August 23, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 23-08-03


"Shooting innocent children in the river, blowing up of buses and churches, killing elderly in their homes, desecration of cemeteries.. all this in order to achieve an ethnic clean Albanian state. This will be called terrorism in any western country, but not in Kosovo because one could make a legitimate question how such terrorist acts continually happen despite a strong UN and NATO led presence in the Province four years after the war" - Fr. Sava Janjic, ERP KIM Info editor.



"While Europe sows its fields with wheat and reaps wheat, the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija sow their fields with the blood of their martyrs and reap death. So it has been for centuries. Kosovo and Metohija Serbs continue to be slaves in freedom without freedom, at home without a home and not only that. They lack elementary human rights; they lack the very right to life. I ask Europe whether these innocent slaughtered children and their innocent blood will be a reminder? Will it also be a reminder to the international community and to all the people for whom there is room to live in Kosovo and Metohija? That evil and crime cannot be used to build a future for oneself nor one's children."
Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro, in his funeral homily to the children of Gorazdevac, Aug 15, 2003


METOHIJA WEEPS AS CHURCH BELLS TOLL - Articles related to Gorazdevac massacre


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*Metohija (pr. Metochya - Western part of the UN administered province of Kosovo. Serbs call western part Metohija and the eastern part Kosovo. Therefore the official name of the Serbian province has been Kosovo and Metohija)


Vecernje Novosti daily, Belgrade
August 16, 2003

Cries, pain, tears. The scream of mothers, the weeping of women and children, the sighs intermixed with the tolling of the bells from the two village churches and the monastery bells of the Pec Patriarchate and Visoki Decani, in the foothills of the Prokletije Mountains. A humid August afternoon that froze the souls of the people and brought a new damnation upon the residents of Gorazdevac, the only large Serb village in the western part of Metohija. The residents, more than a thousand of them, representatives of the Serbian Government headed by Premier Zoran Zivkovic and the Coordinating Center head Nebojsa Covic; Kosovo Parliament presidency members Dr. Gojko Savic and Oliver Ivanovic; Return Coalition (Povratak) representatives Rada Trajkovic and Randjel Nojkic and many others who arrived with an escort and buried with great sorrow two boys, Pantelija Dakic (13), a sixth grade student, and Ivan Jovovic (19).

After four years of survival here, the natives of Gorazdevac, the only remaining Serbs in Pec municipality, paid once again a high price, this time the highest and most difficult of all, the loss of two young lives, and with doctors fighting for the lives of four other wounded children.


Gorazdevac is wrapped in mourning. No one has slept for three days, since Wednesday afternoon on unlucky August 13th when at about 13.30 hours on the banks of the Bistrica, 300 meters from the first houses of the village, Albanian terrorists opened bursts of gunfire on unarmed children splashing in the river, their only summer vacation. There were some one hundred of them, many of whom had never seen the sea or gone anywhere from their village in the last four years. At that precise moment many of them were daydreaming on the banks about a better and freer life. Each of them certainly had their dreams, like the unread book "Eagles Fly Young," featuring Copic's mischievous heroes, that remained in the hands of Pantelija Dakic when a burst of gunfire tore through part of his body.

"The burst of gunfire, son, have prevented you from experiencing mischief of your own. Take the book you did not have time to finish with you. May it be your companion in the Metohija earth, in the cemetery of our village, the biggest active concentration camp in the world of which the world, unfortunately, knows little and from which you never ventured. You are parting forever from your peers and your seventh grade class in Janko Jovicevic Elementary School, in the fourth bench of the second classroom, in September will begin without you, wept his mother Gordana over the coffin of her eldest child when foreign soldiers brought her child one night earlier at midnight from pathology in Orahovac to the house of his birth.

The night passed with difficulty and in tears until the dawn. It seemed that all of Metohija was weeping. While his father Milisav watched his wife Gordana putting the book left on Bistrica beach into the coffin and received condolences, Pantelija's grandfather Milija (65) hugged his two younger grandchildren, Nemanja and Saska, and said: "Don't cry, my doves! I lost a brother, too, in the other war. He was the same age as our Pantelija today. But, praise God, grandfather has you two!"


