February 12 , 2003
ERP KIM NEWSLETTER
Vandalism of Cemeteries
ERP KIM Info-Service
Gracanica, February 11, 2003 - The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija has decided to begin forming new municipalities in areas of the Province where Serbs constitute a majority and encourage their unification into municipal associations. Pointing out that the situation for Serbs and other non-Albanians has remained very difficult since arrival of the international mission , the SNC KIM requested at its meeting in Gracanica on Tuesday that UNMIK allow the formation of new municipal units in the next three months in accordance with the legal provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Constitution Framework. The SNC KIM is asking that UNMIK define the authority of the municipalities and how they will function, as well as assisting with funding of future local organizations through its budget. UNMIK is also to draft legal regulations and define mechanisms for association of municipalities in order to achieve better and more efficient realization of municipal common interests as well as faster development of democracy and human rights.
Statement of the SNC KIM Info Service, Gracanica
The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija Info Service hereby issues the following
A meeting organized by the Serb National Council took place today in Gracanica Monastery and was attended by representatives of relevant Serb political parties from Kosovo and Metohija, administrative structures of former Municipalities and assemblymen in Municipal Assemblies elected in local elections in October 2002, as well as representatives of local community offices in central Kosovo. The proposed request for the formation of municipalities, as well as municipal associations in Kosovo and Metohija was adopted by unanimous vote at this highly important gathering.
This initiative is based the international community's documents for decentralization of government in Kosovo and Metohija. Its goal is to secure access to institutions for citizens of Serb and other non-Albanian communities in this region because after four years of international presence we remain deprived of all rights considered basic according to all world conventions.
All participants at the gathering expressed unanimous support for the initiative, which is to remain in effect until it is realized, and is based on the request to be accompanied by a citizens' petition. This petition and the request will then be submitted to representatives of the international community. We appeal to and expect the support of representatives of the Belgrade government in our sincere intent to stay, to survive and to create conditions for the return of displaced persons in this region.
The organizers of today's meeting call on all those who have the same interests to join them in the decisive moment of survival and they appeal to citizens to show and prove to what extent their human rights are threatened by signing the petition.
In Gracanica, February 11, 2003
SNC KIM Info Service
TEXT OF REQUEST FOR FORMATION OF MUNICIPALITIES AND MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATIONS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
KIM Radio, BETA, ERP KIM Info-Service
As KIM radio reveals, on Monday around 2350hrs unknown assailants wounded Drakulic Vera from the village of Devet Jugovica. Drakulic, born in 1938 was shot in the right thigh.
Around 2345 hr Vera was awaken by loud noises coming from the house of Radonjic Julka, her neighbor, where Vera was sleeping for safety reasons, because Vera’s house is in the part of the village surrounded by Albanian houses. Trying to determine the source of the noise Vera took to the hallway of the house where she saw two Albanians. The perpetrators shot a bullet in Vera’s direction and immediately fled the scene of the incident.
Radonjic gave Vera first aid. Vera was moved to a hospital on Tuesday morning at approximately 0830 hrs. Dragan Perisic, the surgeon that operated Vera stated that she is not in a life threatening situation.
The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija most strongly condemns this latest armed attack and warns UNMIK and KFOR to undertake ugent measures to protect the Serb population from increasingly frequent attacks by Albanian exteremist throughout the Province.
There are about 20 Serbs living In Devet Jugovica village
today. Before the war there were about 1,000.
BUJANOVAC/PRISTINA -- Tuesday – Just a few days after the arrest of seven Albanians, extremist Albanian groups in southern Serbian are threatening renewed violence.
Kosovo Live Agency has issued reports about the anonymous leader of the “Albanian Unity National Front” whose military wing is the ultra-radical “Albanian National Army (ANA).
The ANA has been especially active in Macedonia in recent years, viewing the Albanian issue in the Balkans as unresolved, and declaring war “both in a political and military sense, until all territories inhabited by Albanians are united”, reports a correspondent from Pristina.
The Coordination Centre for Southern Serbia told B92 that they are not paying any attention to the recent threats made by extremists.
Asked what information the Coordination Centre has about the alleged mobilisation of Albanians, Deputy Federal Police Minister Milislav Markovic, a member of the centre, said that there is no reliable information on the ground about such developments.
“There are laws in this country. Citizens have to obey the law, and state bodies have to execute them. We are obliged to execute them equally, and we do”, he said.
“No threat or indeed anything else will weaken our resolve in the fight against terrorism and other criminal acts, nor will it influence the course of criminal procedure”, said Markovic.
