ERP KIM Newsletter
TARGETED WITH EXPLOSIVES - GRENADE ATTACK ON THE SERB HEALTH CENTER IN
FORM CRISIS CENTER TO PROTECT SERVICES
PROMISES KOSOVO TALKS - PRISTINA-BELGRADE DIALOGUE CONFIRMED FOR JULY
OVER THE VISIT OF JOHN PAUL II TO BANJA LUKA
MASS STIRS PAINFUL MEMORIES FOR BOSNIAN SERBS
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TARGETED WITH EXPLOSIVES
After the grenade attack on the
Serb run Health Center in Kosovo Polje
Vecernje Novosti, Belgrade
20 June 2003-06-21
By D. Damjanovic
KOSOVO POLJE - The battle for the hospital in Kosovo Polje vacated by
Russian physicians continues. After a clash between medical staff and
police, UNMIK gave up on its temporary take over but apparently terrorists
attempted to resolve the problem summarily.
On Friday morning just after midnight an explosive device was detonated
and exploded about ten meters from the hospital wall. There were
approximately 40 patients in the hospital, numerous physicians and medical
staff, and dozens of Serbs who were guarding the building for the second
night in a row.
Windows were shattered by the explosion and traces of shrapnel are visible
in many places; fortunately, no one was injured. The police began the
investigation after a considerable delay.
Officers arrived five hours after the explosion unlike yesterday when they
arrived almost the same second as the last Russian soldier left the
"A few UNMIK policemen came. They took pictures of the scene. It was all
very brief and we have reason to be suspicious in the result of their
investigation," said the gathered Serbs, adding that not one perpetrator
of many similar attacks in Kosovo Polje and vicinity has been captured so
The explosive device is assumed to have been tossed from a nearby
apartment house. All Serb residents were evicted from it, as from other
buildings nearby, immediately after the arrival of peacekeeping forces,
and their homes were usurped by Albanians. Return Coalition (Povratak)
member Randjel Nojkic visited the medical staff and gathered Serbs
In his opinion, this was a synchronized attack by terrorists with the
intent of sowing fear and panic among the Serbs of Kosovo Polje, Bresje,
Ugljare, Kuzmine and other villages in order to expel them from the area
as soon as possible. Nojkic sharply condemned "the frivolous attitude of
UNMIK police" and what he described as its double standards. Although it
responds to every Albanian call with lightning speed, when a hand grenade
targeting Serbs explodes it takes several hours for the investigation to
"I've gone to the local post office," says physician Marija Balog, "for
the last four years and I never had any problems.
"Just before the departure of the Russian physicians I went to get a
postal money order when I was accosted and attacked by a group of Albanian
"I did not know or provoke any of them. My father is Albanian; my mother
is Serbian; I am married to the well-known (Albanian) actor Lajos Balog.
We now live in the collective housing unit here," says Dr. Balog through
tears. She adds that her nephew was killed by terrorists after the arrival
of KFOR in the province.
Local Serbs blame UN mission head Michael Steiner the most for everything
that is happening in Kosovo Polje. They say that the Russians were ready
to leave a part of their medical equipment. Dr. Gojko Savic, a member of
the Kosovo parliament presidency, met with the commander of the Russian
battalion to discuss this. However, although willing to cooperate, the
Russians explained that their instruments were dependent on mobile
vehicles; everything else, they could leave.
Two days ago Serbian MP Momcilo Trajkovic also met with Steiner with the
intent of convincing the international community not take away the only
hospital that could be used by local Serbs.
Trajkovic asked that the Serb physicians already there stay in the
hospital and Serb professors from the Pristina Faculty of Medicine join
them. Steiner said he would invite a group of Russian physicians to stay
here to work. They would be on UNMIK's payroll.
"Anything is possible except leaving the Serbs in charge of anything in
the Province. This sums up Steiner's attitude toward us," says the
embittered medical staff.
Since Thursday at 21,00 hours the hospital in Kosovo Polje is no longer
under the protection of UNMIK police. The building is guarded by unarmed
physicians and medical staff, and by Serbs from Kosovo Polje and
surrounding villages. Whether they will succeed it protecting it from the
bomb attacks of terrorists as well remains to be seen in the days ahead.
On Friday UNMIK police issued a statement saying no hand grenade exploded
in front of the Kosovo Polje Health Center.
"Shrapnel holes, shattered windows and other damage were apparently
insufficient proof for the 'experts' who conducted the investigation.
There is so much hypocrisy. It's as if someone had tossed a firecracker,"
says Oliver Ivanovic of the Return Coalition.
