December 10, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 10-12-03

Human Rights Day Celebration in Pristina - theatrical performance hiding grim reality of ethnic discrimination

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Paradoxically, this day will also be celebrated with football matches and music performances in Kosovo, a province known for the past slightly more than four years as the "black hole" of human rights and a territory rife with ethnic discrimination and brutal persecution against all non-Albanians.

Photo (UNMIK police archive) a raid in one of Kosovo's brothels here beside women-slaves one can buy weapons and get any kind of drugs.
While UNMIK, KPC (former KLA) and Kosovo Police will play a football match in front of monoethnic Albanian spectators today Kosovo remains a "paradise" for sex-slave trafficking of young girls and a black hole of human rights for discriminated Serbs and non-Albanians.  Well.... happy International human rights day in Kosovo folks!

CONTENTS:

Human Rights Day - Annual theatrical performance in Pristina
December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Paradoxically, this day will also be celebrated with football matches and music performances in Kosovo, a province known for the past slightly more than four years as the "black hole" of human rights and a territory rife with ethnic discrimination and brutal persecution against all non-Albanians.

Group of Serb Returnees still awaiting UNMIK's permission to return to their homes
Humanitarian assistance needed: heart and blood pressure medication, antibiotics, winter clothing (wool socks, winter footwear, boots, sweaters), as well as duvets, blankets and mattresses.

Powerful explosion rocks southern Pristina
A loud explosion was reported in southern Pristina just after 10.00 last night. The explosion occurred in front the building in which 15 out of the last 200 Serbs in Pristina live. There were no casualties but windows on the building were broken in a blast.

Chappel (UNMIK Police): PM Rexhepi must inform police of his itinerary
Commenting on the incident in Kosovska Mitrovica, UN police spokesman Derek Chappell said today that UNMIK and the Kosovo Police Service were not informed of the visit of Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi to the city. Chappell said Rexhepi has the right to travel throughout the territory of Kosovo but that he needs to inform police of his itinerary, especially when traveling into an area of risk.

Serbs near Pristina without power for three days
Serbian maintenance workers on the power system state that the reason for the power outages is increased demand by old distribution stations to which many newly built private buildings owned by Albanians have been hooked up.

Independent (UK): Hard lessons that keep Kosovo children safe
Thousands, mainly women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine or neighbouring Albania, have been trafficked by criminal gangs, either bound for Western Europe or forced to work in the burgeoning local sex industry. The capital (Pristina) boasts at least 130 brothels, which flourished in the cash-rich chaos that accompanied the end of the war in 1999 and the huge influx of international organisations that followed.  

HRH Crown Prince Alexander - It is time for unity
The right time is every day for stability, unity and continuity. The aim is to do everything to make the democratic process work. The King reigns, the government rules the country.

The Crown as a reconciliator
Interview with Prof. Pavle Nikolic, member of the Crown Council, Belgrade



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Human Rights Day - Annual Theatrical Performance in Pristina

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Paradoxically, this day will also be celebrated with football matches and music performances in Kosovo, a province known for the past slightly more than four years as the "black hole" of human rights and a territory rife with ethnic discrimination and brutal persecution against all non-Albanians.

ERP KiM Info-Service
December 10, 2003

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Human Rights Day in Kosovo – Another theatrical performance by UNMIK designed to hide the catastrophic human rights situation in the UN-administered southern Serbian province

December 10 is International Human Rights Day. Paradoxically, this day will also be celebrated in Kosovo and Metohija , a province known for the past slightly more than four years as the "black hole" of human rights and a territory rife with ethnic discrimination and brutal persecution against all non-Albanians.

A press release by the Office of High Commissioner for the Human Rights informs us that the Human Rights Day celebration will include the following events:

11:00-11:30 Inauguration of the Pristina, "Peace Pole" (Roundabout nr Baci Hotel)
12:00-14:00 Grand Football Match - UNMIK, KPS, KPC, KFOR v FC Pristina (Pristina Stadium)
14:00-16:00 Painting by youth (Red Hall Foayer, Sports Centre)
16:00-18:00 Main event (Red Hall, Sports centre)
as well as dance and drama by Global Motion Project and the presentation of the winners of the First Annual Sir Robert Peel Awards to "members of the Kosovan community who have sought to make a difference, large or small, towards the improvement of society."