The Albanians, however, tell a very different story. The website preseva.com reports of an organisation called “Future of the Homeland” which is sending an ultimatum to Serbian authorities to release seven arrested Albanians charged with enemy activity.
The deadline expires on Tuesday and if Belgrade fails to comply, the organisation is predicting a “heated” spring season.
Banners of the ANA and the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medveja, and Bujanovac (UPCMB) appeared this morning on the second floor of the Bujanovac Assembly building, inciting panic among citizens.
The head of the Coordination Centre for southern Kosovo Nebojsa Covic headed for Bujanovac today, cancelling a meeting in Belgrade with the Stability Pact for South-East Europe Coordinator Erhard Busek.
The leader of the Albanian Unity National Front who introduced himself as Valdet Vardari on Kosova Live said “the Front has contacts with several Albanian parties and non-government organisations from all Albanian territories”.
No politician has so far confirmed of denied these claims.
According to unofficial information leaked to B92, the ANA guerrilla organisation is active in Kosovo as well.
This was confirmed several days ago by the Pristina daily Koha ditore.
In certain Kosovo villages armed and masked men in black uniforms have been seen of late, detaining and seeking identification from citizens, reported Serb media from Kosovo quoting Koha ditore.
According to B92’s information from those privy to guerrilla headquarters, their activities are not aimed against UNMIK, KFOR, or the international community.
Aside from the struggle against Macedonian and Serbian security forces, part of their activity targets Albanians who betrayed the idea of a liberation struggle for the unity of all Albanians.
However, UNMIK spokesman Simon Haselock told B92 that the international community representatives in Kosovo have no information about the supposed mobilisation of the ANA.
“All I can say is that there are criminals in Kosovo, as well as in other parts of the world. We have witnessed explosions and the like, but these are attributed to organised criminals, not to any particular organisation”, said Haselock.
“I think it’s very dangerous to hype up the existence of this organisation in the media, because there is no substantiated evidence to suggest anything other than the usual criminal activity we’ve seen in Kosovo in the past three years”, he added.
Analyst Bojan Dimitrijevic said he believes the information about the alleged mobilisation of the ANA in southern Serbia represents a serious warning that the situation in southern Serbian is far from resolved.
He said it was no coincidence that tensions have been renewed at the same time as the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic is trying to launch an initiative on Kosovo’s final status.
BELGRADE -- Tuesday – Albanian members of the Kosovo Assembly have not given up plans for a declaration on independence, despite it being taken off the Assembly’s agenda, Oliver Ivanovic claimed today.
The Serb member of the Assembly’s joint presidency warned that the draft declaration of independence would be on the agenda at the next sitting of the Assembly.
“Albanian deputies find it very difficult to restrain themselves in public and in front of television cameras.
“They won’t be able to pass up an opportunity to prove their devotion to this great cause with a resolution.
“I wouldn’t say they’re giving up. They just have a lot of formal legal and political difficulties,” said Ivanovic.
He added that international opposition to the declaration had given Serbs in Kosovo a little more confidence in the intentions of the international community.
advisor to the assembly’s speaker, Ramush Tahiri, also said today that
it had been agreed that parties in the assembly would continue consultations
on the issue.
Kosovo Polje, February 11, 2003 - KFOR and UN police have been recording the names of influential Serbs and their patterns of movement since last night in the area of Kosovo Polje after Albanian extremists threatened revenge against those who testified against their war-time leader, Rrustem Mustafa Remi, confirmed Serb representative Svetislav Grujic from the village of Bresje for SRNA.
UNMIK and KFOR have denied keeping such records but Grujic claims that he and at least some 20 other Serbs were advised by UN police to go nowhere without first letting them know.
Grujic said that "men in black" - Albanian extremists and members of the newly formed, so-called Army of Kosovo Albanians - have threatened revenge within the next 10 days, at the same time as the beginning of Remi's trial, against all influential Serbs and Albanians who testified during the investigation that the accused and his four-man group murdered Albanian civilians who cooperated with the Milosevic regime.
According to Grujic's claims, KFOR and UNMIK are collecting the most records regarding Serbs from the villages of Bresje, Batuse, Kuzmin and Ugljare.
A member of the Kosovo Police Service command who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that movements of Albanians in the area of Podujevo and north of Pristina have been reduced as much as possible during the night because they are being stopped and threatened by "men in black".
