Crime Wave Targets Serbs
By R. Jeffrey
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday , June 3, 2000 ; A12
June 2 -- Five Serbs departed this morning from their
small village near the Kosovo capital, expecting a routine ride
along a dirt road to another Serbian village several miles away. But
ran into a freshly planted land mine along the way, and now two men
are dead, and two young children and a woman are in a hospital.
52, and Sinisa Dimic, 61, are the most recent Serbian
victims in a spate of slayings--all assumed to be ethnically motivated--that
are provoking widespread frustration and anger among international officials
here. In the past six days, eight Serbs have died violently, with
five of the deaths occurring in the southeastern Kosovo region controlled
U.S. peacekeeping troops.
are cold-blooded; some appear to have been planned, and they
make no distinction between men, women and children," said
Susan Manuel, a spokeswoman for the U.N. mission here. "This is
disturbing trend." Recently, Kosovo has been averaging one
slaying per day.
Kosovo is approaching
the first anniversary of the arrival of U.N.
administrators and NATO forces to police a cease-fire with Yugoslavia,
supervise the withdrawal of Serbian troops, organize the return of expelled
ethnic Albanians and stop ethnic conflict.
declared June 9, 1999, came after 11 weeks of NATO bombing
and 16 months of warfare between Yugoslav troops and ethnic
Albanian guerrillas fighting to win Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia.
Kosovo is still officially a province of Serbia, Yugoslavia's larger
republic, but it is governed by the United Nations.
Five of the Serbs
who were killed recently--including a boy age 4 and a
67-year-old woman--were slain in drive-by shootings, an increasingly
common technique here. The boy was standing on Sunday with a group of
the village of Cernica 2 1/2 miles from the city of Gnjilane,
where some U.S. forces are based.
In another incident,
Milutin Trajkovic, a 33-year-old father of three, was
standing outside his house in Babin Most, west of the capital, when
gunmen shot him from a speeding gray Volkswagen; two NATO soldiers were
injured in a subsequent riot provoked by one of his relatives. On
Thursday, Lepterka Marinkovic, 67, was gunned down by men who passed
two cars near while she was walking in the Serbian village of
In addition to the
two men who died in the mine attack, one Serbian woman
died when she apparently was intentionally struck by a car driven
by an ethnic Albanian in the town of Blinca, also near Gnjilane.
The deaths bring
the number of murders in Kosovo--including those provoked
by crime, not ethnic hatred--since the end of the war to more
than 560; U.N. police say roughly 42 percent of the victims have been
Albanians, 36 percent have been Serbs, and 22 percent were of
The most recent
killings provoked harsh denunciations by top NATO and U.N.
officials here. "These drive-by shootings demonstrate
cowardice in the killing of unarmed civilians," said U.S. Brig.
Sanchez, who commands NATO troops in the southeastern region.
"I am outraged
by the recent increase in violence," said British Brig. Gen.
Richard Shirreff, who commands NATO troops in central Kosovo. He
called on residents to take stock of progress made over the past year
"look ahead. . . . Kosovo cannot squander its opportunity to develop
into a democratic and peaceful place for all the people of Kosovo."
Officials were at
a loss to explain why this week was particularly violent.
A senior U.N. police official said it could be related to such simple
factors as warmer weather, or the fact that foreign officials have talked
recently of organizing the return to Kosovo of Serbs who fled at the
of last year's war. He also noted a pattern of heightened mayhem surrounding
other anniversaries here.
"We were expecting
some tension around this period of time, but obviously we
can't say for sure that is the cause of what's going on now,"
said Manuel, the U.N. spokeswoman. "There seems to be a message
but I can't say how planned or orchestrated this is."
Saturday-Sunday, June 3-4, 2000
president of the Serbian Resistance Movement, talks about the
reasons for resigning from the position of president of the executive
board of the
Serbian National Council (SNV) of Kosovo and Metohija
are the guinea pigs of the international community and Slobodan Milosevic
By Jelena Tasic
"I did not
resign from the position of president of the executive board out of
or to destroy the Serbian National Council. My motive was to strengthen
of our political option among the Serbian people. I am a member of the
political platform of the SNV is also the political platform of the
Resistance Movement which it, together with the Church, created. Before
the SNV we
were the Church and People's Congress, which had a national-political
of which, by including other independent people, the members of some
those which were opposed to cooperation with the international community,
the SNV," Momcilo Trajkovic, the president of the Serbian Renewal
Movement and the
former president of the executive board of the SNV, explains the reasons
resigning from this function.
DANAS: Is your resignation
some sort of "shock therapy" for political life in
TRAJKOVIC: My resignation
demonstrates that within the SNV of Kosovo and Metohija
there are disagreements and differences of opinion but it is not a reason
to become concerned because of what is going on in the SNV. We, too,
have the right
to tactical, political moves which enable exiting from certain situations.
important thing is not to disagree regarding the fundamental principle
that we must
cooperate with the international community. The disagreements exist
respect to the manner of that cooperation. Perhaps the statement of
following my resignation led to confusion. He should know that I remain
a member of
the SNV, which includes other members of the Serbian Resistance Movement,
our future work will not consist only of cooperation. What is more,
the Movement and
I personally are a part of and one of the founders of the SNV.
Along with Bishop
Artemije, I am one of the key people who worked on creating the
political platform which today is supported by the Serbian people, in
Yugoslavia, and throughout the world, and thus the dilemma whether the
I will continue to work on the unity of the Serbian people in the future
DANAS: How politically
wise is it that a good tandem such as you and the Bishop is
breaking up at the moment when you have achieved international recognition
TRAJKOVIC: I don't
why a difference of opinion would be qualified as breaking up. On
the contrary, I will do everything possible that our future joint political
activities reinvigorate and strengthen the position of the SNV and our
platform. We have a need for instruments for the implementation of that
The Movement should be that instrument. As we were not entirely successful
promoting the SNV and our politics among the broad masses of Serbs in
Metohija, we must find another way to the realization of the goal we
have defined. I
am certain that Bishop Artemije, for whom I have tremendous respect
and whom I
support in all of his efforts, will also continue to work in this direction.
us there are some disagreements, which is quite natural as we are living
difficult times. I have publicly stated before that there have been
differences of opinion between us, especially regarding entry into the
Administrative Council of Kosovo (PAVK).
DANAS: The decision
regarding entry into the PAVK apparently not only intensified
the schism between Gracanica and Mitrovica, but created a split in the
SNV of Kosovo
and Metohija itself?
TRAJKOVIC: I wouldn't
call it a "split" but it did bring up some issues. The problem
is that we have not received any answers to our key questions because
of which we
agreed to enter the PAVK. Not one of our requests was fulfilled. There
improvements with respect to the security situation but they are quite
Our perspective is not in strengthening police and military forces in
order to make
us safe. Despite such "security measures", from the time of
our entry into the PAVK
to today, about 20 Serbs have been killed, several dozen injured. Several
and sacred edifices have been destroyed and dozens of Serbian houses
burned to the ground. Our security must be created much more essentially.
foremost, the international community must react to the behavior of
extremists with whom, regrettably, it is instead cooperating. If the
community is not prepared to respond to this issue, we have nothing
to gain in
working with such an international community. The issue of Serb returns
is the best
example of this.
community, under pressure from Albanian extremists, has given up
on executing the key task which it took upon itself when our people
PAVK, and that is the creation of conditions for return. How many people
returned to date? The international community only wants to buy time
so that on the
anniversary of the deployment of the international forces in Kosovo
and Metohija it
will receive a positive grade with respect to the activities of its
DANAS: Does this
mean that you are advocating that the Serb observer withdraw from
the PAVK prior to the end of her term?
TRAJKOVIC: I will
make every effort to encourage discussion as soon as possible
regarding the accomplishments of our observers, upon whom very little
the key issue is the relation of the international community towards
Regrettably, we see confirmed what I have stated earlier: that the international
community is rotten plank which has spend in two months the authority
position which the Bishop and I with our associates spent five-six years
building. Now that we have again created some kind of position, with
intentions and sincere wishes to help our people, it is again being
practical terms, we are the guinea pigs in the laboratory of the international
community and Slobodan Milosevic. One of the key reasons for entry into
the PAVK was
the guarantee that a member of the clergy who is a representative of
Department and a Serb would come here to assist with regard to Serb
returns. He came
to Kosovo, he stayed for a while, he left and he didn't come back. Everything
There is a contest
going on now between north Kosovo and central Kosovo as to who
will be the first to bring back some Serbs. The Serbs in north Mitrovica
accomplish this without the international community and the SNV of Kosovo
Metohija has an advantage here, but the fact is that they gave us the
for returns and proposed that this be a topic of discussion. The creation
international committee for the return of Serbs, without prior compromise
Serbs, will be without result and will only serve the function of gathering
barren political points on both sides. Just as one has the impression
that the SNV
of Kosovska Mitrovica is for Kosovo to the Ibar River, so we, too, have
the trap of accepting Kosovo as far at the Ibar. Kosovo and Metohija
nonetheless, one issue, and all of us have fallen into the trap of an
division which today represents the key problem of the Serbian community,
Slobodan Milosevic is supporting and of which he is taking maximal advantage
demonstrate his superiority.
