February 24, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 24-02-03

CONTENTS:

SNC KM: PREMIER REXHEPI'S STATEMENTS REPRESENT BLACKMAILING OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

ERP KIM: Diocese of Raska and Prizren condemns the latest Albanian terrorist attack in Mogila, nr. Kosovska Vitina
AFP: One policeman killed and two injured in a mine blast in Southern Serbia
BETA: Kosovo Albanians organizing armed formations near Prizren
BLIC: United Balkans Against Greater Albania
RADIO YUGOSLAVIA: Kosovo and Metohija News


Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija
Communique

SNC KM: PREMIER REXHEPI'S STATEMENTS REPRESENT BLACKMAILING OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Through their immoderate statements in defense of war crimes suspects some Kosovo Albanian leaders are openly siding with criminals

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SNC KM
for immediate release

February 23, 2003

(Photo: Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi)


The Serb National Council of Kosovo and Metohija expresses its serious dissatisfaction with recent statements by some Kosovo Albanian leaders that members of the KLA during the war and immediately after it committed no crimes. Through such irresponsible statements Kosovo officials are openly justifying crimes committed during and after the war not only against Serbs, Bosniacs and Roma but also against many Kosovo Albanians.

The SNC KIM has always openly admitted and condemned crimes committed by members of Slobodan Milosevic's regime against Albanian civilians and expressed its deep regret for the suffering imposed by an undemocratic regime not only on the Kosovo Albanians, but also on the Serb people who after the war became victims of blood revenge as a result of that regime's actions. For a long time it was expected that the Kosovo Albanians would also confront the crimes committed by those among their ranks; however, the most recent statements of some Kosovo officials represent a serious disappointment further widening the gap between the ethnic communities in the Province.

Premier Rexhepi's statement that possible new arrests will destabilize the Kosovo government represents open blackmailing of the international community. If the government and institutions of Kosovo and Metohija can only survive under the condition that certain former leaders of the KLA are not brought to justice, then such a government and institutions will never have moral credibility among either the Serbs and other non-Albanian or the international community. No one can be above the law, regardless of his/her ethnic origin or political position. The new democratic government in Serbia has turned over its leading statesmen to the Hague tribunal and it is completely illogical that in Kosovo officials in high positions who are justifiably suspected of having committed or ordered crimes against civilians remain free in order to allegedly preserve the so-called political stability of institutions. Kosovo institutions in fact will never be stable as long as they are run by individuals who have no moral credibility before all the citizens of the Province. The only path to stable and credible institutions is to ensure they are led and comprised of men and women of scrupulous democratic orientation who will treat all citizens equally and who will readily condemn every crime regardless of who is the victim. Therefore, possible new arrests of certain key Kosovo Albanian leaders will not lead to a destabilization of institutions in Kosovo and Metohija but will represent the only path to the creation of a multiethnic and democratic society based on the rule of law.

The second statement of premier Rexhepi that NATO will find itself in an uncomfortable position through possible new arrests of former KLA leaders because in 1999 it waged war in alliance with the KLA represents a highly imprudent political move. The NATO alliance did support the battle against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic but it did not support nor can it cover up the crimes committed by the KLA against the Serb people and other innocent civilians. If NATO and the international community were to protect KLA criminals from justice for the sake of preserving their own credibility, it would indirectly encourage the suspicion that all war and post-war crimes of the KLA were condoned by the NATO alliance. For this very reason, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should take additional steps to ensure that those responsible for crimes from the ranks of the KLA are brought to justice in order to affirm that NATO did not wage war against the Serb people but against an undemocratic and anti-national regime. It is absolutely unacceptable that people who killed, tortured and committed crimes against innocent civilians are now hiding behind the NATO alliance and Western democracy and attempting to draw the Western alliance into the disaster they created. Former KLA leaders have proven very clearly and unambiguously by their behavior after the war that their orientation is not European democratic society but the rule of violence and organized crime, which is incompatible with the proclaimed goals of the international community and the NATO alliance.

