December 19, 2003

ERP KiM Newsletter 19-12-03

Bishop Artemije: We do not need "minority rights" in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija

Communiqué of Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija following the appeal of Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Dr. Nebojsa Covic


UN Security council: discussed Kosovo situation again
How could one justify the removal of the reference to Security Council resolution 1244, the Constitutional Framework and other applicable law in Kosovo and Metohija from "Kosovo Standards", protested Serbia-Montenegro Ambassador Mr. Dejan Sahovic conveying serious concerns of Belgrade with the new Holkeri's document which "is insufficient and lacks substance". Sahovic explained that Belgrade is ready for constructive cooperation but cannot support a document which opens revision of UNSCR 1244.

CONTENTS:

Bishop Artemije: We do not need "minority rights" in exchange for Serbia's sovereignity in Kosovo and Metohija

The Serb people in this region desire a free and dignified life but cannot accept, in exchange for the land of their fathers, offers of abstract "minority rights" in a society Kosovo Albanians are tailoring exclusively according to their needs and interests. The document "Standards for Kosovo", which does not mention the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and the essential elements of UN Security Council 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province and as such must be urgently revised in order to be acceptable for the Serbian side, too.

Union of Serb municipalities and settlements in Kosovo and Metohija proposes two-entity solution - St. Nicholas Day Declaration

At today's meeting of representatives of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija held in North Mitrovica more than one hundred deputies from all parts of the Province (north and central Kosovo, Novo Brdo, Pomoravlje, Brezovica and Metohija) adopted the St. Nicholas Day Declaration asking for the return of Serbian state institutions and proposing a two entity solution such as that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would, best protect the interests of the Serb people in this part of Serbia.

Belgrade concerned with the Kosovo "Standards" document
Serbia-Montenegrin Ambassador to the United Nations Dejan Sahovic told a UN Security Council session on Wednesday that Belgrade is concerned with the Kosovo "standards" document, released by UNMIK head Harri Holkeri last week.

RFE - Kosovo: UN officials cites poor records on minorities
The UN's undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told the UN Security Council in a briefing today that Serbs are under-represented and poorly integrated. He said less than 10,000 Serbs have returned to Kosovo from a pre-1999 population of about 250,000.

Forum 18 (Norway) - Hand grenade attack on Orthodox church
Orthodox officials are skeptical anyone will ever be arrested for the latest attack. "There has been no further information on this incident," Deacon Srdjan, diocesan secretary, told Forum 18. "What we have to say we have said hundreds of times so far. We do not expect any more news." Since 1999, no-one has been prosecuted for attacks on Serbian Orthodox sites.

Former rebel leader charged in Kosovo - Sefket Musliu under indectment

An international prosecutor in Kosovo has issued an indictment against the former leader of an ethnic Albanian rebel group responsible for the 2001 insurgency in southern Serbia, UN officials in the province said today.

UNMIK stops transport for 15 Serbian children (in Svinjare village)
UNMIK administration has stopped the transport of 15 Serbian children from the village of Svinjare to a school in Kosovska Mitrovica. Confirmation of this action came from Predrag Stojcetovic, the head of the Education department in Kosovska Mitrovica. Transport was stopped on Wednesday morning, and after an intervention they send a bus in the afternoon, to take the kids back to Svinjare.

News from Kosovo and Metohija, December 17 - 18, 2003

More News Available on our:

Kosovo Daily News list (KDN)
KDN Archive

This newsletter is available on our ERP KIM Web-site:
http://www.kosovo.net/erpkiminfo.html


Bishop Artemije: We do not need "minority rights" in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija

Communiqué of Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija following the appeal of Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Dr. Nebojsa Covic


Serbian Orthodox Diocese of
Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija

Press Release

Gracanica Monastery, December 18, 2003

The Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija firmly supports yesterday's appeal by Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija president Dr. Nebojsa Covic, which he addressed to all political parties participating in elections for the Serbian parliament and election list primaries, calling on them to sign the Resolution on the Protection of Serbian National Interests and Rights of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija.

