February 19, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 19-02-03


KIM Radio: Attempted Abduction of Serb in Klokot Near Vitina
FS: TMK Transforming Into National Guard
REUTERS: Kosovo War Crime Suspect Said Arrested

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With difficulty Srdjan Vesic (30) of Klokot managed to resist kidnappers


Klokot, February 18, 2003

Last night (Monday, February 17) at about 22:00 hours two unidentified men attempted to kidnap 30 year-old Srdjan Vesic of Klokot near Vitina, the father of three small children. The attempted abduction took place near the Klokot-Vitina main road as Vesic was returning from the store to his house. Vesic personally confirmed to correspondents of Radio KIM in Kosovsko Pomoravlje that two kidnappers stopped a car and attempted to pull him into the vehicle. He managed to resist them but sustained light injuries in the process. The kidnapping was prevented by Vesic's neighbor who, hearing some commotion and cries for help, ran to his assistance. The abductors then fled in the direction of Vitina. The incident was reported to KFOR and UNMIK police.


Covic: Shovels, hoes, construction machineries could be the only weapons for the TMK


Free Serbia
Pristina, February 18, 2003

(photo: Serbia's vice premier Covic against transormation of TMK into a National Guard)

International community has a plan to transform TMK (Kosovo Protection Corps) into a National Guard that will have 3,000 armed persons and another two thousand into reserve component, sources in Prishtina reported to Beta agency.

The same sources claim that this is the first TMK transformation phase, which was created after disbanding KLA, while the other phase could be, as it is suggested, transformation into the army of independent Kosova.

The President of the Coordinating Center for Kosova and Metohija, Nebojsa Covic in regard to the TMK transformation plan accused individuals of the international mission in Kosova and added that this is a flagrant violation of international documents for Kosova.

“Almost two months ago we presented to the public what the individuals in UNMIK are trying to make out of the TMK,” said Covic. He stressed, “It is obvious that this whole activity is continuing and the matter is about the most drastically breach of the UNSC resolution 1244.”

Covic also stated that TMK should decrease and that it could no be transformed into any kind of military formation, because it is established for natural disasters. Transformation into a national guard or anything similar to that is an awful attempt to destroy UNSC resolution 1244,” Covic said. “If anyone is afraid that it will transform into the army of independent Kosova, as is the plan of individuals within the Albanian national community, then it should be said in public, because brings up the question how could it work and what result would have the mission that is afraid,” said Covic. He added that in Kosova, “that fear exists and its results could be seen every day, which is driving out and ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and non-Albanians.

“According to this, shovels, hoes, construction machineries could be the only weapons of the TMK,” Covic stated categorically.




February 18, 2003

By Fredrik Dahl

(photo: Fatmir Limaj, vice-president of Thaci's PDK indicted for war crimes in Kosovo)

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A prominent Kosovo Albanian war crimes suspect was detained Tuesday and is expected to be transferred to the United Nations tribunal in The Hague, the prosecutor's office said.

Fatmir Limaj is the highest-ranking of four Kosovo Albanian former guerrillas named in the U.N. war crimes tribunal's first indictment against ex-members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) that battled Slobodan Milosevic's Serb forces.

The four indictees are accused of atrocities against Serb and Albanian civilians held in a KLA prison camp in central Kosovo in mid-1998, including torture and murder.

The office of the U.N. war crimes prosecutor denied reports in Kosovo that Limaj, an ally of ex-Kosovo Albanian rebel chief Hashim Thaci and a senior commander during the 1998-9 conflict, had handed himself over to Austrian police.

"He was arrested in a state of the former Yugoslavia," spokeswoman Florence Hartmann told Reuters.

A United Nations source in Kosovo said there seemed to be confusion as to whether Limaj had been in Austria or Slovenia. "As far as we are concerned, he handed himself in," he said.

A source close to the Kosovo government told Reuters earlier that Limaj, 32, had surrendered to police in Austria and was on his way to The Hague.

Limaj is a member of Kosovo's parliament and a senior official of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, headed by Thaci.

The NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force in Kosovo said on Monday it had detained the three others: Haradin Bala, Isak Musliu and Agim Murtezi.


But U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte voiced anger earlier Tuesday over KFOR's failure to detain Limaj, saying he had been able to leave Kosovo on a regular flight last Friday even though KFOR had a warrant for his arrest.

She said he had traveled with Thaci but did not say where to. "It escapes all understanding that Fatmir Limaj, a member of parliament, a public figure, could be allowed to leave Kosovo with that ease two and a half weeks after KFOR had been in possession of the indictment and arrest warrant."

A spokesman for the NATO-led KFOR force declined comment.

Limaj told Reuters by phone that he had not known he was indicted. "I'm not worried about any indictment and I don't feel guilty," he said, without revealing his whereabouts. "If I'm one of the suspects ... I'll turn myself in voluntarily."

Del Ponte, visiting the Balkan region, said the three suspects detained by KFOR were being transferred to the Hague tribunal, whose mandate is to prosecute those suspected of war crimes during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

The indictment made public Tuesday said KLA forces under Limaj's command held at least 35 Serb and Albanian civilians in the Lapusnik prison camp, "under conditions that were brutal and inhumane, and routinely subjected them to physical and psychological assault, including torture and beatings."

The forces beat, tortured and murdered a number of Serb, non-Albanian and Albanian detainees at the camp, it added.

Many Kosovo Albanians regard the former guerrillas as heroes in a war of liberation against harsh Serb rule when Milosevic was in power in Belgrade. Kosovo came under U.N.-led rule in mid-1999 after 11 weeks of NATO bombing drove out his forces.


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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