Gracanica and Mitrovica
must not remain "buried behind the barricades". We must step
out from behind them and find a compromise.
DANAS: How capable
is the opposition of smoothing over the disagreements among the
TRAJKOVIC: The opposition
has not been successful in finding a compromise regarding
entry into the PAVK. A part of the opposition was indifferent and did
not express an
opinion, leaving it up to us to decide. A part of the opposition was
while a minority clearly upheld entry into the PAVK. There was no consensus;
consequently, no one has the right to be angry with us down here because
differences of opinion. I believe that the opposition needs to sit down
how far we have gotten with respect to realizing the requests which
the Serbs posed
upon entry into PAVK, although I would not be surprised at all if we
were again left
to make the moves by ourselves.
DANAS: What is your
opinion of the request that the SNV of Kosovska Mitrovica join
the united opposition and are there "technical obstacles"
to this, considering the
stories that Oliver Ivanovic is a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia
and that Gracanica has reprimanded him, among other things, for negotiations
Nikola Sainovic lasting hours?
TRAJKOVIC: I know
the stories but I have no evidence and no desire to intensify
conflicts. In order to join the opposition, a clear position with regard
government of Slobodan Milosevic as well as toward recent events in
essential. I have nothing against the united opposition being joined
by people who
will contribute to a better, more universal and competent, comprehension
Kosovo crisis. But before this is can occur, the opposition must talk
Mitrovica and Gracanica so that a joint decision can be made. However,
apparent that within the opposition itself there are differences of
interest with respect to this. With respect to the Serbian Resistance
only political organization of the Kosovo Serbs, there is no dilemma.
But with respect
to the SNV's, neither of which is a political organization, because
of the political engagement of their members the question poses itself
individual parties which already have representatives in the united
to have regional or local representatives, as well. If the mutual accusations
Mitrovica and Gracanica continue and are transferred "higher",
even greater damage
will result because individual parties will decide who supports whom.
That is why a
compromise and agreement must be achieved.
* * * * *
KLA a creation of
DANAS: What is your
comment on the fact that the Serbian Government did not
introduce a law against terrorism during the period of the founding
of the KLA,
which was claimed to be a terrorist organization, but that it is doing
TRAJKOVIC: The KLA
is one of the creations of Slobodan Milosevic, which he created
together with the international community. That is why he did not want
a law which would destroy what he himself had created and which was
him to continue ruling over this unfortunate people while sacrificing
placated Hasim Thaci by turning over territory. Now, apparently, the
territory is finished. The crisis is Kosovo does not represent a threat
to him any
more but he is under pressure from internal, democratic forces in Serbia,
and now he
is turning them into the enemy. That is why the law against terrorism
directed at the elimination of those forces which are endangering the
regime. On the
other hand, if the international community, or that part of it which,
participated in the parceling of Serbia, continues to seek territory
by blackmail, I
am certain that they will give them everything, from Dedinje to Ada
they will try to find the traitors among us.
Just as Bishop Artemije
and Momcilo Trajkovic have betrayed Kosovo, and Milosevic,
who has ruled for 12 years, who has signed the capitulation - has won
in Kosovo. We
are talking about a regime which only cares about raw power and which
is prepared to
sacrifice the entire nation to preserve it. It is high time for all
of us to
* * * * *
Activation of political
DANAS: You have
emphasized that you opposed the moratorium on the work of political
parties in Kosovo and Metohija.
creating the SNV that was the first point we agreed on. Why some of
our members approached certain parties, although they were entrusted
with a very
important function on the basis of what the Movement and the Church
were doing, as
well as our SNV, I do not wish to discuss. I disagree with this and
it is one of the
reasons why I submitted by resignation. After the activation of certain
Kosovo, I could not calmly watch how the only Serb political organization,
Serbian Resistance Movement, which years ago, together with the Church
Artemije, created that political platform, remained "frozen"
and out of political
play. That is why, in agreement with Bishop Artemije, I submitted my
now in the field we are making an effort to reinvigorate our political
activate our supporters. If things go well, perhaps it is a good thing
that we have
this pluralism. Perhaps this party activity, even though the Movement
is not a
classic political party, will create the conditions for different opinions
key issues to be heard, and for the creation of some sort of balance
with respect to
a general plan for Kosovo and Metohija in some sort of compromise with
the SNV of
spark crisis for UN in Kosovo
Monday June 5, 2000
The United Nations
mission in Kosovo was plunged into new difficulties
yesterday as Serb leaders withdrew from the province's interim
administrative body and demanded effective self-rule in their own
strongholds, in protest at killings of Serb civilians by Kosovan
As the security council prepares to meet next week to review the
first 12 months of the mission in Kosovo, Serb leaders announced that
they would be sending a delegation to New York to demand amendments
resolution 1244 - the mandate for the UN effort - to protect Serb rights
in Kosovo and allow the establishment "of functional self-rule"
occupied by Serbs.
In addition, moderate Serb leaders say that they have already
asked European officials in the region to send anti-terrorism experts
back up the Kosovo protection force and the UN's international police
The statement by the Serb national council, meeting at the ancient
monastery of Gracanica, comes amid disillusionment among many officials
serving with the UN mission over the resurgence of ethnic violence and
organised crime in Kosovo, and the apparent unwillingness of senior
officials to take on the ethnic Albanian leaders suspected of
involvement in both.
The Serbs' decision is doubly embarrassing for the UN mission,
which is preparing to mark the first anniversary of its mandate this
weekend and has been making strenuous efforts to persuade Serbs to share
its vision of a multi-ethnic democratic society.
But the Serb community is angry about an eruption of violence in
the last week that has left eight of their members dead in four
The most recent took place early last Friday, when a car hit an
anti-tank mine which had been planted overnight on a British-controlled
road a few miles from Pristina. Two men died, and a woman and two
children were injured.
The decision to withdraw from the Albanian dominated
administrative council is also a blow for Bernard Kouchner, the head
the UN mission, who had recently managed to persuade moderate Serbs,
backed by the Serbian Orthodox church, to attend the council as
observers prior to full involvement.
It comes amid a campaign for voter registration for the region's
first local elections, scheduled for the autumn. While more than 250,000
ethnic Albanians have been persuaded to register, only a few thousand
the province's remaining 95,000 Serbs - from a community originally
numbering 250,000 - have registered to vote.
Following the meeting yesterday, Father Sava, a moderate Serb
leader who has backed Serb involvement in Kosovo's nascent democratic
process, indicated that many Serb leaders wanted to end cooperation
the UN, rather than suspending their involvement until the security
"The international community has got to decide whether Kosovo is
going to be a lawless place or move towards being a democratic society,"
he said. "At the moment, the international community is not really
prepared to take the lead against Albanian terrorism or confront the
problem of organised crime."
He added: "We are aware of the efforts that are being made to
protect Serb people, particularly in the British sector which seems
determined to work in an even-handed way. But in the last two months
our cooperation with the UN administration we have seen a resurgence
organised crime all over Kosovo."
The rise in the violence and intimidation against the remaining
Serb community comes despite intense efforts to make Serbs feel secure.
Many Serbian villages south of Pristina have been turned into virtual
fortresses, protected by checkpoints, watch towers and constant
helicopter and ground patrols.
However, despite a ratio of one peacekeeping soldier for every
three Serbs in Kosovo, the Nato-led troops have been powerless to
prevent the latest outbreak of violence.
June 5, 2000
leaving Donja Brnjica
- Representatives of the Serbian National Council (SNV), KFOR and
the UN police attempted on Saturday to talk to the Serbs from the village
Brnjica near Pristina in order to stop them from leaving, which began
reports that people suspected of war crimes are hiding in the village.
Out of fear
that their family members will be accused of war crimes, 20 Serb families
village two days ago. The village of Donja Brnjica is an ethnically
which formerly included over 180 Serb households.
Year on, Kosovo Still Dangerous for Serbs
PRISTINA, Jun 5,
2000 -- (Reuters) Nebojsa, a 40-year-old Serb, and his family live like
virtual prisoners in a small Kosovo flat, fearing their lives would
be in danger if they
ventured too far from home.
troops guard their dreary apartment building in the provincial
capital Pristina around the clock to prevent any attacks by vengeful
Albanians angry at
years of Serb repression.
Too afraid to travel
without a military escort, the family of two adults and four children
has spent most of the time indoors since NATO-led KFOR peacekeepers
and the United
Nations took de facto control of the troubled province one year ago.
Like other Serbs
who did not flee Kosovo following the end of the West's bombing
campaign from March to June last year and the withdrawal of Yugoslav
forces, they are
isolated and rely on international help for survival.
Greek soldiers take
their children to school in a Serb-populated village during the week,
and the family depends on humanitarian assistance for food.