NEAR COURT BUILDING
Two nights ago members of the Finnish KFOR battalion deactivated a large
quantity of explosives with a timing mechanism planted near the Pristina
municipal court. Other details regarding the purpose of this act of
terrorism were not provided.
SERBS FORM CRISIS CENTER TO PROTECT SERVICES
After attempts of UNMIK to take over the Health Center in Kosovo Polje
21 June 2003
Serbs form crisis centre to protect services | 19:35 | Beta
KOSOVO POLJE -- Saturday -- Serbs remaining in Kosovo Polje and nearby
villages have formed a crisis centre to protect and sustain their medical
centre, senior school, post office and other services crucial to their
Speaking to agency Beta, coordinator of the new centre Miroslav Velickovic
said that it is vitally important for the 4,000 Serbs remaining in the
Kosovo Polje area that their services be protected.
The forming of the crisis centre follows the refusal of Serb medical
centre staff to hand responsibility to UNMIK as requested.
The new centre has invited UNMIK governor Michael Steiner and Coordination
Centre for Kosovo chief Nebojsa Covic to visit the area and help address
PROMISES KOSOVO TALKS
Published: 2003/06/21 17:12:59 GMT
Serbia-Montenegro has announced it will hold talks with Kosovo Albanian
leaders this summer with a view to normalising relations.
President Svetozar Marovic said talks with the breakaway province -
administered by the UN and Nato since the end of the war there in 1999 -
would start before the end of July at an unspecified venue.
He made the announcement at the end of the EU-Western Balkans summit in
Porto Carras, Greece, and the development was welcomed by EU foreign
policy chief Javier Solana as "really good news".
"We want to assure all European nations that we have the vision, the
patience and the strength to solve the problems of the past," said Mr
EU officials at the summit suggested Brussels as one possible venue for
the talks which will cover practical issues, including energy and
transport links, but also the return of Serbian refugees.
Belgrade's forces withdrew from Kosovo, along with some 200,000 mainly
Serbian refugees, after a 78-day Nato bombing campaign aimed at ending
repression of ethnic Albanians there.
Ramadan Avdiu, an adviser to Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, said
the talks were necessary.
"We have many problems, technical issues of common interest, that we need
to solve," he said.
The BBC's Oana Lungescu reports from Porto Carras that what the talks will
not address is Kosovo's future or ethnic Albanian calls for independence.
No-one in the EU is prepared to accept these claims, our correspondent
says, but once the talks get under way between Belgrade and Pristina, the
international community may not be able to avoid a decision on Kosovo's
final status for much longer.
It seems, our correspondent adds, that the summit's message to Balkan
leaders that they can only become members of the EU if they keep their
commitments to conduct reforms and overcome ethnic strife is getting
PRISTINA-BELGRADE DIALOGUE CONFIRMED FOR JULY
June 21, 2003
PORTO CARAS -- Saturday -- Participants at this weekend's summit in
Greece's second city approved Serbian proposals that a dialogue between
Belgrade and Pristina should commence during July.
Serbian PM Zoran Zivkovic confirmed that he spoke with EU Defence and
Security chief Javier Solana two days ago, when it was agreed that the
dialogue would begin next month and would address practical issues such as
the return of Kosovo refugees and displaced persons, security, the fate of
the missing and technical issues such as energy and transport.
Explaining why officials of Belgrade and the troubled province did not
speak in Thessalonica, Zivkovic said: "Why there was no symbolic meeting
today? I think it's because the problems of Kosovo cannot be solved with
symbolic gestures, but rather with serious work".
"Besides", he continued, "this summit had a secondary meaning for Serbia,
which was the opening of EU doors to Serbia-Montenegro, and that is a
Zivkovic: Steiner's performance is not good enough
However, PM Zivkovic once again drew attention to Serbia's disappointment
with the work of the UN Mission in Kosovo, admitting: "I have to say that
during breakfast this morning Mr. Steiner tried to give me a document that
would have been some kind of agreement. Quite frankly, we are extremely
dissatisfied with UNMIK's work over these past two and a half years and
with Mr. Steiner's mandate in particular.
Zivkovic said that Steiner will not be present at meetings between the
Serbian Government and Kosovo-Albanians, adding that he feels
representatives of the EU, USA and UN should all be in attendance.
CONTROVERSIES OVER THE VISIT OF JOHN PAUL II TO BANJA LUKA
June 22, 2003
POPE CALLS FOR MUTUAL FORGIVENESS AND
Today, in Banja Luka, Head of the Roman Catholic Church John Paul the
Second has called to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation on this
territory, confirming that some of the crimes were committed by the
Catholic Church members too. According to the Pope, only in the light of
real reconciliation, memory to great victims and their sufferings will not
be in vain and will make an incentive for building of a new relationship
of brotherhood and understanding.
