July 27, 2003

ERP KIM Newsletter 26-07-03b

SERIES OF NEW BOMB ATTACKS SHAKE MAJOR KOSOVO CITIES

CONTENTS:

BOMB ATTACKS PRISTINA, PODUJEVO, UROSEVAC AND ORAHOVAC
On Friday night and early Saturday morning (July 25-26) an bomb attacks occurred  in Pristina, Podujevo, Urosevac and Orahovac causing material damage and no injuries. Unofficial sources in Pristina claim that the series of explosions in the last few days is the consequence of a "war" between two main Kosovo Albanian political factions, one around president Rugova and his LDK, and another including political parties that emerged from the war-time KLA


THREE EXPLOSIONS SHAKE KOSOVO, NO INJURIES
U.N. police stepped up security after violence in Pristina last weekend, in which a rocket-propelled grenade hit a courthouse and a blast damaged a police car in near simultaneous attacks. Local media have speculated that attack was linked to the first war crimes conviction of former Kosovo Albanian rebels.

KOSOVO SERBS IN BELGRADE COMPLAIN OF UNMIK'S POLICY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS

The purpose of the visit by the Serb delegation was to point out the policy of double standards on the part of the international community in Kosovo and southern Serbia toward the Serb and non-Albanian population, on the one hand, and the Albanians on the other, said Marko Jaksic

WHO IS PREJUDICING KOSOVO'S FINAL STATUS
If Mr. Covic were the first one to express his opinion about the future status of the UN administered Serbian province probably Mr. Braywshaw's statement would not attract much attention. But, it is well known that all leading Kosovo Albanian officials, including Kosovo Albanian president Ibrahim Rugova many times publicly stated that Kosovo should become nothing but an independent state and there was no reaction from the UN administration.

RASKA AND PRIZREN DIOCESE ON APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW HEAD OF UNMIK
Priorities: improvement of security - stop the violence of Albanian extremists - complience with UN SC Resolution 1244 - return of displaced persons and protection of holy sites

DIFFICULT LIFE OF THE SERB COMMUNITY IN BANJSKA ENCLAVE, VUCITRN
Four years of bitter discrimination: no employment for Serbs - travelling in convoy to the nearest Serb hospital in Mitrovica - crops stolen, hay burned

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NEW TERRORIST ATTACKS IN PODUJEVO, UROSEVAC AND PRISTINA|

On Friday night and early Saturday morning (July 25-26) an explosive device went off in Pristina, Podujevo, Urosevac and Orahovac causing material damage and no injuries. Unofficial sources in Pristina claim that the series of explosions in the last few days is the consequence of a "war" between two main Kosovo Albanian political factions, one around president Rugova and his LDK, and another including political parties that emerged from the war-time KLA

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BETA NEWS AGENCY, Local Kosovo Media, UN Police reports
Pristina, July 26, 2003


EXPLOSION IN PRISTINA


Kosovo Albanian media report that on early in the morning of Saturday, July 26, an explosion shook downtown Pristina. According to preliminary information no one was injured in this attack. The explosive device went off behind the headquarters of one of the leading Kosovo Albanian political parties, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK), headed by former KLA commander Ramush Haradinaj.

An investigation is in progress. Seven days ago Pristina was rocked by two explosions, one at the Municipal Court building and another in front of the UNMIK police station.

UNMIK POLICE REPORT:
Pristina South - 26/07 - 0045 hrs. An explosion occurred near YU Program building, located in Ulpiana. Resultantly, two UN  vehicles were damaged. No injury reported. Two males placed some explosive under one of the UN vehicles and escaped from the  scene in a vehicle. Later police responded to the scene and called KFOR EOD team, which searched the area and recovered a handle of a hand grenade.

EXPLOSION IN PODUJEVO

On Friday night and early Saturday morning (July 15-26) an explosive device went off in front of the main entrance to the Podujevo Municipality Building, causing material damage. No one was injured in the attack, representatives of the international police in Kosovo reported.The municipal building in Podujevo has been placed under strong police protection.

International police have not yet published details regarding possible motives or perpetrators of this latest bomb attack. A similar explosion occurred in Podujevo several days ago after the Pristina District Court sentenced four former commanders of the illegal Kosovo Liberation Army from Podujevo to a total of 45 years of prison for war crimes.

