August 21, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 21-08-03

KOSOVO'S BALKAN NIGHTMARE GOES ON


Serirously wounded Serb boy - Bogdan Bukumiric (15) is recovering
Serbian Premier Zivkovic (R) and the basketball star Vlade Divac (L) visited Bogdan

BELGRADE -- Tuesday 19. AUG -- Fifteen-year-old Bogdan Bukumiric, seriously injured during last Wednesday's Gorazdevac attack, has regained consciousness at the Belgrade Military Medical Academy after almost a week. Bukumiric remains in intensive care but, according to doctor Krsto Jovanovic, the boy's brain functions and damaged lungs are recovering.  Bogdan suffered gunshot wounds to the head, chest and abdomen while swimming in a Kosovo river. The attack, believed to be ethnically motivated, left two young Serbs dead and four others, including Bogdan, injured.

CONTENTS:

SUC: STATEMENT ON GORAZDEVAC MASSACRE
ELDERLY SERB WOMAN ASSAULTED IN KOSOVO
ALBANIANS STONE BUS NEAR KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - SHOTS FIRED IN GORAZDEVAC DISGRADE FOR UNMIK
BLIC: KOSOVO PROTECTION CORPS - MAFIA'S PRIVATE ARMY
SERBIAN CEMETERY IN PONES SET ON FIRE
CAR OF KOSOVO SERB RIDDLED BY BULLETS NEAR GNJILANE
DRAGAN TONIC PASSES AWAY A WEEK AFTER KOSOVO SHOOTING

UNMIK POLICE CHIEF QUESTIONS ALBANIAN APATHY
KILL THY NEIGHBOR - KOSOVO'S BALKAN NIGHTMARE GOES ON

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SERBIAN UNITY CONGRES (U.S) ISSUES STATEMENT ON GORAZDEVAC MASSACRE
 

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STATEMENT BY THE SERBIAN UNITY CONGRESS

Please contact: Steven Cupic, Interim Director
Serbian Unity Congress, Washington Office
stevenc@serbianunity.net
(T) 202-463-8643
(F) 202-463-8645


Massacre of innocent Serbian children in Gorazdevac,
Kosovo and Metohija


On the occasion of the heinous Aug. 14 massacre of innocent Serbian children in Gorazdevac, Kosovo and Metohija, the Serbian Unity Congress (SUC) wishes hereby express its deepest sympathy to the families of the slain and wounded victims. The courage of the entire Gorazdevac community to remain, against the odds, at their ancestral homes and attempt to continue a normal daily life worthy of human beings – down to children’s summer play – has been, to say the least, rudely tested. Their stoic and dignified response to this terror is commendable, yet it cannot hide the real extent of their suffering and anguish.

The SUC wishes to commend the deputy UNMIK chief in Kosovo-Metohija, who candidly described the activities of the Albanian perpetrator as “… a barbaric act which is even worse than terrorism.” The SUC joins UNMIK in condemning this act, as well as the follow-up attack in Pec on a vehicle transporting wounded to the hospital, resulting in further serious injuries.

The SUC urges UNMIK and the world community to let this act serve as a turning point in the approach of the UN administration on the ground in Kosovo and Metohija. The United Nations must recognize that the approach that has been taken for the past four years has not succeeded in bringing about the kind of stability in the region necessary to ensure that the most basic elements of safety for the Serbs who remain in Kosovo-Metohija and those who wish to return home are present.

Unfortunately, four years after the end of the war, it has become clear that act which took place last week against the Serbian children was not an “isolated incident” committed by faceless “extremists”, but rather a part of a systematic pattern of violent, terrorist behavior designed to do two things: (1) frighten and intimidate the Serbs remaining in Kosovo into leaving their homeland and (2) convincing hundreds of thousands of Serbs and other loyalists who were driven from Kosovo after 1999 that return is impossible.