Premier Rexhepi has deeply compromised himself morally and politically by these two statements not only before the Serb people but also before the international community. It will be very tragic if the international community, especially the NATO alliance, remains silent before such examples of blackmail.

The SNC KIM appeals to the UN international mission, the NATO alliance and the Hague tribunal to continue their investigation of all crimes committed in Kosovo and Metohija regardless of whether they involve Serbs or Albanians. This is the only sure path to the establishment of interethnic confidence and the building of a truly democratic and multiethnic society.

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Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren
Kosovo and Metohija

DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN CONDEMNS THE LATEST ALBANIAN TERRORIST ATTACK IN MOGILA, NEAR KOSOVSKA VITINA
Kosovo Albanian extremists increasingly destabilize security situation in the Province confirming that their goal remains to expel the remaining Serb population

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ERP KIM Info-Service
February 23, 2003

A Serb man, Dragan Djokic (29) was seriously wounded in the latest Albanian terrorist attack on Saturday evening, February 22, 2003, in the village of Mogila near Kosovska Vitina. At 21:15 hours the attackers fired multiple bursts of gun-fire from automatic weapons at a shop owned by Slobodan Nojkic in Mogila. Djokic was hit by two bullets in the chest and after receiving emergency care in a nearby village primary care facility was transferred to the hospital in Vranje (Southern Serbia). Kosovo police and members of U.S. KFOR arrived at the scene of the crime shortly after the attack.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren most strongly condemns this terrorist attacks and expresses its solidarity with the Djokic family. This is yet another attack on the entire Serb people, on the peace and stability of the entire Province, and it deserves the condemnation of the entire Kosovo public. As well, this attack is another warning to the international community that there can be no stability in the Province and KFOR and UN mission success as long as armed Albanian extremists are freely carousing through the Province sowing death and violence against the unprotected Serb and Albanian population. The Diocese of Raska and Prizren expresses the hope that those responsible for this perfidious attack in Mogila will be brought to justice in a timely manner.

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ONE POLICEMAN KILLED AND TWO INJURED IN MINE BLAST IN SOUTHERN SERBIA

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AFP
February 23, 2003

BELGRADE, Feb 23 (AFP) - One Serbian policeman was killed and two were injured when their vehicle drove over an anti-tank landmine in tense southern Serbia on Sunday, Belgrade radio B92 reported.

'This was a terrorist act and our security forces will respond adequately,' Nebojsa Covic, Belgrade's top official for Kosovo, told the radio.

Covic blamed former rebels from now the disbanded Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army (LAPMB), hiding in neigbouring Kosovo, of being behind the incident.

He said that UN mission in Kosovo and NATO peacekeepers in the UN-administered Serbian province should 'arrest and hand over' the suspects to Belgrade.

'We will not tolerate such gangs of criminals,' Covic said.

Ethnic Albanians in southern Serbia, the region bordering Kosovo, led an insurgency against Belgrade troops in early 2000. The fighting ended after a western-brokered deal gave the ethnic Albanian minority more rights and representation in the local government.

The rebels have since disarmed, but the area has remained tense.

Earlier this month, Serbian police arrested 12 ethnic Albanians near Bujanovac, in the area with a large ethnic Albanian population. A large amount of weapons, ammunition, uniforms and flags was also seized.

Five people were immediatelly released, but seven others have remained in detention pending a judicial investigation for 'terrorism and conspiracy to act against the state.'

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said last week he was 'deeply concerned by serious attempts to undermine the rule of law and to destabilise the situation in southern Serbia.'

'Any use of violence is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,' Solana said.

Kosovo, formally still part of Serbia, has been under UN and NATO control since June 1999, after the Atlantic alliance's 78-day bombing campaign aimed at ending former president Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians in the province.

