REUTERS

Kosovo Albanians Cheer Fighters, Back Independence

PRISTINA, Jun 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) A crowd of 30,000 Kosovo Albanians packed a
football stadium in central Pristina on Sunday to cheer the fighters who had confronted
Serbs a year ago and to applaud leaders of the struggle against domination by Serbia.

Some 300 former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), now disarmed and
reformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps, marched in uniforms displaying KPC insignia
through the city streets to rhythmic clapping from onlookers waving Albanian flags in
summer sunshine.

One day before the first anniversary of the arrival of NATO peacekeepers under the
United Nations banner, some of the crowd held up slogans praising NATO and UNMIK
- the U.N. mission in Kosovo. But many more posters simply read: "Triumph of the
KLA".

"The KPC are the future armed forces of an independent Kosovo," said Xhevdet, a
student.

"Independence for Kosovo - I do not see any alternative," said pensioner Beqir Nokshiqi,
62. "After the massacres (of ethnic Albanians) there can be no coexistence any more."

Inside the stadium, the KPC detachments joined the crowd in listening to speeches
lauding the KLA by former leaders of the armed struggle.

Although Kosovo remains legally part of Serbia, it is de facto a protectorate of the United
Nations, which has put strong pressure on Kosovar leaders in recent days to denounce
attacks on the Serbs who remain.

Only one of them, Adem Demaci, the veteran former political representative of the KLA,
ventured to do so at the rally.

"We should not forget that those Serbs who remain here are now living in miserable
conditions," he told the crowd, large sections of which jeered and whistled, even when he
reminded them that foreign forces would leave only when there was security for Serbs
as well as Albanians.

"I believe you will understand what the present situation requires," Demaci said.

Former KLA general Agim Ceku called for a "tolerant and democratic society" but did
not specifically mention Serbs.

"We have to prove to our friends that we have the capacity to run Kosovo when they
have left were," Ceku said.

The crowd, ranging from old men in traditional Albanian dress to young girls in Leonardo
di Caprio T-shirts, remained good natured but were in no mood to listen to calls for
coexistence.

Every person who spoke to Reuters repeated the uncompromising aim - independence.

"I was unemployed for ten years because I belonged to the wrong nation," said one. "We
have nothing against relations with the Serbs, except for those individuals who have blood
on their hands. Just give us independence and everything else will follow."


REUTERS

UN Response on Security Dismays Kosovo Serbs

GRACANICA, Jun 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) Ethnic Serbs are upset by the failure of the
United Nations to safeguard their rights and will probably extend a boycott of Kosovo's
interim post-war government, a Serb spokesman said on Saturday.

A delegation of moderate Serbs flew to New York earlier this week to meet UN
Security Council officials and demand an annex to an existing UN resolution on Kosovo
spelling out that the human rights of Kosovo Serbs had to be respected.

Father Sava Janjic, an Orthodox priest who acts as spokesman for the moderate Kosovo
Serbian National Council (SNC), said the delegation had received strong words of
support from the UN but not the written guarantees they had wanted.

"I am very discouraged. There was no annex, no common document," Father Sava told
Reuters. "There was just a bit more rhetoric. I cannot see how we could justify our
further participation of the (UN) councils."

The SNC said last Sunday it was freezing its participation in Kosovo's main multi-ethnic
institutions following the murder of eight ethnic Serbs in one week. The attacks were
blamed on ethnic Albanians, although nobody has been arrested.

News of the walkout buffeted the province's UN administration, which is struggling to
create an environment in which Serbs and ethnic Albanians can peacefully coexist.

Monday marks the first anniversary of the United Nations and KFOR peacekeepers
taking control of Kosovo under an agreement with Yugoslav Serb authorities in Belgrade
following a 78-day bombing campaign by NATO to stop Albanian-Serb bloodshed.

Despite the presence of 47,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo, attacks on ethnic Serbs and
their property continue on an almost daily basis. More than 150,000 Serbs are estimated
to have fled the province since last June, leaving some 100,000 out of a total population in
Kosovo of two million people.

"We have a basic apartheid system here reminiscent of South Africa - or even worse of
World War Two, with people being killed just because they speak a different language,"
said Father Sava, speaking from Gracanica's 14th-century monastery.

Gracanica lies a short distance from Kosovo's regional capital Pristina and is one of the
few Serb enclaves left in the province. Roads in and out of the town were sealed at the
weekend following a grenade attack on Tuesday.

International leaders have condemned the attacks on ethnic Serbs and called on ethnic
Albanian political leaders to preach tolerance and respect. But extreme anti-Serb
sentiment predominates among Kosovo Albanians.

The United Nations chief administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, said in New York
overnight that he expected the UN would have to remain in Kosovo for a number of
years.


REUTERS

KFOR Can Stop Anti-Serb 'Terrorism' in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Jun 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) Peacekeepers in Kosovo have the expertise to
stamp out "terrorist attacks" on ethnic Serbs but need some luck to identify the
perpetrators, a British commander said on Saturday.

Kosovo's dwindling Serb population has called on the United Nations to send anti-terrorist
experts to the Yugoslav province, now under de facto international rule, following the
recent murder of eight of their kin.

Brigadier Richard Shirreff, head of the British military contingent in Kosovo, told
reporters he understood the Serbs' anxiety and was doing everything possible to stem the
violence.

"It is an easy thing to say, 'Get in specialist anti-terrorist people'. The best anti-terrorism
forces in the world are soldiers who can understand the people and can engage with the
people," said Shirreff.

He was speaking a few days after being assaulted by a furious Serb mob.

"I am confident I have got the resources I need," Shirreff said. "(But) we have got to
strike lucky ... There are no quick fixes in the fight against terrorism."

No arrests have been made following the violence of the past two weeks and Shirreff
said he had no clear leads at present.

"We are not necessarily dealing with a coordinated organization. We may well be dealing
with individuals who strike when the opportunity arises. That is very difficult to get a
handle on."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Thursday the upsurge of violence directed at
the ethnic Serbs a year after the United Nations and KFOR peacekeepers took control
of the province appeared to be an orchestrated campaign.

Local officials believe ethnic Albanian extremists are responsible for the murders and
assaults. Many Kosovo Albanians blame provocateurs sent by Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic to destabilize the province.

LACK OF SECURITY CAUSED SERB FLIGHT FROM KOSOVO

World leaders have condemned recent attacks on ethnic Serbs and called on ethnic
Albanian political leaders to preach tolerance and respect to their majority community in
Kosovo.

But extreme anti-Serb sentiment predominates among Kosovo Albanians embittered by a
decade of brutal Serbian rule following Belgrade's revocation of the province's governing
autonomy in 1989.

More than 150,000 Serbs are estimated to have fled the province for fear of reprisal
since last June when KFOR and UN administrators arrived. Only some 100,000 Serbs
are left out of a total population in Kosovo of two million people.

Moderate Serbs sent a delegation to New York this week for urgent talks with Security
Council officials. However, their request for a written pledge guaranteeing the safety of
their community was rejected.

The Kosovo Serbian National Council (SNC) announced last Sunday it was freezing its
participation in Kosovo's main multi-ethnic institutions until it got clear UN safeguards.

The boycott is a blow to the UN Kosovo mission, which is struggling to create an
environment in which Serbs and ethnic Albanians can peacefully coexist.

Father Sava Janjic, an Orthodox priest who acts as spokesman for the SNC, told Reuters
on Saturday that well-meaning words from the international community would not be
enough to get the Serbs back into Kosovo's interim government.

"We have a basic apartheid system here reminiscent of South Africa - or even worse, of
World War Two, with people being killed just because they speak a different language."


WASHINGTON POST

A Year After the War, Kosovo Killing Goes On

CERNICA, Yugoslavia, June 11; The killer stood ankle-deep in the mud of a stream bed on Sunday night two weeks ago and poked his AK-47 through a metal fence covered with
camouflaging vegetation. He was close enough to get a clear view of 4-year-old Milos Petrovic and four Serbian men milling in front of a tiny grocery in this Kosovo village.

Milos had come for an ice cream cone with his uncle, but his presence was no deterrent to the gunman, who fired 21 shots at the group and then fled along the stream. Milos's head was nearly gone, and two of the men also died quickly. U.S. troops flew the others by helicopter to a base camp for surgery.

The dead were among the more than 500 people who have been slain in Kosovo since NATO peacekeeping troops and U.N. officials arrived here one year ago to begin reconstructing this war-ravaged, ethnically riven Serbian province. In the last five weeks alone, more than 55 other serious, ethnically motivated crimes have been committed against Kosovo's minority Serbian population, and today, a crowd of 15 Serbs attacked and killed two ethnic Albanians in the central Kosovo village of Cubrelj.

But despite the violence, vast social change has been achieved. Nearly 1 million ethnic Albanians who were driven out of Kosovo last spring by Serb-led Yugoslav forces have returned. Homes are being rebuilt, voters are being registered for elections, and the province is again bustling, crowded and vibrant. And while Kosovo's political status remains in question--it is a U.N. protectorate without a constitution or even a blueprint for the future--it now has a $274 million annual budget, more than 70,000 public employees and a rapidly growing private sector.

Still, the continuing slayings, kidnappings, arson incidents and mine, mortar and grenade attacks serve as a daily reminder that peace has not yet come to Kosovo.

"Things are getting better," said Bernard Kouchner, a French diplomat who is the chief U.N. administrator here, referring to improvements in housing, welfare and social services. "But humanly and psychologically, regarding the behavior of the people, we are not getting better."

The persistent ethnic violence has been a deep embarrassment for the United Nations and the 38 countries that dispatched more than 30,000 soldiers and 3,000 police officers to bring order and enforce the rule of law here after NATO bombing forced the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops and Serbian police. Despite being deployed every day at 550 sensitive sites, organizing 200 daily vehicle checkpoints and conducting more than 500 daily patrols in a territory the size of Connecticut, they have been powerless to stop the killings.

Spanish Lt. General Juan Ortuno, a veteran of the U.N. peacekeeping operation in nearby Bosnia, agreed in the main with Kouchner, saying, "the recovery of life" has been much quicker here. Ortuno has commanded NATO forces in Kosovo for the past two months, but "it seems like six," he said, partly because much of his daily agenda is consumed in trying to prevent bloodshed between Serbs and the majority ethnic Albanians.

The toll of the ethnic violence can be seen almost everywhere--on the deserted streets of a dozen cities and towns still subject to U.N. evening curfews; in the construction of a special, apartheid-style railroad platform for Serbs outside Pristina, the Kosovo capital, to isolate them from ethnic Albanians; at a bakery in Pristina's Ulpiana neighborhood, where Serbian customers dress like ethnic Albanians and refuse to speak up until everyone else has left, lest they be identified as Serbs; and in the checkpoints, gates and barbed wire that control access to the dozen or so major enclaves where most of the province's 100,000 Serbs are battened down under special NATO protection.