Fr. Sava of Decani, a universally recognized champion of interethnic reconciliation in Kosovo-Metohija, said it best:

“Such behavior is primarily the direct consequence of the activity of Albanian institutions in the Province institutionalizing the rule of ethnic terror and violence and proclaiming crime to be the standard of justice and law. The glorification of terrorists as "freedom fighters" by the Kosovo parliament, systematic discrimination against the non-Albanian population in all spheres of life and persistent obstruction of the return of displaced persons are just some of the most extreme activities being directly implemented under the auspices of these new institutions created by UNMIK. Such institutions are not only preventing the building of a democratic society but actually systematically destroying every possibility of common life. Through their activities such institutions serve primarily as a smokescreen for criminals and mafiosi presently in the roles of leading politicians who enjoy the reputation of national heroes and saviors of the Albanian people.”

We believe that the time has come for the United Nations and its new special representative for Kosovo, Mr. Harri Holkeri, to embark on a plan that will respect UN Security Resolution 1244 and allow for this land to once again be reunited with Serbia and Montenegro. Working with the world community and the United Nations, Serbia and Montenegro can and will adopt steps that will allow for all ethnicities to live together in peace, without fear of mindless acts of terrorism being perpetrated against innocent civilians.

From the tragedy of the past week, let us begin anew with a process that will truly result in peace and freedom for all those who call Kosovo-Metohija their home. Let the process begin that will allow for those Serbs now living in Kosovo-Metohija to live in peace without fear of suffering from the terrorist acts of Albanian extremists. Let the process also begin that will allow those Serbs who have been driven out of Kosovo-Metohija to return to their homes. And finally, let the process begin that will allow all people who call Kosovo-Metohija their home to live in peace with one another.

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ELDERLY SERB WOMAN ASSAULTED IN KOSOVO

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FREE SERBIA
August 19, 2003


On Sunday, in Gnjilane, unknown assailants attacked 80-year old Vukosava Ivkovic, reports a TV station from the village of Kushce near Gnjilane.

According to Jovan Simic, the main editor of this TV station, the assailants entered the house of Vukosava Ivkovic by posing as Kosovo Police Service (KPS) members. Vukosava lives in the street of Stojadin Trajic. She lives by herself and is the only Serbian living in that part of Gnjilane.

Simic also stated that the assailants physically harassed and sexually mistreated the old lady, facts which were confirmed by the Prishtina medical center doctors who gave her medical assistance. The assailants attacked the old lady at the time when Gnjilane was under the usual two hours electric power restriction.

After they left the house the old lady reported the incident to the KPS, which assisted her and took her to the Prishtina hospital. After the medical intervention Vukosava Ivkovic was returned to her house, which is now being secured by KPS members, stated Simic. (Beta)


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ALBANIANS STONE BUS NEAR KOSOVSKA MITROVICA

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Kosovska Mitrovica, 20 Aug (Tanjug) - A bus taking Serbs from Kosovska Mitrovica to Suvi Dol, an enclave located three kilometers from Mitrovica, was stoned on Wednesday by ethnic Albanians when it was passing through the Albanian part of the village. It has been confirmed to Tanjug by Gordana Jeftic of Suvi Dol that the incident occurred around 13.00, but that no one was injured thanks to the bus driver who didn't lose his presence of mind and managed to get away.

At the moment of the attack there were in the bus about a dozen Serbs who were returning to the village.

Shots fired in Gorazdevac, "disgrace for UNMIK"

 13:46 | B92, Belgrade, Aug 18

GORAZDEVAC/BELGRADE -- Monday -- The troubled Kosovo village of Gorazdevac has been subjected to another attack, with unknown gunmen opening fire on Serb villagers yesterday afternoon. There were no casualties on this occasion.

The target of the attack is uncertain, with news agencies quoting unofficial sources who claim that the target was Milivoje Jovanovic, tending cattle close to a nearby Albanian-populated village, and others claiming that children swimming in a central Gorazdevac brook were once again targeted.

