, so they can get to know the people and
the area," he said.

"But at the moment, I just don't have the people to do
that. In a few weeks or months I may have more
international police, and Kosovo police officers and that
will help a lot."

Cash for Serbs

In comparison, K-For has devoted extra resources to
defending networks of villages where Serbs live.

Extra money has been spent on large scale
infrastructure projects such as road building schemes,
and hospitals designed to stabilise their community.

The main tenet of UN policy concerning the Roma has
been an agreement signed by the three major Albanian
parties last April.

In it, they recognised the right of the Roma to return
to their homes, and said they should not be held
collectively responsible for crimes committed during
the war.

At the same time, the Roma are now part of the UN
power-sharing administration.

However, the accords have had limited practical effect.

A series of tours of the Roma communities by Albanian
leaders throughout Kosovo has been abandoned.

It was hoped the visits would pave the way for the
families to return to their homes.

However, after one visit, the politicians have been
unable to agree to a date for any further tours.

Some Kosovan towns praised

According to Paula Ghedini, spokeswoman for the
UNHCR, progress in helping the Roma depends on the
attitude of local administrators.

"It is only at a local level that you can push things
forward."

She praised the towns of Pec and Prizren where she said
local Albanian leaders have talked about better access
to education, school and employment.

In stark contrast in the town of Leposavic, the local UN
administrator has been accused of wanting to move the
Roma out of his community.

At the moment, 150 of them are living in two
warehouses built for housing lorries.

Mark Andre Peltzer is an aid worker with the charity,
Caritas.

"The UN administrator does not want to take them in
the Leposavic area.

"When he asked other local administrators if they could
take them, they said no."

"They are playing ping-pong with them."

'Terror'

The UNHCR has been encouraging groups of refugees
in Montenegro and Macedonia to visit their homes with
a view to moving back.

There have been five officials visits so far, but
according to Paula Ghedini the number of people
willing to return permanently is small.

She says the recent spate of violence between
different Albanian factions has also had a knock-on
effect.

"We have seen more terror directed towards them," he
says.

"There does seem to be a direct correlation between
the recent increase in violence among ethnic Albanian
factions, and general security levels, as well as
perceived security problems among the Roma."

Attacks continue

Over one year on from the end of war in Kosovo, few
resources are being spent on the Roma in comparison
to Kosovo's other minorities.

The UN's attempts to reconcile them with Albanian
political leaders have had limited success and efforts to
integrate them with local communities have depended
on the will of local administrators.

At the same attacks on them continue, and their
protection by the police and K-For is haphazard and
poor in comparison to the Serb community.

The prospects of Kosovo's Roma community do not
look like they are going to improve very soon.


Associated Press

Serbs Return to Protected Towns

By Alison Mutler
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, July 30, 2000; 2:16 p.m. EDT

PERIVICI, Yugoslavia -- When the 65-year-old Serb woman returned home to her
hillside cottage after more than a year, she burst into tears.

The last time she saw the house she was fleeing gunfire from forests across the
valley. Now she was greeted by smashed windows, broken down doors, ripped out
carpets and cupboards, and a gutted kitchen.

Just six weeks ago, nobody lived in Perivici, a hamlet of miners and subsistence
farmers in central Kosovo. Fearing attacks by ethnic Albanians, the Serb
population had fled either to the rest of Serbia or to the Serb town of Gracanica down
the road.

Now Perivici's Serb inhabitants are trickling back, thanks to a highly coordinated effort by NATO, the United Nations and non-governmental groups who are working to get Serbs back in Kosovo for good.

There are plans to return Serbs to the villages of Slivovo, Vidaci, Milinici, said British Sgt. John O' Neill, whose Scot Dragoon Guards offer security and a chance to rebuild uprooted lives.

In other regions, plans to resettle Serbs have been postponed indefinitely due to security concerns.

Serbs have accused the United Nations of allowing ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and of ignoring the needs of Serbs who stayed behind in Kosovo. Thousands of Serbs left when NATO and the United Nations moved in after the 78-day air war to punish Milosevic for the crackdown.

Fewer than 100,000 Serbs - or about one-third of the prewar population - are believed to remain.