Some one hundred meters further down the street the dawn is also greeted with pain and tears in the Jovanovic house. Ivan's mother Spasenije, father Milos and younger brothers, Tomislav and Stefan, next to his coffin.

Dawn is dawning on Friday, St. Stephen's Day. The local priest Sasa reminds of this. In two churches, the Holy Theodokos and St. Jeremiah, both near the houses of the killed boys, the bells are tolling.

We mark yet another tragedy in our Kosovo and Metohija. Today, two hours after noon, when we bury the boys you will also hear the bells of the nearby Pec Patriarchate, Visoki Decani, Gracanica, and you will hear the whispered prayers to the Almighty and the wailing of the distressed mothers of our kidnapped children and the 113 destroyed churches and monasteries.

For a moment, the bells stop the cries of the bereaved. Someone
whispers: "They are tolling out of sorrow. Today all of Serbia is in mourning and grieves with us."


The local mailman Slavko Miletic, who brings the mail once a month, made a special trip yesterday morning to bring hundreds of telegrams from those who left Metohija and cannot come back for the funeral without an escort. There is a telegram from one of Ivan's uncles, expelled from Klina. A tall young man reads it: "My dear child, instead of marrying you, I am burying you. What is more, my illness and life as a refugee do not even permit me to come to bid my final farewell. It would be better if I, too, was dead."

In front of the Jovovic house and the Dakic house stand Italian soldiers with guns at the ready. They silently watch the sufferers of Gorazdevac. "This is the fifth summer that no one here can go anywhere. We are the only Serb village in this part of Metohija, isolated and threatened from all sides. Since the arrival of peacekeeping forces, Albanian terrorists have carried out more than 150 [one hundred fifty] attacks on the village. They've shot at us from rifles, automatic rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers. They've physically attacked us. Four years ago three young men - Miodrag Guberinic, Nebojsa Naksic and Radosav Bukumiric - were killed on the same day. The third was a cousin of mine whose mother, Stana, was subsequently killed and whose sister Mladenka was seriously wounded by a mine shell," says Ivan Bogicevic (46). His nephew, Marko (11), was wounded in the most recent attack and underwent surgery in the German military hospital in Prizren.

During the most recent war 14 men from Gorazdevac were killed, most of them young men, as well as Milica Bukumiric (70). A monument was raised to all of them in the center of the village. Albanian fanatics recently stabbed Svetislav Simonovic with a knife some 30 meters from his house.


Noon arrives. At the funeral of Pantelija Dakic, in the west village cemetery, his peer Slobodan Maksic bids him farewell.

"My friend, Panto, there will be an empty place in the school bench that belonged to you. We will look for you in the classroom, in the school, in the playground, everywhere in the village. We will take your school bag with us to our first class in September. And the books you prepared for seventh grade will remain in your empty bench. We will celebrate our good grades with us as you once celebrated ours with us. And remember: everyone is school says to tell you that since you are staying in Gorazdevac, so are we. We will not leave it at the price of our lives," said 13 year-old Slobodan.

A long procession leaves this cemetery and goes to the other in the east part of the village. Where the same scene awaits. High dignitaries of the Serbian Orthodox Church are headed by the Rt. Rev. Metropolitan Amfilohije. He, too, bids farewell to the boys.

It seems that yesterday, like never before in the past four years, all of Serbia came to Gorazdevac. Judging from the visit of its premier, residents of Gorazdevac hope that it will stay that way.



