September 26, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 26-09-03

CONTENTS:

SOLVE THE MURDERS OF SERBIAN CHILDREN
SERBS RETURN TO KOSOVO VILLAGE
HAGUE TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATES KLA CHIEFS
SCG WILL DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF KOSOVO TALKS
CSM - UN CULTURE STYMIES THE UN IN KOSOVO
INET - NEWS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

PERPETRATORS OF GORAZDEVAC MASSACRE STILL NOT ARRESTED - DAY 42...

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SOLVE THE 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.

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GLAS JAVNOSTI, Belgrade daily
September 25, 2003

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.

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.

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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 the UNHCR.

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www.b92.net

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 German government.

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.

Serbian Families 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 stable community.


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HAGUE TRIBUNAL INVESTIGATES KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY CHIEFS

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.

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http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-09/24/331114.html

SERBIAN GOVERNMENT

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.


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SERBIA-MONTENEGRO WILL DO EVERYTHING TO ENSURE SUCCESS OF KOSOVO TALKS
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.

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http://www.serbia.sr.gov.yu/news/2003-09/25/331138.html

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 General Assembly.

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.

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GUN 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."

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http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0926/p08s01-woeu.html

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 administration.

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 Czech Republic.

"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 potentially lethal."

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 lawlessness.

"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.

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INET - NEWS FROM KOSOVO AND METOHIJA, SEP 25
ERP KIM info service subarticle

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www.inet.co.yu

I*Net News, Belgrade

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 there.

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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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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