Pope John Paul II has sent his greetings from Banja Luka to Patriarch of
the Serbian Orthodox Church Pavle and all members of the Holy Synod,
quoting that the fact that the Catholic Church and the Serbian Orthodox
Church had been lately moving in the direction of the mutual understanding
and respect, was the reason for joy and hope for this environment. From
the holy mass, the Pope also greeted believers of the Islamic religious
community and Jewish community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as
representatives of the Bosnia-Herzegovina’s authorities, entities, and
Banja Luka, which welcomed him in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Today, in Banja Luka, the Pope proclaimed for blessed Ivan Marec, a
Catholic layman born in Banja Luka at the end of the 19th century. The
Head of the Roman Catholic Church has met today at the Banja Luka airport
members of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and after the holy mass,
he visited the Banja Luka Bishopric, he met members of the Inter-religious
Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and presidents of Republika Srpska and the
Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
SERBS COMMEMORATE VICTIMS OF THE "USTASHA" SLAUGHER IN 1942 LED BY A
FRANCISCAN MONK FROM PETRICEVAC MONASTERY
Drakulici, near Banja Luka, some villagers lit candles at the monument to
the Serbs killed in the "ustasha" (Croatian Nazi) slaughter on February 7,
1942, when 2,297 Serbs were killed in one day, including 550 children.
Ustashe who committed this slaughter in 1942 in Drakulic, Sargovac and
Motike were led by priest Tomislav Filipovic.
Ustashe undertook this campaign starting from the Catholic monastery of
Petricevac, where Pope John Paul II held a holy mass and proclaimed for
blessed a Catholic layman Ivan Merc from Banja Luka. Among those who lit
candles for the killed Serbs, there was Nenad Todorovic whose 86 family
members were killed then.
STIRS PAINFUL MEMORY FOR BOSNIAN SERBS
By Dragana Dardic
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia, June 22 - Dark memories of a bloodthirsty friar
nicknamed Brother Satan were revived on Sunday as Pope John Paul held mass
at the site of a monastery linked to a World War Two massacre of Orthodox
Over 2,000 from a village near what is now the main Bosnian Serb
republic city of Banja Luka were slaughtered in the 1942 atrocity by Croat
forces of the Nazi-allied Ustashe regime.
The 83-year-old pontiff, on his first visit to the Orthodox Serb
part of Bosnia, appealed for reconciliation between Serbs, Croats and
Muslims after their bitter 1992-95 war. He also asked Serbs to forgive the
wrongs of the Catholic Church.
''From this city, marked in the course of history by so much
suffering and bloodshed, I ask almighty God to have mercy on the sins
committed against humanity, human dignity and freedom, also by the
children of the Catholic Church, and to foster in all the desire for
mutual forgiveness,'' the pope said in a homily.
In World War Two the Petricevac monastery was home to a Franciscan
friar, Tomislav Filipovic Majstorovic, who became known as Fra Sotona or
According the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, he combined religion
with political ideology and is said to have taken part in the massacre,
slashing the throat of a child with the words: ''This is the way I baptise
these bastards in the name of God.''
The friar became commandant of the Ustashe concentration camp at
Jasenovac, where he is said to have killed freely.
On Sunday, relatives of Ustashe victims lit candles at a monument
in the village of Drakulici, as the sound of singing drifted from the
papal mass for some 50,000 pilgrims.
''It is a creepy fact that the pope holds a mass at Petricevac,''
said Jovan Babic, who has investigated the massacre in which dozens of
children were also killed.
''If he knew what are the links between Petricevac and the
massacre, he would have never held the mass there,'' Babic added.
Nedjeljko Glamocanin, whose entire family was killed in the Ustashe
onslaught, said the pope was not welcome in Banja Luka unless he
apologized but there would be no violence.
Bosnian authorities were taking no chances. Some 4,000 police
backed by troops of the NATO-led peacekeeping force were providing
security for the pope's one-day visit.
Two days before he arrived several known Serb hardliners were taken
into detention. Shortly before the pope's plane touched down, traffic was
held up while police checked a suspect car, later found to be harmless.
Posters saying ''Pope Go Home'' appeared briefly in the city but were
Two years ago, one man died when an angry mob of Bosnian Serb
nationalists attacked a crowd celebrating the reconstruction of a mosque
in Banja Luka.
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