"I have no words that can describe this crime except the word that describes development in Kosovo and Metohija and that word is fascism. How else to describe everything that has been present in the last four years, the existence of inter-ethnic violence and the ethnic cleansing of the Serbian national community. I don't know if this will be the last development, whether this will be the last tragic instance so that some people can understand that results in Kosovo and Metohija don't exist for the purpose of writing reports but to change the situation at its root. And in order to change it, it is essential that perpetrators of crimes, present and past, are found because Albanian politicians bear a special responsibility for all this, for failing to condemn this event, as well, as they should have done. Even the cynical statement that this incident will damage the image of Kosovo. However, we have to go on for the sake of both the living and the dead. Before is a period of great trials and a battle to keep what belongs to the state of Serbia but also to protect the people in this region who are so obviously threatened and everyone sees it except individuals in the international community. I am nevertheless convinced that the situation can be changed and that it can become a process in which we must be wise, even though that is very difficult for all of us."


"While Europe sows its fields with wheat and reaps wheat, the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija sow their fields with the blood of their martyrs and reap death. So it has been for centuries. Kosovo and Metohija Serbs continue to be slaves in freedom without freedom, at home without a home and not only that. They lack elementary human rights; they lack the very right to life. I ask Europe whether these innocent slaughtered children and their innocent blood will be a reminder? Will it also be a reminder to the international community and to all the people for whom there is room to live in Kosovo and Metohija? That evil and crime cannot be used to build a future for oneself nor one's children."


Serbian prime minister Zoran Zivkovic, who arrived with Dr. Nebojsa Covic and a police escort for the funeral in Gorazdevac, said in a statement for "Novosti":

"For the past four years the people who have heroically remained here have been surrounded by a hostile environment. The children whose only joy was to be at the river were ambushed by an armed criminal. This was no act of insanity but a recognizable message that Serbs should move out from here. However, this is also an act 'provoked' by the courage of these people in remaining here, as well as by the fear of Albanian terrorists that something is changing and that the Serbs, finally, are getting a second chance before the world. This is really a heavy blow and loss and I hope that it will not result in the decision of the residents of Gorazdevac to leave. As far as the Government and the citizens of Serbia are concerned, everyone should know, as we know very well, that this, too, is Serbia. We will do everything within our means for these people to stay, as well as everyone throughout the Province, and that the displaced return. That is our priority."

This is the first visit to the Province by a Serbian premier in the past five years, is it not?

"Unfortunately, the reason for my first visit to this occupied part of our Republic is a dreadful one. I hope that the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija increasingly feel that Belgrade is not far away and that in all respects it is drawing closer and closer. We must, unfortunately, recognize that our hands are largely tied and that the resolution of many issues in the Province does not depend on us."

With each passing day there are announcements of increasing possibility for returns; however, the terrorists are active.

"My meeting with the new chief of UNMIK was announced prior to this tragic event and the chief topic was how many Serbs can we immediately return to Kosovo and Metohija. To those places where they are same and have living conditions similar to those of their compatriots in Serbian centers. Today, however, we agreed to a new, urgent meeting to discuss plans, dates, numbers, how many people can return and when. I hope that there will be many good reasons and opportunities for people from Serbia to finally be able to come here. Truth to tell, there were problems with my arrival here. Until this morning we were getting a negative response to our request to come but my message was that we would come without permission, if necessary, and see how far we can get. The first sentence Holkeri told me when we saw each other at about 9 o'clock in Belgrade was that conditions had been met and that we could go to Kosovo and Metohija. We flew to Pristina by plane and came to Gorazdevac escorted by the international police," premier Zivkovic told "Novosti."



GORAZDEVAC (FoNet) - The protest initiative board in Gorazdevac sent a protest letter to UN secretary general Kofi Annan stating that the violence against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija has culminated in an unprecedented crime against children, the Diocese of Raska and Prizren reported yesterday. "Gorazdevac experienced tragedy thanks to your indecisiveness or unwillingness to look truth in the eyes. Yet again in a countless series of instances your mission in Kosovo and Metohija has proven to be a failure," states the letter read by Mileta Bukumiric during Bishop Artemije of Raska and Prizren's visit to Gorazdevac two days ago.

"It is high time for you to carry out your role in Kosovo and Metohija responsibly and carry out the responsibilities you under took before arriving here. You have no right to be a silent witness to unspeakable crimes against unprotected people and innocent children whose fate is in your hands," reads the letter.