The proposed text of the Resolution with its seven articles is a document around which all political factors in Serbia should rally and unite, thus sending a clear message to the domestic and global community that the development of democratic processes in Serbia is not equivalent to the territorial cutting up of her state territory and renunciation of Kosovo and Metohija but their preservation as an inalienable part of Serbia.

The Serb people in this region desire a free and dignified life but cannot accept, in exchange for Serbia's sovereignty, offers of abstract "minority rights" in a society Kosovo Albanians are tailoring exclusively according to their needs and interests. The document "Standards for Kosovo", which does not mention the sovereignty of Serbia and Montenegro and the essential elements of UN Security Council 1244, fundamentally prejudices the secession of the southern Serbian province and as such must be urgently revised in order to be acceptable for the Serbian side, too.

The claim of some international and domestic "preachers" that Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija cannot be a part of Europe and the world is untrue and tendentious. In fact, it is without Kosovo and Metohija, and with the open process of territorial disintegration which the secession of the southern province would inevitable entail, that Serbia would commit her historical suicide and the Serbian people would lose its deepest historical roots, which represent the foundation of its religious and national being.

After all these difficult wartime and post-war years, it is completely clear that if the Albanian nationalists realize their dream of an independent and Albanian Kosovo, the long-term survival of the Serbian people and preservation of our legitimate cultural and historical rights in this region will be impossible. The battle for the preservation of state sovereignty and the establishment of a just society for all citizens of the Province, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, is therefore the only path to preserving the multiethnicity of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of a democratic and multiethnic Republic of Serbia and state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Therefore, the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija strongly appeals to all political parties participating in the upcoming elections for the Serbian Parliament to demonstrate their national and political responsibility before their citizens and, regardless of existing political differences, to sign the proposed Resolution. We also call on the signatories of the Resolution to remain true to the principles they have publicly upheld and confirm their words with appropriate actions when, in the near future, they become members of the new Serbian Parliament.

Let us show the world that Serbs know how to unite on issues of vital interest of the people and the state! Let us show that the future of Serbia, the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and the entire Balkans does not lie in the creation of an ethnically pure Albanian Kosovo and further destruction of its Christian heritage, which represents the foundation of European civilization and culture.

To the same extent that we ourselves respect our state and its sovereignty, we will be respected by the entire democratic world as a serious state based on law.

+ARTEMIJE
Bishop of Raska-Prizren and
Kosovo-Metohija


TOP


Union of Serb municipalities and settelements in Kosovo and Metohija proposes two entity solution

At today's meeting of representatives of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija held in North Mitrovica more than one hundred deputies from all parts of the Province (north and central Kosovo, Novo Brdo, Pomoravlje, Brezovica and Metohija) adopted the St. Nicholas Day Declaration asking for the return of Serbian state institutions and proposing a two entity solution such as that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would, best protect the interests of the Serb people in this part of Serbia.

TOP

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica - Kosovska Mitrovica, December 18, 2003

At today's meeting of representatives of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija held in North Mitrovica more than one hundred deputies from all parts of the Province (north and central Kosovo, Novo Brdo, Pomoravlje, Brezovica and Metohija) adopted the St. Nicholas Day Declaration asking for the return of Serbian state institutions and proposing a two entity solution such as that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would best protect the interests of the Serb people in this part of Serbia.

The Declaration emphasizes that so-called "parallel institutions" are not legitimate institutions of the Serbian people and state to which Kosovo and Metohija belongs according to UN Security Council 1244 but that these are "parastate and paramilitary" structures formed after the year 1999. Representatives of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements appealed to state institutions in Belgrade to immediately initiate the return of economic, cultural, education and religious institutions expelled after June 1999.

