July 05, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 05-07-03

CONTENTS:

AP: SERB LEADERS SKEPTICAL ABOUT KOSOVO APPEAL FOR RETURN
GLAS: WHAT KOFI ANAN SHOULD TELL SECURITY COUNCIL?
GLAS: THACI AND 13 OF HIS FELLOW FIGHTERS SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY AND NUMEROUS CRIMES COMMITTED IN FOUR MUNICIPALITIES

FS: WE WILL PUT THACI ON TRIAL IN SERBIA  - THACI WILL BE TRIED IN ABSENTIA

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SERB LEADERS SKEPTICAL ABOUT KOSOVO APPEAL FOR RETURN

"The gap between the rhetoric and everyday reality ... is too huge for us to consider the appeal a serious encouragement," said a statement by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serb National Council in Kosovo.

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ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 4th 2003

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - Serb leaders in Kosovo on Thursday dismissed a fresh appeal by key ethnic Albanian politicians urging minorities to come home, demanding action rather than words.

Leading ethnic Albanian politicians in the U.N.-administered province published the appeal Wednesday, calling on the 200,000 Serbs and other minorities to bury past grievances and return to Kosovo. But the ethnic Albanian leaders failed to offer security guarantees against extremist attacks - an omission that Serb leaders found unacceptable.

"The gap between the rhetoric and everyday reality ... is too huge for us to consider the appeal a serious encouragement," said a statement by the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serb National Council in Kosovo.

International officials who have been running Kosovo since the end of the NATO air war in 1999, praised the ethnic Albanian appeal as an important step toward reconciliation. At least one key official - Serbian deputy prime minister Nebojsa Covic - grudgingly agreed.

"It is a step forward, if only because the ethnic Albanian leaders put their signature under such an appeal," Covic said.

Serbs fled Kosovo fearing attacks leveled in revenge after the 78-day alliance air war that pushed out troops serving under former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. NATO bombed Yugoslavia to end Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanians seeking independence.

Also Thursday, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic said his government has begun developing a new strategy on the issue of Kosovo, which officially remains part of Serbia even though it has been run by international officials since 1999.

"The ultimate goal of this strategy would be the end of hostilities and suffering," Zivkovic told reporters in the in the Serbian town of Krusevac, some 80 miles south of Belgrade.

He said he expected the government to have completed developing its strategy by the end of the week, but did not elaborate. It wasn't clear whether Serbian leaders would be willing to give up their key demand that Kosovo return to Belgrade's control.


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Is UN headquarters getting accurate information regarding the situation in Kosovo and Metohija? Serbs live in a ghetto, UNMIK satisfied

WHAT KOFI ANAN SHOULD TELL THE SECURITY COUNCIL

that those guilty of numerous crimes against non-Albanians and responsible for creating a general crisis have not been arrested

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Glas Javnosti daily, Belgrade
July 3, 2003


By Ljiljana Staletovic

The murder of the three members of the Stolic family in Obilic, frequent attacks on Serbs in Kosovsko Pomoravlje, planting of explosive devices in northern Kosovo - and all this in the matter of the last few weeks.

Two months ago, two Serb houses were burned down in Obilic and Zoran Mirkovic was murdered in the village of Vrbovac near Vitina. Pressure on the remaining Serbs to sell their property is increasing. The Stolices were subject to this pressure while alive. They paid for their resistance to it with their lives.

Is Kosovo and Metohija safe and to what extent?

Running out of Serbs

Commenting on security, Jean Cody (sp?), the head of UNMIK's judicial and police department, said that eighteen Serbs were murdered in 2001, four in 2002 and already five in the current year. Seven of the 27 cases have been solved. During the same period 183 Albanians were killed.

The Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija agree that the security situation is not the same as four years ago. There are fewer murders but also increasingly fewer Serbs to target. And they are angry with Cody for not providing the statistics for 1999, when the Albanians expelled more than 250,000 Serbs and approximately 100,000 Roma, Turks, Muslims, Goranis and Egyptians in the presence of KFOR. And their own compatriots who refused to accept the politics of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Approximately 70,000 houses and apartments have been usurped; 112 churches and monasteries have been destroyed; about 1,200 people have been murdered. None of these crimes have been resolved, not even the most horrible of them all: the massacre of 14 Serb farmers harvesting their crops in Staro Gracko near Lipljan in June 1999.