They are among several
hundred Serbs remaining in Pristina, compared to many
thousands who lived there before the West's offensive. Around 50 to
60 families stay in
this building on a garbage-littered and potholed street near the city
"We live like
in a ghetto," said Nebojsa, an unemployed economist who did not
reveal his family name. "Our entire life is in this flat and around
His wife said she
had not seen her mother for six months although she lived in a nearby
of life is this when I need to have a soldier standing next to me so
that I can
buy my groceries?" she said. "And even though a soldier is
protecting me, the Albanians
do not want to sell me their goods because I'm a Serb."
are told elsewhere in Kosovo, regarded by nationalists as the cradle
Serb culture and religion.
Local Serbs say
only around 500 have stayed in the eastern town of Gnjilane, down from
more than 20,000. Most live close to the Christian Orthodox church in
an area protected
by U.S. troops.
"This is like
a reservation where the Americans put the Indians," said Zika,
Thousands of Kosovo
Albanians could be heard celebrating in the main square, playing
traditional music and holding speeches to express gratitude to U.S.
President Bill Clinton
and other Western leaders for putting an end to harsh Serb rule.
"This is even
worse than jail," said Slavoljub, another Serb man, listening without
emotion. "At least there you feel safe."
Their fate illustrates
how the tables have turned in Kosovo, still legally part of Yugoslavia
but now under de facto international rule.
Until the arrival
of KFOR and the UN-led administration 12 months ago, the province's
ethnic Albanians - who made up roughly 90 percent of the population
- were the victims
of Serb repression, discrimination and harassment.
The violence culminated
during the bombing, when Serb forces and paramilitaries drove
800,000 ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo and allegedly killed thousands
in what the West
saw as a systematic campaign orchestrated from Belgrade.
more than 150,000 Serbs and members of other minorities have left
Kosovo for Serbia proper since last June. Others went to Montenegro,
partner in Yugoslavia.
Those who stayed
- estimated at roughly 100,000 - have been the victims of numerous
The government of
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic - indicted by a UN court for
war crimes committed by his forces in Kosovo - has seized on attacks
against Serbs to
denounce the UN mission as a failure and calling for it to leave.
overseeing the peace process argue that the situation has improved
greatly over the last year, but acknowledge that the bloodshed remains
"We were unable
to protect the minorities enough," said the head of the UN's Kosovo
mission, Frenchman Bernard Kouchner. "This is the major failure
of this mission."
A new report by
the UN refugee agency and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said lack of security and freedom of movement
fundamental problems affecting minority communities in Kosovo.
violence continues to be a prominent feature of minorities' everyday
a draft said. "Even against a backdrop of steadily falling crime
rates, minorities remain
victims of crime at levels disproportionate to their numbers."
Kosovo's UN police service show 45 percent of murder victims since
June last year have been Serbs or members of other minorities, although
groups are believed to account for less than 10 percent of the population.
Over the past two
months around 20 Serbs have been killed, including eight in the last
week alone, in what many see as a systematic campaign of terror by some
get the Serb minority to flee.
SERB BOY SLAIN
In one of several
recent attacks, three Serbs - including a four-year-old boy - were killed
in a drive-by shooting on May 28 in the eastern village of Cernica,
only about 100 meters
(yards) from U.S. troops based there to prevent violence.
A few days after
the killing the ethnically-divided village remained tense, its streets
A local Serb leader,
42-year-old Kosta Dimic, accused the ethnic Albanian Kosovo
Liberation Army (KLA) of being behind the attack, though it has been
disbanded, saying it wanted to expel all Serbs and make Kosovo independent.
The two communities
live side by side in Cernica - KLA and Serb graffiti showing which
house belongs to whom - but remain a world apart with their own shops
"Everything is separate," Dimic said. "There are no relations."
Injure Serb Woman, Child
By Danica Kirka
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, June 6, 2000; 11:19 a.m. EDT
-- An assailant hurled a grenade today into a crowd of
Serbs shopping at an outdoor market, touching off a melee in which at
people were injured, NATO and witnesses said.
Three of the wounded
were shot after a mob of angry Serbs swarmed a British
general, prompting his bodyguards to fire into the crowd.
The trouble started
in the Serb monastery town of Gracanica, when witnesses
said a grenade was thrown from a passing vehicle at an outdoor market
where Serbs were
shopping, injuring five people.
Serbs then began
stopping Albanian cars on the road through the town, setting
five vehicles on fire and injuring two drivers. The commander of the
sector, Brig. Richard Shirreff rushed to the scene.
Shirreff was then
surrounded by angry Serbs, and his bodyguards - feeling
threatened - fired into the crowd, injuring three people, according
spokesman Capt. Jo Butterfill. Shirreff later met with the Rev. Sava
a leader of the moderate Serb faction, to try to ease tensions.
Serbs said they
began stopping vehicles to look for the person who carried
out the attack after Swedish troops stationed in the town failed to
"It was thrown
right in front of KFOR," said Dragan Stojanovic, referring to the
NATO peacekeeping force in Kosovo. "How come they weren't able
to stop that
car? Aren't they ashamed?"
The local Serb National
Council condemned the grenade attack, claiming it
was only the latest "wave of organized Albanian terrorist groups
seeking to expel
Serbs from Kosovo."
"We have repeatedly
told KFOR that the market in Gracanica is a dangerous
site ... but NATO found no solutions for the problem," Janjic told
Beta news agency.
east of the provincial capital Pristina, is one of the few
remaining all-Serb areas in the province and the base of key Serbian
Meanwhile, in the
northern city of Kosovska Mitrovica, the trial of two Serbs
accused of genocide was postponed until Monday, after the defense requested
proceedings be simultaneously translated into Albanian, English and
The Gracanica incident
comes a day after the U.N.'s chief administrator
attempted to cool ethnic passions and reassure Kosovo's Serbs by announcing
limits on what
newspapers can publish.
On Monday, plans
for "emergency legislation" on media were announced as a way
to stop newspapers from "acts of endangerment," particularly
accusations about individuals that could expose them to "vigilante
violence," said Nadia Younes, spokeswoman for chief U.N. administrator
The new and as yet
undefined regulation comes only days after the U.N.
temporarily shut down the Kosovo Albanian newspaper, Dita, which published
article accusing a Serb U.N. translator as being a member of a paramilitary
unit. The translator was later stabbed to death.
Tens of thousands
of Serbs have fled Kosovo since the arrival of NATO-led
peacekeepers last June, following a 78-day air war to force an end to
President Slobodan Milosevic's repression of ethnic Albanians.
BOMB SERB MARKET - AFP REPORT
June 6 (AFP) - British troops shot and
injured Serbs among a 1,000-strong crowd protesting in the village
of Gracanica Tuesday after a grenade attack in a Serbian market
place there, a British army spokesman said.
Earlier six people were injured, two of them seriously, when a
grenade was thrown from the car in the center of the Serbian
enclave, 10 kilometres (six miles) south of the provincial capital
Pristina, witnesses told AFP.
A Serb crowd which gathered after the attack launched a riot, in
which UN police were targeted, shots fired and vehicles damaged, a
UN police officer said.
As British Brigadier Richard Shirref attempted to negotiate with
the crowd he found himself surrounded and threatened. His bodyguard
fired 15 rounds at at the crowd, a British military spokesman said.
The three Serbs were shot in the hand, shoulder and leg with
handguns and were admitted to hospital with non life-threatening
injuries. One Serb man was arrested.
Helicopter-borne troops of the international peacekeeping force
KFOR chased down a red car from which the grenade had been hurled
and arrested its occupants, a KFOR spokesman said.
Flight Lieutenant Rob Hannam said: "KFOR helicopters tracked
down the vehicle, stopped it, its occupants are being questioned."
No details of the prisoners were immediately available.
Earlier, a KFOR spokesman had said two grenades were thrown, but
gave no details of casualties.
A UN police officer who did not wish to be identified said shots
had been fired in the crowd and two UN police vehicles damaged after
the grenade attack, and that the casualty toll had risen to 11, with
five injured during the rioting.
He described the rioting as "sheer hell".
UN police and KFOR blocked all roads several kilometres outside
Gracanica, and helicopters were monitoring the surrounding area.
The unruly Yugoslav province has been tense since a sudden surge
in anti-Serb attacks last week killed eight people and led Kosovo's
Gracanica-based Serb leaders to freeze their participation in the
UN-backed joint administration.
One of the attacks, the explosion of an anti-tank mine that
killed two Serb men on Friday, took place near the village of
Preoce, some 10 kilometres from Gracanica.
"The situation now in Gracanica is calm but tense, the crowd is
dispersing," the KFOR spokesman said later.
Meanwhile, in another sign of the growing Serb fury at attacks
directed at them, the representatives of the Serbs living in the
northern Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica called for a blockade of
the main roads in the province starting Wednesday evening.
Members of the Serb National Council (SNV) from Kosovska
Mitrovica called all on Serbs in the province to block roads
throughout Kosovo for two hours every day to protest.
"This atmosphere of total insecurity has pushed us to undertake
a new method of combat," the SNV statement said, adding that the
blockade would start on Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m (1600
and 1800 GMT).
The SNV called for "peaceful and non-violent protests", adding
this was "the last legitimate method for drawing the attention
the UN and the international community on genocide taking place
against the Serbs."