It's a risky plan. So risky that NATO-led peacekeepers who escorted journalists to this village refused to allow them to speak to the returnees except on condition they
were not identified by name.

"You have to be brave to put your life on the line. A large part of the population really hates them," said Maj. Catherine Buchanan, who works in the hamlet.

Hatred and mistrust between ethnic Albanians and Serbs still run high in the southern Serb province, with ethnic killings common. Serbs cannot speak their language when they leave their enclaves. For many Albanians, Serb equals oppressor at best, and war criminal at worst.

But time does appear to be slowly erasing the trauma and bitterness felt on both sides.

After weeping about the mess, the 65-year-old Serb woman who came home last week tied her floral brown headscarf tighter and made lunch for her husband, an offering of Italian mineral water, tomatoes, bread and spicy luncheon meat.

"This is home, even if it is destroyed," she said. She took refuge in the southern Serb town of Leskovac after fleeing shooting from ethnic Albanians in the forest across the valley.

Returnees are given 25 chickens, two cows, one pig, doors, windows and food rations. The mines are closed, but Buchanan believes Perivici, some 25 miles southwest of Pristina can earn money from honey, small religious paintings and producing miniature bottles of plum brandy for the foreign community to take home as souvenirs.

Another family has been back one week. Their house has new doors and windows and smoke is rising from the chimney. Five mounds of dough are swelling in an oiled tin covered by a red and white cloth and cauldrons of water are boiling for the 8-month-old boy's bath, who has a slight fever.

"I was born here and I want to live in my home," said a wiry 85-year-old Serb woman as she puffed on a cigarette. "If KFOR is here there is no problem," she said, using the acronym for the NATO-led peacekeepers

In Serbia, some Kosovo Serbs have received a hostile or indifferent reaction. Some have been blamed for losing Kosovo, others have not found work in a country that is economically depressed.

Kosovo Serbs are angry that more has not been done.

"Everyone says that Kosovo is part of Yugoslavia and Serbia, but you cannot feel that on the ground," said Father Nektarije, a monk at 14th century Gracanica monastery, base to Serb moderates.

Nektarije has the badge of Otpor, a Serbian opposition student movement whose name means "Resistance," pinned to his black robes. Serbs are still leaving the province, perhaps just for summer vacations, perhaps for good, said Lye Bastin of UNICEF, adding "We have the feeling that people want to return."

Buchanan wants more women back in the village. "The men need a kick. Many of them cannot make bread," she said. Men hang around a wooden verandah, smoking, drinking plum brandy and coffee and chatting with an ethnic Albanian translator.

"Some of the Albanians say it is too soon," said Buchanan. "But I say it is never too soon."


AFP

Agence France Presse
July 30, 2000, Sunday

Police warn of "enclavisation and mafia rule" after Kosovo violence

DATELINE: PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 30

Four Kosovo Serbian homes were attacked by extremists in one night,
a UN spokesman said Sunday, as a senior policeman warned the province
faced "enclavisation" and mafia rule.

Gary Carrell, regional commander of the international UN police force
in Gnjilane, southwestern Kosovo, said that following attacks on
minorities, "Albanians have lost their right not to have
'enclavisation'. They have had their chance."

On Saturday a Serb house in the mixed town of Kosovo Polje near
Pristina was attacked with a Molotov cocktail, Serb houses in nearby
Obilic and Gnjilane in the southwest were hit by hand grenades and in
Orahovac in the southwest another was burned to the ground, the
spokesman said.

The attacks, which caused no injuries, are apparently the latest in a
series of ethnically motivated crimes directed against minority groups
in the province.

Previous attacks have been found to be the work of ethnic Albanian
extremists.

Many of the 100,000 Serbs still living in Kosovo, around a third of
those who lived there before the province's 1998-1999 civil war, now
live in enclaves guarded by soldiers of the KFOR multinational
peacekeeping force.

The ethnic separation has led to accusations from ethnic Albanian
politicians that the international community is overseeing the
cantonisation of the province.

Carrell said his officers were trying their best to protect minorities
from crime and allow normal life to continue, but their efforts were
being frustrated by the refusal of local people to cooperate.
"It's getting harder and harder to maintain the morale of my force,"
he told AFP.