There is no security

What is going on in Kosovo and Metohija today, four years after the deployment of the UNMIK mission and KFOR? The fact is that there has been no progress in the four years since the establishment of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija. Security for members of non-Albanian communities, especially Serbs, is at a very low level and the UN apparently has neither recognized problem nor realized that the Civil Mission has taken on the attributes of a state where human rights are violated. And lives taken.

Oliver Ivanovic, a member of the Kosovo parliament presidency, says that there is no reason to be satisfied because those responsible for numerous crimes and creating a crisis have not been arrested. "One gets the impression that crime pays," observes Ivanovic and adds that Serbs in Kosovo lack not only physical safety but also legal and economic security.

The security situation is marginally better than in 1999 but far from enabling Serbs to have freedom of movement, to travel, to visit relatives, to visit their deceased. With regard to economic conditions, Ivanovic, a pre-war industrial manager, emphasizes that conditions are excruciatingly difficult.

At UN headquarters, however, everyone seems to think differently. UNMIK officials agree that the implementation of the rule of law in Kosovo and Metohija remains critical. However, in this situation, there is an ongoing transfer of competencies from UNMIK to provisional institutions that have demonstrated they are not mature enough to handle them. Despite this, the dominant school of thought in the palace on the East River is that significant progress has been made in achieving autonomy and self-government, in establishing the rule of law, that a firm foundation has been created for economic growth, that the crime rate is falling.

The reason for this opinion, without doubt, is the fact that there is little or no discussion in New York regarding the implementation - and violation - of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. So the key question becomes - how to get information from Kosovo and Metohija to the Secretary-General?

No less important is what our ambassador Dejan Sahovic will respond to Kofi Annan's report to the Security Council at today's session.

Harder now than before

When asked if conditions for Serbs will improve any time soon, Ivanovic said that this is difficult until those responsible are found. Serb freedom of movement, he said, is severely limited. Returns are not happening. In companies that are still working, there are no Serb employees, especially in management positions. "The economic situation is extremely difficult, more difficult that before the war or even during the time of the bombing. The average production in the thermoelectrical facilities is lower than it was during the war. The experience of the Serbs could come in very handy," emphasizes Ivanovic.


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THACI AND 13 OF HIS FELLOW FIGHTERS SENTENCED FOR CONSPIRACY AND NUMEROUS CRIMES COMMITTED IN FOUR MUNICIPALITIES
Decision of the District Court in Pristina with regard to Hashim Thaci Sentenced to 10 years in prison

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Glas Javnosti daily, Belgrade
July 4, 2003


By Ljiljana Staletovic

BELGRADE - The dilemma regarding whether the indictment against Democratic Party of Kosovo leader and the former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army's Drenica group Hashim Thaci has been withdrawn, as the Hungarians claim in justifying his release after his arrest at Budapest Airport, or not, as the Belgrade government insists, has yet to be resolved. Apparently it no longer matters, except for the fact that on July 11 the displaced District Court in Pristina condemned him to 10 years in prison in absentia. The decision has not been changed.

Goals of the "KLA"

Today "Glas" published the decision sentencing Thaci and 13 of his fellow fighters - Adem Jashari, Jakup Nuka, Fadil Kadriu, Sahit Jashari, Rafet Rama, Sami Lustaka, Iliaz Kadriu and Rexhep Selimi - to multiple year prison sentences. The indicted are pronounced guilty because "beginning in 1992, after their visit to the Republic of Albania, where they received military training together with members of the Albanian Army and under the command of its officers, all of the accused established, on the territory of Srbica, an enemy terrorist association, as part of an organization of the same type."

The decision further states that this organization was active throughout Kosovo and Metohija, with the intention of carrying out organized and coordinated acts of violence, inspired by political motives and directed against the constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the ultimate goal of forcing the secession of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and other regions inhabited by members of the Albanian national minority, from the FRY and the establishment of a separate state to be then annexed to the Republic of Albania.

With this goal, the decision states, they began to arm themselves and toward this end obtained large quantities of weapons: automatic rifles, sniper rifles, handguns, ammunition, hand grenades, rifle grenades and other explosive devices.

Armed activities

Thereafter they conducted regular trainings in the handling of firearms and practiced firing from same, holding illegal meetings, most frequently in the village of Donji Prekaz, where they agreed, prepared and planned to carry out armed terrorist activities on the territory of the municipalities of Kosovska Mitrovica, Glogovac, Vucitrn and Srbica.