"The Serbian people is a constitutive and constitutional people, not a national minority", emphasizes the text of the declaration, and "as such it has the legitimate right to decentralization and the building of functioning self-government in Kosovo and Metohija." According to the Declaration, the two entity solution also enables the return of the Serbian army and police to the territory of the Serbian entity, as well as to the state borders of Serbia and Montenegro.

The Declaration proposes that the criteria for forming the entities must take into account demographic, land ownership, economic, historical and religious factors, not the present situation on the ground which is a consequence of ethnic cleansing and the expulsion of the Serbian people both during and after the armed conflict of 1999. The creation of entities, the Declaration states, creates conditions for the collective and sustainable return of the expelled Serbs.

The conclusion of the St. Nicholas Day Declaration of Serbian Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija proclaims the proposed "Standards for Kosovo" unacceptable because it jeopardizes the vital interests of the Serbian people.

Attached is the text of the "St. Nicholas Day Declaration" of the Union of Serb Municipalities and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija


UNION OF SERB MUNICIPALITIES AND SETTLEMENTS
IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA


In light of the disappointing results of the international peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and Metohija as reflected in permanent and systematic ethnic cleansing of Serbs from this region, the lack of freedom of movement for the Serb community, the absence of significant returns of expelled and displaced Serbs, the lack of basic human rights and consequent life in "ghettoes" with the perpetual message of "fire and sword" being delivered by Albanian extremists and terrorists to their neighbors, as well as the lengthy wandering and mistakes in the state strategy of Serbia for Kosovo and Metohija, we hereby proclaim this


ST. NICHOLAS DAY DECLARATION


1. Kosovo and Metohija is an inalienable part of the Republic of Serbia and the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. Consequently, after four years of permanent, silent secession of Kosovo and Metohija from Serbia in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, it is high time for this region to be reintegrated with its mother country, Serbia. The return of Serbia to Kosovo and Metohija must be an ongoing tendency of the official state policy of Serbia and the international community. The policy of "deconstruction" of Serbian institutions in Kosovo and Metohija is an illegitimate and illegal act that must be immediately stopped.

2. Parallel institutions in Kosovo and Metohija can only be those institutions which were created after the year 1999 and have no institutional ties with Belgrade. It is a political irony and at the same time a violation of international law that the centuries-old institutions of the Serbian state existing in Kosovo and Metohija prior to 1999 have been proclaimed "parallel" by some circles of the international community.

3. In this respect, we demand that newly created, distorted, parastate and paramilitary structures be immediately discontinued. Specific examples include Kosovo customs and the Kosovo Protection Corps. Claims that such parallel institutions do not prejudice status and favorize the idea of an independent Kosovo are inaccurate and tendentious.

4. The Belgrade government must immediately launch a decisive campaign to return expelled Serbian institutions back to Kosovo and Metohija, including economic, cultural, education and religious institutions (EPS-Serbian Power and Distribution, RTV-Radio Television Pristina, the Seminary of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Prizren).

5. The Serbian people living in Kosovo and Metohija, a part of the Republic of Serbia, is a constitutional people and not a national minority. All collective rights of our people (education, judiciary, security, health, social protection, etc.) follow from that fact. Since the Serbs are a constitutional people in this region, we have the legitimate right to decentralization and the building of a functioning self-government of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija - an entity. The creation of two entities in the region of Kosovo and Metohija represents a political option that prevents further exodus and creates conditions for the return of the expelled Serbs. The issue of an entity is not a political but an existential issue for the Serbs. Positive experiences from Bosnia and Herzegovina should be utilized to the fullest extent in the realization of this project.

6. Criteria for the creation of two entities must take into account demographic, land ownership, economic and historical factors. The present ethnic profile must not be the criterion in creating the enteritis because this would serve to legitimize and favorize not the only systematic destruction and theft that ensued following the deployment of the UN mission but also the situation from the year 1998, i.e., before the war. The return of the Serbian army and police, which is one of the basic provisions of Resolution 1244, can be realized in full measure and capacity within the Serbian entity, as well as on the internationally recognized borders of Serbia and Montenegro.

