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
Some 300 former
members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), now disarmed and
reformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps, marched in uniforms displaying
through the city streets to rhythmic clapping from onlookers waving
Albanian flags in
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
- the U.N. mission in Kosovo. But many more posters simply read: "Triumph
"The KPC are
the future armed forces of an independent Kosovo," said Xhevdet,
for Kosovo - I do not see any alternative," said pensioner Beqir
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.
remains legally part of Serbia, it is de facto a protectorate of the
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.
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
as well as Albanians.
you will understand what the present situation requires," Demaci
Former KLA general
Agim Ceku called for a "tolerant and democratic society" but
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
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
Monday marks the
first anniversary of the United Nations and KFOR peacekeepers
taking control of Kosovo under an agreement with Yugoslav Serb authorities
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
World War Two, with people being killed just because they speak a different
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
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.
have condemned the attacks on ethnic Serbs and called on ethnic
Albanian political leaders to preach tolerance and respect. But extreme
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
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.
Serb population has called on the United Nations to send anti-terrorist
experts to the Yugoslav province, now under de facto international rule,
recent murder of eight of their kin.
Shirreff, head of the British military contingent in Kosovo, told
reporters he understood the Serbs' anxiety and was doing everything
possible to stem the
"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
with individuals who strike when the opportunity arises. That is very
difficult to get a
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
of the province appeared to be an orchestrated campaign.
believe ethnic Albanian extremists are responsible for the murders and
assaults. Many Kosovo Albanians blame provocateurs sent by Yugoslav
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
But extreme anti-Serb
sentiment predominates among Kosovo Albanians embittered by a
decade of brutal Serbian rule following Belgrade's revocation of the
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
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,
World War Two, with people being killed just because they speak a different
Year After the War, Kosovo Killing Goes On
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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."
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
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?"
Pressured in US Kosovo Sector
By Danica Kirka
Associated Press Writer
Monday, June 12, 2000; 1:36 a.m. EDT
-- 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
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
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.
though the U.S. sector once had more Serb enclaves than any other sector
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,
Milosevic lost control of this southern province of Yugoslavia, tens
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
joined Serb political leaders in claiming that ethnic Albanians are
concerted campaign to erase non-Albanians from the province to better
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
resignation, they admit that unless something changes, it's only a matter
time before they go, too.
about it," Leposava says. "There won't be a Serb soul anywhere."
June 12, 2000
in arms fall out over spoils of Kosovo
By Lutz Kleveman
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
is leading Mr Thaci in opinion polls ahead of October elections.
The power struggles between former brothers in arms have turned
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
and a close friend of Mr Haradinaj.
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
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
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.
year of UN Kosovo mission shows up ambiguities
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
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
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
now Kosovo refugees
By LULZIM COTA
June 11 (UPI) -- A year ago, when NATO troops
were preparing to go into Kosovo, the Olympia camp in suburban Tirana
filled to capacity with 4,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees. A few meters
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
when they would return home. Children played in the sunshine and the
women packed their clothes, hoping that they would be back in Kosovo
A year later, Olympia is mostly empty. There are just 115
Kosovo refugees -- 34 men, 42 women and 39 children. The neighboring
no longer exists. Most refugees have no homes to return to in Kosovo
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
Ramiz Bujupi 40, a refugee, had left Mitrovica on April 13,
1999, and after 27 hours on a tractor, crossed the Albanian border on
"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
the West for alternatives, where both his brother and brother-in-law
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
returned home to Kosovo, many still live abroad -- mostly in Germany
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
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
the embattled Yugoslav province.
While the Kosovo Albanian refugee story can be considered a
"successful closed story," as Dennis McNamara, the UNHCR chief
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,
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
"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
Ferisaj this week and promised their help in reintegrating Gypsies into
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
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
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
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,
number of asylum-seekers from Yugoslavia decreased 24.9 per cent in
first quarter 2000, compared to the fourth quarter of 1999.
Church on post-war Kosovo firing line
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
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
church is the anchor of the Serbian people here. If the
churches are destroyed then the Serb people will not stay," said
Sava, an Orthodox priest who acts as spokesman for the region's Serb
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, which remains
legally a part of Yugoslavia but has become a de
facto international protectorate, is regularly described by Serbs as
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
central Serbia burned down.
later, many of Kosovo's most beautiful buildings are
its Orthodox centres, including the monasteries at Pec, Decani and
"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
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.
domed church and adjacent belfry were built in 1996 on
the site of a 16th-century church. It was attacked in June and July
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
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
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.