Initially, U.N. officials talked of maintaining Kosovo as an integrated, multi-ethnic society. But now, they are simply trying to dissuade Serbs from leaving for Serbia proper and ensuring they have adequate safeguards. Despite such efforts, "in some communities, every single Serb-owned property is for sale," said one spokesman for a U.N. refugee office here. "If the pace of departure continues, there'll be no Serbs left there by the end of the year."

The tension has undercut Western plans to organize the return of some of the 150,000 Serbs who have fled Kosovo in the past year. A U.S. proposal to bring Serbs back to the western village of Istok, for example, has been shelved after publicity prompted the mayor to renounce his support; a British plan to return Serbs to the central town of Slivovo has had few takers.

Talk was rife last fall that Kosovo eventually would gain independence from Serbia--Yugoslavia's dominant republic--but that has all but died out in Kosovo and in Europe as well, as ethnically motivated violence has continued and the postwar body count has mounted. "Does anyone want it anymore?" asked one European diplomat here whose country supported ethnic Albanian aspirations in the past. "The game has moved on," he said, adding that Kosovo's nearly 2 million ethnic Albanians "do not realize how much they have lost the sympathy of the West."

Jock Covey, a U.S. diplomat who is Kouchner's principal deputy, told Kosovo's interim governing board last week that the international community is now questioning why it dispatched troops to Kosovo, when the ethnic Albanian leadership has mostly responded with silence to serious crimes against Serbs.

Criminality and Nationalism

Afrimi Zeqiri, 28 and a life-long resident of this village of 2,000 ethnic Albanians and 500 Serbs, now sits in a crowded jail at U.S. military headquarters, where he is a principal suspect in the slaying of 4-year-old Milos Petrovic and the other two Serbs on May 28.

He is something of a novelty. Peacekeeping troops and policemen here have made arrests in fewer than half the 550 or so slayings in the last year, and most of those arrested in connection with ethnically motivated crimes have been released by ethnic Albanian judges pending trial. But Kouchner insisted that Zeqiri's case be heard before one of Kosovo's three foreign jurists.

If Zeqiri goes to trial, his case will be rarer still, because only a few dozen such trials have been completed in the past year. The reason, according to Sylvie Pantz, head of the U.N. office of judicial affairs, is that "the judiciary is not working yet" in Kosovo.

A former tobacco farmer who joined ethnic Albanian separatist rebels after NATO's air offensive against Yugoslavia started last year, Zeqiri has been unemployed since the war destroyed the market for domestic tobacco. Three of his brothers are also out of work. A fourth, Isa, who has a job in nearby Gnjilane, said he knows his brother has a tendency to get into trouble.

Isa says he recently tried to watch over Afrimi "to keep him from going [with people] . . . that I don't want him" to see. U.N. police said those people are members of a local gang that named itself after an ethnic Albanian rebel hero and is now engaged in a variety of criminal activity. Groups such as this, which combine criminality and extreme ethnic nationalism, have begun to emerge throughout Kosovo, police
say.

"Who benefits from all this violence?" asked Gary Carrell, a former Montana sheriff who is now the top U.N. police officer in Gnjilane. "There are three groups: [Yugoslav President Slobodan] Milosevic and the Serbian regime in Belgrade; ethnic Albanian extremists; and the [criminal underground] that likes to generate continual instability here. I am seeing a combination of the last two begin to form here, and I'm very worried."

NATO officers and U.N. police say they do not discount the possibility that Serbian hard-liners from Belgrade, capital of both Serbia and Yugoslavia, are behind at least some of the recent attacks on Serbs in Kosovo. Ortuno and others confirmed that NATO is exploring this possibility, but they say no one can offer any proof. Many officials also stress that ethnic Albanians have a clearer motive: To stop Serbs from returning to their homes in Kosovo by clearly signaling that the province is unsafe.

Javier Solana, the European Union's security and foreign policy chief, said here this week that no matter who is behind the attacks, he feels that ethnic Albanian leaders have not condemned them forcefully enough. It is, he says, almost as if "deep down, they don't care, because the attacks will prevent the Serbs from returning."

The only risk ethnic Albanians now face, he said, is from the international community, which may have to consider taking unspecified action against those who fail to speak against the violence "every single day."

Counting Corpses

Tensions in Kosovo have been exacerbated recently by the mass trial and sentencing of 145 ethnic Albanians in the Serbian city of Nis to long prison terms for allegedly supporting separatist rebel forces in Kosovo. Kouchner calls the cases, in which little evidence was presented, a clear effort to provoke Kosovo residents. "This is fascism," he said.

Hostility has also been stoked by the continuing discovery of mass graves dating from last spring's offensive by Belgrade government forces to purge Kosovo of its ethnic Albanian majority. A German forensic team last week began unearthing 10 bodies in a small village northwest of Pristina, where a man preparing his garden found bones buried in front of a stone wall pocked with 32 bullet holes.

Last month, hundreds of Pristina residents watched in silence at one of the city's graveyards as British pathologists began pulling dozens of bodies from unmarked graves. When one distraught woman finally cried out that she recognized articles of clothing belonging to her son and her husband, another woman told her she was lucky; at least she knew where they were.

So far, nearly 3,000 bodies have been unearthed in Kosovo by war crimes investigators, who have visited roughly half the known sites of suspected mass graves. Another 3,368 people have been identified as missing on a list of names published last week by the Red Cross.

Former U.S. Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, who served in Bosnia and is now municipal administrator of the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, said: "There is a degree of hate here that is far greater than anything I found in Bosnia; and also a degree of fear. I am searching for a word that means vitriolic squared."

When Michael Lapsley, a South African Anglican priest, visited Kosovo recently, he too found himself startled by the depth of the ethnic hatred. Lapsley, a vocal campaigner against apartheid, lost both his hands in a 1990 mail bomb blast in Zimbabwe but came here to lecture to a group of intellectuals and students about reconciliation and tolerance.

In his talk, Lapsley said that at a schoolhouse in the village of Lausa, ethnic Albanian teachers "told me about Serbs. I have heard people say, 'These people are biologically inferior.' " Such statements, he said, are little different from those of South African whites who are still unaware "they have been fed all their lives on lies."

Lapsley went on to urge that "young Serbs and Albanians tell each other stories and be humans to each other" and said they must realize that "the fears of their enemies . . . are bigger than the prejudices and fears" of their own ethnic kin. Otherwise, he said, they will be consumed by antipathy that "rots the brain and prejudice that blinds people even to their own self-interest."

The audience was skeptical. Fisnik Hallimi, an ethnic Albanian student at the University of Pristina, asked: "Do we have to love people in other groups?" Fadil Husa, a director at Pristina's National Theater, wondered: "How can healing happen if the perpetrator has not realized his part? How can there be forgiveness for those who have not asked for forgiveness?"


AP

Serbs Pressured in US Kosovo Sector

By Danica Kirka
Associated Press Writer
Monday, June 12, 2000; 1:36 a.m. EDT

GNJILANE, Yugoslavia -- Just the thought of going to school makes Maja Ristic,
an 11-year-old Kosovo Serb run away in tears.

Like many other Serbs, who have managed to stick it out since NATO-led forces
entered the province after a 78-day air war that was suspended a year ago
Saturday, Ristic and her family have had enough.

It gets ever harder to be a Serb in Kosovo.

Serb kids in this town, run by the U.S. Army, are escorted to church-run
classes by American soldiers in full battle gear or by U.N. police whose only task is
to make sure they get there safely.

Maja's mother Vesna, 28, often tags along with the escort taking her children to
school - her only way to safely buy groceries.

Serbs are reviled collectively by most of Kosovo's majority ethnic Albanian
population, seen as acting in complicity with Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic's decade-long apartheid-like campaign here. Worst still, they are
attacked - eight Serbs have died in recent days.

The U.N. refugee agency says that Serbs are leaving some communities in the
American sector of Kosovo at such an alarming rate that many cities will have no
Serbs living there at all by the end of the year.

"That is apparently where the Serb community is under the most pressure," said
Peter Kessler, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Even
though the U.S. sector once had more Serb enclaves than any other sector of
Kosovo, Kessler said that in some communities "every single house is for sale."

Serbs have been leaving Kosovo even in the years before the war, uncomfortable
with the increasing tension, ratcheted up by Milosevic's regime. Still, after
Milosevic lost control of this southern province of Yugoslavia, tens of
thousands more have gone.

The exodus began at first because of attacks leveled in revenge for Milosevic's
crackdown on ethnic Albanians. Now though, even international officials have
joined Serb political leaders in claiming that ethnic Albanians are conducting a
concerted campaign to erase non-Albanians from the province to better prepare
Kosovo for moves toward independence.

On Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the recent violence an
"orchestrated campaign" against the Serbs.

The increasing pressure on the Serbs comes at a sensitive moment politically -
Monday's one-year anniversary of NATO's arrival. Serbs have grown impatient
with their almost virtual isolation in Kosovo and complained to the U.N.
Security Council.

All of which is not helping the Ristic family. They've lived alongside a
curving back alley in central Gnjilane for 50 years, in three houses embellished with
flower pots, a garden patch and wooden benches for sitting in the sun.

They know their past life is gone now. They are among the last holdouts in a
neighborhood surrounding the Serbian Orthodox Church that was once almost
completely Serb. Everyone else has sold their homes, picked up and gone.

They'd go too, but they want to sell all three houses and leave together and
no one has that kind of money. Their homes are the only thing they own.

"The poor are even a burden to God," said Leposava Ristic, the family's
grandmother, who has worked all her life as a cleaning lady.

She and her family and seven now live a life of controlled house arrest.
Leposava, 70, is afraid to sit in her garden, in case someone tries to cut her throat.
The children won't leave the family's yard.

U.S. Army First Lt. Vlad Levichev, who is in charge of this part of city,
knows their problems too well. Even though the 24-year-old officer from West Roxbury, Mass.,
has only been here three weeks, he's learned a lot about the 61 Serb families that
live among the some 600 homes in his patch of Kosovo.

He's even mastered the irony of the present situation - that American forces
whom the Serbs see as being responsible for the air war in the first place have now
become their greatest defenders.

"They know that they are only here because of us," he said, about the Ristics'
decision to stay. Yet the Ristic family fear even the Americans in the full
battle gear may not be enough to keep them save.

Even though they've had no troubles with their Albanian neighbors, they fear
outsiders, especially the young thugs they see wandering the streets. With
resignation, they admit that unless something changes, it's only a matter of
time before they go, too.

"Just think about it," Leposava says. "There won't be a Serb soul anywhere."


Daily Telegraph (London)
June 12, 2000

Brothers in arms fall out over spoils of Kosovo

By Lutz Kleveman in Pristina

INTERNAL score-settling, business disputes and political rivalry have
seen 23 high-ranking former Kosovo Liberation Army members killed in
the past year.

The guerrilla army, once 30,000-strong, has broken into rival groups
struggling for power and money in the United Nations-run province.
Several recent shoot-outs between former KLA commanders have shocked
Western officials. Many ex-guerrillas are reportedly involved in drug
smuggling, corruption and protection rackets.