Oliver Ivanovic, the leader of the SNV in Kosovska Mitrovica,
told AFP that after the road blockade, the Serbs would probably
"block all international institutions and KFOR barracks."
Tuesday, 6 June,
2000, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Kosovo: Reminiscent of the peace line in Belfast
By Denis Murray
So okay, the first
question has to be - what was the boy from Belfast
doing in Kosovo?
It is a simple answer - a TV programme has been making a series on
nationality and identity, and I was asked because those issues are such
a big element in Northern Ireland.
And while I cannot draw the comparison too far, because no conflict
exactly like another, and we made a point of not doing so in the report,
I still found many, many resonances.
For instance, the Albanians are the majority population in Kosovo, but
the Serbs are the majority in the greater region. Compare with Ireland,
where Protestants are a majority in Northern Ireland, but a minority
within the island as a whole.
Now genuinely, I am not comparing Protestants or Catholics with
Albanians or Serbs, but you can see why the place felt familiar.
After 25 years of
reporting Northern Ireland, army checkpoints hold
little novelty for me - but in Kosovo, they are something else.
Huge squat tanks from the armies of 18 different countries sit in the
middle of the main roads, at the crossroads, and most particularly,
the barbed wire barricades that surround the Serb enclaves which are
left in Kosovo.
They are eerily reminiscent of the peace line in Belfast that separates
Protestant and Catholic areas.
The peace line was built as a temporary measure by the British army
years ago. The line and the soldiers are still there.
In some places in Kosovo, they even protect the ruins of the Serb
churches, expertly demolished by the returning Albanians after the end
of the war last year.
The churches, many
of them built within the last few years, have been
targeted because Albanians saw them as symbols of Serb domination -
built at key junctions in areas where there could be barely a handful
Serbs to attend the services.
Everywhere you go you see graffiti - UCK Nato. Now at first, I thought
this was rude word, with the F painted out. But UCK is the Albanian
KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army.
But given that Nato, the Albanians' liberators are now protecting the
Serbs, many I spoke to there believe that the worm will turn, and that
Albanian relations with Nato will worsen.
Remember the British army welcomed by the Catholics in 1969, and how
that honeymoon period ended?
Change of identity
Since last year's
war and Nato's bombing there has been a major change
in Albanian identity. It may have been changing anyway, but now almost
all Albanians in Kosovo, whom I will now call Kosovars, do not want
be politically part of Albania, but instead want independence.
On the Serb side, the identity is much more certain - and also much
We met Father Petar. He's a senior member of the church, young
charismatic, and determined to stay in Kosovo. He lives in the monastery
at Pec - that is the Serb word, the Kosovars call it Peija.
It is the seat, the heartland of the church - it is one of the reasons
the Serbs call Kosovo a Holy Land.
A holy land
Just outside the
church at the monastery, there is an ancient mulberry
tree. Father Petar told me that centuries ago, when the Serbs said they
must flee, the priests stopped to pray.
He said God sent a bolt of lightning, which split the tree in two.
The year? It was 1690 - the year of the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland,
when Protestant King William of Orange defeated Catholic King James.
is a battle still commemorated in Ulster's controversial orange order
But the extraordinary thing is the Serb church now hates Slobodan
Milosevic, and the Belgrade Government.
One priest we met was Father Antonio who has sent a bitterly critical
open letter to him, told us in our interview that Milosevic could have
been a saint, but now he is a Judas, an antichrist.
Father Petar told me in private conversation that to be a Serb is to
Serb Orthodox. Any Serb, he said, who over the centuries had converted
to Islam or Catholicism instantly ceased to be a Serb.
That is how deeply nationality and identity run, in a history that goes
back to the 1300s.
I cannot claim after reading some books, a load of cuttings, and having
been there for five days to be any kind of expert on Kosovo.
But as I told Serb and Kosovar alike, I had an instant feel for the
Who from Northern Ireland would not?
05 June 2000
Text: U.S. Condemns Violence Against Serbs in
(Says violence is "senseless and destructive") (210)
The United States
has condemned recent acts of violence against Serbs
in Kosovo and says it supports "all efforts to find the perpetrators
of these incidents and bring them to justice."
Following is the
text of the statement:
Office of the Spokesman
June 5, 2000
PHILIP T. REEKER, ACTING SPOKESMAN
SERBS IN KOSOVO
Last week, several
horrible acts of violence, including a land mine
explosion under a car, shootings and grenade attacks, took the lives
of four Serbs in Kosovo and badly injured many more. These were only
the latest in a continuing series of attacks aimed at Serbs living in
The United States
condemns these senseless and destructive acts. We
have repeatedly urged ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to refrain from
violence and vengeance. The UN and KFOR have stepped up measures to
help protect the Serb community from such attacks. We support all
efforts to find the perpetrators of these incidents and bring them to
word out of place costs lives in Pristina
Gordana Igric risks
her life returning to Pristina,
where speaking the wrong language can be a fatal mistake
being Serbian, or even Bulgarian, can get you murdered
6 June 2000
A column of vehicles
is stuck for hours on the Kosovo-Macedonia border. Hamdi, an ethnic
Albanian taxi-driver from Macedonia, keeps harking back to the good
old days of the former Yugoslavia, of Tito and the times "when
those foreigners didn't spark quarrels among us". He uses a language
we both speak - Serbian.
Yet when he parks
his car in front of Pristina's Grand hotel his lack of English and my
uncertain fluency in Albanian are threats to our lives.
Hamdi knows speaking
Serbian here could attract the attention of young Albanians gathered
at the town centre. Someone in the long column of taxis could hear him,
remember him and brand him a traitor.
The day before I
decided to come here, young Albanians stopped a car in Pristina to ask
the driver for identification. When they found he was Serb he was killed
instantly. One Bulgarian UN worker foolishly responded to: "What
time is it?" from young Albanians in Bulgarian, a language dangerously
similar to Serbian. He was murdered. So, that's why Hamdi, crimson with
embarrassment, whispers words of farewell.
In recent years,
I was one of the people whose job was finding victims and
witnesses to crimes by Serbian police. They searched me regularly at
checkpoints as a traitor and their Albanian victims mistrusted me for
In the centre of
Pristina, at first glance everything looks the same. Even the staff
of the Grand, a former centre of Serbian journalists and police informants,
wear the same old-fashioned black uniforms.
This time I have
to mask my Serbian identity. I sleep in the room of my English colleague,
who arranged things so I did not have to show my red Yugoslav passport
and compromising name.
When I use the phone
at the reception I speak English. But the taxi drivers and shopkeepers
know me, and my whole being rebels against the new madness. I was embroiled
in my private battle for two weeks to travel here, as I made my preparations
for securing in advance a flat and a driver.
Nearly all my friends
and colleagues told me the trip was madness. The K-For peacekeeping
force refused to grant me security, as if this was not the basic task
of these troops.
Three times I called
the mobile phone of my former driver from Pristina, who had driven me
so many times. Each time he answered and immediately hung up on hearing
Later, when I got
to Pristina, he sent me a message of apology - urging me not to get
angry, as he could not dare answer in Serbian while he had a passenger
in his taxi. Probably the truth was that he could not really accept
to be my driver, out of fear.
Where should I stay?
I suggested to an Albanian ex-colleague that I bring a
sleeping bag and sleep in the office. He refused awkwardly. Someone
would find out, he said, and throw a bomb into the office.
I opted for the
most unpalatable choice. I phoned a close friend who had stayed in my
house in Belgrade many times. I had the uneasy feeling I was "collecting
payment" for that friendly gesture and getting him deeper into
danger. I told him I was coming and wanted to see him. I said I had
to sleep. Silence greeted me.
A couple of days
later, when I met him in a Pristina restaurant, he told me with an unnatural
expression that he did not wish to live in this city. And that he was
The same expression,
a seal of shame about what your national community is
doing in your name, was one I carried for a long time in Kosovo.
Gordana Igric works
for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Land of the crucified?
by John David
June 6, 2000
items crossed my desk this past week that reminded me
I have neglected the current state of affairs in Kosovo. I guess it's
to rectify that.
I received a copy
of an open letter to Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor
for the International Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ITY), written by
Raymond K. Kent, history professor emeritus at the University of
California at Berkley. Kent is also a former secretary to a
California-based citizens' committee set up to monitor the tribunal.
Kent's letter touched
on several issues of disagreement he has with
ITY, particularly with recent del Ponte comments regarding
accusations that NATO is guilty of war crimes stemming from the
78-day air campaign. The chief prosecutor rejected the idea of NATO
crimes by saying she is "satisfied that there was no deliberate
Kent could hardly
contain himself. "I am not sure what evidence you
had examined in person, but the numbers of churches, schools,
non-military factories, water purifying facilities, oil heating
depositories and medical facilities fully or partially destroyed, add
to pretty staggering numbers. All of them are civilian targets, even
not a single civilian is killed in any."
Kent accused del
Ponte of not wanting to "bite the hands that feed
you," since much of the tribunal's funding comes from NATO
This column was
one of the first to suggest the possibility of war
crimes charges against President Clinton and NATO. On June 1, 1999,
I wrote that NATO's actions came perilously close to falling within
country's recognized definitions for terrorism.