Speaking to B92, villager Ranko Manojlovic said: "They opened fire from the direction of the Albanian village of Grabovac, but from the territory of Gorazdevac. They fired some dozen bullets, in single shots, and we found several bullets close to children swimming in a brook in central Gorazdevac. Fortunately no one was injured and the local police have visited the scene and questioned a local Albanian, a certain Jasic, who claimed he saw two armed men in black uniforms there."

In addition to local Kosovo police, the incident is being investigated by UNMIK police, and Oliver Ivanovic, a member of the Kosovo Assembly's presidency, initially reacted by declaring the latest attack "a disgrace for UNMIK".

He said: "This is provocation; this cannot be tolerated any more. Terrorists want to show in this way that UNMIK police and KFOR cannot do a thing to them; that they will continue their activities until Serbs move from there".

Gorazdevac was the scene of tragedy last Wednesday when an armed attack against swimming children left two Serb youngsters dead and four others injured.


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KOSOVO PROTECTION CORPS - MAFIA'S PRIVATE ARMY

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BLIC DAILY - Belgrade
August 20, 2003


UN Security Council at its session dealing with the actual situation in Kosovo condemned attack in Gorazdevac and called for larger efforts in making a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, who briefed the UN SC on the actual events, said that the international community would be responsible for establishment of mono-ethnic Albanian para-state if it fails to immediately undertake measures that would put end to violence in Kosovo. Covic said that members of Kosovo Protection Corpus took part in the crime in Gorazdevac. He called for a detailed investigation that would lead to suspension of that formation.

Speakers in Security Council insisted that extremists should not be allowed to act against the future of the province. Great Britain representative requested transformation of Kosovo Protection Corpus into a civil organization for urgent actions. He, however, has not agreed with the stance that the corpus should be suspended.

Analysts claim that Kosovo Protection Corpus is behind ANA /Albanian National Army/ that claimed responsibility for several terrorist acts. However, not only ANA, but a significant number of veterans of former KLA /Kosovo Liberation Army/ and in the first place Albanian mafia. ANA and Kosovo Protection Corpus /KPC/ are seen as private army of Albanian mafia. KPC has been seen as nucleus of Kosovo Republic army. It already has highly trained specialists for rapid action as per NATO methods or instructions. It also has a strong intelligence service getting information from foreign intelligence services and KFOR. ANA is also well armed and quite capable to start a new war in the Balkans with its 20000 people.
Ramush Haradinaj was the most important for transformation of KLA into KPC. Haradinaj is thought to be the most influential KLA leader, even in front of Hashim Thaci.

Analysts also claim that KPC and ANA are no in the hands of mafia and Islamists and make an independent institution, although UNMIK is paying KPC. The salaries are not small, from 500 to 1,000 Euros. KPC is a good communication between mafia and UNMIK's officials. Mafia is using UNMIK's employees by corrupting them for prostitution. Also the incident in Sandjak warn about direct cooperation between KPC and Bosniac 'El Mujahedin' brigade in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

They are going to apply methods of urban terrorism in groups of 5.7 members and in formations of 20 to 50 people for action in rural areas outside Kosovo. They intend to spread their actions on Sandjak and Montenegro, analysts warn.

UN Police spokesman Derek Chappell claims that ANA is not a threat to stabilization of the whole province. According to him this 'group of extremists' does not have more than 70 members and is carrying out attacks of smaller intensity only for the interests of those who financed it and they are members of Albanian Diaspora.

Nebojsa Covic said that he was satisfied with the UN SC session by the support that SC had given. He also said he was expecting concrete actions over the time.

According to British expert for security Paul Beaver organized crime is behind extremists in Kosovo.

Experts also say that the session of UN Security Council on Kosovo was encouraging for Belgrade authorities, UNMIK and provisional institutions in Kosovo.