From this excerpt of the program it is not difficult to conclude that this event is another in a series of events organized by the international community for the ethnic Albanian community. No Kosovo Serb attendance is expected; indeed, no Kosovo Serb would be phycially able to attend the festivities unless brought there by armored vehicle or accompanied by armed military escort and guarded for the duration of the ceremony to ensure his or her safety. How sad and ironic that the celebration of Human Rights Day in Kosovo and Metohija precludes the implementation in practice of every human rights principle in existence.

Human Rights Day in Kosovo and Metohija is to be marked by superficially symbolic events while at the same time UNMIK police and other Kosovo institutions have been and still are dismally failing to provide basic security and even rudimentary human rights protection for the non-Albanian population. Would it not be better to celebrate the day by doing something concrete to ensure universal human rights are respected in the Province, for example, by intensifying investigations of several ethnically motivated crimes that occurred in just the past year in which a dozen Serbs, including two innocent children, lost their lives? Would it not be better to organize a police campaign to disband at least some of the 130 brothels in the capital of Pristina alone (Indepenent - UK - Hard lessons that keep children of Kosovo safe, Dec 9, 2003), a city infamous for its flourishing white slave trade, drug smuggling and terrorists with active Al Qaida links selling most dangerous explosives (Semetex) (according to the UK Sunday Mirror, We buy bag of Semetex from terrorists, December 7, 2003).

Any of these would have been preferable to yet more theatrical revues whose sole purpose is to disguise the tragic reality and lack of achievement of the UN civil mission in Kosovo, especially in the capital of Pristina itself, where the remaining 200 Kosovo Serbs do not dare go to the local shop to buy bread, let alone to a football match or to join the ethnic Albanian throng in cheering around the "Peace Pole".

Furthermore, the day's program is to include an exhibition of youth paintings in the Sports Center. At the moment there is not a single Serb pupil or student in Pristina at any level (elementary or secondary schools or the University). In fact, the last remaining Pristina Serb children still to to school each day in a Serb enclave outside the city and under police escort because they do not enjoy the basic human rights of having education in their own language in Pristina. Of course, there is a possibility that organizers may bus in a group of Serb children and their paintings from one of the ghetto-like enclaves to smile in front of the cameras and display their paintings as if they were still a part of the life of the city that only five years ago was home to 40,000 Serbs, many of them students and schoolchildren.

Year after passing year, the celebration of Human Rights Day in Kosovo and Metohija remains nothing but a theatrical performance hiding from the global community the true reality: UNMIK's complete failure to provide a free and safe environment for all communities in the Province of Kosovo, and complete disregard for the protection of human rights at the local level.

commentary by
Fr. Sava Janjic
ERP KiM Info-Service

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Graham Johnson, "We Buy Bag of Semtex from Terrorists", The Sunday Mirror, December 7, 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/decani/message/78462

Daniel Howden, "Hard Lessons that Keep the Children of Kosovo Safe," The Independent, December 9, 2003, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/decani/message/78488

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Group of Serb returnees to Klina still awaiting UNMIK permission to return to their homes

Humanitarian assistance needed: heart and blood pressure medication, antibiotics, winter clothing (wool socks, winter footwear, boots, sweaters), as well as duvets, blankets and mattresses.

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ERP KIM Info Service
Klina, December 8, 2003

A group of 26 expelled Kosovo Serbs who decided almost two weeks ago to return to their homes in Klina and who are temporarily housed in common facilities in Bicha are still waiting for UNMIK officials to address their problem. The returnees have not given up their intention to return to Klina.

On December 7, 2003 representatives of the Diocese and the NGO "Majka Jugovica" from Gracanica, directed by presbytera Svetlana Stevic, also visited the group of returnees in Bicha.