7. The constituting of two entities would create the conditions for collective and sustainable returns and the creation of conditions for freedom of movement and the disappearance of the "ghettoes".

The standards proposed by the UNMIK chief jeopardize the vital interests of the Serbian people and the Serbian state in Kosovo and Metohija, and as such are unacceptable. The proposed entity platform does not endanger the real interests of the community in Kosovo and Metohija, does not favorize any community, and thus promotes the stabilization of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija and the region.

On the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas
Year of Our Lord 2003


President of the Union of Serb Municipalities
and Settlements in Kosovo and Metohija
Dr. Marko Jaksic
 

TOP


Belgrade concerned with the Kosovo "standards" document

Serbia-Montenegrin Ambassador to the United Nations Dejan Sahovic told a UN Security Council session on Wednesday that Belgrade is concerned with the Kosovo "standards" document, released by UNMIK head Harri Holkeri last week.

TOP

Serbian Government

New York, Dec 18, 2003 - Serbia-Montenegrin Ambassador to the United Nations Dejan Sahovic told a UN Security Council session on Wednesday that Belgrade is concerned with the Kosovo "standards" document, released by UNMIK head Harri Holkeri last week.

Serbia-Montenegrin authorities support the "standards before status" approach in general, but believe that the document does not include standards that would lead to the creation of a multiethnic society in the province, Sahovic said.

He also voiced concern at the fact that UNMIK has removed parts of the document, regarding the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and the constitutional framework of Kosovo-Metohija under pressure from the Kosovo interim institutions.

The Ambassador went on to say that talks between Belgrade and Pristina experts, agreed at the opening of the Oct 14 dialogue in Vienna, have not yet started due to the provincial institutions's refusal to take part.

The Wednesday session marked a new stage in the implementation of Resolution 1244, during which Kosovo interim institutions must make a substantial progress in implementing the eight groups of standards, said Sahovic, adding that the UN Security Council will assess the progress mid-2005.

Serbian Montenegrin Ambassador in UN Criticizes drafting of "Standards for Kosovo"

================================================

Highlights from the speech by Mr. Dejan Sahovic (UNSC)

United Nations Security Council

17/12/2003
Press Release
SC/7958

Security Council

4886th Meeting (AM)

(extract from the longer briefing on the UNSC meeting with highlights from the speech by Mr. Dejan SAhovic, Serbia Montenegro Ambassador at the United Nations)

DEJAN SAHOVIC (Serbia and Montenegro) said that the current stage of making the "standards before status" policy operational signified a new and exceptionally important step. He emphasized his principled support for that concept, including the sequence of events it clearly defined.

Democratic standards leading to a multi-ethnic society based on the rule of law and respect for human rights must be achieved before consideration of a political discussion aiming to determine the final status of the Province.

At the same time, he said that the "standards for Kosovo" document launched by Mr. Holkeri last week as the first stage of fulfillment of the "standards before status" policy raised "serious" concerns.

Primarily, the document failed to define the standards in a manner that would open prospects for the creation of a multi-ethnic society in Kosovo and Metohija. As the Government of Serbia stated on 8 December, UNMIK, among others, rejected the proposals to set, as a key standard for Kosovo and Metohija, the unconditional and progressive return of refugees and displaced persons, full protection of cultural heritage, and the listing of measures to reform the KPC.

The last-minute deletion of the introductory paragraph of the "standards for Kosovo" document under pressure from the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government was of equally serious concern, he said.

How could one justify the removal of the reference to Security Council resolution 1244, the Constitutional Framework and other applicable law in Kosovo and Metohija? he asked. Meanwhile, he welcomed the fact that the Special Representative had promptly declared the Assembly's decision invalid. He looked forward to further information of steps taken to avoid that kind of action in the future. Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was one of the standards envisaged in the original UNMIK standards/benchmarks, as well as the new "standards for Kosovo" document.