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
same way," he said.
TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2000
Serbs' uncertain future
It's been one year
since the UN assumed control. Serbs say improvements have
passed them by.
Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Dragan and Dragana
Pantelic fled Kosovo with their two sons last summer,
when ethnic Albanian violence against Serbs was at its height. They
house in southern Serbia about 40 miles from the Kosovo border. "It
peaceful but expensive," says Mrs. Pantelic, a sad, thin woman
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
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
Their number, estimated before the war at about 200,000, has dwindled
that. Those who remain find it risky to leave their enclaves except
escort. They have few opportunities to work and only difficult access
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
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
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
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
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,
Serb leaders withdrew from a joint governing body to protest the upsurge
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
months, many will be leaving," says the Rev. Sava Janjic, an Orthodox
and one of the moderate Serb leaders with whom Western officials have
working. "Many people stayed last winter, expecting changes this
summer. But if things don't improve, I don't think they will want to
another hard winter here."
peacekeeping force has increasingly shifted soldiers
toward protecting Serbs. But as recent incidents show, the proximity
peacekeepers does not guarantee safety. The hand grenade in Gracanica
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
Their withdrawal from Kosovo's civilian administration struck another
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
gained them little so far. Indeed, much that Western officials have
such as a radio station for moderate Serb leaders to broadcast their
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
weekly open market. In Serb hamlets around Slivovo, in eastern Kosovo,
British troops are encouraged that a few people have come back to look
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.
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
organization based in Brussels and Washington.
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.
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
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.
live together again."
Magazine (International edition only)
June 19, 2000
... 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
working justice system in Kosovo." And without justice, can there
Serbs killed, one injured as car hits landmine in Kosovo
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
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
Norwegian and Finnish KFOR troops were in the area investigating, she
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.
VIOLENCE STALLS SERB REPATRIATION
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
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
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,
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
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
difficulties in describing what I have seen in the last two days as
"We are engaged
in solving problems such as freedom of movement,
communications, health services, education and trade," Shireff
"[Operation] Trojan is supposed to increase the security level
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
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."
however, that Operation Trojan had brought considerable
improvements for the Serb community. "We noticed at checkpoints
roads were only being used by Albanians," McDonald said. "Serbs
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
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
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
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
night. Any suspicious signals are investigated by helicopter patrols.
recently discovered a group of people trying to bury automatic rifles
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
between the Gracanica and Pristina municipalities. There are six Serbian
villages in the area, including Slivovo, surrounded by Albanian communities.
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
Bateman said he
was sure the KFOR troops in his area had the security
situation under control.
from Slivovo said it seems the villagers are free to go
where they want nowadays. But she added, "I still keep close [to
unless my husband goes with me."
Slivovo on June 19 last year along with virtually all the
other villagers. Her son Goran, 19, disappeared the same day in the
village of Labljani. She returned three weeks later, escorted by Swedish
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
would have escaped immediately. He wouldn't have stayed," Marinkovic
18, returned to Slivovo this February. Danijela, like many
who fled Slivovo, ended up in Smederovo in Serbia, where she lived for
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,
and distribution centre were soon to be opened in a house near the KFOR
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 an IWPR contributor.
Kill Albanian Politician
Friday, June 16, 2000; 2:12 p.m. EDT
-- 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
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.
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.
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
The chief U.N. administrator,
Bernard Kouchner, blamed extremists who "do not
want us to succeed."
sell homes to Albanians at border
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
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
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
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,
Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
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
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.
was made by the tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, who is
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
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.
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
The war crimes tribunal,
set up in 1993, has indicted 96 people and convicted 16 of the 36 in
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
Banja Luka, Republika Srpska
Issue 113, June 21, 2000
The year of Kosovo
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.
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
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 Milosevics 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.
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
Instead, the violence -- "atrocities, evictions and expulsions"
-- was highly organised and carried out by "Albanian extremists",
Since Yugoslav troops pulled out of the province a year ago, the
minority Serb population in the province have become the target of
In recent weeks, an increasing number of attacks including
drive-by shootings, have left 10 Serbs dead and more than 20
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
In Belgrade, Dienstbier warned that these extremists could
"destabilise" the Albanian-populated regions of Presevo Valley
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
UNMIK chief Bernard Kouchner recently publicly called on
Dienstbier to "shut up" after he criticised the way the province
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
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,"
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
In Kosovo, Del Ponte ruled out any deal Wednesday allowing
indicted Milosevic to escape war crimes in return for leaving
"The indictment can only be withdrawn by the prosecutor. I can
assure you I have no intention of withdrawing that indictment,"
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.