The returnees told representatives of the Diocese and the NGO "Majka Jugovica" that at first UNMIK did not support their return to Klina, justifying this position by a lack of security and unresolved property issues. (Serb-owned property was usurped by Kosovo Albanians whom the municipality provided with false property deeds documenting their "newly acquired" property.) According to the returnees, they filed requests two years ago with HABITAT, the organization for resolving property issues, for the return of their illegally appropriated property.

Unfortunately, HABITAT has not yet managed to solve the problem. Consequently, these 26 sufferers must continue to wait for the resolution of the status of the property. The returnees say they expect legal support and assistance from both representatives of the international community and the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija.

In the meanwhile, UNMIK has taken the necessary steps to see they are issued identified cards, and they have visited the houses and apartments taken over by Kosovo Albanians after their departure, say the returnees. However, the municipal authorities in Klina have not shown a lot of understanding for Serb returns. At the meeting of the Task Group for Returns held in the middle of last week in Klina, they emphasized that their priority is the issue of missing persons. Unfortunately, this issue is frequently used as an excuse to place conditions on Serb returns, which UNMIK representatives not infrequently tolerate without reason.

The Serb returnees are housed in the community administrative building in the village of Bicha where, the representatives of the Diocese were able to see for themselves, they do not have minimal conditions for a normal and solid life. Most of them sleep in the building itself; others sleep in the nearby houses of their neighbors who returned to the villages of Bicha and Grabac last year. They sleep on the floor of a cold and incomplete building without beds or heating. Their only furniture consists of a table and a few chairs because the purpose of the building is to hold meetings. Unfortunately, their return remains more or less unnoticed and even the most essential humanitarian assistance has not been provided.

While they away for at least one heated home to be vacated in their Metohija village where they could temporarily all stay, according to Marko Nedeljkovic and Petko Pesic, they require assistance in medication, and when they move to Klina they will need everything else, starting with beds and blankets.

We made lists of the necessary medicines with the Italian medical staff and representatives of the Coordinating Center and expect it will be provided. Still missing is heart and blood pressure medication, and antibiotics because many of us have fallen ill, say the returnees. They received their first assistance in the form of blankets and sleeping bags from the Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija and the NGO "Majka Jugovica". They are still lacking in winter clothing (wool socks, winter footwear, boots, sweaters), as well as duvets, blankets and mattresses.

Despite the fact that their present living conditions are exceptionally difficult, the returnees are firm in their resolve to remain in Kosovo and Metohija until it is possible for them to return to their homes in Klina. They have no intention to return to collective refugee centers and rented apartments in central Serbia at any price. "This is our land. We want to go back to our homes. We have not done anything bad to anyone."

The refugees told representatives of the Diocese that they are very disappointed by UNMIK's passivity, as well as by the lack of attention from some local Serbian political representatives responsible for returns who are not doing enough to see that their problem is resolved before the first deep winter frosts.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren appeals to all those who are able to help the Serbian returnees to Klina in any way to do so as soon as possible through the Coordinating Center of Kosovo and Metohija's section for humanitarian issues in Belgrade or through local parishes of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

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Powerful explosion rocks southern Pristina

A loud explosion was reported in southern Pristina just after 10.00 last night. The explosion occurred in front the building in which 15 out of the last 200 Serbs in Pristina live. There were no casualties but windows on the building were broken in a blast.

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ERP KiM Info, Beta News Agency, Belgrade, B92
December 9, 2003

PRISTINA -- Tuesday - A loud explosion was reported in southern Pristina just after 10.00 last night. The explosion occurred in front the building in which 12 out of the last 200 Serbs in Pristina live. There were no casualties but windows on the building were broken in a blast.

Beta news agency said the blast outside the former university campus could be heard across Kosovo's capital city.

Two UN vehicles parked nearby were also destroyed. There are no details of casualties or clues who might have been responsible.

The explosion has created additional fear among the small Serb Pristina community which struggles to survive in a city now almost completely inhabited by Kosovo Albanians.