UNMIK POLICE REPORT:
Podujevo - 26/07 - 0040 hrs. An explosion took place near the Podujevo Municipality building. Resultantly the glasses of a  window of the building were damaged. Police responded to the scene. The exact location of the explosion could not be determined. No injury reported.


EXPLOSION IN UROSEVAC

Radio Kosovo also reported that after midnight (on July 26) a strong explosion occurred in the parking lot of the "Fershped" transport company in the village of Muhadjerski Talinovac, Urosevac municipality. The explosion caused substantial material damage but none were injured. UNMIK police, Kosovo police and KFOR are investigating the attack but no official communiqué has yet been issued.

UNMIK POLICE REPORT:
Talinos Village, Ferizaj (Urosevac) - 26/07 - 0025 hrs. An explosion occurred near the parking lot of a transport company belonging to one  male victim. Resultantly, three trucks and one vacant building were badly damaged. Some neighboring buildings also sustained  minor damages. However, no injury reported.


EXPLOSION IN ORAHOVAC

At approximately 01.30 hrs Police was informed of an explosion which took place at the former police station. No visible damages were seen. Investigation is in progress.

UNMIK POLICE REPORT:
Ratcovac Village, Orahovac - 26/07 - 0130 hrs. Police was informed of an explosion, which took place at the former police station. No visible damages. KFOR EOD team informed.


In the last days Kosovo has been rocked by a series of explosions in Pristina, Kosovska Mitrovica and Pec resulting in the death of one person died, the injury of five others and extensive material damage.

"War" between conflicting Albanian political factions

Unofficial sources in Pristina claim that the series of explosions in the last few days is the consequence of a "war" between two main Kosovo Albanian political factions, one around president Rugova and his LDK, and another including political parties that emerged from the war-time KLA (Thaci's PDK and Haradinaj's AAK). Supporters of the LDK and Rugova are among the key witnesses in the cases against indicted KLA commanders.

During the war Rugova and his LDK organized their own military formation, FARK, which clashed with KLA. The leader of FARK, Tahir Zemaj, was killed in a terrorist attack in Pec last year. The perpetrators of that crime have not yet been identified.

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REUTERS: THREE EXPLOSIONS SHAKE KOSOVO, NO INJURIES
U.N. police stepped up security after violence in Pristina last weekend, in which a rocket-propelled grenade hit a courthouse and a blast damaged a police car in near simultaneous attacks. Local media have speculated that attack was linked to the first war crimes conviction of former Kosovo Albanian rebels.

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REUTERS
26 Jul 2003 14:54:34 GMT

PRISTINA, Serbia and Montenegro, July 26 (Reuters) - Three more explosions shook Kosovo early on Saturday but caused no casualties just two days after one person was killed and five injured in a grenade attack, a U.N. official said.

It was not immediately clear if Saturday's explosions had any link to the one near the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) headquarters in the flashpoint town of Kosovska Mitrovica on Thursday.

Angela Joseph, a spokeswoman for the UNMIK police, said the explosions occurred in the provincial capital Pristina, the northern town of Podujevo and a village in south-eastern Kosovo.

"I cannot speculate whether there is any connection between the explosions (on Saturday) or whether they were possibly synchronised," she said.

She said "no motive or suspects were known".

Police said the target for Thursday's attack, in which two hand grenades were thrown in front of the building in a busy area, was probably not the U.N. police station as officials initially indicated. UNMIK police have arrested two suspects.

U.N. police stepped up security after violence in Pristina last weekend, in which a rocket-propelled grenade hit a courthouse and a blast damaged a police car in near simultaneous attacks.

Local media have speculated that attack was linked to the first war crimes conviction of former Kosovo Albanian rebels.

On July 16, an international panel of judges sentenced prominent ex-rebel chief Rrustem Mustafa, known by his nom-de-guerre "Remi", to 17 years in prison for war crimes.

Kosovo was placed under U.N.-led administration in June 1999 after NATO's bombing campaign to end Serbian repression of Kosovo's Albanian majority. International officials are struggling to establish the rule of law in the province.