Last September the KLA was officially disbanded after its victorious
Nato-assisted liberation struggle against the apartheid regime of
Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic. But the commanders have retained key
political and economic positions, as well as their ex-fighters'
absolute loyalty and guns.

The former KLA supreme commander, Hacim Thaci, one of four members of
Kosovo's ruling Interim Administrative Council, has lost control over
many local chieftains who have left his Party of Democracy (PDK) and
now lead rival clan-based factions.

The most successful is the charismatic former commander Ramush
Haradinaj, who allegedly fell out with Mr Thaci over the control of
certain petrol stations. Renowned for his courage during the war, Mr
Haradinaj has his powerbase in the south-western town of Prizren and
he
is leading Mr Thaci in opinion polls ahead of October elections.
The power struggles between former brothers in arms have turned
bloody.

Last month the former KLA-commander Ekrem Rexha was gunned down
outside his house. His assailants escaped. The moderate Rexha, a former
Yugoslav army general who spoke seven languages, was known as a Thaci opponent
and a close friend of Mr Haradinaj.

Ordinary Kosovo Albanians are increasingly disgusted by their
liberators' brutal infighting, corruption and mafia-style activities.
In January UN police raided the flat of Mr Thaci's brother Gani and found
500,000 marks in cash under a mattress. Part of the money had been
paid by a Canadian construction company working in Kosovo for "intermediary
services", as its embarrassed director explained.
Equally tainted with crime is the KLA's civilian successor
organisation, the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK) whose 5,000 members immodestly
translate their initials as Tomorrow's Masters of Kosovo.
Though Mr Thaci has tried to distance himself from the "black sheep"
among his former soldiers, Albanians are turning their backs on him.
They again flock to the Democratic League of Kosovo of Ibrahim Rugova,
the writer who led the peaceful resistance against the Milosevic
regime in the Nineties.

To restore his kudos as liberator, Mr Thaci plays on Albanian fears of
the Serbs. Many link his radical rhetoric with the recent surge of
attacks on Serbs in which at least eight people have died.


AFP

One year of UN Kosovo mission shows up ambiguities

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 12 (AFP) - After a year of the UN
mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the UN Security Council resolution which
gave the mission its mandate has shown up all it ambiguities,
leading many officials to ponder possible adjustments to it.
The task facing them is not an easy one: Resolution 1244, which
put an end to the war in Kosovo on June 10 last year, was only
drafted and adopted after major compromise between permanent
Security Council members, in particular the United States and
Russia.
That is probably one reason why the Security Council, which has
just reviewed the resolution after its first year, renewed it
without changing a single comma.
Since its arrival in Kosovo last June, UNMIK has been forced to
juggle the two fundamental principles of the resolution, the
"substantial autonomy" granted to Kosovo and the fact that it
remains part of federal Yugoslavia.
While certain UNMIK decisions have stayed well within these
boundaries, others -- such as the adoption of the German mark as the
official currency in place of the Yugoslav dinar -- seem to go
beyond the realm of mere "autonomy".
This at least is the view of Belgrade, which has denounced such
moves as null and void.
Measures such as the introduction of identity papers and the
creation of a separate postal system also serve to inch Kosovo a
little further away from Yugoslavia.
But the question remains as to whether UNMIK can do otherwise,
when it is trying to establish autonomous institutions in a province
where the ethnic Albanian majority is demanding independence after
10 years of apartheid and thousands of deaths.
UN special envoy Jiri Dienstbier recently criticised
international officials for not stating clearly whether Kosovo was
to remain within Yugoslavia or gain independence.
"The main problem is that the aim of the mission in Kosovo is
not clearly defined and none of the international political
officials wants to do so," said Dienstbier.
Markus Pucnik, a political analyst for the International Crisis
Group (ICG), stressed that any modification of the resolution would
have an impact on the ground in Kosovo.
"If you move closer to Belgrade, the ethnic Albanians will no
longer be behind you and there is the risk they could blame the
international community," he said.
"But if you mention independence there is a risk the Serbs will
leave the territory," he added.
With municipal elections on the horizon later this year, many
international officials are demanding clarification, in particular
on the powers to be devolved to the local population.
UNMIK's head, former French health minister Bernard Kouchner, is
negotiating a 'contract' or a 'pact' on Kosovo's self-governement,
which would in effect form an embryonic constitution.
The document would include a clause on minority rights and a
legal framework establishing the rights of future elected officials.
"The elements of the contract will include legislative,
executive and judiciary structures as well as other provisions
deemed necessary for self-government," according to a recent report
by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Such a contract would involve all the actors involved in
building a "peaceful and stable Kosovo," the report said.
The head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE)
in Kosovo, Daan Everts, said it was necessary to specify the exact
nature of the collaboration between UNMIK and the local population,
and the powers of each, "for a more stable interim administration."
"That is why it is important to have an interim status period
between the emergency period that has just passed and the ultimate
stages, so there is not this restlessness and uncertainty," he told
AFP.


UPI

Serbs now Kosovo refugees

By LULZIM COTA

TIRANA, Albania, June 11 (UPI) -- A year ago, when NATO troops
were preparing to go into Kosovo, the Olympia camp in suburban Tirana was
filled to capacity with 4,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees. A few meters away
lay another camp, its tents filled with some 6,000 refugees. Most were
cheerful, as they listened to the latest news from Kosovo and talked of
when they would return home. Children played in the sunshine and the
women packed their clothes, hoping that they would be back in Kosovo
soon.
A year later, Olympia is mostly empty. There are just 115
Kosovo refugees -- 34 men, 42 women and 39 children. The neighboring camp
no longer exists. Most refugees have no homes to return to in Kosovo and
several have tried unsuccessfully to go to Europe. Many of the older
women prefer to stay in the camp as they are taken care of by the
authorities.
Ramiz Bujupi 40, a refugee, had left Mitrovica on April 13,
1999, and after 27 hours on a tractor, crossed the Albanian border on
April 15.
"I want to return to Mitrovica, but my apartment has been
taken over by somebody else," he said. "I went there last year to look
for a new place to live, but saw that 14 of my relatives lived together
in a 60 square-meter apartment."
Bujupi, an electrical engineer, said he believed he could find
a good job in Mitrovica. Conditions there changed his mind and look to
the West for alternatives, where both his brother and brother-in-law
live.
Conditions are quite similar throughout Albania. Last year,
there were a half million refugees here.
"Now there are only 4,125 refugees," said Zapata, the UNHCR
representative in Tirana.
During the ethnic trouble that drove them from their homeland,
more than one million refugees left Kosovo to go to Albania, Macedonia,
Western Europe, the United States and Australia. Today, though most have
returned home to Kosovo, many still live abroad -- mostly in Germany and
Switzerland.
Both countries have said they will repatriate the refugees -
by force, if necessary - and have struck agreements with Tirana to return
refugees through Albania.
There are some 160,000 Kosovo Albanians in Germany , out of
180,000 who were there at the end of 1999. Only 14,614 refugees had gone
to Germany during the conflict in Kosovo.
The Swiss sheltered 53,000 refugees during the crisis last
year - the highest per capita among Western countries. Half of those
refugees have returned home. The Swiss government plans to return 4,000
refugees per month till the end of the year.
Bernard Kouchner, head of the U.N. Mission in Kosovo, has
appealed repeatedly to European countries to slow down the return of
refugees because of rampant unemployment in Kosovo. He has said their
return, and the return of Serb refugees, could spark further unrest in
the embattled Yugoslav province.
While the Kosovo Albanian refugee story can be considered a
"successful closed story," as Dennis McNamara, the UNHCR chief in
Pristina has called it, the story of Serb and Gypsy refugees does not
have the same ending.
The UNHCR recorded some 218,000 non-Albanian refugees who had
left Kosovo by last June. McNamara said some 188,000 Serbs and Gypsies
lived in Serbia and 30,000 in Montenegro. He said the figure would be
10-15 percent higher because not all non-Albanians who left Kosovo had
been recorded by the UNHCR.
The number of Serbs who left Kosovo last June is nearly 2.5
times more than the Serbs who still remain. During the same period, half
of all ethnic Albanians left the province. A year ago, there were 360,000
Kosovo Albanian refugees in Macedonia; the figure is now estimated to be
15,000.
"There are 9,100 recorded refugees in the collective centers
and Albanian families in Macedonia, while the number of non-recorded
refugees is estimated to be nearly 4,500" say Bujar Idrizi, a UNHCR
spokesman in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. According to the Red
Cross, the majority of refugees in Macedonia were Gypsies who left Kosovo
after NATO troops entered the province. They feared attacks from
Albanians who accused them of collaborating with Serbs in ethnic
cleansing in Kosovo.
There have been recent efforts at building bridges between the
two communities. The main Kosovo Albanian leaders -- Hashim Thaci,
Ibrahim Rugova and Rexhep Qosja -- met Gypsy communities in Prizren and
Ferisaj this week and promised their help in reintegrating Gypsies into
Kosovo.
Much more difficult is the return of Serbs refugees to their
homes in Kosovo. This month has been very diffcult for Serbs -- eight
were killed and many others injured in Serbs enclaves despite KFOR
protection.
The U.S. State Department has said it will spend $5 million to
build houses to return 700 Serbs to Osoje, a Serb village surrounded by
Albanians. But Albanians have been unreceptive to the plan.
"We remind all those who are trying to return Serb refugees to
Kosovo that everything must start after the return of Albanian prisoners
from Serbia's prisons," said Ramush Hajredinaj, leader of the Center
Alliance Party and a former deputy commander of Kosovo Protection Force.
Bernard Kouchner, the U.N. head, also accepts the difficulty
of returning Serbs to the region. In such circumstances, Serbs in Kosovo
remain isolated in their enclaves and can move about only with a KFOR
escort.
But UNHCR sees hope. It has said that the trend of new asylum
seekers from Yugoslavia has gone down during the first quarter of this
year. According to a UNHCR report on asylum applications in Europe, the
number of asylum-seekers from Yugoslavia decreased 24.9 per cent in the
first quarter 2000, compared to the fourth quarter of 1999.


REUTERS

Orthodox Church on post-war Kosovo firing line

SLOVINJE, Yugoslavia, June 13 (Reuters) - Three attacks over the
space of 10 months have reduced a Serb Orthodox church in a Kosovo
village to a mound of rubble.

Children play in the ruins and ethnic Albanians smile when asked what
happened. "The church stepped on a mine," said a bearded man with a
laugh.

Slovinje's Church of Saint Nicholas is just one of 87 Orthodox Serb shrines,
churches and monasteries that have been destroyed or damaged in the
year since NATO-led peacekeepers entered Kosovo as Yugoslav Serb
security forces withdrew.

Father Sava Janjic, in the nearby 14th-century monastery of Gracanica,
says Albanian extremists are systematically seeking to eradicate the
church from Kosovo as part of a wider campaign to chase out the minority
Serb population.