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Chappell (UNMIK Police): Rexhepi must inform police of his itinerary

Commenting on the incident in Kosovska Mitrovica, UN police spokesman Derek Chappell said today that UNMIK and the Kosovo Police Service were not informed of the visit of Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi to the city. Chappell said Rexhepi has the right to travel throughout the territory of Kosovo but that he needs to inform police of his itinerary, especially when traveling into an area of risk.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 9, 2003


PRISTINA - Commenting on the incident in Kosovska Mitrovica, UN police spokesman Derek Chappell said today that UNMIK and the Kosovo Police Service were not informed of the visit of Kosovo premier Bajram Rexhepi to the city.

Chappell said Rexhepi has the right to travel throughout the territory of Kosovo but that he needs to inform police of his itinerary, especially when traveling into an area of risk.

"On the basis of our investigation to date, we have not established whether the target of the attack was Rexhepi or the World Bank representatives," said Chappell. He added that an investigation into the incident is still in progress.

The UN police spokesman also said there were no human casualties as a result in last night's grenade attack in the Pristina University settlement.

The incident resulted in the complete destruction of the vehicle of the Kosovo telecommunications minister, two UNMIK vehicles and two private automobiles. The windows on some of the nearby buildings also shattered, said Chappell.

A building housing about 15 Serbs is located near the place where the explosion occurred.

Chappell said that UNMIK police have arrested one of the commanders of the former Kosovo Liberation Army, Halil Balaj, who is suspected of having sold 15 kilograms of plastic explosives confiscated by police.

An investigation is in progress as a result of justified suspicion that several other members of the former KLA were also involved in the sale of explosives.


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Serbs near Pristina without power for three days

Serbian maintenance workers on the power system state that the reason for the power outages is increased demand by old distribution stations to which many newly built private buildings owned by Albanians have been hooked up.

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Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 9, 2003

GRACANICA - Local residents of several Serbian villages near Pristina have been without electrical power for three days.

Officials in the Kosovo Energy Corporation say the settlements are without power due to problems with the high voltage network. 

Serbian maintenance workers on the power system state that the reason for the power outages is increased demand by old distribution stations to which many newly built private buildings owned by Albanians have been hooked up.

"There has been no power since Sunday. We're trying to regulate the voltage but the distribution stations will only hold for one or two hours before dropping out of the system," say on duty electricians.

Two local radio stations, KIM Radio and Radio Antena, are broadcasting their programs with interruptions lasting several hours.

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A disturbing story of the British daily about the sex slave trade in Kosovo. Kosovo swarms with Albanian mafia child-traffickers who kidnap young girls to be used in brothels in Kosovo and around Europe.

Independent (UK) - Appeal: Hard lessons that keep the children of Kosovo safe

Thousands, mainly women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine or neighbouring Albania, have been trafficked by criminal gangs, either bound for Western Europe or forced to work in the burgeoning local sex industry. The capital (Pristina) boasts at least 130 brothels, which flourished in the cash-rich chaos that accompanied the end of the war in 1999 and the huge influx of international organisations that followed.

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By Daniel Howden in Pristina
09 December 2003

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=471464


It's cold and dark by the time Pristina's youngest shift workers traipse through the mud to reach the gates of Dardania school. Some of these seven-year-olds start as dawn is breaking; others won't escape the packed and dimly lit classrooms until 7.30 at night.

After the war in Kosovo, so few schools are left standing that pupils and teachers are crammed into the buildings in four separate daily shifts. Three and a half thousand children pass through Dardania's cheerless concrete walls each day. But this is not a story about schools and high child mortality levels, though the country is the worst in Europe for both those. An additional threat stalks them: child traffickers.

With the winter nights drawing in and the power cuts that punctuate each day more frequent, 13-year-old Arta, a Kosovar Albanian, is worried that her friends will be whisked away in the darkness. "I'm frightened for my friends being snatched after school," she said. "Most evenings there's no electricity and the traffickers could come. When we go home after school it's late and it's dark everywhere."

While some children are kidnapped, the real threat is more insidious. With unemployment soaring, traffickers lure teenagers with false promises of jobs in countries such as Italy and Germany. What awaits them is forced labour, sex slavery or, in a few cases, the horrific trade in human organs. Until now, Kosovo has been the chief transit centre for human traffic into Europe. Thousands, mainly women and girls from Moldova, Ukraine or neighbouring Albania, have been trafficked by criminal gangs, either bound for Western Europe or forced to work in the burgeoning local sex industry.