The Department of
Defense defines terrorism as "the calculated use of
violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce
or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that
generally political, religious, or ideological."
The Federal Emergency
Management Agency says the "effects of
terrorism can vary significantly from loss of life and injuries, to
property damage and disruptions in services such as electricity, water
supply, public transportation and communications." Terrorists,
according to FEMA, "often choose targets that offer little danger
themselves and areas with relatively easy public access."
I pointed out at
the time that the DOD terrorism definition sounded a
lot like NATO's stated goals in Yugoslavia. On March 24, 1999,
Clinton told the world . . . "By acting now we are upholding our
values, protecting our interests and advancing the cause of peace."
Regarding the FEMA
definition that terrorists choose targets that offer
little danger to themselves and areas with relatively easy public access
-- well, high-altitude bombings and laser-guided missiles might fall
into this definition.
The column contained
a long list of incidents in which civilians were
killed directly as the results of NATO bombing runs. Included among
them were two that happened almost exactly one year ago, May 30,
1999. NATO missiles struck a bridge, twice, in the town of Varvarin
residents celebrated the feast day of the local saint, killing nine
and decapitating a priest. NATO missiles also hit a sanatorium in
Surdulica, killing 11 persons.
This brings me to
the second and third items of the week. One was an
email in reference to the Christian persecution update. The writer noted
I had not included the attacks against Serbian Christians and their
places. The other email promoted "Crucified Kosovo," a new
shows in words and color photographs the destruction of Christianity
since the end of the war (www.kosovo.net/crucified/default.htm).
report as many as 100 Serbian Orthodox churches and
monasteries have been destroyed or desecrated in Kosovo and
Metohija in the year since the war ended. Nearly 800 churches and
monasteries were destroyed or damaged in Bosnia and Herzegovina
between 1991 and 1995.
Orthodoxy is not
the only Christian target. The Keston News Service
(KNS) reported in May that an Assemblies of God church in Pristina
was raided by masked Islamic militants who tied up several members,
stole money and equipment, desecrated walls, and threatened to shoot
14-year-old boy unless he renounced his faith. This was the third raid
on the church in the last year.
"We are considering
this as the beginning of the future (of) hard
persecution against Christians in this country," the pastor told
The pastor is only
partly correct. The attack is a continuation of
concerted acts of terrorism against Christians and Serbians. On June
Kosovo's Serb leaders were considering a freeze in their participation
in top-level bodies of Kosovo's joint administration after an increase
anti-Serb violence. Father Sava Janjic, known as the Cyber Monk who
kept the world informed of events within Kosovo before the war,
called on KFOR leaders to stop calling the organized violence against
Serbs "revenge attacks," and to identify it as organized terrorism.
Shirreff, chief of the central British-led sector,
agreed, according to Agence France-Presse. "I have no difficulties
describing what I have seen in the last two days as terrorism."
Maybe Carla del
Ponte needs to see what the KFOR generals see. Then
again, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
Independent (UK) / www.independent.co.uk
strikes were of 'dubious legality'
By Fran Abrams,
8 June 2000
Last year's Nato
air strikes on Kosovo were of "dubious legality",
a select committee said yesterday.
The Foreign Affairs
committee also said Nato attacks had intensified
repression against Kosovo's Albanians by the forces of Yugoslavia's
President Slobodan Milosevic.
In its report on
the lessons to be learnt from the conflict, the MPs
broadly supported the decision to take military action. But the
committee added that the objective of establishing a multi-ethnic
society in Kosovo had not been achieved. Nor, it said, had the aim of
removing Mr Milosevic from power.
committee said Operation Allied Force was contrary to
the "basic law of the international community", the United
Charter. The committee's report said: "We conclude that Nato's
military action, if of dubious legality in the current state of
international law, was justified on moral grounds."
However the committee
criticised Nato for failing to foresee that Mr
Milosevic would respond to the bombing campaign by forcing
hundreds of thousands of Albanians to flee their homes. The report
said: "We believe a very serious misjudgement was made when it
assumed that the bombing would not lead to the dramatic escalation in
the displacement and expulsion of the Kosovo Albanian population."
said more should have been done to stockpile supplies so that the
refugees could have been housed more quickly.
The report said:
"Nato took the unprecedented action of bombing a ...
European state in defence of the rights of a large minority within that
state. As a result these rights have been restored. However, the
objective of establishing a multi-ethnic Kosovo society ... remains
unachieved. Milosevic remains in power."
The Foreign Secretary,
Robin Cook, said he was "confident" the Nato
action was consistent with international law and said the committee's
criticism that the action intensified Serb violence was "surprising".
Cook said: "As I made clear in my evidence to the committee, even
before airstrikes began it was clear that Milosevic was intensifying
repression in Kosovo."
INSTITUTE, OXFORD, UK
KESTON NEWS SERVICE
Thursday 8 June
DISPUTE OVER KOSOVO MONASTERY LAND
by Felix Corley
and Branko Bjelajac, Keston News Service
The United Nations
administrator for the Pec region of Kosovo has told
Keston News Service that a dispute over agricultural land next to the
Serbian Orthodox monastery at Decani monastery is `completely past,
over'. The Belgrade-based media complained in late May that the UN
Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) had `confiscated' the land, which the monks
use to support themselves. The land was returned to the monastery by
Serbian government in 1997. The UN administrator told the monks that
they could continue to cultivate the land that the local Albanian
population claim is disputed. However, a Serbian Orthodox monk is
worried that UNMIK still considers it to be disputed, although this
particular land is back in use by the monastery. He told Keston that
monks feared that the Albanian population was striving to oust the
The UNMIK regional
administrator, ALAIN LEROY, told Keston from Pec on 6
June that the local UNMIK administrator for Decani, HELINA KOKKARINEN,
told the monks of Decani in late May that the Albanians had disputed
their ownership of the land. `The monks interpreted this as meaning
they were not allowed to cultivate the land,' Leroy told Keston. `I
clarified the situation within 24 hours. We decided that the monastery
is able to cultivate the land as its land. We communicated this to the
monks and they were very happy.'
Much of the Decani
monastery's land was confiscated by the Yugoslav
Communist government in the 1940s. A bee-keeping cooperative was
established on part of it in the mid-1970s with a modern plant for the
packaging of honey. As this was the most fertile parcel of land, the
brotherhood of the monastery determinedly sought to have it returned
was finally successful in 1997. DRAGOMIR KALANJ, a legal adviser to
Diocesan Executive Board of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade
Keston on 31 May that the Serbian government acted upon several requests
from monasteries in Kosovo in 1997 and 1998, returning land at Decani,
Gracanica and the old Patriarchate in Pec. `To my understanding more
the land was returned just prior to the NATO aggression,' Kalanj
declared. `The Serbian government acted through its Directorate for
Properties who issued the gift certificates to the monasteries and
signed contracts on behalf of the state. I believe that the return of
the land to the Decani monastery was done upon the initiative of the
paper Glas Javnosti reported on 27 May that the
monastery had been forbidden to use the land under orders from the local
UNMIK administration, citing Father SAVA JANJIC, a monk of the Decani
monastery and a member of the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and
Metohija. After the war in Kosovo and the arrival of the UN mission
year ago, the paper claimed, the local Albanians, who forcibly expelled
all Serbs not only from the Decani municipality but from the entire
region, resolved to take away the land and take over the cooperative.
The brotherhood of the monastery proposed that the machines in the
processing plant be given to the Albanians so that they could transfer
it elsewhere, and that the land and the building remain in the ownership
of the monastery. However, the paper continued, the Albanians rejected
this proposal, applying pressure on UNMIK to take away the land from
monastery because `it is contested'.
`By this decision
which forbids the use of already sown monastery land,
great harm has been inflicted on the monastery and the brotherhood which
is slowly being forced behind the very walls of this shrine,' Father
Sava told the paper. `The Diocese of Raska and Prizren considers this
unjust decision to be a clear sign of the weakness of the UN mission
which is making concessions to the Albanians who clearly want to
ethnically cleanse one of the last remaining oases in the region of
Metohija. The Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian National Council
of Kosmet firmly demand that the UN mission withdraw this decision and
that it does not allow the usurpation of monastery land which is
essential to the survival of this monastic community.'
The Serbian Orthodox
Church in Belgrade joined in the protest. In a 29
May statement, it called for the rule of justice asking how it was
possible to dispute this land, as the Albanian side and UNMIK claim,
when it has belonged to the Decani monastery for centuries. `Knowing
that for our brethren, Christians from Western Europe and other
countries of western civilisation, private property is considered almost
sacred, we ask whether this case is creating a legal precedent to be
implemented only on Serbs and the Serbian church, or whether this new
law will be valid for their countries as well?'
Father Sava told
Keston on 8 June that Leroy had indeed confirmed that
the monastery could continue to use the land, but reported that UNMIK
had built a fence round it which the monks wanted removed. Father Sava
remained concerned that UNMIK still questioned the monastery's
ownership. `So allowing us to use the land is now an act of Mr Leroy's
mercy and not the complete withdrawal of his decision,' Father Sava
declared. `On the other hand the bee factory building is sealed by KFOR
and UNMIK although the building lawfully belongs to the monastery.'