"The Orthodox church is the anchor of the Serbian people here. If the
churches are destroyed then the Serb people will not stay," said Father
Sava, an Orthodox priest who acts as spokesman for the region's Serb
moderates.

An estimated 150,000 Serbs have fled Kosovo since June 1999, leaving
100,000 behind out of a total population of less than two million.
The Albanian majority is nominally Moslem.

Anxious to reassure the Serbs that they have their best interests at heart,
KFOR peacekeepers now stand guard 24 hours a day outside many of
Kosovo's remaining Orthodox shrines.

CHURCH HAS LONG KOSOVO HISTORY

Kosovo, which remains legally a part of Yugoslavia but has become a de
facto international protectorate, is regularly described by Serbs as the
cradle of their culture and the spiritual home of their Orthodox church.

The seat of the Serb church was not actually founded in Kosovo, but
moved there at the end of the 13th century after its original foundation in
central Serbia burned down.

Seven centuries later, many of Kosovo's most beautiful buildings are
its Orthodox centres, including the monasteries at Pec, Decani and
Gracanica.

"I'd say that 95 percent of Kosovo's cultural heritage sites are Orthodox
buildings. These need saving not just for the Serbs, but for all Europeans,"
said Father Sava.

For ethnic Albanians, who suffered years of repression at the hands of
Serbian troops and police, the Orthodox Church is inextricably linked
to the notion of Serb national identity.

A wave of Orthodox churches built over the past 10 years are described
by locals as "political churches" and they have borne the brunt of the
attacks. Some KFOR commanders openly question whether it is worth
trying to save these buildings.

"If a church has value as a historical place then clearly it should be
guarded," said Finnish Colonel Arto Raty, head of KFOR operations in
Slovinje, which lies just to the south of the regional capital Pristina.

"But if it has no historical value and there is no chance of the Serbs
returning anytime soon to the area, then it should be gently dismantled,"
he told Reuters.

A "CRUCIFIED" KOSOVO

Slovinje's little domed church and adjacent belfry were built in 1996 on
the site of a 16th-century church. It was attacked in June and July 1999
and then again in May of this year, leaving just a pile of shattered
concrete and red brick.

KFOR troops later found the church's heavy iron bell hidden under an ethnic
Albanian's haystack.

Father Sava is angry that despite the presence of some 47,000 peacekeepers
in Kosovo nobody has been caught or charged for the attacks on Orthodox
property.

The Church has published a book, "Crucified Kosovo", to highlight the
plight of the Orthodox faith in the province, asking the world not to
blame it for the policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Father Sava, who admits to harbouring sometimes un- Christian feelings of
hate for Milosevic, says his Church did what it could to protect the
Albanians from Serbian forces.

"There was no organised involvement of the Serb church in fighting for
Albanian rights because we had our own problems with the Yugoslav
regime. But we always insisted that all human beings should be treated in the
same way," he said.


CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2000

Kosovo Serbs' uncertain future

It's been one year since the UN assumed control. Serbs say improvements have
passed them by.

Richard Mertens
Special to The Christian Science Monitor

GRACANICA, YUGOSLAVIA

Dragan and Dragana Pantelic fled Kosovo with their two sons last summer,
when ethnic Albanian violence against Serbs was at its height. They rented a
house in southern Serbia about 40 miles from the Kosovo border. "It was
peaceful but expensive," says Mrs. Pantelic, a sad, thin woman with bleached
blonde hair. "We didn't have any money. We didn't have any work."

So two weeks ago they came back, moving into the house
of Mr. Pantelic's father in Gracanica, a Serb enclave in
central Kosovo. Days later, a drive-by hand grenade
attack on a roadside market in the town left three people
wounded. Moving to an apartment they own in the
regional capital, Pristina, isn't an option: It has been taken
over by an ethnic Albanian family that pays no rent and
refuses to leave.

Perhaps most crucial, ethnic Albanians now hold the jobs
where they used to work, at local utility companies in
Pristina.

Their predicament is not uncommon. A year after NATO and Russian troops
entered Kosovo to end a mass purge of majority ethnic Albanians by the
Yugoslav Army and Serb paramilitaries, Serbs here face an uncertain future.
Their number, estimated before the war at about 200,000, has dwindled to half
that. Those who remain find it risky to leave their enclaves except under armed
escort. They have few opportunities to work and only difficult access to
schools, social services, and medical care.

And the violence continues. The United Nations estimates that 567 people
have been murdered in the province since peacekeeping troops arrived on June
12, 1999. More than a third of the victims have been Serbs, who make up only 7
percent of the population. The violence abated over the winter but flared in
recent weeks.

On May 28, a grocery store in Cernica, a village
protected by American soldiers, was sprayed with
assault rifle fire by an unknown gunman. A
four-year-old-boy and his grandfather died. On June
2, two men were killed by a land mine on a road
connecting two Serb villages. These and other
incidents have eroded what little confidence the
Serbs had in Kosovo's UN administration and in the
NATO-led peacekeeping force that is supposed to
protect them.

The violence has sparked angry Serb protests. One in
Gracanica ended with Serbs burning six passing
Albanian vehicles and with British troops shooting
one of the protesters. This past weekend in the
ethnically divided city of Mitrovica, a local Serb
security force known as the "bridgewatchers" tried to
force international police out of their apartments. On
Sunday, police said, two officers were attacked by an
angry Serb crowd in a town near Mitrovica.

Yesterday in an event in Pristina marking the first anniversary of UN
administration of Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, the province's top UN official,
said, "We need a significant amount of years, and we need a lot of patience ...
to set up a society based on coexistence and tolerance."

Still, Mr. Kouchner called the mission "a success" for the UN, pointing to the
return of refugees - mainly ethnic Albanians - along with efforts to restart the
economy and set up a system of government open to all of Kosovo's ethnic
groups, even if Serbs currently choose not to participate. On June 4, moderate
Serb leaders withdrew from a joint governing body to protest the upsurge in
violence.

The unrest has dimmed hopes that a significant number of Serbs might return
this year. "I am even afraid that if there is no progress in return [in] the
next two
months, many will be leaving," says the Rev. Sava Janjic, an Orthodox monk
and one of the moderate Serb leaders with whom Western officials have been
working. "Many people stayed last winter, expecting changes this spring and
summer. But if things don't improve, I don't think they will want to spend
another hard winter here."

Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeeping force has increasingly shifted soldiers
toward protecting Serbs. But as recent incidents show, the proximity of
peacekeepers does not guarantee safety. The hand grenade in Gracanica blew
up just yards from the local police station and military outpost.

The Serbs have already been boycotting voter registration in Kosovo, making
it unlikely that they will participate in local elections scheduled for October.
Their withdrawal from Kosovo's civilian administration struck another blow at
the UN's attempts to persuade them to cooperate with international efforts.
Without such cooperation, says Susan Manuel, a UN spokeswoman, the Serbs
"won't have a say in their future." But the Serbs say that cooperation has
gained them little so far. Indeed, much that Western officials have promised,
such as a radio station for moderate Serb leaders to broadcast their views and
stepped up returns, has not yet come to pass.

Progress, when it happens, is measured in increments. In the town of Vitina,
American peacekeepers were delighted when Serb women began to shop in a
weekly open market. In Serb hamlets around Slivovo, in eastern Kosovo,
British troops are encouraged that a few people have come back to look at their
old homes; one stayed for four days until he got lonely and left.

The future of the Serb presence in Kosovo is
overshadowed by larger political problems that
the West is ill-equipped to solve.

One of these, officials say, is the growing
influence in Kosovo of Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic, whose regime enjoys the
loyalty of many Kosovo Serbs. Another is the
lingering uncertainty over Kosovo's final status.
A UN resolution last year guaranteed Kosovo
"substantial autonomy" but preserved
Yugoslav sovereignty -it remains a province of
Serbia. The ambiguities have made it possible
for Kosovo Serbs to dream of the day when the
Yugoslav Army will return, and for Albanians to
fear the same possibility.

"We haven't solved the underlying political
problem, and the failure to address it is making things worse," says Louis Sell,
a political analyst with the International Crisis Group, an independent research
organization based in Brussels and Washington.

Sava acknowledges that the prospects for Serbs in Kosovo at present appear
"very bleak." The Pantelics hope to sell their apartment to an Albanian family
and move to Montenegro. "There is nothing for us here," Mrs. Pantelic says
bluntly.

But some Serbs see a less gloomy future. Velimir and Miriana Plavic live with 40
other Serbs in Slivovo, and insist they will stay. "This is my home. My
grandfather was here," says Mr. Plavic, while sitting outside his house on a
quiet morning. He recalls days when he lived peacefully with his Albanian
neighbors, adding, "I'm optimistic. The situation must get better. People must
live together again."


NEWSWEEK Magazine (International edition only)
June 19, 2000

KOSOVO ... And Justice for Some

The U.N. tries to fix a flawed-and biased-legal system

By Joshua Hammer
Newsweek International, June 19, 2000

The ten-minute video clip seems irrefutable. Shot by security cameras from the rooftop of a Serb-run auto-repair shop last July, it captures an attack by five armed Albanian men on their Serb neighbor, Mirko Momcilovic, in Gnjilan, Kosovo. "Mirko, come out, we need spark plugs," one Albanian shouts. Then he reveals his true intentions: "Give us your weapons. Nobody will harm you. Open the door." The Albanian kicks the door; a shot rings out, and the Albanians fire back. U.S. peacekeepers stationed nearby join the gun battle; by the time they restore order, two Albanians lie dead. What happened next, observers say, is typical of Kosovo's flawed judicial process. Albanian judges released the surviving assailants-and charged Momcilovic and his two sons with murder. Even the prosecutor admits that the evidence against them is shaky. "The investigation was not right," says Sabit Maliqi, the Gnjilan D.A. "There were too many mistakes."

Critics say such mistakes are common in Kosovo these days. A year after Serb forces
withdrew, the United Nations' effort to rebuild civil society and restore a justice system
is far behind schedule. Forensic specialists are nearly nonexistent, and "75 percent" of
the U.N.'s police force, which does much of the investigative legwork, is incompetent, admits one U.N. official. The worst problem: courts staffed almost entirely by ethnic Albanian judges and prosecutors, many of whom were brutalized by Serb troops and militias in last year's war. Most Albanians view Kosovo's Serbs as collaborators in Slobodan Milosevic's efforts to drive them out of the province, and the jurists make little effort, legal experts say, to conceal their anti-Serb bias. "Their attitude is, 'they're all guilty until proven innocent'," says a human-rights monitor in Pristina. Now, with the U.N. pinning its credibility on establishing a "multiethnic" society in Kosovo, administrators have belatedly begun seeking impartial judges and prosecutors abroad.

Examples of bias are easy to find. In March a KLA guerrilla named Besim Berisha went on trial in Pristina for strangling an elderly Serb. The victim's daughter and granddaughter identified Berisha in a lineup, the defendant's alibi was proven false and a sworn witness statement was produced in which Berisha allegedly confessed. A panel of five Albanian judges dismissed the case after a two-day trial.