The capital boasts at least 130 brothels, which flourished in the cash-rich chaos that accompanied the end of the war in 1999 and the huge influx of international organisations that followed. Over the past 18 months, the foreigners have begun to pull out, reducing the expat population from 60,000 to 10,000. The grim irony facing this war-torn land is that as the soldiers, police and international workers depart, demand for the local sex industry is declining and traffickers are turning their attention to local Kosovar children.

Save the Children, one of the three charities being supported in this year's Independent Christmas Appeal, is trying to get the message to those most at risk, teaching the young to resist the lure of the traffickers and look out for their friends. Many young people remain unaware of the dangers of trafficking and the associated criminal networks. When asked, many thought it was something to do with cars.

Katherine Mahoney, the programme director for Save the Children, believes that raising awareness of trafficking is the best way to fight the traffickers.

Fazli spent the war hiding in the mountains with the rest of his ethnic Albanian village. "We kept moving, running away from the shooting," he said. Now he is 15, part of the age-group Save the Children is educating about the new threat. "They are people without feelings, people with a bad heart and they do anything for money," Fazli said after an awareness session.

Pointing to the cocktail of social disintegration, poor education, poverty and the breakdown of the rule of law, Ms Mahoney warns that Kosovo is now on the brink of a disastrous move from what trafficking experts call a transit country to a sending country. "All the factors are there," she said. "There's no reason why it shouldn't end up like Albania," which is among the worst hit by the criminals. The first cases of Kosovar women and girls being trafficked have recentlybeen reported by the International Organisation for Migration. It has recently helped 17 victims, including one girl who was rescued from traffickers in Britain.

Ms Mahoney's concerns are echoed by Blerim Blaku, who runs the youth centre in Podujeva, 20 miles north of Pristina, which Fazli and Arta attend and which was among the first places to trial the charity's programme. "Some sort of dead end is coming ... something is going to collapse," he warned. Meanwhile, the money for the centre is running out and similar projects have been forced to close. It is the only service of its kind for the 70,000 children in the area.

The divisions that prompted the civil war remain raw and real, with the Kosovar Albanian majority separated from the Kosovar Serb and Roma minorities. Save the Children cannot ignore the demarcation. The threat facing the children of Kosovo face is all too terribly the same.

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HRH Crown Prince Alexander II with Princess Catherine and his sons
(left to right: Alexander, Peter and Philip)
http://www.royalfamily.org

It is time for unity - HRH Crown Prince Alexander in the interview for "Glas" about the reestablishement of monarchy in Serbia

The right time is every day for stability, unity and continuity. The aim is to do everything to make the democratic process work. The King reigns, the government rules the country.

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Glas Javnosti, Belgrade daily
Belgrade, Sunday, 7 December 2003


The pretender to the Serbian throne is convinced that the Crown will bring stability, unity and democracy to the country and that "it is no good without the King"

After the third failed elections and on the eve of the parliamentary elections, the political scene of Serbia is boiling with promises and party duels, on who is the best for the citizens of Serbia. Somewhere in between, for the second time in the last 12 years, the idea of the return of monarchy and the King was revived again, as the way out from a certain cul-de-sac in which we are. To the surprise of many, Serbian Orthodox Church supported the idea. "The heart and soul" monarchists welcomed with joy the publishing of the document that suggests replacing of the republic with the constitutional parliamentary monarchy, while the hard core republicans wondered why the idea has not been given up, since it became outdated a long time ago.

After the statement of the Church, and of HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic and the members of the Crown Council, there was a huge interest in additional explanations, with almost not a day without something about monarchy in the media, either "pro" or "contra". In the interview for "Glas", HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic comments why the constitutional parliamentary monarchy is the best solution for Serbia at this moment. We talked in the Blue Salon of the Royal Palace in Dedinje, built by King Alexander I, the grandfather of HRH.