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KOSOVO ALBANIANS ORGANIZING ARMED FORMATIONS NEAR PRIZREN

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BETA
February 22, 2003

FRANKFURT (Germany) - The Kosovo Albanians have trained an armed formation in response to police action in southern Serbia resulting in the arrest of 12 Albanians who were found to possess large quantities of weapons and military equipment, writes today's Serbian language Frankfurt daily "Vesti".

The so-called Adem Jashari division was mobilized in response to police action in southern Serbia, claims "Vesti", citing senior military sources. The paper adds that the unit has been seen near Prizren, and that this is also confirmed by confidential UNMIK field reports.

"This is a newly formed unit of the so-called Albanian National Army, which together with the Albanian Unification Front is calling on all Albanians on both sides of the administrative border between Kosovo and Metohija and central Serbia to take up arms without delay and join their ranks," writes "Vesti".

Sources in the Serbia and Montenegro Army have confirmed that most of the members of the former Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac have moved to the eastern part of Kosovo where they are awaiting new orders from their leaders, emphasizes the daily.

"The so-called Albanian National Army is passing from a phase of guerrilla activity into a state of combat readiness which leads to open war, an all-Albanian armed rebellion. This invitation was extended to his compatriots by the chief commander of the ANA, General Vigan Gradica," an anonymous source told "Vesti".

Military sources explain that the chief centers for training this and other ANA units are located in Kosovo and Metohija in the region of Prizren, in the foothills of Mt. Sara and Kosovsko Pomoravlje, in Albania in Kukes and Tropoja, and in Macedonia in the Tetovo area.

"This most powerful weapon is the exceptional support they have in the Albanian emigrant community which generously supports them with financial donations, and frequently also directs the activities of these groups," reports "Vesti", quoting sources in the Serbia and Montenegro ministry of defense.

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UNITED BALKANS AGAINST GREATER ALBANIA
Will future bring making of one state of Albanians and what are Albanian national interests?

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BLIC (Belgrade Daily)
February 24, 2003

Belgrade - Activities by Albanian extremists in Macedonia and Kosovo and announcements that terrorist groups are preparing actions in the south of Serbia, are actually preparations of Albanians for as good as possible starting position in the region, especially for settlement of final Kosovo status. This is opinion of experts from Forum for ethnic relations and the Institute for the Balkans by the Serbian Academy of Science and Art.

In recent times the story about independence of Kosovo is being increasingly repeated. On the other hand Serbian authorities insist on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic said that Belgrade would not hesitate to support division of Kosovo and Metohija if international community fails to provide protection for Kosovo Serbs.
Albanian National Army says it 'will fight against Orthodox religion'. Some Albanians in the south of Serbia renewed request that Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja should join Kosovo. These facts lead us to question will the future result in making of greater Albania. Another question is what Albanian national interests in the Balkans are?

Experts think that greater Albania is the key idea of Albanian national program. However, they do not believe that the idea of greater Albania can be realized. This idea makes Albanians unique but if realized, it will bring Albanians to the verge of civil war because in spite of general opinion, they are very much divided. Some other experts believe that Albanian national interest is independent Kosovo but not greater Albania.

Ramush Tahiri, member of Alliance for future of Kosovo led by Ramush Haradinai, says for 'Blic' daily that the basic idea of programs of almost all of Albanian political parties is independent Kosovo, while only few minor parties are still supporting the idea of great Albania.

Some experts strongly believe that Albanians will never be allowed to make greater Albania because that would result in uniting of all Balkan countries against Albanians. Changing of borders would create serious problems in the region.


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RADIO YUGOSLAVIA: KOSOVO AND METOHIJA NEWS

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Radio Yugoslavia
February 23, 2003

The President of the Coordination Body for the South of Serbia Nebojsa Covic confirmed that one police forces member who was injured in the explosion of a mine between the villages Mihovac and Breznica had died in the hospital, while two of his colleagues were injured. He said that this terrorist attack was undertaken by Sefcet Musliu, Besim Tahiri called CheChen and Ljirim Jakup - called Nacist, all three well known to the police. We expect that UNMIK and KFOR arrest the trisome and to hand them over to us, since they are presently in the territory of Kosovo and Metohia, said Covic. He said that if it is not done, UNMIK would be considered as an accomplice in organized criminal, terrorist attacks and violence.