"The most frustrating thing is that the general population does not
seem ready or willing to participate in democracy. If they don't
understand that they need to help then there can't be a democracy," he
said.

Carrell compared the situation before the arrival of Kosovo's UN
administration last year, when a huge Yugoslav security presence used
often brutal means to control crime and unrest, with his own limited
resources and powers, under which he had to rely on witnesses coming
forward.

"They are not willing to play their part if they see a serious crime,"
he said.

If the population were not prepared to assist a democratic police
force then the end result could only be a return to totalitarian
government or the triumph of organised crime, he warned.

"The worst case is that the mafia could control this place. That's the
bottom line," he said.


KESTON NEWS SERVICE
Issue 8, Articles 1-2, 31 July 2000

Monday 31 July 2000

KOSOVO: ATTACKS ON DECANI MONASTERY

by Branko Bjelajac and Erika Cuneo, Keston News Service

The monks of the Serbian Orthodox monastery at Decani near Pec have
complained of what they claim is the theft of wood from their forest as
contractors build a new reservoir. They also protested against a grenade
attack on the historic monastery that came close to hitting the monastery's church.
The embattled monks now fear the reopened road above the monastery could be
used to launch further attacks.

However, the local administrator for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK) told Keston News Service from Pec that the Kosovo Stabilisation
Force (KFOR) will closely monitor traffic on the road.

The local UNMIK office in Decani approved building of a reservoir for the
municipality in September last year. However, when the works began in June,
the local contractors started to cut down trees on its property only 50
metres from the monastery. `The consequences of this illegal operation are
deplorable. More than 40 cubic metres of pine wood have been cut and stolen by ethnic
Albanians in their trucks,' Father SAVA JANJIC told Keston. `At least twenty
more trees have been burned because the contractors wanted to verify that the
terrain is not mined.' Father Sava stressed that the wood had been planted
three centuries ago by Decani monks. `The majority of the cut pines, which were the
landmark of Decani Monastery, are more than 150 years old.'

The Serbian Orthodox Church lodged a sharp protest with UNMIK and KFOR
about this latest attack on church property, and about another plan to reopen
a road above the monastery to allow unhindered passage for local people, which
the monks believe would pose a threat to their security. In its statement of
14 June, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren even published the full text of the
UNMIK instructions about the wood. `The newest transgression demonstrates
that the local administrators of UNMIK in Pec and Decani are continuing their
campaign against the monastery of Upper Decani with the local Albanian
authorities who wish to expel the last Serbs from the Decani region at any
price,' the diocesan statement declares. In the wake of the incident Bishop
ARTEMIJE telephoned JAVIER SOLANA, the high representative of the
European Union for security and foreign affairs. `I told Solana that since
our meeting in Brussels in the middle of May nothing of what was agreed upon had
been implemented on the ground. Representatives of UNMIK in Pec and in
Decani are behaving like the lords of all of Kosovo and Metohija,' Bishop
Artemije told the Belgrade daily Danas.

Only a week later, in the early hours of 22 June, at least six mortar
grenades landed close to the Decani monastery church. The grenades fell in the garden,
only one hundred meters from the church building and a monk's house. The last
grenade fell even closer. The Orthodox believe this attack (the second in the
last six months) was the local Albanians' reaction to the diocese's protest
about the trees. `This is the second mortar attack in the last six months and
clearly shows that the aim of the local Albanian authorities in Decani is not to
reactivate the bee-cooperative or to build a water system, but to completely
expel the monastic brotherhood from this region,' Father Sava told Keston.

Father Sava told Keston that on 21 June the UNMIK administrator for Pec
region ALAIN LEROY decided that the COOPI company urgently cease
further works on the water system which had begun on monastery land without
consent from the monastery.

`After the protest of the monastery and the diocese, the UN Mission decided
to stop further water system works,' a 22 June statement from the diocese noted.
`Local Albanians were also ordered to return to the monastery the wood which
has been stolen from the Church forest.'