The injustice was done to Karadjordjevic Dynasty in 1945, but why do you believe this is the right moment for the return of the monarchy and that the Crown will bring the so much wanted stability in a poor country, torn in political disputes?

- The right time is every day for stability, unity and continuity. The aim is to do everything to make the democratic process work. The King reigns, the government rules the country. Regrettably, we have had the failed presidential elections. That is a terrible price that our people had to pay. A bad image is being created in the country and abroad. My recommendation is to do everything to bring things to normal in our country, to respect all political parties and the democratic process.

From the statements of the members of the Crown Council and the fervent monarchists, it appears that it is no good without the King?

- There are good and bad republics, good and bad monarchs. But if you look at the European Union, and outside it, there are some very good constitutional parliamentary monarchies. The system is fully democratic, respecting all religions, all political beliefs, human rights and different ethnic groups. Perhaps the saying should go "it is no good without the King and stability". Of course, the King must respect everybody. No exceptions. To respect all religions, all ethnic groups and let the Government run its everyday job and rule the country. That is why there must be a parliament in both systems, republics and constitutional parliamentary monarchies. And the elections must be a success.

The opponents are interested what the idea to reestablish monarchy after 68 years is based on at all? At the time when even the Crown of the greatest and most famous monarchy is going through a crisis?

- As I have already said, the right moment is every day, and because of stability and democracy, we must not waste any more time. As for the allegations about the greatest and most famous monarchy, that is sheer rubbish. The monarchy in question is certainly Great Britain. That monarchy stands solid, and it was due to just one individual and the media that followed the story, that a negative publicity was created, but as we speak, the monarchy stands firm. There were many lies said lately, and I guarantee 100% those were the lies.

Was the recently presented idea of the reestablishment of monarchy your wish, or an estimate made with your associates?

- Let’s be open, I am what I am. My ancestor is Karadjordje and I am very proud of it, to have his blood in my veins. Obviously, after 200 years we should try to achieve what I believe is good for our people. To bring back stability and self respect to all citizens. The next year we are going to celebrate the bicentennial of the modern Serbian state and I am the one who keeps the whole thing going. What I want is to move forward and bring back our country to the world. So that the Government elected by the people can finally go back to its job and run the country.

Why do you refuse a referendum on monarchy and at the same time expect support from the international community?

- There are many ways to establish a state system or a constitution. The task ahead of us is to make our citizens feel good about the constitutional parliamentary monarchy. It is very important to have a new parliament and the elections on 28 December succeed. After that, the newly elected body must consider most seriously what our country needs. And what methods must be used to introduce it to our public. This is still a beginning for us, we have been here for two and a half years only. I would have come back much earlier, if it hadn’t been for the regime that worked against its own people. So the discussion on what constitution will we have and how will we adopt it, is quite open. Some are for the referendum, some are for the Constitutional Assembly.

How do you expect support from in particular, from your European Royal relatives or the international organizations? Or both?

- We are a sovereign country. And only we can decide on our destiny, as best as our Government and our people can. Certainly, there will be comments and disagreements from abroad with some events that are going to happen, but it is not up to foreign powers to interfere into what form of the state system we will have. The foreign governments have already stated their wish for us, and that is to have stability. If you look at the EU, there are constitutional parliamentary monarchies and republics who work day in day out together. Who is the closest ally of the USA? Great Britain, which is a kingdom. That is why I warn everybody, we must take responsibility for our country and then we will have respect from the whole Europe. That is called a government for the people, and respect will come by itself.

How do you comment the support that you got from Serbian Orthodox Church?

- It is wonderful what happened. I have the deepest respect for His Holiness Patriarch Pavle, for the Holy Synod and the entire Church. There is a tradition that the Church and the Crown work together for the benefit of the people. But, more than that, I have respect for all the religions. Which is precisely what the Patriarch said, if one has read his letter carefully. It is always the greatest pleasure to meet with the Patriarch, as I did two days ago, just as it is a pleasure to meet other religious leaders. They all respect everybody. In addition, in a democracy, everybody has the right to be whatever one wants. There is no doubt that in our country lives the majority of Orthodox Serbs, but we all get along well with the others and that is a good thing, that is democracy.