GRACANICA - According to Professor Vujadin Otasevic, court forensics expert and member of the Coordinating Center team for autopsy and exhumation, an autopsy of the killed boys from Gorazdevac was conducted on Thursday in the UNMIK autopsy center in Orahovac, and the results showed that the young men had been killed by firearms.

"Dakic was shot in the nape of the neck with an exit wound in the right temple, causing instant death. The older boy, Ivan Jovovic, was shot with a cartridge in the right side of the chest with punctured both of his lungs. A cartridge shell was found in the right lung corresponding to that used in a Kalashnikov," Professor Otasevic said in a statement for "Novosti." D. Z.


NEW YORK (Beta) - The United Nations Security Council has condemned the murder of Serb children in Gorazdevac and expressed its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.

The UN Security Council held emergency consultations where it expressed "deep concern by the fact that four years after the conflict in Kosovo such brutal incidents continue to occur."

The statement of the Security Council emphasized that the perpetrators of the crime in Gorazdevac must be found.


KLINA - Two nights after the massacre in Gorazdevac Albanian terrorists opened automatic gun fire on the residents of the village of Grabac near Klina at about 22.30 hours. Judging from the unfolding of events, they wanted to prepare another bloody feast. Prior to the beginning of the attack, when the village was rifled with automatic gunfire, the electricity went out. Approximately 40 men who returned and with the assistance of the Coordinating Center built new houses on the ashes of the old, sought safety in basements and by laying on the floors of their houses.

"The gunfire was coming from two or three sides around the village. The shooting lasted a long time and none of us believed we could avoid the worst," say the residents of Grabac.

KFOR troops located nearby entered the village in armored vehicles. They then collected all the residents of Grabac in one house where they waited for dawn.

The residents of Grabac, one of the prettiest villages in this part of Metohija until four years ago, located at the intersection of the municipalities of Klina - Istok - Srbica, say that despite all the fear they experienced they will not give up their intention to stay here and to bring their children by the fall to attend elementary school here. D. D.


As a result of events in Gorazdevac, returnees to the village of Osojane, several hundred Serbs, including children, women and elderly, blocked all access to the village, claiming that they would "sacrifice their lives" but prevent the passage of Albanians through their village, who have been causing considerable problems for them in the last few months. Representatives of the international community threatened to use violence to disperse them and consequently the villagers dispersed in the afternoon hours, demanding that KFOR and UNMIK prevent "strolls" by Albanian neighbors through Osojane, where almost 100 Serb families have returned to date.


BELGRADE - The medical treatment of seriously wounded Bogdan Bukmirovic (15), who underwent two extremely complicated surgical interventions to his head in the Military Medical Academy (VMA) in Belgrade, is showing the first results. According to Colonel Dr. Krsta Jovanovic, the head of the VMA anesthesiology and intensive care clinic, the boy is expected to awaken from his coma in three to seven days. "The health condition of the patient has normalized and his general condition is stable," confirmed Dr. Jovanovic yesterday. "There are signs of improvement in Bogdan's condition and the prognosis is good, although the fight against potential complications will continue for some time. The boy's recovery will take no less than four months." S. R. M.


BELGRADE (Beta) - The Society of Serbian Physicians has accused Bujar R. Vrele, a surgeon at Pec Hospital, of misdiagnosing a child wounded in the attack in Gorazdevac and covering his wound with plaster in order to cover up that it was a wound resulting from firearms.

According to the Society , the children wounded in the attack in Gorazdevac were admitted to the closest hospital, in Pec, where Vrele provided the misdiagnosis. "With medical assistance such as this and inadequate therapy, the wounded have little chance of survival," it is said in a letter addressed by the Society to the World Health Organization.


PRISTINA (FoNet) - Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki and deputy ombudsman Ljubinko Todorovic visited the families of the young men killed in Gorazdevac.