Father Sava confirms that the machines on the site do not belong to
monastery and that the monks are happy to hand them over to UNMIK and
the Albanian population if they are needed.
Decani lies in the
sector of KFOR's Multinational Brigade West and the
Italians are in charge of security for the monastery. A spokesman for
the Italian command told Keston on 1 June that the question of ownership
of and access to the monastery lands `does not fall within the
competence of KFOR', declaring that KFOR was responsible only for
security issues, such as preventing ethnic friction, ensuring freedom
movement and preventing weapons and drug smuggling. `The Decani
monastery is under our protection,' the spokesman added, though he
declined on security grounds to elaborate on what measures the Italian
troops have taken to ensure the physical security of the monks and the
Despite the presence
of Italian troops, Father Sava is worried for the
monks' security as they use their land. `True the monks gathered hay
from that piece of land last week but they were not given any special
KFOR protection although the monks requested it,' he declared. `We are
afraid that UNMIK will soon allow the Albanians into the bee factory
which will make our use of the land totally impossible because of the
security situation. De facto that will mean that the land does not
belong to us.'
With Leroy's decision
to allow the monks to continue using the land, it
appears that UNMIK believes this dispute is over. `It was a 24-hour
agitation, no more,' Leroy told Keston. Father Sava asserts that the
decision has not halted what he believes is a campaign to oust the
Orthodox community. `The Albanians in Decani still continue to exert
pressure with the final goal to remove the brotherhood from the
monastery and make the entire monastery complex a museum. The Church
will strongly resist this.' (END)
Copyright (c) 2000
Keston Institute. All rights reserved.
By George Jahn
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 8, 2000; 9:10 p.m. EDT
-- A top Clinton administration adviser condemned the
"systematic" violence against Kosovo's dwindling Serb minority
Thursday as the
European Union's security chief called on NATO and U.N. officials to
do more to
Keep the peace in the convulsed province.
that we are seeing against Serbs ... seems to be systematic," said
James O'Brien, special Balkans adviser to Clinton and Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright. "We believe that those responsible should be
brought to justice as
soon as possible."
come ahead of Monday's first anniversary of the arrival of
NATO and Russian troops in Kosovo under an agreement which ended NATO's
bombing campaign aimed at punishing Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
his crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
O'Brien said he
was dispatched to Pristina by Albright to convey U.S. concern
about a backlash against Serbs in the province that has left several
dead in the past week.
On Thursday, five
Serb policemen were injured when their vehicle struck a land
mine planted by Kosovo Albanian "terrorist gangs" near the
border with central Serbia, police said.
In a statement distributed
by the official Tanjug news agency, Serb police
accused the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo of complicity
in the attack
because of its alleged "tolerance and lack of action" against
O'Brien said he
met with moderate Serb leaders as well as leading Kosovo
Albanians to express U.S. concern over the recent attacks. His aides
statements from Kosovo Albanian leaders Ibrahim Rugova and Hashim Thaci
pledging to work to counter the bloodshed.
- much of it revenge-taking for the crackdown on Kosovo
Albanians that left an estimated 10,000 dead and hundreds of thousands
before last year's Serb military withdrawal - has led many Serbs to
Following a meeting
with a key Serb leader, the European Union's top security
official said Thursday that NATO and the United Nations must do more
to curb the
Javier Solana, who
was NATO secretary-general during the alliance's bombing of
Yugoslavia last year, also appealed to Serbs in the divided city of
Mitrovica to join with the ethnic Albanians in institutions which the
Nations is trying to build in Kosovo.
Last week, the Serbian
National Council, which groups moderate Kosovo Serbs,
broke off participation in the province's U.N. interim government -
embarrassing illustration of the U.N. failure to create an environment
in which Serbs and
ethnic Albanians can peacefully coexist.
Speaking at the
United Nations Thursday, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
said that although much progress needs to be made in Kosovo, the international
community should be proud of having intervened.
"What was going
on in Kosovo before we all stepped in was impossible," she said,
citing the "ethnic cleansing" by Serb forces of Kosovo's ethnic
"There is a
long way to go, but I think we also have to remember how far we have
come and how important it was that the international community took
Kosovo," Albright said. "It is something I think we should
all be very proud
The German Parliament,
meanwhile, approved Thursday a one-year extension of a
mandate for its troops to remain in Kosovo, with all major parties backing
While the main opposition
conservatives insisted that the mandate must be
debated again in a year, they joined Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's
Social Democrats and the Greens in agreeing that the presence of German
part of the international peace keeping force was vital.
MINISTERS CONDEMN ATTACKS ON SERBS IN KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, June 8
(AFP) - NATO defense ministers insisted
Thursday that the alliance's year-old peacekeeping operation had
succeeded in making Kosovo "relatively stable," but they lashed
at continuing attacks on minorities by the province's ethnic
"We reversed the worst ethnic cleansing since World War Two,"
said NATO Secretary General George Robertson, noting that this week
was the first anniversary of the end of NATO's 78-day air campaign
to end Serbian repression of Kosovo's Albanian majority.
"Over a million refugees are now back home, and after a decade
of discrimination, Kosovar Albanians are now able to start
rebuilding their lives and their homes," he said at the end of
first day of a two-day NATO defense ministers meeting here.
In a joint statement, ministers said there was a "relatively
stable security situation" in Kosovo after a year's presence of
NATO-led peacekeepers there.
But they added: "We are concerned about continued high levels of
inter-ethnic tension and violence, particularly reverse violence
against Serbs by ethnic Albanians."
"We condemn all acts of violence," said the statement. "We
commend KFOR's robust action to deal with extremists from all sides.
We strongly regret that minority groups remain vulnerable to acts of
violence by Kosovar Albanian extremists."
It also expressed concern over the ethnically divided city of
Kosovska Mitrovica, saying it remained "a potential flash point
The ministers supported KFOR's action "to strengthen its control
of Kosovo's borders and boundaries ... as well as determined actions
against anyone who seeks to use Kosovo as a staging base to support
violent activity elsewhere."
Robertson said UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which
mandates the NATO peacekeeping presence in Kosovo, does not expire
on the first anniversary, as has been reported, but "stays in effect
unless the security council decides otherwise."
"A formidable task remains," he said, "and the commitment
showed to win the air campaign a year ago must now be maintained
over the long haul. Much of Kosovo is peaceful, but we know that
tension lies just beneath the surface, and levels of violence are
NATO, said the statement, looked forward "to a time when
democracy is also allowed to flourish in the FRY (Federal Republic
Citing "the political nature" of the recent conviction by
Serbian court of 143 Kosovo Albanians on terrorism charges, the
statement called upon "the Serbian authorities to refrain from
political trials and to uphold international standards of criminal
"We deplore the detention of Kosovo Albanians and members of all
kosovo.netmunities in Serbian prisons and call for their immediate
release and safe return and a full accounting of the missing,"
US Defense Secretary William Cohn said the Kosovo campaign had
spurred the Pentagon to spend more than two billion dollars on
upgrading its readiness for such situations.
"Since Kosovo," he said, "the US has committed to purchases
C-17 transports, to augment and upgrade systems for electronic
warfare and ground surveillance and increase purshces of precision
"We have also streamlined our export control rules and as a
result, our allies should be able to operate more efficiently
together," said Cohen.
OF EUROPE CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AGAINST SERBS IN KOSOVO
9 (AFP) - The Council of Europe on Friday
joined in the condemnation of blind acts of vengeance against Serbs
It said in a statement that the attacks were a threat not only
to Serbs but to all inhabitants of the province.
Lord Russell-Johnston, president of the council's parliamentary
assembly, said Kosovo Albanians should realise that ethnic violence
was a boomerang, and always finished by striking those who initiated
A report published Friday by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and
the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Serbs
and Roma in Kosovo were victims of violence.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier called upon all Kosovo
leaders and citizens to "make a personal and concerted effort to
bring violence, intimidation and harassment to an end."
leader accuses KLA "structures" of anti-Serb violence
Yugoslavia, June 8 (AFP) - A Kosovo Serb
leader, Oliver Ivanovic, said Thursday that recent anti-Serb
violence had been ordered by the command structure the theoretically
defunct Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
Ivanovic, who is the leader of the Serbian community in the
divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, made his comments after a
meeting with EU security and foreign policy chief Javier Solana in
"I told Mr Solana that we were waiting for these attacks, we had
forseen them, and that I believe KLA structures were behind them,"
The KLA was declared demilitarised by the UN in September 1999.
It was disarmed and renamed Kosovo Protection Corps, conceived as a
civilian emergency service. Serbs have said the switch was largely
Anti-Serb violence in Kosovo has been on the increase in the
past two weeks. A series of attacks left eight dead and a further
eight wounded last week, and six Serbs were injured in a grenade
attack on Tuesday.