Recalling that the launching of that dialogue on 14 October in Vienna foresaw the speedy commencement of expert-level talks in four working groups, he noted that that had not yet happened. Once again, he expressed his full readiness to engage in discussions on practical issues of mutual interest, which would improve the daily lives of all inhabitants. He also reiterated that the composition of the working groups of Pristina had to be multi-ethnic. Regarding the KPC, it seemed necessary to remind that the original standards/benchmarks required the KPC to thoroughly comply with its mandate as a civilian emergency organization. According to the investigation, however, 12 KPC officers were suspected of involvement in the terrorist bombing of the railway bridge.

Bearing that in mind, as well as the general security context in the Province, he said it was difficult to believe that those officers were essentially offered a six-month paid leave, pending the results of the police investigation. He was not aware of any similar examples of "tolerance" for that kind of activity anywhere else. Further, he had not considered it an auspicious start to establishing security for all and the rule of law in the Province. On the matter of privatization, he continued to seek the full respect of owner/user rights and the rights of the Republic of Serbia in that process and in defining the status of public and commercial debts. Serbia was a major creditor to companies from Kosovo and Metohija.

As such, he continued, the Republic of Serbia provided guarantees for foreign loans granted to them. It should be obvious that those companies could not be put up for sale without the consent of major creditors. That issue should be properly addressed in the near future.

Overall, he concluded, cooperation with Serbia and Montenegro in preparation of the "standards for Kosovo" document had been insufficient and lacked substance. That plan should devise a set of measurable criteria for assessing the achievement of the standards. It should preclude the possibility of lowering the level of standards themselves, or opening up the possibility for different interpretations. He expressed Serbia and Montenegro's willingness to constructively engage in the preparation of the plan. Implementation of the "standards before status" policy was a real opportunity to translate the principle of cooperation into practice, for the benefit of all concerned. The implementation plan should also establish a continual mechanism for transparently reviewing progress.


TOP


Radio Free Europe - Kosovo: UN official cites poor record on minorities

The UN's undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told the UN Security Council in a briefing today that Serbs are under-represented and poorly integrated. He said less than 10,000 Serbs have returned to Kosovo from a pre-1999 population of about 250,000.

TOP

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty

By Robert McMahon

United Nations, 17 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A top UN official says Kosovo's Serbs and other minorities have little influence on decision making at any level of government in the majority-Albanian province.

The UN's undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, told the UN Security Council in a briefing today that Serbs are under-represented and poorly integrated. He said less than 10,000 Serbs have returned to Kosovo from a pre-1999 population of about 250,000.

The return and integration of minorities is a key reform benchmark in the UN's "standards before status" policy for Kosovo. A document launched this month calls for the reforms to be reviewed in 18 months, but Guehenno stressed that it is not a formal timetable for the province's status to be decided. "It is clear that there is no deadline and that the future status process will not start automatically on the review date," he said. "A prerequisite for any discussion on Kosovo's future status remains achievement of the eight standards."

Other standards include functioning democratic institutions, rule of law, freedom of movement, and dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.
The United Nations runs Kosovo as a virtual protectorate but has been gradually returning authority in local government areas to local bodies dominated by ethnic Albanians.

Security Council members today expressed disappointment that reforms were lagging. They called, in particular, for Pristina and Belgrade to resume direct dialogue.

Germany's UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said that failure to engage in dialogue and other reforms will have an impact on Kosovo's European integration prospects. "The implementation of the standards will be closely linked with the EU association process, and conversely, obstruction of efforts to meet the standards will surely have serious consequences for aspirations to draw closer to Europe," he said.

The British and U.S. envoys also urged a resumption of talks first held in mid-October. British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry also pressed Kosovo Albanian leaders to genuinely embrace the reform effort. "Kosovo has been given an opportunity, an opportunity to come out of the shadow of darkness and to move forward and the whole concept of 'standards before status' is not rhetorical. It's absolutely basic to the sort of Kosovo that all of us want to see created," Jones Parry said.