In talks with local residents of the village regarding the security situation Nowicki said he expects an energetic and effective investigation and the bringing of the perpetrators to justice not only of this barbaric act but of other ethnically motivated crimes, it was said in a statement.


TIRANA (FoNet) - The Albanian foreign affairs ministry has condemned the murder of two young Serbs in Gorazdevac, assessing it as "a serious crime committed by individuals or criminal groups," reports the Macedonian news agency Makfax.

"This is a serious crime committed by individuals or criminal groups. Their goal is to undermine the complex process of returning security and stability to Kosovo, and the establishment of an atmosphere of trust among the national communities that live there," it is said the statement of the Albanian foreign affairs ministry.


KRUSEVAC - Following the tragedy in Gorazdevac a protest meeting was held in Krusevac where the letter of the residents of the Kosovo village to UN secretary general Kofi Annan was also read.

"We organized this protest to express the extent of our horror," emphasized Gordana Vasic of "Glas Kosova."

On behalf of the NGOs those present were addressed by Dragan Stevovic who emphasized that all citizens of Krusevac share in the enormous grief that has enveloped Serbia. D. M.


KOSOVO POLJE - On Friday, August 15, unknown perpetrators set fire to the Serb cemetery in the village of Bresje near Kosovo Polje. According to Mihajlo Mitrovic of Bresje wooden crosses and objects placed by the families next to the tombstones were burned. The cemetery has been torn down and the tombstones destroyed several times. According to our information, the fire has been localized. D.Z.



The Serbian government's State Security Council stated on Friday that the escalation of terrorism in Kosovo-Metohija is a warning signal to the international community that Albanian extremists will not give up their goals, which can further degrade the security situation in the Balkans.


August 22, 2003

Belgrade, Aug 22, 2003 - The Serbian government's State Security Council stated on Friday that the escalation of terrorism in Kosovo-Metohija is a warning signal to the international community that Albanian extremists will not give up their goals, which can further degrade the security situation in the Balkans.

At its session today, presided over by Serbian Prime Minister and Council President Zoran Zivkovic, the Council instructed the proper services to identify, as soon as possible and in cooperation with foreign partners, the organised crime network that stands behind terrorist organisations and activities in Kosovo.

The Council welcomed the address of Head of the Coordinating Centre for Kosovo-Metohija Nebojsa Covic to the UN Security Council, as well as the UN's willingness to persevere in the implementation of Resolution 1244.

Also attending the session were Serbia-Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Svilanovic, Minister of Defence Boris Tadic, and Serbia-Montenegrin Army Chief of Staff Colonel-General Branko Krga.


When the Albanians opened fire, the patrol responded forcing the thieves to flee across the border into Kosovo.


Beta News Agency, Belgrade
August 22, 2003

BELGRADE -- Friday (Beta) -- A patrol of the Serbia-Montenegro Army came under fire from a gang of Albanians yesterday evening near the Mrce military base located in the Ground Safety Zone.

In a statement, the Defence Ministry said that the patrol had interrupted the gang loading stolen timber onto trucks.

When the Albanians opened fire, the patrol responded forcing the thieves to flee across the border into Kosovo.

The ministry claimed that the gunmen were Albanian extremists masquerading as lumber thieves and attacking army patrols in an ongoing effort to destabilise southern Serbia.

Army Chief of Staff Branko Krga told B92 that all possible preventive measures were being taken.

"We can't rule anything out. For now the situation is a little calmer than over the past few days and we'd like it to stay that way," he added.

Prime Minister Zivkovic told media in Belgrade that security measures had been stepped up to prevent terrorism and that, while this was not obvious to the public, it meant they were protected from terrorist attacks.

Situation stable, say police

The commander of the Serbian police special forces, Goran Radosavljevic said today that the situation in south Serbia and along the Kosovo and Macedonian borders is stable.

"Armed police units are monitoring the terrain every day and we're there to help all the people living in the region," said Radosavljevic, adding that there was nothing for the local public to worry about.