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KOSOVO SERBS IN BELGRADE COMPLAIN OF UNMIK'S POLICY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS

The purpose of the visit by the Serb delegation was to point out the policy of double standards on the part of the international community in Kosovo and southern Serbia toward the Serb and non-Albanian population, on the one hand, and the Albanians on the other, said Marko Jaksic

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Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
BELGRADE, July 25, 2003

Representatives of the Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija asked for help from appropriate Belgrade officials on Thursday because in they estimated the security and economic situations in Kosovo to be extremely difficult. Representatives of Serbs of Kosovo assessed that the most acceptable solution is a union of Serb municipalities and the federalization of Kosovo and Metohija, which would grant both Serbs and Albanians autonomy, as well as that Kosovo and Metohija must remain a part of Serbia according to the new Serbian Constitution.

The purpose of the visit by the Serb delegation was to point out the policy of double standards on the part of the international community in Kosovo and southern Serbia toward the Serb and non-Albanian population, on the one hand, and the Albanians on the other, said Marko Jaksic, a representative of the Union of Serb Municipalities of Kosovo and Metohija at a press conference.

Warning that Serbs in Kosovo "are living as if they were in a concentration camp" without freedom of movement and basic means of sustenance, Jaksic pointed out that Roma, Goranis and Muslims were also persecuted against in Kosovo, and that an exodus of Croats occurred from three villages in the Kosovska Vitina area. Out of a total of 4,000 Croat inhabitants, only 70 remain.

Nenad Kojic of Kosovska Vitina said that, instead of returns, departures by the Serb populations are continuing. Ranko Matic from Gnjilane municipality said that there are 35,000 Serbs living in that part of Kosovo who are thinking about leaving because the Shiptars (Albanians) are buying up Serb property and taking over strategic locations.

Since the signing of the Kumanovo Agreement in 1999, more than a thousand Serbs have been killed and more than 250,000 Serbs were terrorized into leaving Kosovo. A total of 108 churches and monasteries have also been destroyed. Kosovska Vitina municipality, where only three Serb villages now remain, had a population of 11,000 Serbs prior to 1999, only 3,000 of whom remain.

Zoran Peric of Kosovsko Pomoravlje said that the Serbs would write and appeal to the Serbian government and Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija chief Nebojsa Covic, whom he described as "not having enough time to receive Serb representatives."

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WHO IS PREJUDICING KOSOVO'S FINAL STATUS?

If Mr. Covic were the first one to express his opinion about the future status of the UN administered Serbian province probably Mr. Braywshaw's statement would not attract much attention. But, it is well known that all leading Kosovo Albanian officials, including Kosovo Albanian president Ibrahim Rugova many times publicly stated that Kosovo should become nothing but an independent state and there was no reaction from the UN administration.

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ERPKIM Info-service
July 26, 2003

Immediately after Dr. Nebojsa Covic, Serbia's vice-premier and the chief of the Coordination center for Kosovo and Metohija presented "The Guidelines for resolving Kosovo and Metohija problem", Charles Brayshaw, the UN deputy Governor of Kosovo reacted accusing Covic of prejudicing Kosovo's status.

If Mr. Covic were the first one to express his opinion about the future status of the UN administered Serbian province probably Mr. Braywshaw's statement would not attract much attention. But, it is well known that all leading Kosovo Albanian officials, including Kosovo Albanian president Ibrahim Rugova many times publicly stated that Kosovo should become nothing but an independent state and there was no reaction from the UN administration. In fact, not a single international representative or diplomat ever dared mention even a theoretical possibility that Kosovo may never become an independent state at all.

In May 2003 Kosovo Parliament, with exception of Serb deputies, ratified a declaration which not only supported the idea of independent Kosovo but expressed public recognition to the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army, which is presently under heavy investigation for war crimes against Serb, Albanian, Roma and Bosniak civilians. Again, after these two declarations were adopted by the Kosovo Parliament in May UNMIK officials did not react.

This obvious policy of double standards and selective interpretation of the UNSC Resolution 1244 shows that UNMIK administration has been afraid so far to take evenhanded and ethnically unbiased position but still serves interests of one ethnic group. Such policy has not only created conditions for multiethnic society but has even made a deeper rift between the communities and encouraged extremists to play with the status issue leaving standards of life aside. It was only in the recent time that some Governments began speaking more openly that Kosovo status cannot be only resolved according to the Albanian liking. In fact this principle is contained in so called Rambouillet Accords in which among mechanisms for determining the final status not only the will of the (majority) people is mentioned but also the Helsinki Final Act, which clearly says that international borders cannot be changed without consent of the country to which these borders belong, i.e. Serbia-Montenegro in this case.