The Albanian-language daily "Koha Ditora" has warned the Albanian civilian population that revenge is forthcoming to those who appeared before UN police investigators and testified that in 1999 Rrustem Mustafa interrogated, kidnapped and murdered Albanians who cooperated with the Milosevic regime.
RESELLING OF GRAVE MARKERS TO DIGGING UP OF GRAVES
Danas Daily (Belgrade)
By Jelena Tasic
Gracanica, Belgrade - The results of a month long investigation into the condition of Orthodox churches and cemeteries in Kosovo and Metohija prepared by a two-member team of the Serbian Orthodox Church comprised of Fr. David Perovic, professor at the Theological Faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade and envoy of the Serbian Patriarch Pavle, and Proto-Presbyter Miljko Koricanin are more than catastrophic. A large number of already damaged churches showed signs of further destruction and removal of materials, and the condition of the cemeteries is devastating, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren Information Service recently advised.
According to Fr. David's report, at the city cemetery in Pec they observed that "the grave markers are first broken; then, Albanian resellers of marble remove the costly marble plates which are then sold not far from the cemetery for the use of the Albanian Muslim population. The activities of these grave robbers, unfortunately, are ongoing and unobstructed, and there is a real danger that all the graves will soon be destroyed. The west part of the cemetery is covered with debris, earth and garbage to the point where the remains of the graves cannot be seen. Especially horrifying is the fact that some of the graves have recently been opened for unknown reasons. Open graves have also been found at the nearby cemetery church in the village of Bijelo Polje which has been leveled with the ground since the arrival of peacekeeping forces, and the church itself desecrated," it is written in the report.
Signs of new damage and desecration have also been found in the village cemeteries in the villages of Nabrdje and Naklo near Pec, where it is difficult to find a single grave where the grave marker or cross has not been broken. In Nabrdje the Orthodox cemetery has been transformed into a garbage dump. The two hectares [five acres] of cemetry land have been covered with large quantities of slag, iron and automobile parts and other junk so that most of the graves are completely hidden from view.
In the villages of Brestovik and Siga, targeted by UNMIK's program for return of expelled, cemeteries where many open graves were found last year, some even missing the bodies of the deceased are now, according to Fr. David's testimony, completely destroyed. Even Serb cemeteries more than 300 years old such as those in Saljinovica, Djurakovac and Pec have not escaped destruction. In the old Pec cemetery behind the present-day Roman Catholic church, the report describes, only a few stone grave markers now remain which have not been buried in debris and garbage.
"The systematic destruction of the traces of centuries of presence of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija is continuing. If the international community does nothing to stop this destructive power, soon we will talk about Serbs from this region as an extinct people only on the basis of archeological remains of cemeteries and churches," the ERP KIM Info Service quotes Fr. David as saying.
Documentary films will be made from the collected video material regarding the destruction of centuries-old Christian culture in an area under the administration of the United Nations, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren has announced. The first comprehensive report on this topic, entitled "The War Against the Dead", appeared at the beginning of last year as the testimony of Decani monks who at the end of 2001 visited the Serb cemeteries in Brestovik, Berkovo and Siga.
Last year horrifying reports were collected from many locations, including Kosovo Polje and Orahovac, where local Serbs, who waited for three years for KFOR permission to visit the Orthodox cemetery in the Albanian part of town, found weeds, desecrated grave markers and unidentified fresh graves whose origin, despite UNMIK's exhumations, has not been completely determined. Fr. Radivoje Panic and Dr. Gordana Subaric have filmed two documentary films on this subject, "Kosovo Requiem" on Serb cemeteries in central Kosovo and "The Wind from the Grave" in the Pec area.
"These scenes of horror and pain do not originate from the war period but are testimony of the post-war, systematic destruction of everything Serb and Christian in this region," reminds the Diocese of Raska and Prizren. Fr. Sava (Janjic), the deputy abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, has on many occasions brought to the public's attention that "digging up of graves, breaking of caskets and scattering of bones [of the deceased] represents the highest degree of barbarism and madness on the part of the Kosovo Albanians".
If it is possible to find an explanation for this hideous
form of barbarism, unprecedented anywhere in the region of the former
Yugoslavia, the Diocese states the intention of extremists to prevent
the return of the expelled Serb population to the Province at any price
by sending a clear message that "if there is no peace for the deceased,
what can be expected by the living." In Fr. Sava's opinion, especially
worrisome is the fact that since the arrival of the UN mission there has
been no concrete attempt made to stop the destruction of Serb churches
and cemeteries by either the Kosovo Albanians, especially their politicians
and intellectuals, or by the international community.
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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