Kosovo Serbs wounded in 24 hours
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
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
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
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."
SERB RADIO LOOTED
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
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
which was rebuilding the Cultural Centre building in Caglavica.
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
permit," said the Council in a statement. The Serbs also described
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.
hammer area around Kosovo Serb monastery
June 22 (AFP) - Nine blasts believed to be mortar
rounds hammered an area overnight near the Serbian Orthodox monastery
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
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
KFOR arrested one ethnic Albanian man earlier this month in
possession of a 60 mm mortar in the sector.
MONASTERY IN KOSOVO ATTACKED BY MORTARS EARLY THIS MORNING
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
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
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
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocese of Raska and Prizren
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
installed in power in the breakaway province. The Hague Tribunal, which
year indicted President Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, announced
that it is currently investigating five cases of atrocities against
allegedly committed by members of the KLA. And observers believe that
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
of violence against the territory's remaining Serbs, and tensions between
organization and NATO have reached their highest point since the war
following the discovery, two weeks ago, of massive arms caches in the
valley, a KLA stronghold. Although the former guerrilla movement's leaders
have denied any knowledge of the caches, which would be in violation
undertakings to hand their weapons over to NATO, it's unlikely that
amounts of weapons would have been stockpiled without a green light
quarter of the KLA leadership. The movement has never accepted the limits
international community has sought to impose on their aspirations, and
to press on for independence and confederation with Albania rather than
multi-ethnic autonomous enclave favored by the West.
could bring NATO-Kosovar relations to a breaking
point, because they'd oblige the peacekeeping force to arrest suspects
the current Kosovar Albanian leadership may be reluctant to hand over.
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
back off, following the discovery of the arms caches. Now, Washington
allies may be set to learn the hard way that while Kosovo had no shortage
bad guys and innocent victims, the "good guys" may have been
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
In recent weeks, an increasing number of attacks, including
drive-by shootings, have left 10 Serbs dead and more than 20
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
The aid agency estimated the total figure of refugees could be
Shinohara said that continuing poor security conditions for
Serbs in Kosovo "do not offer (the) possibility for their return
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.
June 22, 2000
REPORTER VISITS THE MONASTERY OF HIGH DECANI
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
soldiers who also protected it during the time of World War II - During
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
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
because since the arrival of KFOR, more than 20,000 Serbs have been
"We live in
completely predetermined conditions. In a sense we are imprisoned here.
We go nowhere without KFOR accompaniment," says the prior of the
Teodosije. "In armored KFOR vehicles, we venture out of the monastery
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
here in Decani."
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
"We have great
confidence in the Italian soldiers who are protecting us; they are
great Christians, faithful to their religion and they demonstrate great
respect for our Orthodoxy. History repeats himself. During the Second
Italian soldiers protected this monastery from militant Albanians and
successfully so," says prior Teodosije, showing a book of impressions
monastery records from that time in which Italian soldiers carefully
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
Metohija. They have feelings because they do not act like soldiers but
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."
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
peasants from Decani and the surrounding villages: Gornja Ratisa, Donja
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
visited by no one one for more than a year except UNMIK police and KFOR
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
settle on by the decree of the emperor. For centuries they defended
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
However, occasionally we are contacted by an older Albanian friend who,
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
responsibility, almost all churches and the ancient Christian monastery
of the Holy
Prophets, Kozma and Damjan in Zociste, which was renovated and reconstructed
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
dangerous. We will attempt to secure peace in this region," said
Twelve hours later,
after the departure of the reporters of "Politika", the BBC
Beta, the Albanians launched a mortar attack on this Serb holy site
from the middle
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
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
on Mother Teresa Street, accompanied by del Ponte and all the members
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)
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
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.
Links Weapons Cache to KLA
By George Jahn
Associated Press Writer
Friday, June 23, 2000; 10:45 a.m. EDT
-- 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
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
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
Slaten suggested that lack of discipline within the KLA could mean
that Ceku did not necessarily know about arms being hidden by others
"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
Slaten said the documents, which contained names and other evidence
as to ownership of the weapons, would be investigated by U.N. police.
found to have been used in recent attacks on Serbs or others, charges
would likely be filed, he added.
2000 The Associated Press
Kosovo weapons stash belonged to KLA, says KFOR
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
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,"
He said the evidence included KLA documents but gave no further
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
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
of "non-compliance" with the demilitarisation agreement.