Mr. Covic statement that Serbia should never renounce Kosovo is in fact a joint position of all Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija too and a position held by a vast majority of Serbia's population. In fact there is not a single Serb who would ever freely agree to live in an independent Albanian state of Kosovo as well as there is no Serb politician who may dare sign a paper which would renounce part of Serbia's territory. Four years after the war Serbs could see quite well what society Kosovo Albanians are building and quite reasonably would never support any kind of Albanian independence. The latest series of terrorist attacks and explosions, continuation of discrimination in all spheres of life, systematic destruction of Christian holy sites and other repressive acts clearly demonstrate that Kosovo with such level of political culture and behavior towards Serbs and minorities can only become a black hole of Europe and thus destabilize the entire region.

Therefore, instead of empty rethorics and using every possiblity to call like parrots for Kosovo's independence Mr. Rugova and other leaders should concetrate on practical issues how to teach their population tolerance and make them behave in a more civilized way towards other ethnicities and Christian cultural monuments. Otherwise, calling for independence in the light of everyday terrorist attacks and acts of violence would sound only like a good joke.

S.M.D.

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DIOCESE OF RASKA AND PRIZREN STATEMENT ON THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW HEAD OF UNMIK
Priorities: improvement of security - stop the violence of Albanian extremists - complience with UN SC Resolution 1244 - return of displaced persons and protection of holy sites

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ERP KIM INFO SERVICE
Gracanica, July 26, 2003

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren welcomes the appointment of eminent Finnish diplomat Harri Holkeri to the position of Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Kosovo and Metohija.

The Diocese and its faithful congregation, who have been exposed during the last four years to ethnic discrimination, repression and violence in the presence of the UN mission and KFOR forces, sincerely hopes that the new UNMIK chief will make security and a dignified life for all residence of the Province his priority.

It is high time to stop the violence carried out by Albanian extremists without sanctions, which recently has not been directed only toward Serbs and non-Albanians but toward their own compatriots of different political persuasions.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren also expects from the new UNMIK chief that the process of building a substantial autonomy in Kosovo and Metohija will continue in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and that provisional institutions will not be misused toward the goal of building an ethnically pure, Albanian, independent state of Kosovo. The Serb people is prepared to constructively participate in the building of truly multiethnic institutions; however, it is hard pressed to support the ethnically one-sided and exclusive policies being implemented by Albanian leaders holding key positions in Kosovo institutions.

The Diocese expresses its sincere hope that Mr. Holkeri will fulfil the promises of the international community and enable the return of more than 250,000 expelled and displaced persons to their ancestral homes in Kosovo and Metohija and that he will also make an effort to protect Orthodox Christian holy shrines and the Serbian cultural heritage from systematic destruction and desecration.


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DIFFICULT LIFE OF SERBS IN BANJSKA ENCLAVE, NEAR VUCITRN
Four years of bitter discrimination: no employment for Serbs - travelling in convoy to the nearest Serb hospital in Mitrovica - crops stolen, hay burned

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ERPKIM INFO-SERVICE
SITUATION REPORT
Banjska Village 23-07-03

Banska is a mixed village near Mitrovica. Today there are 20 Serb households left. Since 1999 the Serbs have suffered losses of animals and vehicles but since Greek KFOR removed their permanent checkpoint in the village in early January 2003, the incidents have become more common.

On Saturday night 19th July, an unoccupied house belonging to two brothers, Milos and Miodrag Dancetovic, was destroyed in an arson attack. The brothers are not currently resident in the village, being IDPs in Kraljevo. This incident follows another attempt two weeks ago to burn an unoccupied house belonging to a Serb. On that occasion villagers noticed something was going on and the arsonists fled. A Greek KFOR patrol was seen on a hill overlooking the village but they did not intervene saying later that they did not see the smoke rising from the house. The property belongs to Mr. Tomislav who lives in Raska but built a house in the village because his mother and brother still live in Banska.
The number of incidents continues to increase with small crops like potatoes being stolen from the gardens around the houses virtually every night. On the 15th June 2003, a cow belonging to Ljubisa Krsmanovic was stolen despite having a 14mm steel chain around its neck. The thieves simply cut through the chain. The cow was given to Mr. Krsmanovic by the CCK to help him feed his five young children, ranging in age from 3 years of age to 13.
The police just drive through the village as do Greek KFOR but they rarely stop. When recent complaints were lodged with the police, they said they were surprised as they thought things would get better not worse.