Will monarchy fill the wallets and the stomachs of our impoverished citizens, and how do you intend to achieve that, if the answer is affirmative?

- That is the whole point, to try to fight poverty. To improve our social services, health care system, which can only be achieved through stability and hard work of the Government elected by the people. What I recommend functions very well in all constitutional parliamentary monarchies, and that is that the head of state does not belong to any political party, but respects all parties. My wife and I have shown concern for our people through humanitarian activities, we support the process of helping everyone, and of course there are many problems on that road. Not only to face poverty, we also have a responsibility toward our refugees. If we have a stable state, we will be able to cope with the problems in a much more efficient way.

Does the reestablishment of monarchy inevitably causes the downfall of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro?

- I want to point out that there are republics and constitutional parliamentary monarchies in the EU, working together on daily basis for the benefit of all citizens of the EU. In addition, the presidency over the EU rotates every six months. Sometimes it’s a republic presiding of the EU, sometimes it’s a constitutional parliamentary monarchy. They all take their turns. So we might all get used to that here. And I simply can’t stress enough, a republic or a constitutional parliamentary monarchy, we have no choice but to cooperate with each other – if we want to be a part of the EU. Simply, we must not fight. We must work together for the benefit of everybody. We might as well start now.

What are your relationships with Montenegrin Prince Nikola Petrovic?

- I am very proud to have Montenegrin blood in my veins. Prince Nikola is a friend of mine, as well as his family and we have met on many occasions.

How do you spend your time in Belgrade, how do you live, what do you do? Your wife and you are very much engaged in humanitarian work...?

- We are very happy to be back home, that has always been my dream. I was born in 1945, on a small piece of Yugoslav territory, and that was the apartment of the hotel I was born in. The then British Government was kind enough to proclaim the apartment Yugoslav territory. I was very happy when in 2001 the then Federal Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Zoran Zivkovic came to London and returned citizenship to me and my family. The whole circle closed then. And then, in July 2001, we came back here, to the house where my father and my grandfather used to live. We must feel the problems that exist in our country and we must help. My wife has continued her humanitarian activities through the new Foundation of HRH Crown Princess Katherine, and also through her organization "Lifeline" that works abroad. Of course, I very much respect the humanitarian work of Princess Elizabeth. I have also dedicated myself to help in making contacts and to try to bring investors and partners for our companies. We were the hosts to a number of conferences and meetings here, and I have traveled with our Ministers abroad, trying to promote the possibilities for investing into our country. And I expect I will be cooperating with the new Government in creating the policy of investments into our country, for we have great possibilities and great potential. Our country urgently needs to revive production, to create new jobs and to have money so that we all live better.

Have your sons adopted our culture and language, and is any of them going to continue education in Belgrade?

- My sons love our country very much, but when we came back here we made a decision that they should finish their education, and not to take them away from their Universities just like that. They come here every few months, they were here for my wife’s birthday last month. But they can’t leave their Universities for longer periods. Soon they will have a holiday and we are going to spend it as a family, just after Christmas. And since they are young, and love sport, we are going to Kopaonik, where they will enjoy snowboarding.

No silver plates

My sons are learning our language, they learn about our tradition and culture, and of course, they respect everybody. They also have their first working experiences, so that they know what is it like to work and make one’s own living. It is very important for them to learn not to have everything on a silver plate. And there were some proposals for them find jobs in Belgrade, too, and attend some courses at our Universities.

At home

Has your family adjusted to a new way of life, and do you plan to stay in Belgrade and Serbia for good, even if the dream of the reestablishment of monarchy does not come true?

- I am at home.

How is the heir to the throne selected?

How do you comment some polls in which some monarchy supporters said they were for the Monarch – if they elected him?

- This looks like something from the last twelve years, which was a very difficult period of sufferings and great confusion, from 1989 until today. That would be as if every Serbian family voted on who their children would be. Just like in any other country, we have the system of inheritance on the principle of primogeniture.