Ivanovic said that the aim of the attacks was to destroy the
morale of the Serb community and drive them from Kosovo. He said
Serbs had felt besieged and persecuted since the Yugoslav army and
police left the province in June last year under an agreement signed
with NATO to end the alliance's air war againts Yugoslavia.
Following the complete withdrawal of Yugoslav armed forces from
Kosovo in June 1999, UN Security Council resolution 1244 forsaw the
return of several hundred Yugoslav police and army personnel.
But one year on, the precise number of troops involved and a
date for their return are still to be negotiated.
Serbs Now Victims
By George Jahn
Associated Press Writer
Friday, June 9, 2000; 8:10 p.m. EDT
-- International officials censured Kosovo's ethnic
Albanians on Friday for becoming the oppressors of their former Serb
tormentors and using the same "disgusting tactics" that were
once used against them.
In a series of reports
released Friday, the United Nations and other
international organizations involved in rebuilding Kosovo condemned
growing ant-Serb violence, saying Albanian revenge attacks remain a
worry a year after NATO drove Serb forces out of the province.
In a report issued
on the eve of the first anniversary of the U.N. mission
in Kosovo, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that continued international
involvement in Kosovo depended on the cooperation of all sides to bring
peace and security to the province.
of vicious attacks on Kosovo Serbs in several areas has undermined Serb
confidence in the future," Annan said. "The international
community did not intervene in Kosovo to make it a haven for revenge
But the chief U.N.
administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, urged critics
Friday not to judge the pace of reconciliation, saying it would take
Serbs and ethnic Albanians to live together peacefully.
of the Balkans involves centuries and centuries of
difficulties," he told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.
"We will need ... 10 years of a United Nations presence there ...
to see change in people's minds."
Kouchner spoke after
briefing the Security Council on the accomplishments and shortcomings
of the United Nations' adminstration in Kosovo, which was launched on
June 10, 1999 at the end of NATO's bombing campaign on Yugoslavia.
The 78-day NATO
campaign brought a halt to a yearlong crackdown on the
majority ethnic Albanians in Kosovo by Serb-led Yugoslav forces. NATO-led
peacekeepers and U.N. administrators moved in once Serb troops left.
jointly drawn up by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and released in
Pristina, listed a total of 180 violent crimes committed against Serbs
- now only around 5 percent of Kosovo's population - between February
In comparison, ethnic
Albanians - who make up more than 90 percent of the
province's population - were targeted 215 times, it said.
UNHCR also condemned
the mounting violence from its Geneva Headquarters, calling it the "glaring
failure" of a year of attempts to build peace in the province.
"We knew when
we went back that the hatred ran deep but we did not believe that the
refugees and victims that UNHCR had helped in exile would soon become
the oppressors," said spokesman Ron Redmond. "That means also
employing many of the same disgusting tactics that were used against
Tens of thousands
of Serbs have fled Kosovo since NATO bombing stopped June 9, 1999. They
were victims of - or feared - violence from ethnic Albanians seeking
revenge for the estimated 10,000 ethnic Albanians killed by the Serb-led
forces of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Instead of abating,
such violence has picked up in recent weeks, leaving several Serbs dead
and the rest of the minority enraged. Serbs rioted in Gracanica on Tuesday
hours after a grenade attack.
appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign," Annan wrote in
Sergey Lavrov went further, accusing the U.N. mission of failing to
prevent the "upsurge in anti-Serb terrorism," which he said
was a "planned, provocative campaign," by ethnic Albanians.
In Pristina on Friday,
more than 1,000 ethnic Albanians gathered to demand the release of those
still held in Serbian jails or information about others who
went missing in the Serb crackdown that ended after the 78-day air campaign.
Sixteen ethnic Albanians
were released from Serb prisons later Friday.
year on, Annan fears for future of Kosovo
The United Nations
secretary general, Kofi Annan, has sharply condemned the
upsurge in attacks on Serbs in Kosovo, for the first time accepting
not isolated revenge killings but part of an orchestrated campaign.
In a report to the
security council a year after the UN took charge of Kosovo's
government and Nato-led troops replaced Serb forces, Mr Annan wrote:
international community did not intervene in Kosovo to make it a haven
revenge and crime."
and the people of Kosovo have made some encouraging efforts
to create a society in which all people can live without fear. But understanding
and tolerance in Kosovo remain scarce and reconciliation is far from
His gloomy analysis
comes a few days after the moderate Serb national council
dealt a heavy blow to Bernard Kouchner, the UN's top man in Kosovo,
walking out of the territory's transitional council which functions
quasi-government under UN control. Its leaders were protesting at the
eight Serbs in two weeks.
The Serbs had only
agreed to join the council as observers, claiming that
security for their communities was too weak to justify full participation.
decision to end cooperation will delight Belgrade. In a further significant
change, the national council also wrote to the Serb president, Milan
Milutinovic, appealing for help.
UN figures show
that, although crime is affecting all communities, it is much
worse for Serbs. Twenty-six Serbs were killed between February and May
a population estimated at little more than 60,000, compared to 52 Albanians
out of a population of around 2m.
Dr Kouchner is under
pressure from the west to hold local elections in Kosovo in
another effort to restore normality, but the chances that any Serbs
take part in the polls, scheduled for October, look increasingly slim.
Elections in which
only Albanians take part in large numbers will be another signal that
no future for themselves in the territory.
Mr Annan tried to
sound upbeat in the rest of his report. He called Kosovo's
economy "remarkably vibrant", with 70% of private enterprises
and producing and employing more than in 1998. Winter wheat planting
at 80% of the historical average and the construction sector was booming,
But he added that
unemployment remained at around 50%, and much
remained to be done to establish the institutional and legal framework
encourage enterprise development.
One of the most
notorious murders was that of Petar Topoljski, a Serb who
worked for the UN. He was kidnapped and killed a few days after Dita,
Albanian-language newspaper, published his photograph and address
alongside the allegation that he had committed atrocities against Albanians
Dita explained its
denunciation by saying the UN police and prosecutors for the
war crimes tribunal were doing nothing to arrest Serb suspects. In response
the incident, Dr Kouchner closed the paper down for eight days.
UN lawyers are preparing
temporary rules, expected to be issued next week, to
impose partial censorship on Kosovo's press. "We have nothing against
investigative journalism but papers will not be able to publish details
people's workplaces or addresses," a UN official said yesterday.
The UN is taking
some comfort from the fact that Kosovo's Albanian leaders
have publicly recognised the plight of the Roma community, after thousands
fled last summer to escape arson and revenge murders. After a meeting
week, Albanian leaders promised them security, and a Roma representative
joined the interim government.
Meanwhile, in Serbia
lawyers for Miroslav Filipovic, a journalist who was
arrested after publishing articles about demoralisation in the armed
yesterday that investigators have finished their inquiries. A military
expected to announce on Monday whether he is to be charged with espionage.
The case prompted
protests from human rights organisations and from western
minorities still suffering one year after war
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 9 (AFP) - Kosovo's minority Serbs and
Roma gypsies are still suffering from a lack of security and freedom
of movement one year after the UN took over the province, according
to a report published Friday.
The report by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Organisation
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said minorities in the
Yugoslav province are still subject to violence and limited public
While it points to some signs of hope, such as Roma
participation in the consultative Kosovo Transitional Council, the
report is generally downbeat after a year of UN administration.
Criminal activity remains "unacceptably high," with minorities
suffering a disproportionate number of attacks and violence a
"prominent feature of minorities' everyday life," the assessment
It blamed the situation on a continued shortfall of UN police,
despite continued appeals from UN mission head Bernard Kouchner, and
on a "lack of a functioning and impartial judicial system."
Revenge attacks by ethnic Albanians directed against Serbs and
Roma have been frequent since the UN and KFOR international
peacekeepers took over Kosovo last June. Some 240,000 non-Albanians
have fled the province.
The report cited the case of a Serb man found dead near the
northeast town of Podujevo in February, shot in the mouth and eye
with his seatbelt wrapped around his neck and his identity card
pinned to his chest.
An added effect of the violence has been a restriction in
minorities' freedom of movement, which has affected health care,
education and other social services.
"In the worst cases, minority populations remain trapped in
their enclaves or even in their homes, unable to venture out without
a heavily armed escort," the report said.
Serb children in Pristina have to be bussed under KFOR escort to
overcrowded schools in nearby Serb villages, while many Serbs cannot
visit normal health care facilities.
Many have to go to special facilities in KFOR-guarded enclaves
or even go to Serbia for treatment.
The report said it was "essential that the international
community find creative and practical ways to ensure that minorities
have full access to public services in Kosovo."
The joint report is the fifth by the UNHCR and OSCE, covering
the period from February to May.
minorities stuck in enclaves after violent year under UN
June 10 (AFP) - Trapped in heavily guarded
enclaves and targetted by frequent violent attacks, Kosovo
minorities look back this weekend on a devastating year of
international administration of their province.
The lead-up to the first anniversary has been marked by a sudden
resurgence in violence against the Yugoslav province's remaining
Serb minority, estimated at between 60,000 and 90,000, drawing harsh
condemnation from local and international leaders.