The leaders of Kosovo's provisional institutions, as well as the Kosovar president and prime minister, have stated their commitment to the process on implementing the eight chief standards. Kosovo Serb leaders have criticized the document launching the new process -- to be reviewed in mid-2005, as inadequate.

The UN peacekeeping chief, Guehenno, told the council that Kosovar leaders have not endorsed the dialogue with Belgrade on practical matters for political reasons. But he said preparatory work is ongoing within the local government.

He said Belgrade has not been willing to discuss the dialogue because of the Serbian parliamentary election campaign. The UN ambassador of Serbia and Montenegro, Dejan Sahovic, told the council Kosovar leaders were to blame for the failure to resume talks. "We express the full readiness of Serbia and Montenegro to engage in discussions on practical issues of mutual interest, which would improve the daily lives of all inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija," he said.

Under previous agreements, experts from both sides are supposed to meet to discuss practical issues such as energy, transportation and returns of minorities to Kosovo.

TOP


Forum 18 (Norway)- Kosovo: Hand grenade attack on Orthodox church

Orthodox officials are skeptical anyone will ever be arrested for the latest attack. "There has been no further information on this incident," Deacon Srdjan, diocesan secretary, told Forum 18. "What we have to say we have said hundreds of times so far. We do not expect any more news." Since 1999, no-one has been prosecuted for attacks on Serbian Orthodox sites.

TOP

FORUM 18 (NORWAY)

This article was published by F18News on: 19 December 2003
By Branko Bjelajac, Balkans Correspondent, Forum 18 News Service

Forum 18 News Service has learnt that an Orthodox church in Urosevac has been attacked with a hand grenade, even though it was guarded by Greek troops of the NATO-led KFOR. Since 1999 there have been many such attacks on Orthodox sites, without any arrests being made of perpetrators. Expressing gratitude to the Greek KFOR troops for their protection, the local Orthodox diocese told Forum 18 that "if the Church of St Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR, it is likely it would have been destroyed like other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region."

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren has told Forum 18 News Service that it "most strongly condemns" a grenade attack on the Church of St Uros in the town of Urosevac (Ferizaj in Albanian) in southern Kosovo. At about 8pm on 12 December a hand grenade was thrown into the churchyard, even though the church is protected by Greek troops of the NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force. No injuries were reported, but one vehicle parked nearby was damaged. The mainly ethnic Albanian Kosovo Police Service has conducted an initial investigation, but thus far without any perpetrators being identified.

The Orthodox diocese points out that from summer 1999, when NATO took over security in the province, there have been similar attacks on the church. "If the Church of St Uros had not been under the constant protection of KFOR," the diocese told Forum 18, "it is likely it would have been destroyed like other Serbian Orthodox churches in the Urosevac and Nerodimlje region."

"The grenade, identified as an Albanian f1 hand grenade, exploded approximately 10 metres from the front steps of the church," KFOR declared in a 13 December statement. "The two KFOR soldiers manning the site witnessed an unidentified male walk by and throw the grenade. The explosion caused no injuries and only minor damage to the guard shack on the site. The church was not damaged."

Orthodox officials are sceptical anyone will ever be arrested for the latest attack. "There has been no further information on this incident," Deacon Srdjan, diocesan secretary, told Forum 18. "What we have to say we have said hundreds of times so far. We do not expect any more news." Since 1999, no-one has been prosecuted for attacks on Serbian Orthodox sites.

The St Uros Church was built in 1933. In June 1999, just after US troops under NATO KFOR command arrived in the area, the church was twice subjected to arson attacks. Since then, it has been under constant KFOR protection. During the past year, KFOR has started handing over protection of Orthodox sites to the Kosovo Police Service, leading to fears that more churches and monasteries will be damaged or destroyed in future. At present, this church and five others which are partially damaged are being protected by Greek KFOR troops, who are also trying to assist the local Serb population in other ways.