Then there's the murder case against the Momcilovic family. Investigators didn't conduct ballistic tests or perform an autopsy on one of the dead Albanians to determine whether he might have been killed by U.S. troops. "That should have been done, but now it's too late," says prosecutor Maliqi. During the three-day trial in April, the American peacekeepers who fired shots never testified. And the videotape, which indicates the Momcilovics acted in self-defense, may never be allowed as evidence because of a provision of the Yugoslav legal code.

The United Nations has tried-and failed-to bring Serb jurists into the system. In May, U.N. officials asked Vucika Magjuni, a Serb who served as a juvenile-court judge before the war, to become a municipal judge in the northern town of Vushtrri. Her appointment unleashed angry protests from both sides of Kosovo's deep ethnic divide. Vushtrri's Albanian leaders claim that before the war "she threw a lot of Albanian kids in the slammer who didn't belong there," says a U.N. official. Hard-line Serbs say her marriage to an ethnic Albanian has compromised her. Death threats are mounting, but Magjuni refuses to step aside. The United Nations installed a steel door on her apartment, a French tank blocks the entrance to her building and French
troops patrol the stairwell 24 hours a day. Magjuni spends her days huddled inside her flat, receiving food from her son-in-law and waiting to be sworn into office.

The shortage of local impartial judges has spurred the United Nations to try to draft them from overseas. Last spring dozens of Serb prisoners in the divided city of Mitrovica began a hunger strike, demanding the appointment of international judges to hear their cases. U.N. administrator Bernard Kouchner agreed to the demand. Two weeks ago a Polish and a Finnish judge arrived in Kosovo. By the end of the year Kouchner hopes to have two international judges and one international prosecutor in each of Kosovo's five district courts.

The revamped U.N. system is being put to its first test in Mitrovica. Last week U.N. police vans and thick coils of concertina wire blocked off the drab courthouse in the Serb enclave in the northern part of town. Miroslav Vukovic, a driver at a local hospital, faces charges of genocide relating to the ethnic cleansing of five villages around Mitrovica during the first days of NATO's bombing campaign. A Swedish judge has joined a Serb and three Albanians on the bench. The Albanian jurists aren't happy about the foreigner. "We consider this an attack on our integrity," says Kapllan Baruti, the head of the court. "If they don't think we can be objective, we shouldn't bother to work." Some would argue with his use of the word "work." "At present," says Sylvie Pantz, the United Nations' director of judicial affairs, "there is no
working justice system in Kosovo." And without justice, can there be peace?


AFP

Two Serbs killed, one injured as car hits landmine in Kosovo

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 15 (AFP) - Two Serbs were killed and one seriously injured Thursday when their car ran over a landmine in central Kosovo, a KFOR spokeswoman said.
The car was on the road linking Kosovo Polje and Lipljan, south of Pristina, when it hit the landmine at around 11:00 a.m. (0900 GMT), Captain Katherine Hurley said.
Norwegian and Finnish KFOR troops were in the area investigating, she added.
The explosion took place on a gravel country road just four kilometres (2.5 miles) from where two other Serbs were killed in an almost identical incident two weeks ago.
The provincial capital is surrounded by Serb villages, which have been the target of attacks in a recent flare-up of anti-Serb violence which has left 10 Serbs dead and more than 20 injured in the last few weeks.
Last week a grenade attack on a crowded market in the village of Gracanica in the same area injured at least three Serbs and sparked hours of violent rioting after the vehicle used by the assailants escpaed the village despite high KFOR security.


www.iwpr.net

ALBANIAN VIOLENCE STALLS SERB REPATRIATION

Recent Albanian violence in Kosovo has cast a shadow over KFOR's efforts to
repatriate Serb refugees.

By Radosa Milutinovic in Kosovska Mitrovica

Sheltered in the mountains 30 miles east of Pristina, Slivovo appears empty
and desolate. A KFOR military encampment sits atop a plateau overlooking the
village. Alliance helicopters circle the area continuously

Slivovo is one of a cluster of villages in central Kosovo abandoned by most
of their Serb residents in June 1999 following the withdrawal of Yugoslav
forces from the province. KFOR is now attempting to encourage the refugees
to return by securing the area.

But within the last two weeks Operation Trojan has been jeopardised by a
spate of ethnic violence across Kosovo, which has left eight Serbs dead and
a dozen injured. In the ethnically-mixed village of Cernica in south-east
Kosovo, for example, three people died, including a four-year-old boy, in a
drive by shooting on June 4.

The upsurge in violence has undermined Serbian confidence in the
international forces' ability to protect them. Most of the unrest has
occurred outside central Kosovo, but the area has not escaped the troubles.

Major Mathew McDonald, the Canadian officer in charge of planning for
Operation Trojan, had already indicated the need to relocate the Gracanica
market, where on June 6 unknown assailants lobbed a hand grenade into a
group of Serbs, injuring three people.

During a subsequent protest by local Serbs, KFOR troops guarding the zone
commander, General Richard Shireff, shot and wounded a demonstrator.

Shireff, who has been praised by some Serb community leaders for his efforts
to improve safety in central Kosovo, said of the attacks, "I have no
difficulties in describing what I have seen in the last two days as
terrorism."

"We are engaged in solving problems such as freedom of movement,
communications, health services, education and trade," Shireff said.
"[Operation] Trojan is supposed to increase the security level and quality
of life for Serbs in the zone of our responsibility."

Prior to the latest wave of violence, Father Sava, one of the leaders of the
Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija, said the association fully
supported Operation Trojan. After the Gracanica events, the SNC suspended
co-operation with the international administration. Council president,
Bishop Artimje, said many in the Serb community were boycotting his
colleagues "almost as if we were guilty of the victims."

McDonald insisted, however, that Operation Trojan had brought considerable
improvements for the Serb community. "We noticed at checkpoints that the
roads were only being used by Albanians," McDonald said. "Serbs from Kosovo
Polje were using strange roundabout routes to get to Gracanica. So we
decided to work out where Serbs wanted to go to and when, not only to
provide an escort, but to repair the roads."

As a result, KFOR has built around 20 km of roads between the various Serb
communities and is also working on a rail link from Lipljan to Kosovo Polje
and onto Zvecan, McDonald said.

In the last two weeks, bus routes had been re-established to Gracanica and
Mitrovica, two larger Serb enclaves. Phone lines now work between Caglavica,
Laplje Selo and Gracanica, and via radio relay with Kosovo Polje and
Pristina.

One Slivovo resident, Stana Simic, welcomed the new bus routes. "I went to
Gracanica yesterday to phone my children. I hope they will return to live
here like before. I told them it is safe here and that we have no problems,"
Stana said. "We get along well with the army."

In addition to providing escorts for farmers out in their fields, McDonald
said KFOR has introduced a radar system called Coyote to monitor the area at
night. Any suspicious signals are investigated by helicopter patrols. "We
recently discovered a group of people trying to bury automatic rifles and
mortars," McDonald said.

Captian Tom Bateman of the Scottish Dragoons leads a joint British-Swedish
force, of just over a hundred men, which patrols the wider forested area
between the Gracanica and Pristina municipalities. There are six Serbian
villages in the area, including Slivovo, surrounded by Albanian communities.

 

"Our initial aim is to return 15 Serbian families to Slivovo from Gracanica
where they are now," Bateman said. "Also a dozen men come every day to
Perovici village, under our protection, to prepare houses for their own
return."

Bateman said he was sure the KFOR troops in his area had the security
situation under control.

Stojna Marinkovic from Slivovo said it seems the villagers are free to go
where they want nowadays. But she added, "I still keep close [to home]
unless my husband goes with me."

Marinkovic fled Slivovo on June 19 last year along with virtually all the
other villagers. Her son Goran, 19, disappeared the same day in the near-by
village of Labljani. She returned three weeks later, escorted by Swedish
K-for soldiers.

"Perhaps there are Serbs with blood on their hands and they are afraid to
come back. My son was not guilty. He was a victim. If he had been guilty he
would have escaped immediately. He wouldn't have stayed," Marinkovic said.

Danijela Pavic, 18, returned to Slivovo this February. Danijela, like many
who fled Slivovo, ended up in Smederovo in Serbia, where she lived for 10
months. "We didn't have our own houses there so we came back," she said. "We
feel safe here now."

Bateman hopes that word will get back to others in Smederovo and that people
will start thinking about returning home. He said a medical surgery, school
and distribution centre were soon to be opened in a house near the KFOR
military camp.

Shireff believes the priority at the moment is for people who want to
return, to come back and see for themselves whether they think the situation
is secure.

Radosa Milutinovic is an IWPR contributor.


ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gunmen Kill Albanian Politician

The Associated Press
Friday, June 16, 2000; 2:12 p.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- Two masked men wearing uniforms of the officially
disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army shot and killed a moderate ethnic Albanian
politician, the United Nations said Friday.

Halil Dreshaj, a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, was killed late
Thursday when the two attackers forced their way into his home in the western
village of Nabrdje. Dreshaj's father was also wounded, the United Nations
said, but did not elaborate on his condition.

U.N. officials quoted the victim's wife as saying the attackers wore
uniforms with the red-and-black emblem of the KLA, which was supposed to have been
disbanded last year under an agreement with the NATO-led Kosovo Force.

Dreshaj's party is led by pacifist Ibrahim Rugova, who is competing with the
former KLA command for leadership of the Kosovo Albanian community.

This is the latest in a series of killings that has again underscored the
failure of the U.N. and NATO-led mission to restore order one year after the Western alliance
forced Yugoslav troops to stop their crackdown against ethnic Albanian
separatists and leave the province.

Earlier Thursday, two Serbs were killed and one injured when their van ran
over a land mine on a road used almost exclusively by Serbs and located south of
Pristina.

The chief U.N. administrator, Bernard Kouchner, blamed extremists who "do not
want us to succeed."