The plight of Kosovo's minorities was highlighted Friday in a
bleak report by the UN refugee agency, which said little progress
had been made in recent months.
It said minorities were sidelined from society and subject to
It added that, owing to a shortfall in UN police and the lack of
a functioning and impartial judiciary, savage attacks had become "a
prominent feature" in the everyday lives of Serbs and Roma gypsies.
Minorities have mostly clustered under tight guard of
international troops in enclaves for security from revenge attacks
by ethnic Albanians, who suffered mass persecution at the hands of
the Belgrade regime before NATO intervened last June.
The report cited one case of a Serb man found dead near the
northeast town of Podujevo in February, shot in the mouth and eye,
with his seatbelt wrapped around his neck and his identity card
pinned to his chest.
Even in the enclaves safety is not certain, as a grenade attack
on Serbs in the heavily guarded village of Gracanica on the southern
edge of Pristina showed Tuesday.
An added effect of the violence has been a restriction in
minorities' freedom of movement, which has affected health care,
education and other social services.
"In the worst cases, minority populations remain trapped in
their enclaves or even in their homes, unable to venture out without
a heavily armed escort," the report said.
Serb children in Pristina have to be bussed under KFOR escort to
overcrowded schools in nearby Serb villages, while many Serbs cannot
visit normal health care facilities.
Many have to go to special facilities in KFOR-guarded enclaves
or even go to Serbia for treatment.
"I've been trying to find something positive in this report but
I'm afraid there isn't much," said Daan Everts, head of the Kosovo
mission in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation Europe
(OSCE), which co-sponsored the report.
The UN administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) has touted a
rapprochement between ethnic Albanians and Roma leaders as a glimmer
of hope after an inter-community meeting this week.
UNMIK wants gypsies, widely seen by the ethnic Albanian majority
as collaborators with the Serbs, to return and reintegrate into
Kosovo life in a bid to create a multi-ethnic, democratic society.
But one US gypsy specialist called the intiative "sheer
hypocrisy" and accused UNMIK and aid groups of systematically
Paul Polansky said 14,000 of the 19,000 gypsy homes in Kosovo
had been burned since NATO-led peacekeepers took over security in
the province last June and no efforts had been made at
One family of 17 told AFP they had not been out of their tiny
four-room house in Pristina since KFOR peacekeepers arrived a year
ago for fear of attacks by ethnic Albanians.
They said some of their former neighbours who knew them before
the war occasionally gave them small sums of money. A 14-year-old
daughter who can pass as Albanian then buys beans and potatoes at a
shop down the road.
"The ethnic Albanians hate us simply because we have dark skin,'
said one member of the family, adding that they had received no
deliveries from aid groups since March and had not seen a doctor
At least 210,000 non-Albanians have fled the volatile province
since June, the UNHCR said.
Serbs see in this a violation of the UN resolution that ended
the war and which called for minority security and the return of all
refugees to their homes.
anniversary for Kosovo's burnt-out UN staff
June 11 (AFP) - While Kosovo's Albanians
celebrate a year of liberty this weekend, there have been few signs
of festivity among UN workers here, depressed by a lack of visible
progress and by ongoing violence.
"It's never been a happy mission, it's very difficult," said
Susan Manuel, spokeswoman for the United Nations mission in Kosovo
and one of the first international officials to arrive here last
Many UN workers are suffering severe mission fatigue, worn down
by the gargantuan task of rebuilding the Yugoslav province
devastated by a decade of neglect and a short but brutal war.
"It's a very tough mission, so you have a higher attrition rate
than normal," said the head of the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Kosovo, Daan Everts.
Much of the disillusionment stems from the fact that UN workers
arrived here last summer amid very high hopes of helping Kosovo's
ethnic Albanians, hundreds of thousnads of whom had been driven out
by Serb forces.
But a year of vicious revenge attacks against Serbs and Roma
gypsies has worn down the initial enthusiasm and led to a growing
exasperation with the ongoing security crisis here.
"There is feeling of not making any progress, with all these
murders," said one UN official. "Everyone remembers the jubilant
arrival of the ethnic Albanians, then came the house burnings, the
murders in the streets of the Serbs."
One UN police officer expressed the force's demoralisation after
the rape and murder of an elderly Serb woman recently when he asked:
"What the hell are we doing here?"
Another said the multinational UN police force tries to present
a professional face but "deep in your heart you are frustrated,
tired of what is going on."
He said that with the judicial system still in tatters, officers
frequently make an arrest and then see the suspect on the street
again the next day, often released by judges too scared or biased to
put them in Kosovo's scarce prison cells.
International leaders from UN chief Kofi Annan to EU foreign and
security head Javier Solana have this week decried the security
situation in Kosovo, which despite the presence of 40,000
international peacekeepers they called "unacceptable."
"We're keeping the anniversary very low key, there's no reason
for flag-waving or fireworks," said one KFOR officer who asked
The reasons for disillusionment go deeper than just the
continuing violence however.
While the mission was full of energy in the winter to make sure
noboby starved or froze to death in the harsh winter -- none did --
the zeal appears to be evaporating in the steamy summer heat.
"There is a lack of local and international support," said
OSCE worker, who said the vast bureaucracies of the UN, OSCE and EU
-- often working in competition rather than cooperation -- meant
progress was slow.
The mission has also vacillated between a tough colonial
attitude, enforcing international standards, and a conciliatory
cooperative approach, trying to involve locals expelled from office
by Belgrade more than a decade ago.
"Everybody is terribly disappointed," said the OSCE official,
who asked not be named. "They are disappointed with us, we are
disappointed with them."
"I see very little will in staying on among those who have been
here for a year," she added. "On bad days I think that if
packed our bags and left, nothing would change here very much. It's
like shovelling sand."
One UN official said more UN workers were leaving than arriving,
even though the mission was running at only around 55 percent of its
UN workers have attributed the attrition to numerous causes: a
tough winter without water or electrity, lack of facilities, the
slowness of their wages -- albeit high -- being paid, contractual
obligations to work seven days a week and the lack of belief that
anything is really improving.
One said the most depressing factor was the "lack of recognition
by the population for what we have done for them."
"Instead of supporting us they just complain, it's really
amazing," he said.
Manuel defended the mission against such criticism.
"People say we're slow but what are they comparing us to? This
has never been done before," she said.
and justice, two key stumbling blocks for the UN in Kosovo
June 11 (AFP) - With Understaffed and
unprepared police, rare and often biased trials, the fight against
crime and violence is still a major problem after a year of the UN
mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), generating a climate of impunity in the
More than 500 murders have been committed in Kosovo since
August, almost 60 percent of them against non-ethnic Albanian
minorities, according to UN police.
Levels of violence, attacks, intimidation and arson have
remained almost constant, with around six murders every week since
UNMIK head Bernard Kouchner has ceaselessly called for the
international community to send more officers, while NATO-led
multinational peacekeeping troops had to take charge of policing
issues for the first few months.
A year after the UN arrived here, there are 3,630 international
police officers deployed, but with a mix of 47 different
nationalities in the force their effectiveness is often in doubt.
Only around a third of police officers in Pristina have adapted
to the difficult conditions of the job, according to deputy regional
commander Gilles Moreau.
He said some were afraid to patrol at night, while others had
trouble speaking English, the working language of the force.
If most logistical problems have been ironed out, the police's
work still stumbles on basic hurdles.
Police stations do not have a shared database and radio
transmitters cannot always be relied upon to communicate with other
units, set up roadblocks or give a description of a suspect, Moreau
Another major problem is how to gather intelligence from a
population which traditionally mistrusts security forces and has
little respect for officers in their red and white "Coca Cola"
To overcome the law of silence among the population the police
have started to recruit informers.
"But we need money to pay them, and we don't have a budget for
that," said Moreau."We cannot put a stop to grenade attacks
Even when these obstacles are overcome and the police manage to
bring a case to court, they collide with a stumbling and biased
judicial system and overcrowded jails, which have forced the police
to release some detainees suspected of multiple murders, Moreau
A recent report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stressed that
"despite the appointment of 400 judges and prosecutors... the
unwillingness of witnesses to testify and the ethnic bias and risk
of intimidation of some judicial personnel have hampered the
administration of justice."
This disfunctionality has had an impact on the population, "who
do not see the results of the police's work," as well as on the
morale of the force, said Moreau.
For months UNMIK has been struggling to set up a legal system.
In December, under pressure from ethnic Albanian judges,
Kouchner changed the applicable law from the hated post-1989 system
to the pre-1989 Kosovo code which existed before Belgrade scrapped
the province's autonomy.
UNMIK wanted to draw locals into the system as much as possible,
but so far only two Serbian judges have been sworn in and some of
the cases have proved to be almost farcical.
"The local judiciary has not yet proven itself capable of
distancing itself from the recent conflict," said Annan's report,
which recommended deploying more international judges to supplement
the three already in place.
Beyond all these shortcomings is the socio-political context of
"What can you do to keep someone in jail when you have 500
people demonstrating in front of the police station?" asked Moreau.
He added that the choice is often between a strict application
of the law or maintaining a peaceful society.