Preferences

Do you have a political party in Serbia that you particularly prefer?

- No, I have no preferences for any political party. I equally respect them all.

Olga Nikolic

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The Crown as a reconciliator

Interview with Prof. Pavle Nikolic, member of the Crown Council, Belgrade

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Vecernje Novosti, Belgrade Daily
Belgrade, 8 December 2003

Prompted by the negative experiences with the Broz’s and Miloisevic’s republics, Belgrade professor Pavle Nikolic has made and presented to the public (on the Day of St. Dymitri, 2001), the draft of the new Constitution in which he proposed to reestablish monarchy in Serbia. Professor Nikolic is also the Chairman of the International Association for Constitutional Law and the member of the Crown Council. His is of the opinion that the failure of the republican state system was shown after 5 October – because the function of the president from the previous period was kept, with a totally passive role, which was followed by the triple failure of the presidential elections, which additionally discredited the republic. – That is why the constitutional parliamentary monarchy is a warrant and a foundation of a true democratic order in Serbia – points out Prof. Nikolic in his interview for “Novosti”, and reminds that Serbia has always been a monarchy, except for the last six decades, and that through its constitutions of 1888 and 1903 it reached the peaks of Constitutional law.


Power derived from the constitution

In his proposal of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Serbia, you have anticipated a one house Parliament, Ministerial Council, Constitutional and other courts typical of all modern states, and as the head of it – the King. What are his prerogatives?

- The King proposes changes in the Constitution, he announces referendums, suggests candidates for the Prime Minister, from the parliamentary majority. As proposed by the Supreme Court he appoints the judges of the Constitutional and other courts.

Is the King’s power limited in any way?

- The power and the prerogatives of the King are regulated by law. The King derives his authority from the Constitution, and by itself, he is subordinate to the Constitution. His power is limited and generally narrower than the power of a president of a republic in many contemporary states with the democratic system, which means that the constitutional parliamentary monarchy can’t be a personal regime, which is often the case in republics. Every King’s act must be signed by a Minister in charge or the Prime Minister, and without it, any King’s acts is invalid.

Your opponents say it is impossible to put Serbia back into a shape of monarchy?

- They are wrong. Today it can be done in a legal and legitimate way, which means by the will of the people. Monarchy could be reestablished by the Constitutional Assembly, the one elected for the occasion, or the this one, elected on 28 December that would proclaim it for the Constitutional.

Isn’t it necessary and sensible to have a referendum on such a major change?

- Monarchy in our country was abolished in an illegitimate way, by an act of violence of the Constitutional Assembly which in 1945 was established in a single party elections, during the brutal eliminations of the political opponents. It was not abolished by the will of the people and thus today we do can’t speak of establishment, but the reestablishment of what had been illegally abolished, and that is why we do not need a referendum.


Language is not a problem

As the member of the Crown Council of Alexander Karadjordjevic, how do you see the notions that he has no right to the throne, since his father had abdicated?

- The issue of the alleged abdication is always brought by those who are a priori against the reestablishment of monarchy. In all monarchies there is a rule of the succession to the throne. Karadjordjevic Dynasty is the only legitimate one in Serbia, for they were on the throne at the moment when monarchy was abolished in 1945. According to that, the first born, i.e. the eldest son of the then King succeeds the throne, and that is Alexander, the son of Peter II.

The opponents of monarchy, however, point out his poor Serbian as an obstacle?

- None of those who point out “the problem” of language, had any problems in 1945 with Broz who had never spoken correct Serbian or his “native” Croatian. And today we ask of a man who was born abroad (his father was exiled) to speak perfect Serbian?

Having al that in mind, how do you see the proposals to the Crown Prince to form a political party, on the model of Bulgarian Emperor, and try his luck in the elections?

- Such ideas are amusing. A monarch is above political parties, he favors no single party and that is why he can be what is expected of him – a reconciliator. That is a better position than to be a president of republic, who as a rule is a member of a political party and has to support its interests. The situation with Bulgarian heir to the throne is quite different. Because he established a political party, he is no longer an Emperor, he is the Prime Minister.

Jovanka Simic

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