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One member of police forces died in a hospital upon being injured in an explosion of a mine placed on the motor-road between villages Muhovac and Breznica, 10 kilometers to the North-West of Bujanovac, close to the administrative line with Kosovo, sources close to police reported to the Beta  news agency. The police member who died was travelling in an official vehicle when the accident happened, accompanied by two of his collegues who were lightly injured in the explosion. An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances of the accident.

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The vice-president of the Serbian government and the president of the Coordination Center for Kosovo-Metohija, Nebojsa Covic, announced that the Serbian government is ready for a dialogue with Pristina, though not on the initiative for the province’s independence. If the international community endorses this initiative, Serbia is immediately to demand the division of Kosovo-Metohija, based on two entities and local self-governments, Covic said. He added that the putting of the entire Serbian cultural heritage under the protection of the international community would also be demanded. Covic also pointed out that the authorities in Serbia would not forget the problem of the return of 230 thousand of displaced persons from Kosovo-Metohija.
 

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The issues at stake in the areas of Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedja are no longer issues of national interest, but the problems of a multi-national organized crime network, violence and terrorism, the vice-president of the Serbian government and the president of the Coordination Body for the south of Serbia, Nebojsa Covic announced. Covic pointed out that shortly Interpol will be sending wanted circulars against those leaders of crime who are based in southern Serbia and who use national symbols as a cover for manipulating people while protecting their own interests. Covic added that there is no real fight against organized crime, violence and terrorism without wider regional cooperation.

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Today, two members of the gendarmerie were injured when they drove over a mine near the village of Muhovac in the municipality of Bujanovac, southern Serbia, according to BETA agency’s police sources. One member is gravely injured, while the other has light injuries. An investigation is underway.

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Last night, Dragan Djokic was injured in an assault at a shop in the Serbian village of Mogila near Kosovska Vitina. He was hit in the chest by two shots fired from an automatic weapon, and has been hospitalized. Members of the Kosovo police and the KFOR visited the place of the assault. The UNMIK police spokesperson in Pristina, Barry Fletcher, announced that an investigation is underway.

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The head of the UN civilian mission Michael Steiner announced that there is no choice about who will be indicted in front of the Hague Tribunal for war crimes, adding that nobody is above the law. I think that the institutions in kosovo.netprehend that there cannot be two options, Steiner announced for Radio UNMIK. Steiner also pointed out that the issues of arresting and extraditing are in the jurisdiction of the courts and the police. The UNMIK head added that it is necessary to resolve the issue of organized crime in Kosovo, in order to make the province a secure environment. He especially stressed the significance of the role of the population and cooperation with the authorities in the battle against organized crime.

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Following the arrest of four Albanians accused of war crimes, the president of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Hashim Tachi, announced that Kosovan institutions will not cease to cooperate with the Hague Tribunal. The Kosovan institutions do not dispute cooperation with the court in the Hague, though they disagree with the most recent indictments, as well as with the method of taking the accused into custody, Tachi said in an interview to the Podgorica daily, DAN, commenting on the arrest of the vice-president of his party, Fatmir Limaj. Limaj and another three Albanians, former KLA members, were charged in front of the Tribunal for crimes against humanity, illegal arrests, torture and the murder of 23 persons of Serbian and Albanian nationality, in the period between May and June 1998.

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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.
Our Information Service is distributing news on Kosovo related issues. The main focus of the Info-Service is the life of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Serbian community in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija. ERP KIM Info Service works in cooperation with www.serbian-translation.com as well as the Kosovo Daily News (KDN) News List

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