ERP KIM Newsletter
THE MURDERS OF SERBIAN CHILDREN
RETURN TO KOSOVO VILLAGE
TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATES KLA CHIEFS
WILL DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF KOSOVO TALKS
- UN CULTURE STYMIES THE UN IN KOSOVO
- NEWS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
PERPETRATORS OF GORAZDEVAC MASSACRE STILL NOT ARRESTED - DAY 42...
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MURDERS OF SERBIAN CHILDREN
On Wednesday, his holiness
Serbian patriarch Pavle, and the high council of the Serbian Orthodox
Church, talked with Nebojsa Covic, the president of the coordination
Center for Kosovo and Metohija, and Vojislav Milovanovic, on the situation
in Kosovo and Metohija, and the latest initiative of the international
community for the beginning of the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue.
JAVNOSTI, Belgrade daily
September 25, 2003
Wednesday, his holiness Serbian patriarch Pavle, and the high council of
the Serbian Orthodox Church, talked with Nebojsa Covic, the president of
the coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, and Vojislav Milovanovic,
on the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, and the latest initiative of the
international community for the beginning of the Belgrade – Pristina
During the open Christian talks both sides pointed to a whole line of
serious questions which need to be opened so that the upcoming dialogue
does not become a hypocrisy or just a possible buying of time, states that
announcement issued by the press service of the Serbian orthodox church.
"Those questions are already familiar to the public and they are: Who
killed the people and the children in the in the recent tragic incidents,
and is there balance in the number and the legitimacy of the negotiation
teams," states the announcement of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
On this occasion the council once more emphasized that it supports open
and sincere dialogue, "adding that this does not mean that we can close
our eyes to the harsh reality which faces our people and the entire non
Albanian inhabitants from Kosovo and Metohija".
Council added that it supports the efforts of the Coordination Center and
Nebojsa Covic, but at the same time expressed concerns over the manner in
which other people are addressing this bitter problem.
SERBS RETURN TO KOSOVO VILLAGE
A group of 50
displaced Serbs from Kosovo returned to the village of Osojane this
evening, escorted by members of the province's United Nations mission and
Beta News Agency, Belgrade
September 25, 2003
OSOJANE -- Thursday - A group of 50 displaced Serbs from Kosovo returned
to the village of Osojane this evening, escorted by members of the
province's United Nations mission and the UNHCR.
Tomorrow morning the returnees will visit their demolished homes two
kilometres away in the village of Suvi Lukovac.
An official at Belgrade's Coordination Centre for Kosovo said that a
project to build 21 homes would begin on September 29, financed by the
Milivoje Ribac said that the building would take two months, during which
the Serbs will live in temporary UNHCR accommodation and be escorted to
and from the village to help work on the houses.
Some 180,000 Serbs fled the province fearing reprisals after the conflict
ended in July 1999. Around 1,000 have returned this year.
Returned Back To Kosovo Village
Belgrade, 25 Sep (BK TV) – Twenty-one Serbian families returned to
the village Suvi Lukavac near Osojane. Their return is encouragement for
the all Serbs in Kosovo, said for BK-TV the co-minister in the Kosovo
Government, Miroslav Todorovic.
“I can say that for me this is encouraging because despite the very
difficult situation for the Serbian community which has recently
deteriorated, we have people who are willing to return, who want to take
the risk and share the destiny of the Serbs that are already in Kosovo.
The return to the village has been organized and it would be very
important for the success of the return project to Osojane, which means
that Osojane will become a safe living place. The intention of the all
people that come from that area and also the plan of the ones who work on
return the Serbs is to return the Serbs to the empty villages and create a
TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATES KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY CHIEFS
Minister of Justice Vladan Batic said in The Hague on Wednesday that the
Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte had confirmed that two
investigations into Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) chiefs were in progress,
adding that one of them is likely to be completed by the end of this year.
Hague Tribunal investigates Kosovo Liberation Army chiefs
The Hague, Sept 24, 2003 - Serbian Minister of Justice Vladan Batic said
in The Hague on Wednesday that the Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Carla
del Ponte had confirmed that two investigations into Kosovo Liberation
Army (KLA) chiefs were in progress, adding that one of them is likely to
be completed by the end of this year.
Batic told a press conference in The Hague that he had handed over to Del
Ponte fresh evidence of KLA crimes against non-Albanians during the
1998-1999 conflict in Kosovo.