Following a presentation in the village in December 2002 by IOM as part of the EAR- funded Community Stabilisation Programme, the Serbs of Banska drew up plans to launch small businesses to generate some much-needed income. However, the increasing incidents are affecting people’s morale and interest in CSP has waned. At the moment there is one CSP project in the village a taxi service. As village spokesman Pedrag states, just when people begin to plan for a better future something happens. He says the villagers have a feeling of solidarity with the Serb villagers in other villagers near Banska like Slatina,Gojbulja or Miroce. He is aware that if the residents of Banska are driven out then the pressure to leave will be increased on the other villages.

Speaking of the most recent house-burning incident Pedrag links it to a meeting they had with Albanian villagers on the Friday night before the house was torched- that happened the next day, Saturday.

The Albanians had changed their representative. The meeting was to discuss if Serbs would share the water from the spring which is on their land with Albanian villagers. They reached an agreement about sharing the water but the next day the house was burned to the ground. Perhaps the house was attacked because there was co-operation between Serb and Albanian villagers. The Albanian representative had commented to Pedrag that he had almost expected something to happen as he was seen to be co-operating with Serbs.
The basic situation was summed up by Pedrag as a continual series of attacks intended to harass the Serb residents. When the Serbs plan to do anything, something bad happens. Pedrag appealed for aid from any donors who could help them. They have land although they only use what is close to their houses. They can support themselves if given the chance. At the moment they need a small tractor to work the land. Between them they have the implements to work on the land and have already had meetings to arrange how the tractor would be used and maintained communally.

In the past, they have had vehicles stolen including two tractors and two other vehicles. They were using horses on the land but three were stolen leaving only one to do all the work. It consequently died.

Last harvest time, Pedrag was walking on his land away from his house when an Albanian, one of his neighbours, asked what he was doing walking on the land. He should go home and stay in his house.

In September 2003, there will be 8 children attending school in Banska, two are just starting. The school was built in 1989 with donations from two towns in Vojvodina. Originally the Serbs had offered to share it with Albanian children but the Albanians had refused. Recently a fence was erected around the school building and the Serb villagers offered their services but the French organisation carrying out the work said they would not be paid. As a result they brought in their own workers.

There is no employment for Serbs from the village. One man from the village is living in Mitrovica where he is working as a dishwasher for KFOR. With crops being stolen and hay burnt, the food situation is not good. They hope and pray that the situation will get better. Apart from the serious unemployment/lack of income the most serious problem remains access to medical treatment. If someone is taken ill during the night there is nothing one can do until morning. Patients must travel by convoy to Mitrovica for medical attention. For example Pedrag’s uncle is 80 years of age and the conditions in Banska are not conducive to good health. Doctors come from Mitrovica every Friday but they carry out general checks such as blood pressure and provide prescriptions. The villagers must travel to Mitrovica to buy the medicine if they can afford it. The most common medical complaints in Banska are heart problems and diabetes which are directly affected by stress.

Ultimately, the people of Banska, like many of the villages which still retain some Serb residents are under severe pressure. The EAR-funded CSP programme implemented by IOM is aimed at helping such communities and stemming the net outflow of population but its effectiveness is obviously affected by the continuing campaign of harassment directed at the remaining Serbs. Ironically, at a recent meeting of the Municipality, Banska was cited as an example of how Albanians and Serbs could live together in harmony. This is all the more ironic given that the village did have good relations until the end of the war and the arrival of KFOR. Prior to the war the Serb villagers protected their Albanian neighbours from Serb military and paramilitary forces and they never left but one week after the withdrawal of Serb forces one Serb villager was shot dead. The harassment has continued ever since. The feeling in Banska is that the recent increase in attacks may be linked to recent talk of Serbs returning to Kosovo. They could be an attempt to dissuade them from returning. The international community claims it is committed to a multi-ethnic, democratic Kosovo. It is villages like Banska that will provide the acid test of how serious political representatives, both local and international, are about preserving non-Albanian elements in Kosovo society.

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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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The views expressed by the authors of newspaper articles or other texts which are not official communiqués or news reports by the Diocese are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Serbian Orthodox Church

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