AFP

Serbs sell homes to Albanians at border

MERDARE, Yugoslavia, June 20 (AFP) - Serbian former inhabitants
of Kosovo are selling their houses to Albanians in cross-border
transactions supervised by British soldiers.
Here, Serbian Stojan exchanges a warm handshake with Albanian
Gaz after selling his Pristina apartment, drawing a line under his
Kosovo existence.
Gaz's father, a notary in Pristina, takes 54,000 German marks
out of his pocket and hands it to Stojan, who hopes it will suffice
to buy an apartment in Nis, after he abandoned his Kosovo home
following the international takeover of the province by KFOR
troops.
British soldiers at the frontier post watched the transaction,
one of many performed here three times a week at a roadblock placed
on the border between Serbia and Kosovo, marked by a bridge.
At each side of the border, Serbs and Albanians park their cars,
walking the few yards (metres) to the roadblock where business
starts, a year after the end of the war a year ago.
Gaz was accompanied by his father and met up with Stojan, "a
fried of the family," a telecommunications engineer. The pair had
not met for more than a year since Stojan fled Kosovo along with
tens of thousands of other Serbs.
"He left for Belgrade in August to reunite with his son. He
asked us to live in his apartment for fear it would be looted and he
trusted us," said Gaz, a 23-year-old psychology student and an
interpreter for the Red Cross.
"I have come to buy this apartment (64 square metres) because
Stojan is not thinking of returning soon to Pristina," Gaz said,
speaking in the warm spring sunshine.
Sitting on a bench on the roadside between Pristina and
Belgrade, the three men negotiated over the house deeds.
Before the war, the Serbs were not allowed by law to sell their
homes to Albanians, as the Belgrade government tried to ensure that
Serbs remained in Kosovo. At present, Serbs are forced to sell their
homes, provided they have not been burned or squatted.
"It's very amicable between Serbs and Albanians, never a voice
raised," said a British soldier, who marks down the amount of each
house sale as a young Serb woman heads off in the direction of
Belgrade.
Not far away, an American working for the United Nations in
Pristina pays his rent to his landlady, a Serb who fled to Belgrade
at the end of the war.
After concluding the sale, Gaz, his father and Stojan embrace
each other. The Serb cannot hold back his tears. "Now that he has
sold his home, he has burned his bridges with Kosovo," said Gaz, the
new householder.


BBC World Service
Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK

KLA investigated over war crimes

Many KLA members are in the UN administration

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerrilla group is being investigated over alleged war crimes committed during last year's conflict in the province.

The United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is examining five cases where members of the KLA are believed to have been involved in
murders of the province's minority Serb population.

The tribunal has been working on numerous cases of atrocities committed by Serb security forces during last year's conflict. Over 2000 bodies have been recovered from mass graves.

This, however, is the first time the court has revealed investigations into murders believed to have been committed by the KLA.

The announcement was made by the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, who is visiting Kosovo.

Exact details of the crimes are not expected to be released until the court issues indictments.

Indictments of former KLA members could have serious repercussions for the UN's administration in Kosovo.

Weapons stash

Many members of the guerrilla army now hold positions in the UN's power-sharing administration. Others are members of the Kosovo protection corps, a civilian-based national guard endorsed by the UN.

The investigations into the KLA follow the discovery earlier this month of five bunkers of arms during a search in the Drenica Valley, a KLA stronghold.

The haul came just two days after another huge stash of weapons was found in the Drenica Valley.

The war crimes tribunal, set up in 1993, has indicted 96 people and convicted 16 of the 36 in custody.

But Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the tribunal, said completing the cases
had been hampered by a ban on the court working in Serbia which meant prosecutors were unable to gain access to Serb victims and witnesses.

Among the 27 Serbs being sought by the tribunal is Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

According to reports in the US, attempts to bring Mr Milosevic to justice could be dropped in exchange for his resignation.

However, Mrs Del Ponte reiterated the court's refusal to lift the indictment against Mr Milosevic.


Reporter, Banja Luka, Republika Srpska
Issue 113, June 21, 2000

The year of Kosovo

The living and the dead

One year after the entry of the UN mission and NATO forces transformed into peacekeeping troops, Kosovo is the most dangerous place to live in Europe

By ZVONKO TARLE

(The author is the editor of Kontakt Radio and has spent the last year living in Kosovo.)

A year ago, not even the greatest political wits and pessimists could foresee the present course of development of events in Kosovo which is delineated to the point of absurdity by violence, on the one hand, and the absurdities of everyday life on the other.

The effects of the violence are well-known; the dead and the missing are counted in the thousands, the expelled from Kosovo in the hundred thousands. If NATO intervened to protect the innocent Albanians and to enable them to return quickly (in a manner unprecedented in the world) after their expulsion, who is supposed to intervene now to defend those who are endangered by the Albanians? Who is supposed to intervene and how to pull the Serbs from Orahovac out of a typical concentration camp and hostile surroundings? Nowhere else in the world do we find the form of modern slavery with which we are confronted in Orahovac. Approximately 85 Serbs live in an area of 200 meters by 200 meters, enclosed by a wire fence. They can leave this area only with the special permission of UNHCR which has been previously approved by the local Albanian leaders. And, of course, they can only leave the concentration camp with KFOR accompaniment.

The situation in which the Serb community is living in Pristina itself, half a kilometer from the office of Bernard Kouchner, is also absurd. Today in Pristina, where 40,000 lived before the war, there are only 260 Serbs remaining in a concentration camp called “YU Program”. Namely, these are buildings which were built by Serbia for the return of Serbs to Kosovo. This concentration camp is completely blocked off by KFOR forces. Everyone who comes to Pristina circumvents these buildings and is reluctant to face the fact that today in the heart of Europe there exist places such as Orahovac, “YU Program” and some other placed enclosed by wire fences inhabited by members of one nation.

Switched roles: For ten years in Kosovo the Albanians and the Serbs lived in parallel societies, parallel worlds. The Serbs had their public life, they controlled the lives of others and tremendous economic capacities. The Albanians had a parallel life, a parallel world, parallel organs, everything including separate hospitals, schools, kindergartens... Now their roles have been switched; the Serbs are living in concentration camps and enclaves, in Serbia and Montenegro in collective centers for displaced persons, while the Albanians have their public life and control all resources. One cannot say of either the time when the Serbs assumed responsibility for Kosovo or of today when that responsibility is being taken over by the Albanians that there will be peace and prosperity, human and ethnic freedom in Kosovo, that
these two mutually conflicting nations are incapable of taking over control and facing the consequences, that they are building a common life and institutions. It! is plain that either Kosovo will be multiethnic or it will not be, that people must live together if they want to live at all.

Now in Kosovo the dead are being counted, but the living are also being counted. Every nation is preoccupied with counting: the Albanians are counting the dead, exhuming mass graves and demanding that the international community free those imprisoned in Milosevic’s jails. The Serbs are counting what remains of their people in Kosovo, the kidnapped and the missing. If the executioner responsible for the suffering of the Albanians is known, and he is, who then is responsible for the suffering of the Serbs in Kosovo? We know that the Albanians in Serbian jails are alive, that they have some semblance of legal assistance and care. We know nothing about the kidnapped Serbs: who kidnapped them, whether they are still alive and in which jails (and where) they are being kept. Not even fifty thousand KFOR soldiers can find prisons in private homes for Serbs, Romanies and Bosniacs in Kosovo. It seems that my friend was right when he claimed that the Albanians are specialists in special war.

Besides the parallel worlds which exist in Kosovo, there exist also civilizational contrasts: on the one hand, European luxury, on the other, mud and ox-carts. It is very difficult to count all such examples but they are present at every step. Kosovo is today, besides being the most dangerous place to live, the most favorable region for smuggling. With the intention of avoiding as much as possible the participation of the Yugoslav state in Kosovo affairs, the international administration did not construct the mechanisms of a state based on law, legal frameworks for the sanctioning of illegal actions, although it is very clearly stated in the Resolution that it is to be based on the document from Rambouillet, that is, that the legal system of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is valid in Kosovo.

Only recently, when the violence against the Serbs became even more apparent than before, has Kouchner begun talking about the special autonomy of Kosovo based on the principles of the Rambouillet agreement. The Albanians accepted this agreement and have not repealed their signatures on it to date.

Presence of the regime: On the other hand, the regime from Belgrade did not accept the agreement but is it is manifestly present in Kosovo in enclaves inhabited by the Serbs. And not only in those enclaves, for in the heart of Pristina there is a “FRY Embassy” - the Yugoslav committee for cooperation with UNMIK, in front of which dozens of Albanians crowd each day with the intent of securing passports. They can leave Kosovo only with Yugoslav travel documents. In order for an Albanian to get such a passport, he must first win the right to enter into the building, then bribe the doorman to tell him where the papers are filed, then submit the papers and pay the necessary taxes in addition to bribing the staff. The influence of the regime is reflected in the complete control of the lives of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo. Bishop Artemije, in all honesty, controls the yard at Gracanica Monastery (the town is controlled by the Socialist Party of Serbia), Caglavica (approximately 2,5! 00 residents), parts of Laplje Selo... Somewhat greater is the influence of Momcilo Trajkovic as a politician who has the only authentic political party of the Serbs in Kosovo, and who analysts believe may be “the Serb Dodik”, that is, the cooperative fist of the Kouchner administration. Everything else in Kosovo which is under the control of the Serbs is directly dependent on decisions from Belgrade. Namely, paychecks and pensions, health protection, food and humanitarian aid arrive from Belgrade. The Belgrade regime has installed its own radio stations and one television station (Channel S in Mitrovica), and it has also installed its own people among the guardians of the bridges across the Ibar. The division of Kosovo is becoming more and more permanent and that is a reality with which the UN administration has yet to deal.

And while the part of Kosovo under the control of the Albanians is living normally to judge by appearances, the part under the control of the Serbs gives the impression of a run-down, poor and sad region. In essence, everyone in Kosovo today is living from assistance or poorly. And everyone is incapable of dialogue, uninterested in a common life; they have no predisposition for nonviolent communication, nor are they prepared to confront the truth. Serbia did not win against NATO nor did the Albanians liberate Kosovo. The KLA walked through the streets of the cities after Yugoslav military and paramilitary formations left and then members of KFOR came. And those walks were declared campaigns of liberation, so that in the new Kosovo all the cities have a new day of liberation. And there you have the rationale for a new mythology, a current literature which devour its readers across the Balkan ravines.

Even a year after the establishment of the peace mission in Kosovo one cannot speak the Serbian language publicly, although one can speak Croatian, and occasionally whisper Bosniac. The Serbs pretend, fairly unskillfully, that they are foreigners and the Albanians are beginning to appear more and more like the pre-war Serbs thus risking the transformation from victim to executioner.

Is there, among the Albanians, anyone who will speak up with the arguments of civil conscience against crime, not declaratively and not in order to curry favor with the international community, but because they have recognized within themselves the need to condemn crime?

In front of a blank screen (no more the metaphor of the clean sheet of paper) I thought I was going to write a completely typical panorama of everyday life in Kosovo. In the meanwhile news arrived that an automobile with OSCE markings ran across a landmine and that the driver was killed, while the passenger was seriously injured. In comparison with this information, what would be the significance of news that some art exhibition or toy store had opened. Buried in Kosovo in the enclaves, there are children to whom that news would mean nothing; for them, window-shopping in a toy store is an adventure of which they dream.