DAVID MITCHELL, who took over several weeks ago from Leroy as UNMIK
regional administrator, told Keston from Pec on 25 July that the incidents
had happened before he took up his post. However, he noted that when he visited
the monastery he saw wood piled up outside. `That must have been the wood
that was returned,' he told Keston. He understood that the site for the new
reservoir - one of four originally proposed - had been approved by all
parties, including the monastery. Over the boundaries of the monastery land, Mitchell
declared that the courts would have to rule in cases of dispute. `If you
wanted to decide what is monastery land, you would have to go to the courts,' he
stressed. `UNMIK recognises the status quo.' Mitchell was not aware of any
pending legal cases.

Mitchell confirmed that KFOR had reopened the road above the monastery in
July, after the grenade attacks, but stressed that the road is under `strict
KFOR control'. He reported that there has been `shouting and things like that but
nothing of any serious nature', but added that KFOR is monitoring the traffic
very carefully.

In late May the Decani Monastery faced troubles with the local Albanian
population over disputed agricultural land which the monks believed UNMIK
had given to the local Albanian population. However, UNMIK ruled that the
monks could still use it (see KNS 8 June 2000). (END)

Copyright (c) 2000 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.


KESTON NEWS SERVICE
Issue 7, Articles 30-31, 28 July 2000

Immediate reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion
in communist and post-communist lands.
______________________________________

SUMMARIES
I. KOSOVO: DYNAMITING OF ORTHODOX CHURCHES CONTINUES.
The Churches of the Holy Prophet Elijah, St Paraskeva and St Nicholas
were all dynamited within six weeks of each other.

II. KOSOVO: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACKS ON CHURCHES?
The Serbian Orthodox Church leaders in Kosovo and the chairman of the
Kosovo Helsinki Committee agree that KFOR and UNMIK need to investigate
the recent attacks on churches in Kosovo, but seem to disagree over who
may be responsible for the desecration and destruction. UNMIK told
Keston that though it had not been proven, they believed the ‘local
population’ was to blame.

--------------------------------------

Friday 28 July 2000

KOSOVO: DYNAMITING OF ORTHODOX CHURCHES CONTINUES

by Branko Bjelajac and Felix Corley, Keston News Service

In mid-July another Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo was reduced to
rubble, the latest in what appears to be a systematic campaign to
destroy all Serbian Orthodox religious sites in the disputed province
which the Orthodox blame on `Albanian extremists'. With more than 100
buildings either destroyed or badly damaged in the year since the Kosovo
Stabilisation Force (KFOR) and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK) took over the administration of the province under the United
Nations mandate, Serbian Orthodox representatives have told Keston News
Service that the international administration is not doing enough to
protect their places of worship. The chairman of the Kosovo Helsinki
Committee told Keston from Pristina that it had not yet been proved that
Albanians were behind the attacks and called on KFOR and UNMIK to do
more to investigate them and to prevent further such attacks. However,
an UNMIK spokeswoman rejected Albanian suggestions that such
destructions might be the work of agents of Belgrade and backed
upSerbian Orthodox claims that Albanians were to blame.

The Church of the Holy Prophet Elijah in Pomazatin, on the left bank of
the river Drenica, 12 kilometres west of Pristina, was dynamited in a
powerful explosion late on 16 July. The church - built in 1937 and
partially destroyed by the Balli units (Albanian fascists) in 1941 - was
rebuilt in 1965 and served as a parish church until several years ago,
when it became partially inactive. On 3 August 1999, after the
deployment of substantial British KFOR units in the vicinity of the
church, attackers used a hand grenade to destroy the entrance, just one
day after the liturgy was held in the church to commemorate St Elijah's
Day. `Despite this damage the church could be easily repaired and the
Diocese requested KFOR to secure the church from further destruction,'
the Diocese of Raska and Prizren declared in a statement. `KFOR only
surrounded the church with barbed wire and from time to time patrols
would pass by.'

The former parish priest of Pomazatin, RADIVOJE PANIC, visited the
ruined church in the wake of the attack. `He called us and reported that
the Albanian extremists used 30 kilograms of explosive to completely
destroy it. There is only a pile of stones left. A very sad picture,
very said,' SRDJAN JABLANOVIC, head of the Raska and Prizren diocesan
office in Belgrade told Keston. `I used to go to visit this church when
I lived in Kosovo to report on the damage carried out by Albanian
extremists in the early 1990s - broken roof, damaged door, damaged
candlesticks, etc. I believe that KFOR is now trying to make some sort
of excuse by saying that the church building was not in use.' Jablanovic
pointed out that there is a `great concentration' of KFOR soldiers in
the area, since the church is close to Slatina airport and a major coal
mine, and lies right next to the Pristina to Pec railway. `If this
church could not be protected, do any have a better chance? The [KFOR]
barracks are only a hundred meters away.'