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SERBIAN CEMETERY IN PONES SET ON FIRE

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KIM RADIO
August 19, 2003

On Tuesday morning, the Serbian cemetery in the village of Ponesh, near Gnjilane, was set on fire. The fire destroyed the tombstones and the church chapel. The fire blaze also destroyed what little harvesting plants the local Serbs dared to plant in the vicinity of the graveyard, reports the KIM radio correspondent.

Recently, in this mixed Serb-Albanian village unknown vandals took down the fences of the Serbian wells and dropped dead animal carcasses in the water.

Ponesh Serbs are saying this is just another attempt of putting pressure on them so that they leave their ancestral home. The incident was reported to UNMIK police. There is an ongoing investigation regarding this incident.

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CAR OF KOSOVO SERB RIDDLED WITH BULLETS NEAR GNJILANE

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B92, Belgrade
August 19, 2003

The car of a Kosovo-Serb was left riddled with bullets yesterday evening after a barrage of shots were fired from a Kalashnikov rifle in Mozgov, close to Gnjilane.

According to Zvecan-based Television Most (bridge), car owner Stanko Filipovic was not in the vehicle at the time and no others were injured in the attack, which occurred at around 6pm yesterday.

The TV station added that UNMIK police units are conducting a search of the area. (Beta)

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DRAGAN TONIC PASSES AWAY A WEEK AFTER KOSOVO SHOOTING

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Belgrade, 18 Aug (B92) - Dragan Tonic, shot in the face a week ago today, died last night in Belgrade's Clinical Centre as a result of his injuries.

Kosovo-Serb Tonic was leisurely fishing on the River Sitnica around 150 meters from the last Serb homes in the village of Skulanevo, when unknown attackers, suspected to be from a neighboring ethnic Albanian village, opened fire, hitting Tonic in the mouth.

Responding to the death, Skulanevo villagers have today blockaded the road linking Prizren, Lipljan and Kosovo Polje, in the direction of the Slatina airport. They demand that UNMIK police announce whether or not any suspects from the neighboring village of Gavica have been arrested.

Belgrade's Coordination Centre for Kosovo confirmed Tonic's death. A funeral is to be held tomorrow.

STATEMENT OF THE OFFICE OF HRH CROWN PRINCE ALEXANDER II ON THE OCCASION OF DRAGAN TONIC’S DEATH

Belgrade, 18 August 2003 - After the monstrous crime on Serbian children from Gorazdevac when two of them were murdered, today we received the news of passing away of Dragan Tonic who was shot in his mouth so that everybody would realize the intention to silence the remaining Serbs in Metohija.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander II took the news with great sadness. This is another crime without punishment, violence of those without names on those whose roots are in Kosovo, a shot in the conscience of those who are trying not to hear. Expressing his condolences to the family of murdered Mr. Tonic, the Crown Prince hopes the glass of bitterness will not be overfilled and the blood that was shed will be enough for those who are thirsty of it, and that those who have power will be urged to stop the crime that has been going on for too long now.


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UNMIK POLICE CHIEF QUESTIONS ALBANIAN APATHY

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FoNet News Agency, Belgrade
August 19, 2003


PRISTINA -- Tuesday -- Stefan Feller, UNMIK Police Commissioner, has today sent an open letter to Kosovo citizens criticising local media coverage of the Gorazdevac attack and the distinct lack of obvious sympathy displayed by the majority Albanian population.

Feller noted that the attack made the front pages of a number of foreign newspapers, but that others were misinformed and reported only that an explosion killed some people in Gorazdevac. He said that he had personally visited the scene and that there was no talk of an explosion. He asked if anyone requested information from the police before releasing such incredibly manipulative facts.

He next asked Kosovo's parents if they did not sympathise with the families of the victims "who only wish to live in peace".

He pondered, what has happened to public protests? What has happened to spontaneous demonstrations against this kind of a crime, organized by someone other than Kosovo Serbs? Where are the people from Gorazdevac and other ethnic communities to express their condolences to their grieving neighbours?