Serbian Orthodox representatives visited the Greek soldiers on 15 December to express their gratitude for their continuing help and protection.

TOP


Former rebel leader charged in Kosovo

An international prosecutor in Kosovo has issued an indictment against the former leader of an ethnic Albanian rebel group responsible for the 2001 insurgency in southern Serbia, UN officials in the province said today.

TOP


Beta News Agency, Belgrade
December 18, 2003

PRISTINA -- Thursday - An international prosecutor in Kosovo has issued an indictment against the former leader of an ethnic Albanian rebel group responsible for the 2001 insurgency in southern Serbia, UN officials in the province said today.

Sefket Musliu and three others are accused of harassment, abduction and possession of illegal weapons, said Izabella Karlowic, a spokeswoman for the UN mission.

Musliu was arrested in Kosovo in April on suspicion of posing a threat to the security of the province. He was one of 20 people listed by the Bush administration as a threat to the region.

Karlovic said the trial would be held before an international panel in the Gnjiljane District Court. He has been remanded in custody, though the trial date is not yet known.

Musliu led the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac, which was responsible for an insurgency in southern Serbia in early 2001.

TOP


UNMIK stops transport for 15 Serbian Children

UNMIK administration has stopped the transport of 15 Serbian children from the village of Svinjare to a school in Kosovska Mitrovica. Confirmation of this action came from Predrag Stojcetovic, the head of the Education department in Kosovska Mitrovica. Transport was stopped on Wednesday morning, and after an intervention they send a bus in the afternoon, to take the kids back to Svinjare.

TOP

Tanjug News Agency, Belgrade
Kosovska Mitrovica, December 18, 2003

UNMIK administration has stopped the transport of 15 Serbian children from the village of Svinjare to a school in Kosovska Mitrovica. Confirmation of this action came from Predrag Stojcetovic, the head of the Education department in Kosovska Mitrovica. Transport was stopped on Wednesday morning, and after an intervention they send a bus in the afternoon, to take the kids back to Svinjare.

"On Thursday they officially informed us that they do not have fuel and that this is the main reason for termination of the transport for the kids, who do not have any other means of going to school, because Svinjare is in a Albanian surrounding," stated Stojcetovic. He stated that the school offered to provide the petrol, so that children can be provided with normal schooling, but UNMIK refused this explaining "this is impossible because there are rules that need to be followed".

TOP


INET: Kosovo and Metohija News 17-18 December

TOP

I*Net News, Belgrade

Thursday 18 December 2003

18:40 Commenting on the adoption of the St. Nicholas Day Declaration by the Union of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija, the president of the Serb National Council of North Kosovo Milan Ivanovic said that this was the only possible reaction by Serbs to prevent Kosovo's slide toward independence. "After the rejection of Holkeri's "Standards for Kosovo" by the Serbian Government, we have been concerned by the conciliatory statements of Covic and Svilanovic after meetings with representatives of the Contact Group and Javier Solana," said Ivanovic.
He assessed that the proposed standards are a danger to Serb interests because they lead to the independence of Kosovo and Metohija.

17:40 The creation of Albanian and Serbian entities in Kosovo and Metohija is the only political option and solution for the survival of Serbs in this region, the Union of Serb Municipalities concluded today at a meeting attended by almost 100 delegates from North Kosovo, Kosovsko Pomoravlje, Gracanica and Strpce. "We want Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia and a joint life with the Albanians but we do not accept the creation of an independent Kosovo and the transformation of the Kosovo Protection Corps into an Albanian Army," concluded the Serb representatives.