The Pomazatin church was the third in six weeks to be dynamited after
earlier damage by burning or looting. On 29 June attackers used dynamite
to destroy St Paraskeva church in Podgorce village, in the municipality
of Kosovska Vitina. This church - which had been built in the 1990s and
consecrated in 1996 - had been seriously damaged in August last year,
but this time was completely destroyed. After theSerbs left the village
in June 1999, the church was not in use. The first attack last year was
perpetrated after looting of its movable treasure and desecration of the
altar and the whole building, and then it was set on fire. The Serbian
National Council issued a strong protest to KFOR and to the UNMIK
authorities. Representatives went to Camp Bondsteel, the US military
base in Kosovo, and protested to the US general in command. On 1 July
KFOR spokesman Captain RUSSELL BERG announced that two people had been
detained in connection with this blast.

At the end of May the Church of St Nicholas in Srbinje village near
Gracanica Monastery was attacked for the third time in ten months and
finally destroyed in a dynamite explosion. Finnish Colonel ARTO RATY
told the press: `If a church has value as a historical place then
clearly it should be guarded, but if it has no historical value and
there is no chance of the Serbs returning anytime soon in the area, then
it should be gently dismantled.' But Hieromonk SAVA of the Decani
Monastery commented to Reuters on this occasion: `Probably 95 per cent
of Kosovo cultural heritage sites are Orthodox buildings. These need
saving not just for the Serbs, but for all Europeans.'

In the early hours of 22 June, at least six mortar grenades landed in
the vicinity of the Decani monastery church (see separate KNS article).

Keston has sought the views of KFOR, UNMIK, the Kosovo Helsinki
Committee as well as Serbian Orthodox representatives in Kosovo (see
article below). (END)

---------------------

Friday 28 July 2000

KOSOVO: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACKS ON CHURCHES?

The Serbian Orthodox Church leaders in Kosovo and the chairman of the
Kosovo Helsinki Committee agree that KFOR and UNMIK need to investigate
the recent attacks on churches in Kosovo, but seem to disagree over who
may be responsible for the desecration and destruction. UNMIK told
Keston that though it had not been proven, they believed the local
population was to blame.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has condemned the latest attacks on the
churches of the Holy Prophet Elijah in Pomazatin, of St Paraskeva in
Podgorce and of St Nicholas in Srbinje (see separate KNS article 28 July
2000) and has requested an investigation from KFOR and UNMIK. `There are
very few reasons to believe that the perpetrators would ever be arrested
because so far not a single attacker on nearly 90 destroyed Serbian
churches has been identified or arrested,' the diocesan statement
concludes.

Despite Serbian Orthodox allegations that the rash of church
destructions are the work of `Albanian extremists', GAZMEND PULA, the
chairman of the Kosovo Helsinki Committee (a member of the Vienna-based
International Helsinki Federation), told Keston by telephone from
Pristina on 27 July that there was so far no proof of the identity of
those responsible for the attacks. `It is not clarified that it is the
Albanians who are blowing up churches,' Pula declared. `I can imagine
given the genocide that took place by the Serbian regime during the war
that there would be some revenge actions from Albanians who suffered. Or
it might be agents of the Belgrade regime staging these attacks to prove
that the Serbs are not being protected by the international forces.'
Pula insists that these attacks must be investigated by the `legitimate
authorities'. `These are for the time being KFOR and the UNMIK police
who have been legally mandated by the United Nations.' He believes that
despite their `major efforts to normalise the situation and bring law
and order', KFOR and UNMIK are not doing enough to improve the general
security situation and, in particular, to protect Serbian Orthodox
churches. `Their role should be more energetic and vigorous.'