After these preparations were completed, the justification of the court decision notes, they carried out acts of violence on the territory of these municipalities, coordinated by agreement with members of associations in other locations, which carried out these activities continuously and simultaneously with those of the accused throughout the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. They used firearms and hand grenades to attack facilities of the Yugoslav Army and buildings housing refugees, committing the premeditated murder of four persons and the attempt to commit murder of 16 others, thus creating a feeling of insecurity among the citizenry. Thereafter, this organization, calling itself the "Kosovo Liberation Army," issued 29 communiques in which took responsibility for the committed acts of terrorism, concludes the court decision.

Neither Thaci, who earned the nickname "the Snake" for his cruelty, nor any of the other indictees filed an appeal against the decision with any judicial institution. His crimes, as well as the crimes of his co-fighters, are amply documented in extensive evidence submitted, along with the testimony of eyewitnesses, to the Hague tribunal. However, none of this prevented William Walker from accompanying him from Pristina Airport to Rambouillet in 1999 and, once there, from proclaiming him the head of the Albanian delegation, instead of Democratic League of Kosovo leader Ibrahim Rugova. Today Thaci, whose connections with the Albanian drug mafia are also documented, travels the world with the "blessings" of senior representatives of the international community and a diplomatic passport.

Responsibility

The investigation of the crimes committed in Kosovo and Metohija by Thaci and other members of the KLA was conducted by Judge Danica Marinkovic, investigative judge of the District Court in Pristina. During her investigation, Marinkovic, frequently risking her own life, collected her evidence, including the testimony of witnesses, holding Thaci responsible for the deaths of 661 Serbs, Montenegrins and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija; serious physical injury to 518 Serbs and Montenegrins; and the abduction of 584 persons. Thaci is also responsible for the premeditated expulsion of 250,000 Serbs and Montenegrins, as well as 80,000 other non-Albanians, from Kosovo and Metohija after June 1999, and is responsible before the Hague tribunal for these acts as both an individual and a commander.

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WE WILL PUT THACI ON TRIAL IN SERBIA, BATIC

Serbian Justice Minister Vladin Batic said today that Serbia would put a former ethnic Albanian rebel leader on trial in a Serbian court.

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FREE SERBIA
July 04, 2003


Vladan Batic, the Serbian Minister Of Justice, commenting The Hague Tribunal spokesperson Florens Artman's statement that there is no enough of gathered evidences against the ex- KLA leader Hashim Taci for his trial, said that he doesn't want to comment amateur's statements, but these statements "probably have some political omen."

Batic said that this statement was given after Taci's meeting with Javier Solana, and the entire war crimes documentation of Taci, Ceku and Haradinaj was delivered to The Hague Tribunal two years ago. Batic precisely stated that 40.000 pages of documents were delivered - testimony of witnesses, records, war plans, maps, photos, audio and video tapes, DNA analysis, dozens of witnesses’ statements given at the First District Court in Belgrade where The Hague Tribunal investigators also attended.

Also, he reminded that Carla del Ponte many times has announced the beginning of Taci's and other Albanians war criminals trial, and those announcements and voluminous documentation, deny Florens Artman's statements.

"The evidence materials are enough big, so even some "lost world place" judge would have raised the indictment against Taci, Ceku and Haradinaj. After all, do we need more evidences having the fact that since UNMIK entered Kosovo, more than 1000 Serbs were killed, disappeared or kidnapped, and Hashim Taci was the KLA leader,” said Batic. (Tanjug)


THACI WOULD BE TRIED FOR WAR CRIMES IN ABSENTIA

RADIO SERBIA-MONTENEGRO
July 04, 2003

The Serbian minister of justice Vladan Batic said that the president of the Democratic Party of Kosovo and the former leader of the KLA Hashim Tachi would be tried for war crimes in Belgrade, and that following that the reaction of the international community would be witnessed. Batic assessed that Tachi is the greatest war criminal in Europe following World War II.

On the occasion of the allegation of the Hague Tribunal’s spokeswoman, Florence Hartmann, that the documentation which was submitted by Belgrade regarding the leader of the former KLA is insufficient for the initiating of a court process. Batic said that it is impossible to deny the relevancy of more than 40 thousand various documents, unless there is a political motive.


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ERP KIM Info-Service is the official Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren and works with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Artemije.
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