Army patrol under fire in southern Serbia

Friday, 22-Aug-2003 6:20AM

BELGRADE, Aug 22 (AFP) - A group of ethnic-Albanian militants posing as illegal woodcutters opened fire on an army patrol in southern Serbia, sparking a brief gun battle, the Tanjug news agency reported Friday.

It said the men fled across the provincial border to Kosovo, which is a United Nations protectorate, after the fight on Thursday night.

The defence ministry in Belgrade said there were no casualties on the Serbia-Montenegro army side but made no comment about injuries to the gunmen.

The ministry said the gunmen were posing as woodcutters in order to scout Serbian army positions and "destabilise the situation" in southern Serbia, which has a restive ethnic-Albanian population.

A similar attack earlier this month was dismissed by UN police in Kosovo as being a minor incident, but the defence ministry here said that the two attacks were far more serious than they appeared.

There has been a spate of attacks on army personnel in southern Serbia in recent days.

An ethnic-Albanian extremist group, the Albanian National Army (ANA) that also operates in Kosovo and Macedonia, claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on an army base in southern Serbia on August 10.

The ANA also claimed that it had fired automatic weapons at a Serbian police post near the ethnic-Albanian village of Konculj a few days later.

On August 12, an army patrol was attacked by a group of 15 ethnic-Albanian "extremists" in broad daylight, near the military base of Susnjak.

Serbian officials have warned that they expect such attacks by "extremist Albanians" to continue but the army will not be provoked into retaliation.

The southern Serbian province of Kosovo has been administered by a UN mission established at the end of the 1998-99 war between Belgrade forces and separatist ethnic-Albanian guerrillas.

Its ethnic-Albanian majority wants independence from Serbia.



TMC has previously warned Bota Sot, and we do so now publicly, that its biased selection of certain facts in this story, and its disregard of authoritative information and its distortion of other information -- combined with a steady flow of inflamed and ethnically prejudiced speculation and commentary -- risks inciting further tragedy in Kosovo.


Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Date: 22 Aug 2003

Media commissioner warns Kosovo dailies over inaccurate reporting on violence

PRISTINA, 22 August 2003 - The Temporary Media Commission has monitored coverage in recent days of the attack on Serb children at Gorazhdevac with particular attention to the factual accuracy of news reports and commentary.

At all times, professional journalism requires the full and honest presentation of available facts and the clear separation of fact and commentary. In treating events of such tragedy and emotion as the attack on the young people at Gorazhdevac, accurate journalism, the avoidance of speculation and calm, rational commentary are exceptionally important.

The TMC observes that most of Kosovo's print and broadcast media have followed these principles in reporting and commenting on the tragedy at Gorazhdevac. Regrettably, there have been irresponsible and disturbing exceptions.

Both Epoka e Re and Bota Sot* have published misleading speculation that the young people were killed or injured by an explosive device, rather than by clearly targeted automatic rifle fire, as if to suggest that the victims themselves were at fault.

In its edition of 20 August, Epoka e Re commendably corrected itself by reporting -- from a news conference held by international organizations in Pristina the day before -- the results of expert autopsies which confirm that the cause of death was automatic rifle fire.

The TMC notes with dismay that Bota Sot, reporting on the same news conference, chose to ignore the crucial autopsy information that conflicts with its baseless speculation about explosive devices. Moreover, Bota Sot has repeatedly implied, and in some cases asserted -- with no evidence whatsoever -- that Serbs were responsible for the attack. In fact there is currently no information about the identity of the guilty parties.

TMC has previously warned Bota Sot, and we do so now publicly, that its biased selection of certain facts in this story, and its disregard of authoritative information and its distortion of other information -- combined with a steady flow of inflamed and ethnically prejudiced speculation and commentary -- risks inciting further tragedy in Kosovo.

The institution of the Temporary Media Commissioner was established on 17 June 2000. It is an independent body and receives administrative support from the OSCE Mission in Kosovo. It acts as the regulatory agency for broadcast media and is responsible for the implementation of a temporary licensing regime.

*Epoka e Re and Bota Sot are Kosovo dailies in Albanian language


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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