The evidence, said Batic, had been gathered by the Serbian-Montenegrin
Army Intelligence Service, Serbian Security and Intelligence Agency (BIA),
and the Committee for Establishing Facts About Crimes.
He added that experts groups of the Serbian government and the Hague
Tribunal Prosecution Office will examine the evidence and decide whether
they can be used in trials.
Batic and Del Ponte also exchanged information on financial machinations
of Slobodan Milosevic's regime, and Batic said that Del Ponte had
expressed willingness to hand over evidence about it to the Serbian
authorities as soon as they submitted an official request.
According to Batic, Del Ponte reiterated that some of the trials for war
crimes in the former Yugoslavia should be left to Serbia's judiciary, the
Beta news agency reported.
SERBIA-MONTENEGRO WILL DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF KOSOVO TALKS
President Svetozar Marovic said in New York late on Wednesday that the
state union's authorities will "do everything they can" to ensure the
success of the upcoming dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
September 25, 2003
Belgrade, Sept 25, 2003 - Serbian-Montenegrin President Svetozar Marovic
said in New York late on Wednesday that the state union's authorities will
"do everything they can" to ensure the success of the upcoming dialogue
between Belgrade and Pristina.
"We are aware that we cannot change the past, but we can do a lot to make
the present and the future better," Marovic said at a session of the UN
According to Marovic, Serbia-Montenegro welcomed the announcement by UN
officials that a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina could start as
soon as mid-October, and that it has the support of the Contact Group.
Marovic added that the state union is prepared to help peace efforts
around the world, through UN-led peacekeeping missions."
He stressed that Serbia-Montenegro's priorities are the stabilization in
the Western Balkans, fight against organized crime, full cooperation with
the Hague Tribunal, and joining NATO's Partnership for Peace program.
CULTURE STYMIES THE UN IN KOSOVO
"Some countries have a mafia, but in
Kosovo, the mafia has a country," says one American security official in
Kosovo, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Especially with the
increased activity of Islamic extremists and Al Qaeda groups in and around
Kosovo, this situation could pose a real security threat to Europe."
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
from the September 26, 2003 edition
Gun culture stymies the UN in Kosovo
By Arie Farnam | Special to The Christian Science Monitor
CERNICA, KOSOVO - The victim was a schoolteacher, killed by a grenade as
he sat in a grocery store in the village of Cernica in eastern Kosovo.
"He was drawing up lesson plans for the beginning of the school year,"
says Radusha Brankica a fellow teacher. Crying, she then pleads, "I can't
take any more of this violence. With grenades and guns everywhere, how can
we stop the killing?"
The blast this month was part of a recent rash of weekly shootings and
explosions that are raising international concern over uncontrolled
weapons in this UN protectorate.
A recent United Nations study estimates there are about half a million
small arms in Kosovo, primarily illegal weapons held by civilians. In a
province of 2 million people, almost every family is armed - a legacy of
ethnic strife here and a threat to efforts to stabilize the province.
Kosovo was flooded with weapons in 1997 after rioters looted military
armories in neighboring Albania. Many of the pilfered arms went to the
Kosovo Liberation Army, which was waging a guerrilla war against Serb rule
over this primarily ethnic- Albanian province. In return, Serbian security
forces issued machine guns to Serb paramilitaries and ordinary farmers
alike. The conflict culminated in a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 that
forced Serb soldiers to leave and put the province under UN
The proliferation of arms has the rest of Europe worried. For the first
time, Kosovo is now a net exporter of weapons, primarily those smuggled to
Albanian gangs and organized crime in Italy, Greece, Germany, and the
"Some countries have a mafia, but in Kosovo, the mafia has a country,"
says one American security official in Kosovo, who spoke on condition of
anonymity. "Especially with the increased activity of Islamic extremists
and Al Qaeda groups in and around Kosovo, this situation could pose a real
security threat to Europe."
The UN administration of Kosovo has mounted a massive antiarms campaign,
and declared an amnesty this month for civilians to turn in illegal and
unregistered weapons without penalty. Billboards and posters depicting a
child holding out a rose toward the shadowy figure of a man with a machine
gun have multiplied across the countryside, along with UN information
stands and weapons-collection teams provided by KFOR, the NATO-led
peacekeeping force here. In a place where no wedding is complete without
celebratory gunfire, anyone caught with an illegal weapon after Sept. 30
could face eight years in prison.