He urged those citizens wanting to play a role in building future peace for the region to call a confidential police hotline and offer information that could shed light on the Gorazdevac attack.

The hotline number is 034/5046046666.


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KILL THY NEIGHBOR: KOSOVO'S BALKAN NIGHTMARE GOES ON

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Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 19 Aug 2003

by Stephen Coates

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro, Aug 19 (AFP) - Former British and Canadian police officer Derek Chappell had just finished saying how peaceful Kosovo had become when the phone rang on his desk at the United Nations police headquarters here.

Two Serb youths had been killed in cold blood and four others injured by a gunman, a suspected ethnic Albanian, who opened fire at them while they were swimming in a river near the northwestern town of Gorazdevac.

Four years after international intervention stopped the 1998-99 civil war in Kosovo, the killing goes on despite the presence of a UN administration, an international police force and some 20,000 NATO peacekeepers.

Now the roles are reversed and it is the Serbs who are appealing to the United Nations to save them from Albanian bullets.

Serbian Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic has said last week's attack was "tragic confirmation that the UN and NATO have failed" to lay the basis for a tolerant, multi-ethnic democracy in Kosovo.

Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic, who was scheduled to address a special sitting of the UN Security Council on Monday, went as far as to accuse the UN-backed Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC), made up of former ethnic-Albanian guerrillas, of supporting "terrorist" groups in the province.

He said the so-called Albanian National Army (ANA), a shadowy militant organisation, was a front for members of the KPC who dreamt of creating a 'Greater Albania'. The ANA emerged a year ago and has claimed responsibility for a series of armed attacks in Kosovo, Serbia proper and Macedonia.

But Chappell, the chief spokesman for Kosovo's UN police force (which is seperate from the KPC), said he doubted whether the ANA posed a real threat.

"They have been classified as a terrorist organisation but we don't believe they can seriously threaten the stability of Kosovo," he told AFP.

He said the group was funded by the Albanian diaspora abroad and carried out small-scale attacks to maintain the interest of its patrons.

"This is an organisation that probably has not much more than 70 members. They don't have training camps or guerrillas that can carry out civil war," he said.

Nevertheless, Chappell admitted that the time was ripe for inter-ethnic violence in Kosovo ahead of the first ever dialogue between the ethnic-Albanian authorities in Pristina and the Serbian government in Belgrade.

Kosovo is technically still a part of Serbia, although it has been a UN protectorate since NATO drove Serbian forces out of the province in 1999.

The Albanians, who are the majority in Kosovo, demand independence but the Serbian government refuses to concede anything more than maximum autonomy, saying the province is the heartland of the Serb culture and religion.

The UN insists that the "final status" question will not be resolved until European benchmarks of human rights and democracy are achieved, which could take many more years given the festering ethnic hatred here.

The proposed dialogue, which would avoid the status issue and tackle matters like electricity supplies and refugees, could prompt elements opposed to reconciliation to take drastic action, Chappell said.

"We've always said that we don't believe there are any large-scale terrorist organisations in Kosovo but there are always people who are capable of carrying out terrorist acts," he said.

"Kosovo is still awash with explosives, hand grenades and military weapons and it is certainly true that there are people here who do not want reconciliation and want to create instability.

"They wouldn't hesitate to use violence to drive the communities apart. I think that is a very serious threat ... "

But he said the extremists' failure to generate a popular uprising against the international police and judiciary following the recent war-crimes conviction of an ethnic-Albanian guerrilla commander showed that most people, whether Serb or Albanian, wanted to bury the past.

Chappell said there had been a dramatic decrease in ethnically related murders since the immediate aftermath of the war, and the biggest challenge facing police here now was organised crime.


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Women in black - renowned Belgrade human rights organization
organizes a protest against violence in Kosovo and Metohija, Belgrade, Aug 20


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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