AFP

One ethnic cleansing in Kosovo has replaced another: UN envoy

BELGRADE, June 21 (AFP) - The UN human rights envoy in the
Balkans, Jiri Dienstbier, warned Wednesday that "one ethnic
cleansing has been replaced by another" in the restive Serbian
province of Kosovo.
"What is happening in Kosovo is not some sort of revenge of
ordinary ethnic Albanians" against the remaining Serb and
non-Albanian population in the province, Dienstbier told journalists
in Belgrade.
Instead, the violence -- "atrocities, evictions and expulsions"
-- was highly organised and carried out by "Albanian extremists",
Dienstbier said.
Since Yugoslav troops pulled out of the province a year ago, the
minority Serb population in the province have become the target of
violence.
In recent weeks, an increasing number of attacks including
drive-by shootings, have left 10 Serbs dead and more than 20
injured.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte, said Wednesday that the
tribunal was looking into possible crimes by former members of the
ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.
"We are investigating KLA activity during the armed conflict and
it is not only the criminal responsibilities of low-level
perpetrators but our mandate is always to look at the highest
responsibility in the chain of command," she said on a visit to
Pristina.
In Belgrade, Dienstbier warned that these extremists could
"destabilise" the Albanian-populated regions of Presevo Valley in
southeastern Serbia as well as western Macedonia, thus provoking a
"conflict that will be much broader" than the current situation.
Dienstbier insisted that the UN administration mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK) "has not been able to achieve the goals of UN Security
Council resolution" which had set terms for the end of the conflict
there.
UNMIK chief Bernard Kouchner recently publicly called on
Dienstbier to "shut up" after he criticised the way the province was
administered.
Dienstbier said Wednesday: "Kouchner knows the same things that
I know, that is why he is nervous".
Nevertheless, he said he hoped to meet Kouchner in Brussels next
week.
Dienstbier spoke at the end of visit to Serbia, after a series
of meetings with Serbian and Yugoslav government officials,
including Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic.
At the meeting with Jovanovic, "continuing terrorism by the
so-called KLA in Kosovo, ethnic cleansing and massive violation of
human rights was vigorously condemned," a ministry statement carried
by the official news agency Tanjug said.
KFOR and UNMIK were accused of "protecting terrorist KLA, crime
and narco-mafia, instead of protecting the population" of Kosovo,
the statement said.
During his three-day visit, Dienstbier also met individuals
considered by the UN as "victims of human rights abuses".
He said he was "very disturbed" about the recent wave of
repression against "opposition views" and media in Serbia.
"I told the representatives of the state that I am really very
disturbed by the last developments of the situation here,"
Dienstbier said.
He warned against attempts by President Slobodan Milosevic's
regime to silence the press "proven by assassinations of even
politicians and journalists."
"If it continues, if the opposition is sent underground, and if
newspapers and radio stations are closed, it may create a very bad,
explosive situation for people and for human rights," Dienstbier
warned.
In Kosovo, Del Ponte ruled out any deal Wednesday allowing
indicted Milosevic to escape war crimes in return for leaving
office.
"The indictment can only be withdrawn by the prosecutor. I can
assure you I have no intention of withdrawing that indictment," she
said.
The Swiss prosecutor was reacting to US media reports that
Washington was holding informal talks with Yugoslav officials to
allow Milosevic to leave office without facing prosecution in a bid
to bolster regional stability.
Stability in the Balkans will come only if Milosevic is brought
to justice, said Del Ponte.


AFP

Four Kosovo Serbs wounded in 24 hours

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 21 (AFP) - Four Kosovo Serbs were
shot and wounded in the past 24 hours, two in a drive-by shooting
and two more in clashes between UN police and some 1,000 Serbs,
sources confirmed Wednesday.
On Wednesday, two Serbs were injured in Kosovska Mitrovica when
the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force fired warning shots at a crowd
of some 1,000 Serbs after UN police had tried to arrest a group of
Serbs who had stoned and set fire to a police car.
One was hit in the shoulder and one in the stomach, but they
were in a stable condition in Mitrovica hospital, UN police
spokesman Ivan de Sainte Foy said Wednesday.
He did not specify who fired the shots but said the incident was
under investigation.
On Tuesday night, a young man and a woman were shot and injured
in a drive-by shooting in the provincial capital Pristina, a
spokesman for the KFOR peacekeeping force said Wednesday.
The deputy regional commander of Pristina's UN police, Gilles
Moreau, said the man was recovering from three hits in the leg, but
the woman had been shot in the chest and was in a critical
condition.
The Serbian National Council (SNV) of Kosovska Mitrovica accused
American police in the UN force of wounding the two Serbs and one of
its leaders said he would file a complaint about what he considered
a "provocation".
The unrest in the divided city of Mitrovica abated around 2.00
p.m. local time (1200 GMT) Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Bernard
Kouchner, visited the scene of the drive-by shooting, accompanied by
Spanish General Juan Ortuno, the head of the multi-national
peacekeeping force, and local leaders of the consultative Kosovo
Transitional Council (KTC).
Kouchner, flanked by moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova and the
former political head of the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, Hashim
Thaci, condemned the attack as an "outrage."


RADIO FREE B92

KOSOVO SERB RADIO LOOTED

PRISTINA, Tuesday, June 22 -- A Kosovo radio station belonging to the Serbian
Orthodox Church was broken into last night and the bulk of its equipment
stolen, Beta's Gracanica correspondent reported today. The break-in at
Radio 106, in the village of Caglavica near Pristina, occurred after
midnight when no staff
were on the premises. The thieves made away with transmission equipment,
a mixing console and other broadcast equipment. UN police are
investigating the burglary.

Radio 106 was established by a donation from the Greek Orthodox Church
and began broadcasting in March this year, carrying news programs from
Radio B2-92, The Voice of America and the BBC.

The Serb National Council in Kosovo today accused supporters of the
Belgrade regime of the Radio 106 break-in. A statement from the Council
alleged that the station, along with members of the Council had been
subject to pressure from members of the Socialist Party of Serbia for
some time, adding that as recently as this week, Socialists had threatened the company
which was rebuilding the Cultural Centre building in Caglavica.

"Although the investigation has yet to reveal who broke into Radio 106,
it is almost certain that they were Serb, because KFOR controls the
entrance to the village and Albanians are unable to enter without a KFOR
permit," said the Council in a statement. The Serbs also described the
burglary as the latest
in a series of attempts by regime representatives to prevent objective
information reaching the Serbian population by closing down independent
media in line with similar moves in other Serbian towns which were
already in complete media blackout.


AFP

Blasts hammer area around Kosovo Serb monastery

Thursday, 22-Jun-2000 3:20AM

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 22 (AFP) - Nine blasts believed to be mortar
rounds hammered an area overnight near the Serbian Orthodox monastery of
Decani in western Kosovo, a KFOR spokesman said Thursday.
The explosions did not cause any injuries or damage, said Major
Scott Slaten, spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force.
The blasts occurred at around midnight (2200 GMT Wednesday) at
five-second intervals, said Slaten, who added it was too early to say if
the monastery had been targetted.
The explosions were heard by KFOR Italian troops at a guard post
some 400 metres (yards) from the monastery, 15 kilometres (10 miles)
south of the western city of Pec.
Father Sava Janjic, a spokesman for the Serbian Orthodox church in
Gracanica near Pristina, told the independent Yugoslav agency Beta the
explosions landed close to the monastery building, throwing earth up
onto the building.
There have been several mortar attacks on a variety of targets in
the Italian-led western sector of the Yugoslav province in recent
months.
KFOR arrested one ethnic Albanian man earlier this month in
possession of a 60 mm mortar in the sector.

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

DECANI MONASTERY IN KOSOVO ATTACKED BY MORTARS EARLY THIS MORNING

Gracanica, June 22

Early this morning, just after midnight, at least 6 mortar grenades
landed in the very vicinity of the church of Decani monastery. The
grenades fell in the monastery garden at least 100 meters from the
church and the monks house. The monks say that the last grenade fell
just close to the monastic cells because the last blast was stronger and
the ground fell on the roof. This is the second mortar attack on the
monastery in last 6 months. Since in the area of Decani only Kosovo
Albanians live it is evident that this attack as the previous one in
March were the act of Albanian extremists. KFOR and UNMIK civil police
are carring out the investigation.

It is also supposed that this attack came as the reaction of the local
Albanians after the protest by the monastery because of the violation of
the monastery property two days ago. In fact after the protest of the
monastery and the Diocese UN Mission decided to stop further water
system works which were begun on the monastery land without the
consultation with the monastery. Local Albanians were also ordered to
return to the monastery the wood which has been stolen from the Church
forest.

Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocese of Raska and Prizren


TIME COM

Why war-crime probe of KLA spells trouble


June 21, 2000

By Tony Karon

(TIME.com) -- The U.S. may have anointed the Kosovo Liberation Army as the
White Knights of the Kosovo war, but war crimes prosecutors aren't convinced
-- and that could put NATO on a dangerous collision course with the men it
installed in power in the breakaway province. The Hague Tribunal, which last
year indicted President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, announced Tuesday
that it is currently investigating five cases of atrocities against Serbs
allegedly committed by members of the KLA. And observers believe that if
charges are pursued, they may involve some of the now-disbanded movement's
senior leaders, who currently occupy key positions in the U.N.-supervised
administration of Kosovo.

Kosovo analysts have long sensed the hand of the KLA in a continuing campaign
of violence against the territory's remaining Serbs, and tensions between the
organization and NATO have reached their highest point since the war
following the discovery, two weeks ago, of massive arms caches in the Drenica
valley, a KLA stronghold. Although the former guerrilla movement's leaders
have denied any knowledge of the caches, which would be in violation of
undertakings to hand their weapons over to NATO, it's unlikely that large
amounts of weapons would have been stockpiled without a green light from some
quarter of the KLA leadership. The movement has never accepted the limits the
international community has sought to impose on their aspirations, and vowed
to press on for independence and confederation with Albania rather than the
multi-ethnic autonomous enclave favored by the West.

War-crimes prosecutions could bring NATO-Kosovar relations to a breaking
point, because they'd oblige the peacekeeping force to arrest suspects that
the current Kosovar Albanian leadership may be reluctant to hand over. A bomb
threat called in last week at a hotel used by officials of the international
community was seen by some as a warning from former KLA elements to NATO to
back off, following the discovery of the arms caches. Now, Washington and its
allies may be set to learn the hard way that while Kosovo had no shortage of
bad guys and innocent victims, the "good guys" may have been miscast.


AFP

UNHCR warns of high crime rate against Serbs in Kosovo

BELGRADE, June 22 (AFP) - The UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) is concerned about the ongoing high crime rate against Serbs
in Kosovo, a spokeswoman for the organisation said here Thursday.
A year after the end of the war and the retreat of Yugoslav
security forces, "there is still a major security problem for
non-Albanians in Kosovo," Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Belgrade bureau
spokeswoman, told reporters.
"The crime rate is very high, and proportions of crime are much
higher against Serbs than other ethnic communities," Shinohara
said.
In recent weeks, an increasing number of attacks, including
drive-by shootings, have left 10 Serbs dead and more than 20
injured.
More than 210,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have fled Kosovo
since the arrival of international KFOR troops and the UN mission
UNMIK in June 1999, a UNHCR registration carried out earlier this
year showed.
The aid agency estimated the total figure of refugees could be
even higher.
Shinohara said that continuing poor security conditions for
Serbs in Kosovo "do not offer (the) possibility for their return to
the province at this time".
She said the UNHCR was "looking for opportunities" for the
return of Serbs, but could not give any concrete details.