"The campaign is focusing on the ordinary citizen who has a Kalashnikov
stashed under their bed," says Barry Fletcher, spokesman for the
multinational police force in Kosovo. "Having AK47s and rocket-propelled
grenade launchers in private homes makes every minor neighborly dispute
NATO-led forces imposed an uneasy peace in Kosovo four years ago, and KLA
leaders have become Kosovo's new political class. There have been several
attempts to collect unregistered arms, but they have yielded only several
hundred weapons. Despite promises of UN development aid to communities
that give up weapons, many officials admit privately that they expect
little better from the current amnesty. Halfway through the operation, US
soldiers stationed at a collection point in eastern Kosovo say not one
civilian had come to turn in a weapon.
Cernica residents say they need to have weapons. "You can't depend on KFOR
to protect you," says one. "There were KFOR troops just up the street when
the [grocery] store was grenaded, and they didn't stop it from happening.
The only protection is to have your own gun and shoot back."
The teacher's murder appears to have been an ethnic attack. The victim was
a Serb; the attackers escaped to the Albanian part of the village.
Villagers on both sides say it is only a matter of time before armed Serbs
take revenge. But the easy availability of weapons in Kosovo means that
not just ethnic tensions, but everything from bar fights to business
disputes is solved with a gun.
"You think twice before getting in an argument in Kosovo because someone
always ends up dead, " says Dukajin Gorani, director of the Human Rights
Center at Pristina University. Mr. Gorani and many others blame the
violence on a "gun culture" that has resulted from decades of conflict and
"In this part of the world, there is a strong belief in customary law
which means an eye for an eye," Gorani says. "It is commendable that KFOR
is trying to collect weapons, but it is an impossible task. Kosovars have
learned from the KLA that you get international attention if you have a
gun. In our lifetime the rule of law has never achieved anything, only
guns have provided a measure of justice. So you stick to your gun."
This summer has seen the rise of another shadowy paramilitary force called
the Albanian National Army (with the Albanian initials
AKSh) in Kosovo and border areas in Macedonia and Serbia proper. That
group, along with scattered Serb militias and organized crime on both
sides of the ethnic divide, has created an atmosphere of fear and
instability in Kosovo that makes disarmament extremely difficult.
"From the perspective of a peasant in Kosovo, the prospect of another war
in southeastern Europe is not far fetched at all," says Aaron Presnall,
director of the East-West Institute's Southeastern Europe office. "In the
past few centuries, anyone who wasn't armed in this region has quickly
found themselves at the end of someone else's barrel. In that context,
keeping a gun is simply good common sense."
Ethnic-Albanian villagers in Zhegra, just three miles from Cernica,
remember all too well what it is like to be outgunned by Serb
paramilitaries who forced them to flee their homes in 1999.
"As long as the Serbs are just over the hill, we will keep our guns," says
Fatlum, a young man who did not give his last name.
- NEWS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, SEP 25
ERP KIM info service subarticle
Thursday 25 September 2003
19:20 The forthcoming dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was the chief
topic of today's meeting between UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri and leaders of
provisional Kosovo institutions. At the same time at today's session
Kosovo MPs decided to discus the topic in the first half of October.
According to official sources, Holkeri informed Ibrahim Rugova, Bajram
Rexhepi, Ramush Haradinaj and Hashim Thaci of the position of the Contact
Group, adding that UNMIK agrees that dialogue between the Serbs and
Albanians is a priority.
18:00 Colonel Sreten Milenkovic, the director of Nis Military Hospital,
said today that Serbia and Montenegro Army major Rahman Bandic, who was
wounded yesterday in the area of the village of Grop near Bujanovac, is
successfully recovering and not in life-threatening danger. Bandic was
brought to Nis last night at approximately 19,00 and underwent surgery
17:00 Jose Pablo Baraybar, the head of the office for missing persons,
stated that 3,700 people are listed as missing in conflicts between Kosovo
Albanians and Serbia in 1998 and 1999. 'This open wound could stop the
process of reconciliation. We are extremely far behind. This issue is the
key to reconciliation. It is very likely that some persons will not be
found," said Baraybar.
13:20 US defense and foreign policy expert Ted Carpenter believes that the
dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should not be expected to succeed,
comparing it with the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.
11:40 The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church supports
open and sincere dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, which does not
mean that it can close its eyes to the brutal reality confronting the
Serbian people and the entire non-Albanian population in Kosovo and
Metohija, the Church advised.
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