17:20 An indictment has been issued against the leader of the so-called Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Sefcet Musliu for kidnapping, abuse, illegal possession of weapons and criminal conspiracy, advised UNMIK spokeswoman in Kosovo and Metohija Isabella Karlowicz today. The international prosecutor has issued indictments against Musliu and three of his collaborators for crimes against individuals committed on four occasions from 2000 to 2002, said Karlowicz.

17:00 At today's session, which was not attended by Serbian deputies, the Kosovo parliament unanimously adopted a law on cooperation with the Hague tribunal, which had been proposed by the Kosovo government.
Premier Bajram Rexhepi, in his address to the deputies, assessed that the ratification of this law "will enable Kosovo to continue its engagement in creating peace and stability in the region".

15:00 The head of the Serbian Resistance Movement Momcilo Trajkovic said today in Nis that solutions which satisfy only the Albanian side in Kosovo and Metohija lead to conflicts and that the Serbian side must choose another path because it is not enough just to say "we disagree or we do not want".

13:40 The UN Security Council today unanimously confirmed its support for the UNMIK document "Standards for Kosovo", which has been rejected by the Serbian Government.


Wednesday 17 December 2003

20:20 A representative of the German border patrol confirmed today in Berlin that the leader of the Albanian National Unity Party Hidajet Beciri is presently in prison in the city of Konstanz in south Germany near the Swiss border.

20:00 The international court chamber of the Gnjilane District Court on Wednesday released Dragan Nikolic from charges in the murder of an Albanian man in the village of Ljubizda near Vitina in 1999.

19:40 Coordinating Center for Kosovo and Metohija head Nebojsa Covic addressed an open invitation to all political parties participating in the Serbian parliamentary elections and election list primaries calling on them to sign a Resolution on the protection of Serbian national interests and rights of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija.

16:00 The UN Security Council today is expected to review the situation in Kosovo, first of all, the document "Standards for Kosovo".

 

Today is St. Nicholas Day - Nikoldan

St Nicolas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia.

6/19 December

This saint, famed throughout the entire world today, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of Patara in Lycia (Southern Asia Minor). They dedicated to God the only son He gave them. St Nicolas was instructed in the spiritual life by his uncle Nicolas, Bishop of Patara and became a monk at 'New Sion', a monastery founded by his uncle. On the death of his parents, Nicolas distributed all the property he inherited to the poor and kept nothing back for himself. As a priest in Patara, he was known for his charitable works, fulfilling the Lord's words: 'Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth' (Matt. 6:3). When he embraced a life of solitude and silence, thinking to live in that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: 'Nicolas, set about your work among the people if you desire to receive a crown from Me.' Immediately after that, by God's wondrous providence, he was chosen as archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia. Merciful, wise and fearless, Nicolas was a true shepherd to his flock. He was cast into prison during the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, but even there continued to instruct the people in the Law of God. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, and, in his zeal, struck Arius with his hand. For this act, he was removed from the Council and from his episcopal duties, until some of the chief hierarchs had a vision of our Lord Christ and His most holy Mother showing their sympathy with Nicolas.

This wonderful saint was a defender of the truth of God, and was ever a spirited champion of justice among the people. On two occasions, he saved three men from undeserved sentences of death. Merciful, trustworthy and loving right, he walked among the people like an angel of God. People considered him a saint even during his lifetime, and invoked his aid when in torment or distress. He would appear both in dreams and in reality to those who called upon him for help, responding speedily to them, whether close at hand or far away. His face would shine with light as Moses' did aforetime, and his mere presence among people would bring solace, peace and goodwill. In old age, he sickened of a slight illness, and went to his rest in the Lord after a life full of labour and fruitful toil. He now enjoys eternal happiness in the Kingdom of heaven, continuing to help the faithful on earth by his miracles, and to spread the glory of God. He entered into rest on December 6th, 343.

From Prologue of Ochrid



TOP


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

Disclaimer:
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

Additional information on our Diocese and the life of the Kosovo Serb Community may be found at: http://www.kosovo.net

Copyright 2003, ERP KIM Info-Service