POLITIKA - BELGRADE

Politika, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
June 22, 2000

'POLITIKA'S' REPORTER VISITS THE MONASTERY OF HIGH DECANI

Monks living under concentration camp-like conditions

>From the monastery they rarely go to Berane or Novi Pazar for food and when they do
go, it is at night by armored KFOR vehicle - The monastery is protected by Italian
soldiers who also protected it during the time of World War II - During the bombing
of FRY, Decani was a sanctuary for everyone who was endangered

By Milan Laketic

High Decani - Ten hours before Albanian terrorists launched a mortar attack on the
monastery of High Decani last night, "Politika's" reporter, accompanied by KFOR,
visited the monastery brotherhood of this royal treasure, built by two Serbian kings
from the Nemanjic dynasty, Stefan of Decani (Stefan Decanski) and his son, the king
and last emperor of the Serbs and the Greeks, Dusan.

In the monastery, which is as a cultural monument of the middle ages, exceptionally
rich and precious, and under the protection of UNICEF and UNESCO, there are 26 monks
living. They are the only Serbs in this part of Metohija (Decani and Djakovica)
because since the arrival of KFOR, more than 20,000 Serbs have been expelled from
these parts.

Virtual hostages

"We live in completely predetermined conditions. In a sense we are imprisoned here.
We go nowhere without KFOR accompaniment," says the prior of the monaster, Father
Teodosije. "In armored KFOR vehicles, we venture out of the monastery relatively
rarely to purchase food in Berane or Novi Pazar. We travel by night but despite this
our monks were stoned on two occasions when they went to purchase food by Albanians
here in Decani."

Stationed approximately one kilometer from the monastery are strong forces of the
Italian contingent of KFOR which have blocked of the approach route proximate to the
monastery. There are approximately 20 armored transporters and as many tanks
stationed there.

"We have great confidence in the Italian soldiers who are protecting us; they are
great Christians, faithful to their religion and they demonstrate great interest and
respect for our Orthodoxy. History repeats himself. During the Second World War
Italian soldiers protected this monastery from militant Albanians and looters,
successfully so," says prior Teodosije, showing a book of impressions and other
monastery records from that time in which Italian soldiers carefully recorded all
incidents by the Albanians.

"Now we are again accompanied and protected by the Italians. When we go to secure
food or to visit the deserted and destroyed churches and holy sites throughout
Metohija. They have feelings because they do not act like soldiers but like men."

Border marker of Serbiandom

Decani, Prior Teodosije continues, is the most exposed point. "This is the border
marker of our existence and Serbiandom in Kosovo. Life in the monastery legacy is a
continuation of the existing order."

"During the war and the bombing, the monastery was a sanctuary to all who were
endangered. For almost a year in our residence halls there were dozens of Serb
peasants from Decani and the surrounding villages: Gornja Ratisa, Donja Ratisa,
Ljumbarda and Dasinovac, who fled before the extremist Albanians. For a long time
approximately 150 Albanians also lived in the monstery when they were in fear from
the NATO bombs and later as well," says Prior Teodosije.

Since October, the monastery has had no electricity and it has been without
telephone service for more than a year. Cut off from the world, they have been
visited by no one one for more than a year except UNMIK police and KFOR soldiers,
and then it is only when some provocation occurs or damage is inflicted upon them by
the local Albanians.

This Christian holy site has been traditionally defended by the Albanians going back
to the time of the Turkish terror; in return, they were given monastery land to
settle on by the decree of the emperor. For centuries they defended the monastery
from their compatriots who were looters.

Nothing is sacred to Albanian terrorists

"A year ago, for reasons unknown to us, our centures old Albanian protectors stopped
visiting us and contacting with us. We do not know the reason for their decision.
However, occasionally we are contacted by an older Albanian friend who, truth to
tell, hides this from his compatriots. He offers us his help, usually in the form of
food," says Prior Teodosije.

In this region, which is protected by the Italians, four monasteries have been
preserved while in the neighboring region, which is in the German zone of
responsibility, almost all churches and the ancient Christian monastery of the Holy
Prophets, Kozma and Damjan in Zociste, which was renovated and reconstructed in the
middle ages, have been destroyed or burned.

The regional head of OSCE Hilario Ciarolli (sp?) tells "Politika":

"It is extremely difficult to make any kind of move because everywhere we are
surrounded by mine fields. Resolution 1244 is clear but the extremists are very
dangerous. We will attempt to secure peace in this region," said Mr. Ciarolli.

Twelve hours later, after the departure of the reporters of "Politika", the BBC and
Beta, the Albanians launched a mortar attack on this Serb holy site from the middle
ages.


REUTERS

Shooting of Serb Couple A Blow to Kosovo Security

PRISTINA, Jun 22, 2000 -- (Reuters) A Kosovo Serb couple were shot and seriously
wounded in a central Pristina street in the first such incident in the Kosovo capital for
months, the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) said on Wednesday.

The shooting on Tuesday night coincided with the visit of Carla del Ponte, chief
prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal for Kosovo.

It was seen as a serious setback to the security situation in the capital, now
predominantly ethnic Albanian and which has seen a gradual relaxation of tensions in
recent weeks.

United Nations Special Representative Bernard Kouchner, in effect the governor of the
province, now a UN protectorate, organized a visit to the scene of the shooting, ironically
on Mother Teresa Street, accompanied by del Ponte and all the members of the
inter-ethnic Kosovo Transitional Council which he heads.

After laying flowers at the spot, surrounded by extraordinary security, Kouchner told
reporters: "This is a crime - a murder attempt by terrorists. We are considering ways to
improve the security of the people but this will not be done just by the police but by a
change of behavior.

"I am here with Madame del Ponte and all the members of the KTC to express our
outrage and.We want to say together 'stop the violence' (let there be) justice, tolerance,
freedom and democracy."

A KFOR spokesman had few details of the shooting or even of how many attackers had
carried it out.

The Serb couples, who have not been named, were taken to the British KFOR hospital in
Pristina.

KFOR said the man had three bullet wounds in his leg while the woman had been hit in
the chest and the stomach. Both were now in stable condition.


AP/AFP

NATO Links Weapons Cache to KLA

By George Jahn
Associated Press Writer
Friday, June 23, 2000; 10:45 a.m. EDT

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia -- NATO said Friday that a huge cache of weapons
including mortars, mines and machine guns found last week belonged to
the Kosovo Liberation Army.
The weapons stash, the largest found since the end of Kosovo's war,
raised questions about the supposedly disbanded KLA's compliance with an
order to disarm. The weapons were found June 16 near Klecka, about 20
miles southwest of Pristina.
Maj. Scott Slaten, a NATO spokesman, said documents found at the
site indicate the weapons belonged to the KLA, the ethnic Albanian
guerrillas who fought the Serbs until NATO bombing led President
Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces.
Senior British peacekeepers said KLA leaders must have known about
the weapons and the failure to turn them in, as called for by the Kosovo
peace agreement.
On Friday, however, Slaten said there was no evidence that Agim
Ceku, the former KLA commander who now heads the Kosovo Protection
Corps, knew of the cache. The Kosovo Protection Corps is a disaster
response unit made up of many former KLA members.
f NATO established a link between Ceku and the weapons, the Serbs,
Russians and others could press to remove him as head of the protection
corps.
Slaten suggested that lack of discipline within the KLA could mean
that Ceku did not necessarily know about arms being hidden by others in
his organization.
"To say that Ceku had overriding authority (in the KLA) is a
misconception," he said.
Ceku himself denied knowledge of the arms cache last weekend. At
the same time, he appeared to contradict NATO's assertion that the
weapons were owned by the KLA, saying his forces had turned in all their
arms as called for by the Kosovo peace agreement.
The weapons, stashed in several concrete bunkers and near Ceku's
former headquarters, included large quantities of mortars, anti-tank
rocket launchers and missiles, hundreds of mines, dozens of boxes of
ammunition, four heavy machine-guns and other ordnance.
In September, peacekeepers declared that the KLA had complied with
orders to turn over all its weapons. On Sept. 20, NATO agreed to
reorganize the KLA into the protection force in a deal personally
negotiated by the alliance's supreme commander for Europe, Gen. Wesley
Clark, who gave his personal assurances that the former rebels had
turned in all their weapons.
NATO officials suggested some of the weapons could have been used
in recent attacks against Serb civilians, which Serb community leaders
say are part of an ethnic Albanian campaign to drive Serbs from the
province.
Slaten said the documents, which contained names and other evidence
as to ownership of the weapons, would be investigated by U.N. police. If
found to have been used in recent attacks on Serbs or others, charges
would likely be filed, he added.

© Copyright 2000 The Associated Press
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http://www.clari.net/hot/wed/ca/Qkosovo-arms-kla.R477_AuN.html

Massive Kosovo weapons stash belonged to KLA, says KFOR

Friday, 23-Jun-2000 6:50AM

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia, June 23 (AFP) - A massive weapons haul uncovered
by KFOR peaceekeeping troops last week belonged to the province's former
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rebels, a KFOR spokesman said Friday.
The announcement flew in the face of a statement by the ex-head of
the disbanded KLA, General Agim Ceku, who on Sunday categorically denied
any link between his fighters and the stash of some 70 tonnes of arms.
"KFOR's multinatinal brigade centre is now able to confirm that the
weapons discovered in the two bunkers originally belonged to the former
KLA," said Major Scott Slaten.
"Intelligence experts have considerable evidence to link the
weapons in the bunkers to the KLA units operating during the war," said
Slaten.
He said the evidence included KLA documents but gave no further
details.
Slaten said it was possible that Ceku, whose wartime headquarters
were less a kilometre (half a mile) away from the weapons bunkers found
last Friday, might not have known about their presence.
"At the time much of the KLA was operating in disorganised groups
throughout the region, not necessarily under a centralised command.
Whether someone in one of those groups decided to do something
independently, I don't know," he said.
"Right now we don't have any evidence that General Ceku is
connected with these weapons," Slaten added.
Ceku firmy dismissed in a statement issued just after the find any
link with the KLA.
"With full confidence I can say the KLA did not possess these
weapons during the war," said Ceku, who now heads the Kosovo Protection
Corps, the civilian successor of the KLA.
"Everyone knows the difficulties and lack of weapons we had in the
war, especially during the NATO attacks and against the violent Serb
offensive," he said.
Under UN-brokered peace accords that ended NATO's bombing campaign
against Serbia a year ago, the KLA agreed to disarm and transform itself
into the KPC, a civilian disaster relief group with no security mandate.
British Brigadier Richard Shirreff, commander of the central sector
of the UN-administered province, said if Ceku and other ex-KLA leaders
had known of the stash and not informed them it would constitute an act
of "non-compliance" with the demilitarisation agreement.