SUSAN MANWELL, the acting spokeswoman for UNMIK, admitted that it is not
proven who has been leading the campaign of destruction. But asked who
UNMIK believed was to blame she declared: `the local population'. Asked
if she meant the Albanians, she responded categorically: `Definitely.'
She told Keston from Pristina on 27 July that the suggestion that agents
of the Belgrade regime were behind the dynamitings was a `theory
promoted by Kosovar Albanians', but one UNMIK had not found
substantiated. `We have never caught any agents of Belgrade,' she told
Keston, referring not just to the church attacks but to general attacks.
`I am not saying such agents are not here, but they are not who we think
are destroying churches.' Manwell stressed that UNMIK police are
investigating these incidents `when they can' and pointed out the extent
of KFOR's deployment to protect such churches. `Tanks are posted outside
churches and whole companies are assigned there,' she told Keston. `You
see them every time you drive past a church.' Both churches that are
still functioning and those no longer in use are being protected, she
stressed. Manwell confirmed that UNMIK accepted the figures for
destroyed churches given by Hieromonk Sava. `We regard him as a credible
source,' she declared. `He is the moral conscience.'

The Serbian Orthodox Church has long been concerned at the attacks on
its churches in Kosovo, regarding them as part of a wider campaign to
expel the remaining Serbs from the province. In May the Church published
a book `Crucified Kosovo' with a list of 80 churches, monasteries and
other religious sites destroyed between June and October 1999. In his
address to the United Nations Security Council in New York on 9 June,
Bishop ARTEMIJE of Raska and Prizren demanded `an end to the politics of
blatant ethnic discrimination which leads to legalisation of ethnic
cleansing, lawlessness, and to new conflicts in the Balkans,' pointing
out that the international community `has taken upon itself the
obligation to protect the citizens of Kosovo'. Among his seven demands
was the protection of Serbian Orthodox holy sites and the establishment
of `religious and cultural equality' in Kosovo.

In addition to the attacks on its churches, the Serbian Orthodox are
concerned about attacks on burial processions and the desecration of
Serbian graveyards. Also causing anger were attempts by British KFOR
soldiers to conduct a body search on the leader of the Serbian Orthodox
Church, Patriarch PAVLE, on 27 June when he and his entourage were
stopped at the Merdare checkpoint. The patriarch was en route for the
commemoration at Kosovo Polje of the 1389 battle in which the Serbs were
defeated by the Turks, during which he was to serve the liturgy. When
another bishop intervened to try to prevent the patriarch being
searched, he was reportedly subjected to swearing by a British soldier.
The patriarch was not searched in the end. (END)

-------------
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keston.institute@keston.org


AFP

Serbian farmer vanished near ethnically mixed Kosovo town: KFOR

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, July 29 (AFP) - Peacekeepers are searching
for an elderly Serbian farmer who disappeared while working in
fields in southwestern Kosovo, a spokesman for the KFOR
multinational force said Saturday.
The man went missing Friday between 9:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) and
10:00 p.m. near the ethnically mixed Kosovo town of Orahovac, said
German Lieutenant Colonel Peter Wosniak.
A search was immediately launched, and KFOR helicopters were
used to scan the area, but KFOR peacekeepers found no trace of the
missing man.
According to the Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug, the man is
75-year-old Trifun Velikic, whose family reported to KFOR he had
been kidnapped by ethnic Albanian extremists.
In June when a 60-year-old shepherd was kidnapped from near the
Serbian-majority town of Strpce, locals protesting the failure of
KFOR to quickly find him rioted and ransacked a UN administrative
building.
The shepherd was later found brutally murdered.
Serbs have often found themselves the targets of extremists
since the end of Kosovo's 1998-1999 civil war in June last year and
the arrival of KFOR peacekeepers.
On Saturday, KFOR commander General Juan Ortuno called on all
the peoples of Kosovo to live together in peace.
"We, NATO, did not enter Kosovo to endorse ethnic violence and
the continued intimidation of ethnic minorities," he said.
"KFOR will do everything necessary to protect ethnic minorities
in Kosovo. But we can only do so much. The future is in the hands of
the people of Kosovo. They must show they are willing and able to
live together."
No incidents had been reported late Saturday in Orahovac
following the alleged kidnapping, Wosniak said.